Don't panic! You still have time to regiser for this Sunday's (October 9) Needle Felting Pumpkins and Card Making Class.
There. Aren't you relieved. Thought you missed it, didn't you.
But, in all seriousness, this is a great class. It's fun, it's easy and if you think you are craft-challenged, this is the class for you. Don't tell anyone, but it doesn't require a whole lot of craftiness. Just a willingness to have fun. And the end product is as cute as can be. People will marvel at your skill. They will think you are the new Martha.
The pumpkins are needle felted using roving, a felting needle and a large block of foam for stabbing. You get to take out all your aggressions and anger on a little piece of foam. I guarantee you that you'll go home all stress-free and lovin' life.
In addition to the 3-D pumpkin, you'll make a cookie cutter felted greeting card.
Send it to your craftiest friend. Show her (or him) that you've got talent. That you are not a rookie in the craft department. You've got skills.
The class is only $15 and you can register on-line. But space is limited. Don't be the last on your block to know how to needle felt a pumpkin!
Saturday was a field trip day. I always love field trip days.
That'll Do Farm is a member of the Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association (Go ahead, say that real fast. See if you can do it. I dare you!). OEFFA is a made up of farmers, gardeners, retailers and consumers who want to help preserve the family farm and provide great food for Ohioians. One of the things OEFFA does is host a series of workshops and farm tours around the state throughout the year.
Yesterday was a tour of Local Roots in Wooster and boy-oh-boy, was I impressed. Local Roots is a market and cafe that connects producers of locally grown food and other agricultural products with consumers.
Member farms have a space in which to sell their produce.
Or their jams, jellies, syrups, etc... made on their farm. In the name of market research, I tried this Pumpkin Spice Syrup. Guess who is having pancakes this morning! If you want to capture fall in a bottle, try some of this. Delicious.
The produce ranges from the ordinary, normal produce, like cauliflower and turnips, to the unusual, like the green cauliflower. The Local Roots market does not set the prices, each farmer sets his or her own price.
Just look at this beautiful garlic. If I weren't already having pancakes with pumpkin spice syrup, I'd spend the day roasting up some garlic!
However, they don't sell just produce. They have a great selection of pasture-raised beef, pork and chicken.
There have been plenty of times in my life when my goose was cooked, but I have never cooked a goose. So I'm ordering one for Christmas. I'm going to go the English route this year and serve goose with brussels sprouts, roasted carrots, potatoes, bread stuffing and plum pudding. All this will be followed by a 12-mile brisk walk over the moors, which will be encased in fog and mist. It's o.k. though, because I'll be in my Wellies with my trusty sheep dogs at my side. (Yes, I've been reading a lot of English literature recently, why do you ask?)
There is a section of the Local Roots market that is for local artisans, including potters, woodturners, and fiber artists.
And, when you have exhausted yourself from produce and craft shopping, take a seat in the Cafe. Enjoy a homemade pastry or two. It's not a bad way to spend a rainy Saturday morning, that's for sure.
I found the whole concept of the Local Roots Market and Cafe fascinating, great for the community and great for the farmers. There will soon be another one open in Ashland.
If you visit the town of Wooster, make sure you check them out. I have a funny feeling my Saturday field trip is going to turn into a regular thing.
One of my two true addictions in life (besides Pepsi, but that's in its own category and we're not counting it here.) is natural fiber. I love everything about it. The feel, the look, and yes, even the smell of fresh wool -- I love it. Does that make me a bit odd? Of course it does, but I've come to accept my wierdness.
My other true addiction is gardening and farming -- which are both much more socially acceptable than touching and smelling wool at every turn in the bend.
So when I get the opportunity to combine my two true loves in one project, I jump at it. And that is exactly what happened this past weekend: Dyeing Wool with Natural Plant Material. (I hear angels singing when those words are uttered out loud.)
The yarn, shown here drying on the front porch, is dyed with (from left to right): wet yarn in goldenrod, dry yarn with goldenrod, red cabbage overdyed with goldenrod and, on the far right, wet yarn dyed with a mixture of red cabbage and purple basil.
The goldenrod produced such a sunny, bright yellow.
It also produced a mellow, subdued yarn when the yarn was put into the dyepot dry. I think its fascinating that one plant can produce two such different results depending on the wetness of the fiber. Where was this type of chemistry when I was in high school? THIS I would have paid attention to!
Who knew red cabbage and purple basil would give you a pale green yarn. Utterly fascinating.
The dyeing will continue through the fall. I'm anxious to see what colors we can come up with.
Gardening + Wool -- a match made in heaven.
Fall means back to school, and it's no different down here on the farm.
Join us Sunday, October 9th from 1 to 3 p.m. for a Needle Felted Pumpkin and Card Making Class.
The pumpkin and card are easy, easy, easy to make, but you don't have to let anybody know that.
Think of the ohhs and ahhhs you'll receive when you put these fluffy pumpkins on the Thanksgiving table. Nobody will notice the turkey is burnt and the potatoes are lumpy, they will only have eyes for your needle felted pumpkin!
No experience is necessary. Even if you think you are not in the least bit artsy, you can do these crafts.
Registration and pre-payment are required and space is limited.
So go back to school this fall -- craft school, that is. We guarantee you'll get an A.
This past weekend was the Ohio Natural Fiber Network Fall Farm Tour. We spent the week before worrying about the weather and now nobody can tell me that a healthy dose of worry doesn't pay off. We had two beautiful fall days for enjoying the farm and friends, both old and new.
Visitors came out to meet the alpacas.
And the alpacas took the opportunity to stare back at the visitors. Not sure who won the stare-off. Both humans and animals were adept at this technique.
At one point during the weekend, we had a parking issue,
but not to worry. We found spots for all the visitors and life was good again.
We had knitters knitting inside and when the sun came out, we had knitters knitting outside. You've got to love knitters who travel with their own chairs!
We harvested this fall's honey.
We're quite proud of our bees this year. They did such a good job. You go girls!
We harvested goldenrod, which we used for dyeing wool. There is certainly no shortage of goldenrod in the back fields and woods. We could color the entire world yellow with the amount of goldenrod we have.
We demonstrated how to dye fiber with natural plant materials.
Our two choices for the demo were red cabbage and the goldenrod. Goldenrod was the star of the show, with the red cabbage producing (and lets be blunt here) down right ugly results.
So ugly, in fact, that we didn't take a picture of it. It came out a very light lavender color that faded to pale, pale yuk. So out it came from that dye bath and we plopped it into the goldenrod dye bath.
Surprise, surprise -- it worked. The two skeins on the left in the picture above show the results of red cabbage dyed yarn, overdyed with goldenrod. The yarn is a light green-ish color that looks wonderful on its own or held together with the goldenrod yarn.
But we didn't fret about that red cabbage dye bath. We added purple basil to it and are waiting to see what color this will bring us. The interesting thing about natural dyes is you never know what you are going to it -- its a bucket full of surprises. Maybe good, maybe another bucket full of ugly. We'll wait and see.
So a great big thank you to all that came out to the farm this weekend. We're a little crazy about what we do here and love to share our obsession. Come see us again!
Calling all fiber lovers and farm lovers.
This is your weekend!
Fifteen fiber farms throughout the state of Ohio will be opening their barn doors for you on Saturday (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.) and Sunday (Noon - 5 p.m.) as part of the Ohio Natural Fiber Network Farm Tour.
That'll Do Farm is proud is say we are one of the 15. So come on out.
Meet an alpaca or two.
Say hello to a goat.
Bring your knitting needles on Saturday and spend some time hanging out with other knitters for a free Sit-N-Knit. (Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
Watch the beekeepers harvest this fall's honey at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Or come out on Sunday to watch the natural dyeing demonstration. We've harvested a few plants from the dyers garden and back fields and will be showing you how you can use these plants to color your wool. That's at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
But remember, its now offically fall so dress for the weather.
It is a working farm so wear shoes that you won't care if they get a drop of two of mud on them.
We're open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. And while you're at it, check out the other farms on the tour.
Celebrate the season with a trip to the farm. Hope to see you this weekend!
Put your hands together for the newest member of That'll Do Farm -- the one, the only Bart.
He came into this world last weekend somewhat as a surprise to his human caregivers, but certainly not to his alpaca mama Charm.
No, we were not surprised that Charm was pregnant and due any day. We just didn't think it was going to be THAT day in particular. After all, we'd checked on Charm in the morning. We'd checked on her at lunch time. The results were clear: nothing was happening nor did it look like anything was going to happen in the immediate future.
So off we went to do our assorted farm duties. And guess what Charm went ahead and did? Go ahead, guess.
If you guessed that she delivered a cria and he was out standing in his field, you would be correct.
That sneaky Charm waited for the exact moment all the humans left the pasture, and then under the watchful eye of her ever-present friends Krispy Kream and Charlie's Angel, she delivered a very healthy and energetic baby boy.
He was promptly named Bart. He looks like a Bart. Not that we've ever known anyone named Bart, but if we did, we think he would look like this here alpaca!
Bart and his mama are doing well. Three more crias are due by the end of October. We hope all the moms are as good at their job as Charm and all the crias are as healthy as Bart!
The names are in.
The votes are tallied. Not a hanging chad in the group.
The winning entry for the Name the Cria contest is:
We like the way it sounds when announced over the showring PA system:
"Ladies and Gentlemen, now entering the ring is That'll Do Farm's Bea Star."
We think it gives her a leg up. After all, who doesn't want to Bea Star.
Our lucky winner is Melissa. (Note: Melissa, please send me an e-mail with a way to contact you!)
Melissa receives a skein of Midwest Fiber Company Alpaca/Merino yarn in all the colors of fall.
Congratulations to Melissa and a huge thank you to all who entered.
Every once in a while, we run across a product that we really, really like. In some cases, we love it!
That was the case with these magnets from Kate Grenier Designs, made right here in the USA from recycled bottle caps.
Fridge magnets with a sense of humor -- that's right up our alley.
You may actually have to know an alpaca or llama, or even a camel, to understand the "Spit Happens" magnet, but it's something we live with everyday.
"Chicks with Sticks" should appeal to knitters, or maybe field hockey players.
We liked them so much, we bought six varieties.
For the Alpaca lover.
For the CSA or Farmer's Market fan.
For the knitter.
For the dog lover.
For the farmer or lover of farms.
And last, but not least, for the llama human in your life. "Save the Drama for Your Llama" -- that's plain old funny.
They are sold in sets of six for $16.50. (Dare I say it: it's not too early to think Christmas. Yuk, I said it. I'm sorry!)
The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!
If you remember that quote from the classic Steve Martin movie, "The Jerk" then you know exactly how excited we are to have in our hot little hands the November/December issue of Hobby Farm Home magazine.
No, it's not the Doughnuts Made From Scratch that has our knickers in a knot -- although they do look pretty darn good.
No, it's this article (starting on page 70 if you are playing along at home):
That'll Do Farm is the headquarters of the Ohio Natural Fiber Network, and the Network is the subject of the "Woven Tight" article.
The story details how the Network started and what we, as a group, are doing to promote Ohio grown fiber.
Of course, we think it's the most compelling thing you're ever going to read. Better than anything ever written by Hemingway, Melville, and Twain -- combined. (I will acknowledge a slight bias here, but only ever so slight.)
So I urge you to go to your local bookseller (or Tractor Supply Company!) to pick up a copy. Ohio's fiber producers and fiber artists thank you.