Monday, December 31, 2012

with love

As 2012 closes, I want to thank each of you for following along with me at Long Ridge Farm. Your presence is felt and enjoyed and it makes the travel all the lighter!
I wish you good health, prosperity and a large dose of peace in the coming year, however you may seek and find it. Cheers!

Monday, December 24, 2012


The hour draws closer to the most magical night of the year. 
Past the solstice now, a minute more light and a bit
higher in the sky, the sun mellows us.
Snow is coming tonight, the best of gifts
on this coming silent night.
Our tree is trimmed simply this year as if to make 
a promise for a simpler year to come. This was not
a year I will soon forget. 
Lots of loss and heart wrenching days. 
There is a gift in that though. 
Steering my life ship
away from the hidden ocean ledges 
along the shoreline, further into calmer waters, 
I hope to sail there more often.
The ornaments are few but reminders of loved ones.
Above is one made by our dear friend, Katie,
frames of our farm, sheep and dogs.
One special friend is truly suffering having lost her
love. Nothing to do but ride out the storm.
Christmas and the light of it's force will
kiss her gently.
The pups got an early chew today to work
off the boredom of waiting while I finished all the

Now we celebrate the reason for this special time.
Music, conversation, friendship, wood fires, 
phone calls to those not near, 
a Christmas pageant nearby in the twinkling evening.

I wish each of you the gift of love. 
It is all we need. 
Merry Christmas, Happy holidays!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

this is it!

There is an enormous sale this weekend at 
Long Ridge Farm
116 Paine Rd, Westmoreland, NH 

10-4PM Saturday and Sunday, December 1st & 2nd.
Come celebrate my birthday and take advantage of great savings!

 Included are spinning fibers, pre-felt, raw fleece,
closeout yarns from the farm, naturally dyed,
sourced yarns from Rowan, Brown Sheep and more,
 books, project bags, fiber equipment,
naturally-dyed tagua nut buttons,
rug hooking, spinning and knitting notions
and more....
much is new, most at 50% off.

Plus naturally dyed scarves, scrumptious leather
and special yarns.... 

This is the place to shop...
for holiday gifts or self-indulgence.
I am in the mood and afterall it's my
birthday....swing by!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

good women

New Hampshire made history this election 
with full court press for women,
from governor to senators and congress women.

here is pretty simple.
a wall has emerged
in a space once occupied by sheep
and even students in the summer
young feathers have joined with
a bunch of woolies.
a wall between at night.
it's the best of all worlds.
women to the 
the left and women to the right with
private bathrooms.
private windows with full sunshine come morning
no bickering at night.
left side, right side congeniality.
Lily loves her freedom to eat and smile as she chooses.
 and in a small house nearby Matilda still carries forth alone.
during the days she ranges about the barnyards
and each night she returns to her private quarters.
we tried to integrate her with 
the other hens but she won't have it.
I understand this woman.
and all the while of late
 my heart is heaving for this woman, my friend.
a soldier in life's battle.
Patty is losing her husband of 3+ decades.
 all of a sudden.
time is imminent.
they just learned the grim truth weeks ago.
women friends.
life is complex.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Rhinebeck look back

Hurricane Sandy is barreling in tonight and this could be the view
in a few hours if driving. But rather it was the view
last weekend while Faith and I drove down to the
Rhinebeck show in New York to sell my wares.
It was a miserable, rainy Friday but promised to be
a gorgeous weekend regaling peak foliage along the Hudson River.
We set up the booth Friday afternoon which is always
a space challenge. How to get 4 times as much into a
pint-sized booth. Faith and I work well together
and after a few dress rehearsals we were ready for the show.
Rhinebeck is a monster of a fiber show, more than
250 vendors and record crowds every year. This was
the aisle by our booth Sunday morning just after opening.
Saturday was double the people. It is so busy
there isn't time to get to the bathroom with two of us working!
Mind over matter wins.
There is something about the maples on the fairground,
every year they are just perfect reds, oranges and golds.
And there are always the cutest babies
donning woolen knitwear...
and faces to die for. This is Oliver.
Faith captured a little Chihuahua mix.
A special friend, Nutmeg Owl,
created this beautiful shawl for me to display to showcase
my lace weight silk yarns. You can read more in the link 
above. She also wrote a great post about the show here.
Needless to say the yarns flew off the shelf!
Loved backing into our parking space Saturday night only to find
an easy-to-collect stash of black walnuts to take home. Perfect!
Saturday night dinner with Faith at Terrapin.
It's become a mother/daughter tradition to do the
shows together and a treat for us both.
I don't get a chance to shop this show as there
isn't enough time to get out and about but our booth
is fortunate to be very near the book signing area
so I swung through late Sunday afternoon.
There was one lone star author sitting with her new book.
Instantly I was drawn to the story she shared and the tale of her great-great-grandfather
"a nineteenth-century millionaire, William Skinner, a leading founder of the 
American silk industry, who lost everything in a devastating flood and his
improbably, inspiring comeback to the pinnacle of the business world."
From the first page this is a gripping story. Her writing style is
easy and captivating and it all took place
just south of here in Massachusetts in the late 1800's.
Put this one on your reading list and Rhinebeck
a destination next year!

Friday, October 19, 2012

look, see, run

Looking back a month, I guided a lovely group through the day
learning to dye with indigo. Beautiful blues.
A vintage dress that was a rather bland light peach
morphed. It was dyed with the indigo I grew this summer
which yielded a much greener blue. Love it!
It was a made to order September day here on the farm.
The pumpkins got harvested and they were huge 
despite the dry summer.
The flock finally in their glory with cooler
temperatures and less fences set for rotation.
A free for fall grazing time.

We got the last of the hay in, loft full, case closed for winter.
Kalie helped me while I loaded bales to the elevator.
Every blessed sheep coat from last shearing to date
got washed and sorted, finally.
Crystal is still with us doing it slowly
and calmly.
Early October Long Ridge Farm was on the 
artisan tour and it was a wonderful experience.
Luna was the official greeter!
I was delighted that right around the corner there
is a breadmaker and a new winery. 
Made for a great tour route.
Lots of people stopped to visit and shop while I let 
the fresh indigo vat simmer all day and dyed up a storm.
I gave people the chance to dip their own silk to watch
the magic happen.
The sheep modeled for the visitors. Good sheep.
And now it's time for Rhinebeck. Shoving off momentarily.
A very special delivery came
from a very dear Owl friend.
You can read about it here and see it on display
at the show. Just gorgeous.
Come visit the grand dame of the
wool festivals on the east coast this Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

in the cover of darkness

Autumn as been short and lackluster in my corner of the world. 
I suspect the too dry summer stressed the trees and when the time
came to say goodbye to their canopies, it was without a fight.
The leaves have drifted down, mostly yellow, ever as lovely,
on the forest walks,
 giving way to my favorite view. 
I can see the flock in the near field now from the house. 
And they can see the lights of home come nightfall. 
Weather reports portend the end of the growing season
tomorrow night with a killing frost. I am behind on that count.
It can't be! I looked at the thermometer in the kitchen window
tonight. It reads 34. Too close for discomfort.
Luna and I swung about the gardens to cover anything
I am not ready to part with yet.
The indigo won. 
It will have a few days relief after
tomorrow night and we have work left to do
my indigo and I.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

about today

On this day in 2006, at this very hour, I was standing alone in the far field at the farm. 
My memory of that moment is as if it was yesterday. 
I felt an eerie silence. An aloneness I couldn't define.
Never did I imagine
what I would learn by nightfall.
As I stood in the field staring at the hills, 
waiting for the sun to come shining
through, an hour or so away in the heart of NH,
my big brother, Jim Walker, was logging alone in the woods 
with his horses,
and suffered a massive heart attack.
No one found him until late afternoon.
It was too late.
True, he died doing what he loved the very most with
his beloved horses at his side.
Somehow that consolation falls short.
Jim with Ted and Tony 2006
He was loved by so many people.
He loved so many in return and would give the shirt off his
back for those who he cared for.
 me and Jim at 6 and 10 on our farm in Amherst, NH
Jim Walker was a good man, taken too soon.
I am thankful for those who share this day with me each year
who also miss this guy immensely.
So goes October 4th every year.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

they do remember

Katie, dear friend and prior shepherdess,
is home for a visit from Rwanda after a year away.
she came for the weekend here on the farm.
a treat for us all.
Katie was most excited to visit the flock,
as she had done chores daily, helped with lambing
and written wonderful tales about the flock.
she was much loved for the two plus years she lived on the farm.
the first evening she and I did chores together
and it was a happy reunion.
 the following afternoon
Crystal was waiting for her own visit. she gets around
but the arthritis keeps her less mobile than the rest.
Crystal looked, listened and accepted Katie back into the fold
with no hesitation.
it's been reported before but now I see
it first hand. sheep can remember up to
200 faces for up to 2 years time.
it was a sweet reunion we had.