Today was our TransSierra spin-in at Anna Harvey's in Calpine, California. In spite of the smoke from the terrible Antelope Fire, we had such a good time for ourselves. I had looked forward to today for so long, and now tonight I'm sitting here, reflecting on how rich I am for my friends. This comfortable group - Allison, Sara, Sue, Birdsong and Amy- represents both of our guilds. Most of us drove more than an hour to get to the Harvey ranch. It was worth the drive.
Anna is a fourth generation sheep raiser. The 5,000 acres she calls home was her family's summer camp. She and her husband are the first to live here full-time. She and her brother-in-law run the commercial meat operation and her husband is a logger. She began her fiber production just recently and the first year she took a fleece to show at Monterey, got $22 a pound. Her dad had been skeptical about her whole spinning flock thing and was bragging to her after the Monterey show that he got just .67 a pound - what did she get? He wasn't impressed since that was for just one fleece. How I appreciate the passion of Anna and the spinning-flock shepherds. Where would we be without them?! I am thrilled that this year Anna was awarded second place for a small flock at the Black Sheep Gathering this year.
Such a great group come together today. The shape of the "spinning circle" changed with the movement of the sun - here are Linda, Mim and Carolyn. My neighbor Mim and I drove over together and visited all the time we were coming and going - I loved every minute of it. I wasn't diligent with my camera and suspect that a better representation will be on Amy's blog in the next few days. I have only a couple of ranch pictures hereafter because I lost focus on the spinning part. It all fell apart when Anna showed us her skirting room upstairs in the barn and Birdsong and I fell in love with the same fleece, which we bought and split - but that's another blog. I was saved from my indulgence when Nancy approached me and asked if she could buy the other half of the fleece that we had purchased together last month and then dug out the cash. Karma~ or fate.
This thing of beauty is the barn that Anna and her logger husband built this year. He cut the timber from trees on their property. Step back - process information. Not only did they build this lovely structure, but he put a chute and pens in so that she can vaccinate and worm her 200 sheep in one hour. Her studio is the top left area and has wonderful windows. Sue and I profess to extreme and profound barn envy. The animal in the foreground is a living creature, her docile doberman who completed the west end of our spinning circle.
Anna has an entire pen of rams, both commercial and her spinning flock. Her Rambouillet ram has a special tag to indicate that he doesn't go out to the commercial ewes. This boy is gorgeous. He's the daddy of the hoggit fleece that Birdsong and I could not say no to.
Because I had such a fear of chickens growing up - don't ask - I think I have become fascinated with them now. Our house is full of chicken things - you know how people latch onto giftie somethings. I didn't realize that this rooster (black and white boy) had rushed me when I was taking pictures of the rams. I heard my name being called and when I came back to hear what they were saying, realized that for once, I had not freaked at chickens. I was surprised, optimistic and thrilled - maybe I can grow them after all. And this lovely is my "surprise" from Black Sheep Gathering. Amy asked Ian what he would like, since we couldn't go this year, and he wanted a T-shirt. His earlier ones are in rags - it's the truth. She asked me if I wanted a T-shirt or a surprise and I said surprise. Surprise! Silk from Chasing Rainbows!!!!!?? I am more like blown away. Still spinning frantically for my lap blanket, I look forward to tasting this lovely confection. It will be dessert.