Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Quilt Batts & New "Sheep"!

New "Watch Sheep" 44 Finds A Package!
Long story short is that we have been watching & waiting for a Serta Sheep for about 10 years!  In late spring, my Waynesburg S&FF friend Marianne found three - yes three! - sheep for sale.  She bought 2 and told me about it.  Aaccckkkkkk, but I wanted one too!  Believe it or not, she contacted the seller again, drove in to Pittsburgh to pick it up, and even negotiated a volume discount ... :)   So #44 came to a festival meeting and then rode home shotgun with me.   Now we have a "watch sheep" keeping an eye on things, like the new kitten in the house, or the arrival of suspicious packages.
While I was at the wool pool, this package showed up and it was bursting at the seams ... hmmm, what is it?
Wow - Wool Quilt Batts - Feels Soft & Dreamy!
I have been looking for uses for our Dorset wool since we only use fine Rambouillet wool for combed top & yarn.  This is the 2nd time that we've had quilt batts made and they are for full & queen size quilts.  These are the "real deal" & they are much nicer than the small batts we had years ago.  Yea!  Hard to believe there were 6 of them smooshed into the box.   And yes, that is the technical term for processed & shipped woolens - ha!  We took them out and refolded them so that they're nice & fluffy now.
Wild Rose Farm #44 Shows Off Wool Quilt Batts! 
Yes, #44 will just be called #44.   A professor from Penn State once told me a long time ago that "if your sheep has a name, it's too fat".   Of course, we have a couple of fat sheep, but everyone goes by a number & a few have nicknames.  Like little Ewok, Alice Cooper, "U", Patches, Miss Piggy, etc.  Whoops - looks like we have more than a few with names ... ahem.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Busy At The Wool Pool!

Washington County Wool Pool - In Line To Unload!
We lucked out on Monday & Tuesday this week at the 2015 Washington County Wool Pool.  Monday was sunny as wool from the large flocks - 125 fleeces or more! - arrived & was unloaded.  Most of the large flocks bring their wool in large burlap wool sacks or in giant heavy duty plastic bags that are stuffed full of fleeces.
Pulling Fleeces Out Of The Wool Sack
The wool fleeces are pulled out of the sacks and are sorted into different large light weight tubular metal "baskets" by the folks doing the wool grading.  Each grade or type of wool is sold at different predetermined prices to the mill that made the successful bid for the total wool brought in to the wool pool.   The teenage 4-H & FFA workers carry the full baskets to the scales to be weighed.  Each producer gets a check based on the price paid for the amount & grades of wool that they bring to the wool pool.
The next step is loading the different grades of wool into the hydraulic wool presses and creating the individual "bales" of wool to be shipped to the mill.
Loading The Wool Press

Closing The Wool Bale
On Tuesday, the smaller flocks of less than 125 fleeces, were graded and added to the piles of wool to be baled.  The smallest flock was a group of 4 fleeces & by 4 PM, everything was baled.  The bales were weighed, marked, and logged in for shipment.
Wool Bales Ready To Ship & Wool Pool Volunteers Close Up For 2015!
 Here's a look at the marking on the graded bales of wool.  They will be cross checked against the log when they are unloaded at the mill.
Washington County Wool Pool - Graded & Weighed Wool Bale
Yes, we lucked out on Tuesday.  The pool closed at 3 PM and at 3:05 PM the skies opened up and we had a drenching downpour for over half an hour!   All of our cell phones started beeping with flash flood alerts for the area ... then the sun was shining again by 4:30 as the semi-truck was being loaded.  :)
2015 Wool Pool Prices & Rules


Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Day At The Harmony Fiber Arts Festival !

Harmony Fiver Arts Festival Shoppers In Stewart Hall
We had a great time yesterday at the 2015 Harmony Fiber Arts Festival & Market and had a chance to meet lots of new fiber friends.  It was an overcast, muggy day, but the visitors were out with their umbrellas enjoying "Springfest" in Harmony.  Wild Rose Farm was set up in Stewart Hall behind the Harmony Museum.  Thanks to the new ownership at recently renovated Harmony Inn for sponsoring a 10% meal discount to folks who made a $10 or more purchase at the fiber festival or other Harmony business yesterday!  We had at least 2 customers who said that they would take advantage of the deal for lunch.  I never got a chance to venture down to the 2nd group of vendors upstairs in the Center of Harmony building ... they were located above the Darn Yarn Needles & Thread Yarn Shop.  Lisa of DYNT was the energizer bunny behind organizing the fiber festival and working with the vendors.  Well done!
Wild Rose Farm At The Harmony Fiber Arts Festival
 Combed Top, Santa Beards, Washed Locks, & Troll Hair Display!
 If the hand-spinner who purchased the fleece from Dorset x Rambouillet #135 sees this post, send me an email ... I recently sent a shipment  of wool samples to Yocum-McColl in Denver for micron testing.  I would be happy to forward a copy of her micron test results when we get them back!  
This was a nice well run festival ... sign us up again for next year!  :~)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Yarn For 2015 Harmony Fiber Arts Festival & Market ...

Wild Rose Farm - Naturally Dyed Yarns On The Ironing Board ...
I was tagging some yarn yesterday and took a quick couple of pictures to show what I'm bringing to the Harmony Fiber Arts Festival & Market on Saturday ... along with lots of fine wool combed top, spinning fleeces, and washed wool locks, we'll have these yarns to check out!  The colors are always a bit different than the pictures, but you get the idea!
We Have A Few Skeins Of Lace Weight Yarn Too!
Check out our AgMap or Local Harvest listing for more info on this free festival in historic Harmony, PA!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sawmill In The Sheep Pasture!

Portable Sawmill Set-Up In Pasture 
Part of the work here at Wild Rose Farm has been the clearing of overgrown pastures and pushing back tree lines.  Squaring off this field and opening up level areas left us with some logs that could be sawn into boards. These weren't huge trees, but we didn't want to make fire wood out of them either.
Positioning The Log
Jim is very local to us and has a portable sawmill business, so he did about 3 hours of work here earlier this week.  With his experience, he makes it look easy ...
Jim Finishing Up The Log
We had some cherry, locust, sassafras, & the 2 logs from the big spruce that blew down in our yard last fall. I plan to use the locust to frame a raised planting bed & the spruce was cut as wide as possible for a rustic table & box bench seating/storage project.
Loading The Last Log
The final products after the work was finished?  A stack of boards - very heavy because they're still "wet", a pile of sawdust, & the slab wood left over after squaring up the logs.  We have some folks lined up to come over & pick up the slab wood for their outdoor wood burning furnace.
Boards, Slab Wood, & Sawdust Piles

Locust Boards Lower Left & Wide Yellow Spruce Boards Bottom Middle
 The boards have all been moved, "stickered", & stacked under cover to dry until next spring ...