Today is your chance to support Fiber vendors from Carolina FiberFest. It all begins on CFF FaceBook live at 8:30 this morning and continues all day. Heelside Farms will be live from 9:30 until 10:00 on the event and then again live on our FB page from 10:30 until 12:30 . Our studio has had a makeover for the event. Hooray. We will be unveiling the new look at 9:30 today. Join us to shop for the most beautiful yarn, roving, batts, socks( yes, socks), blankets, needles, silk roving, shawl pins and other fiber doodads ’til your hearts’ content. All wool is from our sheep. We do all of our own dyeing. We have a variety of sheep breeds to offer the best fiber experience : Icelandic, Cormo, Finnsheep, CVM, and of course we still have Border Leicester Fiber.
Join the fun! See you on CFF FaceBook group and Heelside Farms FaceBook page. Proud to be part of it all today.
The month has sped by and we are having our Knit/Spin/Crochet In tomorrow October 17th in the Red Barn Studio on our farm. It is from 10-3. Join the fiber fun.
Carolina FiberFest is having a virtual pop up event October 31st and November 1st with vendors from our event. Check out the new CFF website or the FB page for details.
Beautiful fiber, soft and luxurious, from our beautiful sheep.
Our next Spin/Knit/Crochet In will be held at the Red Barn Studio on our farm this Saturday, September 19th from 10-3. Please join us and show off your projects. There is always something going on. In July I finished knitting a sweater which was originally a pullover knitted from the top down. It ended up too big. At the July Knit/Spin/Crochet In I brought it out for suggestions. I had thought to just put it on a mannequin for display but one of the ladies suggested steeking it to make it a cardigan by removing some of the bulk. So we had a ” Steeking on the Fly” class and I learned how to remodel a sweater. It turned out lovely with just the buttons to add now.
Cleaning is often a term we associate with the Fall season. Indeed we are doing a Fall cleaning this year in the house. We are going through many memory filled bags and boxes from the attic. We are sending a great deal of it to the Salvation Army in town. It is a time for reflection about the reasons we keep items. I used to sew our clothes and many of those outgrown items are in the bags. We will pass them on to someone else who can use them.
It is also a time to evaluate how we work with our sheep on the farm. As we get ready for
breeding season we look to pair the right ewes with the right ram. We, of course, keep a breeding book for all of the details of breeding groups and lambing. It it holds a wealth of information for each generation of sheep.
The hay is ready for cutting. If the rain holds off so everything is dry it will be baled soon. Our bees should have one more gift of honey for us. There is so much going on. The chicks are growing rapidly and soon will be ready for the big girls pen. Washing fleeces for processing is on the agenda as well.
During the rainstorm Monday a week ago when we were gifted with 11.5 ” of rain, our roof leaked. Just like in the movies we had pans catching the rainwater as it came into the house. Our roof has been given a great deal of attention in the last two weeks to make it waterproof. We are not alone in our water issues. The stories have come in from all over the neighborhood. When I asked one neighbor about their experience he said if his brother had not come in late and told them what was happening much of their outside furniture and many animals would have floated away. He said they went into action and saved all of the animals and most of the furniture. Sitting inside we were all aware of the rain, but not aware of the tremendous amount. We are thankful it was not worse.
Whenever you would like to come shop at the Studio Let us know through our email or Facebook. See you soon.
Carolina FiberFest will be holding a virtual fiber event October 31 and November 1st. Look for details by the end of September on the NEW Carolina FiberFest website. It is beautiful and well organized. New information is being posted each week. www.carolinafiberfest.org
It is almost pumpkin time. How are you decorating with this year? After all of this covid mess decorating will be a joy. Love and peace to all of you.
Cleopatra Roving .. Cormo Finn cross
August is here. Our Knit/Spin/Crochet In will be held this Saturday August 15th from 10-3 in the Red Barn Studio on our farm. We are featuring past projects this time. Bring some of your older creations to share with others and talk about what you learned from making that project. You can also just come shop. If you are worried about the covid you can schedule an appointment for your own shopping time.
We finally solved some of our internet woes and are back posting on our website. It is a relief.
So many farm projects are in the works. The deer ate most of our apples but we will probably make a bit of cider. It is almost breeding season for the sheep which means we are evaluating our ewes and rams. We will be baling hay again soon. The farmer has been cleaning out the sheep pens. It means a cleaner space for the sheep and plenty of manure for the garden. A win/win for all.
We planted most of the Fall garden last weekend. Squash is on the menu.
Wishing you good health.
Toil and Trouble
That 70’s Wool
Wow, can you believe it, 2020 is here! A beautiful start to a new year. Our first Spin/Knit/Crochet In for the New Year is January 18, 2020 from 10-3 in the Red Barn Studio here on our farm. We look forward to seeing everyone and enjoying a fibery start to the new year.
So much is happening on the farm right now. Repairing feed troughs and hay racks seem to be high on the list. Our garden is producing well when we can get in there. The rain makes it a challenge. Sinking in the mud to get vegetables is not fun. We did get a picture of the beautiful carrots of many colors from the garden. They are delicious.
We checked the sheep and found we could not wait to shear until March which is when the shearer was scheduled to come to this area. So we are shearing the sheep ourselves. It is a daunting task. We are far slower than the professionals. We look to do 5-7 sheep a day where the shearer can do 30. The fleeces were very heavy and trying to clot or felt so it needed to be done. The sheep all have shelter from the elements. We try to leave a coating so they are not too cold. Their wool grows back surprisingly quickly. It is good to shear your own sheep sometimes so that you can check them first hand. When the professionals come you are mostly a bystander even though the shearer watches for signs of trouble with each sheep. Our sheep also get a pedicure and their vaccines. Then they are set for a long time. It is hard to catch them after they have been sheared.
Lambing will begin in February so everyone and everything needs to be ready. The farmer cleaned the outside sheep shelter ( a bobcat really helps that process ). Next we put pine mulch on the floor of the barn with straw over that and get the stalls ready for lambs. This method seems to make it easier to clean after lambing is over. We have a number of first time moms this year so we have to be on the mark.
The mama chicken ( Speckled Sussex) and biddies that we pictured several months ago are in the chicken pen now and growing like weeds. They get big bags of greens from the garden as well as grain.
Here are a few pics from the farm.
A colorful grouping of carrots
Feeding the ewe lambs.
Join us for a break in the holiday rush at the Red Barn Studio for our December Knit/Spin/Crochet In from 10-3 on December 21st. Come join the fiber fun and relax with the fiber friends at our farm. If you wish to participate in the Secret Santa exchange just bring a gift. Or just come and join the fiber fun!
We often take pictures as we see lovely sights on the farm. Our son snapped this sunset picture as it was too lovely to pass up. Enjoy!
Sunset reflections on a great day.
We have our first batch of wool back from one of the mills. Lovely. It is a blend of gray and white Cormo wool with 20% bamboo added. A great handle and sheen, worsted weight!
We will be open for Small Business Saturday on November 30th at the Red Barn Studio from 10-4. Some yarn, roving and needle kits will be featured specials. Join the fun. Wherever you are support your local businesses. Their survival is our hope in the creative world.
We had a great time at SAFF. Lisa Incognito brought the Reyna shawl she knitted from one of our kits to show off. She is a great knitter! Thank you for bringing it for us to see. Love It!
December 21st is out next Spin/Knit/Crochet In at the Red Barn Studio on our farm from 10-3. A fiber respite in the middle of the holidays. Our fiber friends decided at last weeks’ event that a Secret Santa exchange would be fun. If you would like to participate just bring a gift. See you then!
December 7th the NC Sheep Producers will be having their semi-annual educational and membership meeting. It is from 9 – 2 in Asheboro, N.C. More information is available at www.NCSHEEP.com. All sheep producers and prospective sheep producers are welcome.
Cormo and Bamboo yarn worsted weight
Lisa Incognito with her shawl at SAFF
SAFF has been move to the McGough Arena and the adjoining barn area ( with a covered walkway) at the same site..The Western NC Fairgrounds in Fletcher, N.C. just outside of Asheville. The Davis bldg has been closed due to the illness issues. Saff used to be in the McGough Arena so for many it will be a trip down memory lane. Loving it! Hope to see everyone there. New event and vendor maps will be out shortly. Their website is www.saffsite.org. Their Ravelry site will also have information. It is a fun Fiber event.
Here are our new rovings. Delicious!
Toil and Trouble
That 70’s Wool
Loving the break in the weather. Our animals are loving it as well. The hay has been baled and is already being inhaled by our animals. We are thrilled to have some of our own hay, although we still purchase some hay to finish feeding everyone. The bees are busy with the fall blooms. The garden is slowing down as well. The farmer spread the manure pile on the garden so it can break down and fertilize our plants next spring. It is a more relaxed time of year….or so we think. There is always plenty to do on the farm.
Our October Spin/Knit/Crochet In will be held on Saturday the 19th from 10-3 at the Red Barn Studio on our farm. Bring your projects to show off and share your fiber love. All that fiber energy is contagious. With the weather cooling off wool can become a staple in your wardrobe and in your project bag. Wool is always front and center on our farm and in my project bag.
Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival will be happening this month in Fletcher, N.C. ( near Asheville, N.C.) at the Western North Carolina Fairgrounds October 25-27, 2019. Their website is www.saffsite.org. An app available to help you get the most out of the event.
We have new rovings for your enjoyment. Here is a picture of the yarns spun from them. Lovely to look at, a soft touch and even better to spin! See you soon. The small skein was a leftover which I plyed with Lydia one of our Cormo top selections. You can alter your yarn by plying it with a different fiber. There are so many creative options in the fiber world!
The Farm is a busy place right now. Preparing for a hurricane helps us prepare for the winter weather as well. For those wondering about our work lists…. Getting in supplies for the winter months is a priority. We have our own hay field now so we have some hay of our own, but we still purchase hay to have plenty for the animals. The farmer has been working on the beehives to have them ready for winter as well. We do not use chemicals for parasite issues with the bees. The farmer makes his own, all natural, repellent and sprinkles it in the hives. He has also added supers ( another level of wax for the bees to fill). The equipment is being winterized. Just because we are in the South does not mean we can neglect that .
We began shearing the lambs to get them clean and tidy for the winter. They get a pedicure and checked for any other issues we might have missed. Lambs are very sweet. Love my babies.
The apple trees have been picked. There were not enough for cider this year but plenty for apple butter and eating. We plant trees just about every year. We planted four horse apple trees. It is an old variety which does well in North Carolina. Trying to get everything picked before the wind blows them off.
The Fall garden has been planted. It will provide blooms to help keep the bees at home and out of other people’s chemicals. The produce it supplies is so fresh and continues until frost. We have cane this year and are hoping to make sorghum syrup. That is usually a late Fall event.
Two hens have hatched chicks in the last week. We like to raise our own laying hens. We did purchase a few chicks from Tractor Supply as well. It will be many months until they are laying, but fun to watch them grow up. We have Speckled Sussex and Partridge Rock hens now. They are very calm and good mothers. The Speckled Sussex are a heritage breed and so lay a smaller egg. We like them anyway.
Speckled Sussex hen and chicks
Our next Knit/Spin/Crochet In at the Red Barn Studio will be held on our farm September 21st from 10-3. We welcome you to join the fiber fun. Although we are wool lovers, all fibers and fiberistas are welcome. Hope to see you then!