Honey, Cider and Fiber Oh My!

September is almost here. We are excited to welcome the Fall projects to our list.  Bees have been robbed and their luscious golden honey is in the jars.  Cider has been pressed from our apples ( a dream come true for us ).  Wool is being washed in preparation for processing into roving and yarn. The ewes are just about ready for the breeding season. It is a busy and rewarding time of the year.

The fall garden is going in this week. Many types of greens are on the agenda as well as root crops.  Rutabagas, turnips, carrots, parsnips, lettuces, kale, collards, spinach and cabbage. In our climate these crops  will do well for most of the fall and winter season. Some will winter over into spring.  We are blessed.

Grapes are ready for harvesting. Most of our nuts are enjoyed by the animals instead of us…wish we had more.

The pictures are varied this time…..a picture of the registered Finn rams who are all for sale…….a picture of the August Spin/Knit Crochet In where the “Fiber Vibes ” were rampant!……. A woven sample from an 1870’s pattern at the Kinston CSS Neuse Museum woven by Sally Smith for the museum . ….and finally some colorful knitting. 20180828_16205120180818_12252620180818_10255220180828_124157

Our September Knit/Spin/Crochet In will be on the 15th from 10-3 in the Red Barn Studio on our farm. We invite you to join the Fiber Vibes Group where we share the infectious Fiber fun which often mutates into different Fiber ideas for different people. When you share your Fiber ideas where will they go?  Join the Fiber Fun on September 15th at the Red Barn Studio.  See you then.


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Wow! August is Here…….

Not sure where July went but we are always happy to see August. The farm is a busy place right now with a long and varied list of jobs every day.  We have been building pens for our growing flocks of guineas and chickens.  The guineas will soon be turned loose on the insect population which is large this year due to the rain.

It is almost time to bale hay again. Ahhhh the smell of freshly mowed hay. Some of the best times in the summer are baling hay. Plenty of work but the results are worth it.

The lambs are growing well. The ewes are resting before the breeding season begins. The rams are just hanging out. We sheared some of the sheep. The rest will be sheared later when their wool is long enough.  Wool is a renewable resource with the sheep producing it continually. Some get their haircuts once a year while others have their haircuts twice a year.

The grapes are ready for harvesting. Not sure if they will be jelly, wine, or juice this year.

Fall is just around the corner with many exciting events on the agenda.  We look forward to seeing everyone at both the Rising Meadow Farm day in Liberty, N.C. and the Southeastern  Animal Fiber Festival in Asheville, N.C..

Our next Knit/Spin/Crochet In will be held on Saturday August 18th from 10-3 at the Red Barn Studio here on the farm. What projects have you begun recently or are you working on a long term project? We love to see what everyone is creating.  Join us for a fibery fun day. See you soon.

Our pics here are varied:

We had many groups come to the farm for tours this summer.

We also enjoyed seeing friends learn to spin for the first time.

Truly an enjoyable summer!20180715_13363420180710_18162020180707_155703 (1)CAM00177 (1)


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Enjoying the Bounty of Summer

We are busy with gardening and canning in addition to all of our animals with fiber production.  Summer is the busiest time here. Lambs are weaned and growing.  The ewes are resting after the lambing season. Bees are in full production making scrumptious honey. The garden is really great this year with all of the rain. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, green beans, cabbages, and soon butter beans are flowing out of the garden daily. We pickled beets this year for the first time in a few years. Elderberries are on their way and we had the first blueberries this week.

For those who have not learned to preserve produce we encourage you to learn. Your county agriculture department will offer classes as well as a plethora of online info can help you make the move to independence. The farmer’s markets offer fresh products if you do not have a garden. They might offer a discount for bulk purchases. It never hurts to ask. The fresh food movement has plenty of blogs for education as well.

Our next Knit/Spin/Crochet In will be in the Red Barn Studio at Heelside Farm on July 21st from 10-3.  It is a fiber loving gathering. Hope to see you there.

Happy Summer!04-14-08 41404-14-08 363

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Summer is here……

Summer is here, at least based on the heat and humidity.We already have fans up to keep the air moving for the sheep.  With all of the rain the grass is still growing providing great food for the sheep.  Our lambs are growing beautifully. Their wool is so soft and luscious. Here is a picture of one of the Cormo lambs. I will put up a picture of the Finns later. We have a great grouping of lambs both registered and not registered for sale. Ram lambs and Ewe lambs are growing by leaps and bounds.

Our May Spin In fiberistas had some lovely projects in progress and finished.   Alex is pictured with a beautiful blanket she is knitting. It is a kit from Knitpicks with wonderful colors and a knitting challenge. Kim brought two shawls she finished from the same diagonal shawl pattern. The darker shawl is from commercial yarn and the lighter shawl is hand carded, hand spun and hand knit from Cormo wool and her angora rabbit fiber. Her first completely hand done project. It warms your heart to see all of the fiber fabulous projects people are working on at our Spin Ins.  Congrats to these two.

The next Knit/Spin/Crochet In at the Red Barn Studio here on our Heelside Farms will be June 16th from 10-3. Mark your calendars. 20180519_12150020180519_12135920180519_12132320180502_090702

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May Spin In

May is always a busy month on the farm. We will begin weaning lambs soon.  Checking hives for honey will be on the agenda this month, as well.  You will not know until you open the hives if there is honey for this year.  Our  garden will be in full swing soon. Asparagus is always the first product we enjoy from the garden.  Cooking it with butter and lemon offers a fresh taste but there are plenty of recipes online if you would like more embellishment.   You do not have to have a large garden to enjoy fresh produce at your home. Flower beds, containers and even window boxes are able to provide you with a variety of fresh vegetables.  Shopping at your local farmer’s markets will allow you to meet the farmers who work so hard to produce your vegetables and fruits.

Our May Spin/Knit/Crochet In will be held May 19th from 10-3 in the Red Barn Studio at Heelside Farms. Looking forward to seeing everyone for a relaxing fiberlicious day. Love those sheep!

New fiber visions are on the horizon for Heelside Farms.  Stay tuned for updates in the fiber world.  Our sheep are growing luscious wool even as we speak. They provide a renewable resource of all natural wool for our fiber dreams.  Yum, yum, Fiber Fun!


AHHH SPRING!20160510_082002 (1)

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April Showers Bring May Flowers and Grass for Sheep

April is already in full swing. We have had plenty of rain to help the grass grow for our beautiful sheep. Lambs are growing so fast. Our last lambs will be born this week. It is a busy time of year.

Our April Knit/Spin/Crochet In will be held at the Red Barn Studio on the farm Saturday the 21st from 10-3.  We look forward to seeing you with your projects. Spring has inspired  me to look at ways to use up left over Yarn. The Cowl Knit-a-Long especially designed for Carolina FiberFest 20180417_10452520180417_104502offered an opportunity to show off your knitting skills with a special pattern designed for CFF. The picture shows my finished cowl with the limited edition pin CFF gave to those who wore their cowl to the event. With the left over yarn I knitted a sheep hat. While knitting the hat I ran out of the cowl yarn so I finished the crown with some handspun yarn that coordinated. Sheep buttons were added to the little crown for a sheepish touch.

The second picture is a pair of socks knitted with left over yarn from other socks. The first sock was knitted in a traditional color pattern. The second was inspired by the Iceberg sock pattern found on the internet that added intarsia knitting to the mix. It was a great thoughtful change in my sock pattern ideas. Something different! What do you do with your left over yarn? A friend knitted a whole sweater with left over yarn. She loves fingering weight and so it all coordinated into a wonderful and colorful sweater.

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March Fiber Fantasia

March is always a fabulous month!  We will have our Spin/Knit/Crochet In at the Red Barn Studio March 17th from 10-3 here on the Farm. We welcome you to visit, bring your project or projects and relax.

The 12th Annual Carolina FiberFest will be held at the Kerr Scott Building at the NC State Fairgrounds on Friday March 23rd and Saturday March 24th, 2018. It will be open from 9-6 each day and admission is free.  Up to date event information is available on the website. www.carolinafiberfest.org.  This year we have a special Knit-A-Long designed just for Carolina FiberFest by a local artist. The pattern is free on the website. When you come to CFF wearing your cowl go by the Information desk and pick up a free limited edition collectible pin honoring your work.  There are also newly designed t-shirts, hats, aprons, collectible pins and other CFF memorabilia available to purchase. There is food on 20180213_084601site. Come and spend the day.

Happy March! This is the handspun and hand woven shawl from the Sheep to Shawl event at the 2017 Carolina FiberFest. It is part of the raffle this year. The grand prize raffle item is a spinning wheel! Wow! Check the website for details.

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Class Change

Jane Bynum’s Spinning off the point class has been postponed. We will reschedule and announce the new time later. She is teaching workshops at Carolina FiberFest March 23 and 24,2018 at the NC State Fairgrounds in the Kerr Scott building. Check the website for information and registration. www.carolinafiberfest.org.

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Pinky surprised us with quadruplets on Sunday. She is a Finn sheep or Finnish Landrace. They are known to have multiple lambs. She has had triplets and quadruplets before. We moved them into a stall which is protected from the weather. They stay in the stall for a few days while mom rests and the lambs learn the ropes of nursing and dealing with the world. It is a big place for the little lambs. Here is a portrait of the family.

You can mark your calendar for February 17th from 10-3 for our Knit/Spin/Crochet In at the Red Barn Studio at Heelside Farms. Come join our community of fiber lovers for a relaxing, inspiring experience. You might get a peek at some lamby pies as well.

On February 24th from 10-1 we are offering Jane Bynum’s class Spinning off the point. Jane offers detailed insight into spinning off the point processes. Check our class page for more insight.

Pinky and her family

Pinky and her family

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Happy New Year

We will bring in the New Year with a dye class on Monday January 15th from 10-2.

Jane Bynum will offer her Spinning off the Point class at the Red Barn Studio on Saturday February 24th from 10-1. Our Class page has more information.

Our January Knit/Spin/ Crochet In will be held January 20th from 10-3 in the Red Barn Studio.  We look forward to seeing your latest projects. See you then.

Our ewes are vying to see who will lamb first. Lambing season begins soon. At this point there are six in the running. We will keep you posted.

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