Naturally Dyed Yarn

Natural Colors

News and Blog

Posted 3/16/2009 9:38pm by Eugene Wyatt.

It's not Dancing with the Stars, but you might be a feature of the Knitter's Slideshow; take a look.

Posted 3/15/2009 9:15pm by Eugene Wyatt.
Brooding Ewes
No lambs today. Odd. Usually I'll find early arrivals. Tomorrow marks 5 months since the rams joined the ewes.  I look in on the ewe flock more often now, waiting too.
The temperature today was in the high 50's and dry; this is good weather to lamb outside, but as insurance we lamb near a barn to bring lambs and ewes inside if they are having trouble during inclement weather; an absence of problems at parturition and good weather means no barn and no special care for the sheep. When a ewe has a good birth and a healthy lamb, all we do is dip the lamb's navel in iodine, eartag it, record the ewe's number and let mom & lamb(s) go.  This is what I call modified pasture lambing where we help those who need help and let the rest do what they do best, be sheep.  Pasture lambing means letting nature take her course and that road leads to life or death; but with a small flock of 200 lambing ewes I can help the weak, and I do.
Notice the blow marks of shearing: good shearers leave ridges of wool on the sheep rather than taking another blow to slick shear the sheep (making it look pretty & well shorn), thereby losing this short wool (called a 2nd cut) between the slats of the skirting table.  
We will keep wool to spin that has a staple length of 3"; anything shorter is devalued or lost.  If a shearer leaves wool on a sheep, it will be there to shear next year; good shearing looks like sloppy shearing to the unschooled eye.
Posted 3/10/2009 8:07pm by Eugene Wyatt.
Michael shears the belly of a ram lamb
On March 2nd and 3rd we sheared the flock.  David Hughes, in charge of operations at the Union Square Greenmarket—market in & market out—came up to video the shearing: the goings on and the comings off.
Tom shears around an ear
The neck is the hardest part of a merino to shear
 Chris cleans a fleece on the skirting table
Crowding to the windows for warmth from the sun
427 the day before
427 the day after

Shearing almost 400 sheep took two days—two very cold days—but we got through it, as we always do, with an excellent crew: Tom and Michael, the shearers with Mark, Dominique, Chris, Clyde, Chalmers and me, the roustabouts. The fleece is exquisite and the sheep are fine.

Posted 3/8/2009 8:07pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Buy Lamb Bacon from the Lamb Store.

We listen.  Responding to "more lamb belly," a cri de gastronome for the coming year by New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni who is an outspoken omnivore devouring all manner of offal, we're doing something with lamb belly that may appeal to his appetite: we've come out with a lamb bacon, made by curing the belly in a brine of brown sugar & salt (with no nitrates) for several days then smoking it over a cherry wood fire before slicing it thickly; and—clankingly with a pot-and-pan fanfarewe brought our new lamb belly to the stand in Union Square for the first time last Saturday.

According to the Tasting Table editors; well versed in the culinary arts, but lacking when it comes to Hellenistic saltations, specifically ignoring how mascara-eyed Fatima, wiggling her umbilical, drives the blonde, blue-eyed patrons of Plato's Cave—Zagat Rated—the most famous belly-dancing club in Astoria Queens wild; "lamb bacon is the hottest new belly in town," the TT editors say.  But O woe, Fatima doesn't like to hear that she's no longer the top banana of  New York bellies.  Because lamb has less fat than pork, lamb bacon stays more tender when crisped. It is preferred for its meaty texture and rich flavor.  Now Fatima's sipping ouzu and really getting pissed; she will soon take the stage dancing in what will be described as "nihilistic belly rampage" by the LIC/Astoria  Journal.

Go to midtown for the evening and order dishes made with lamb belly at Anthos, the Greek spot on 52nd St., as you mingle with the ghosts of Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis and other jazz musicians who played in the nightclubs along "Swing Street" between 5th Ave. & 7th Ave. in the 40's & 50's.

When you're safely home and after a good night's sleep, Daniel Meyer will tell you how to make lamb bacon in your own kitchen—to start from scratch you'll need half a belly (called a lamb breast)—you can find his recipe in Bitten, Mark Bittman's blog on food in the Dining & Wine section of the New York Times.

The Catskill Merino Lamb BLT


  • 4+ thick slices of lamb bacon
  • 2   slices of white bread
  • 1   juicy tomato
  • 4   crunchy leaves of Iceberg lettuce from near the heart
  • 1   tbs. mayonnaise (homemade recipe)


  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add lamb bacon slices and fry until lightly crisped.
  • Drain lamb bacon on paper towels.
  • Lightly toast one side of bread until golden.
  • Brush un-toasted side of bread with skillet drippings, then spread with mayonnaise.
  • Layer the lettuce, lamb bacon and tomato on one slice of bread and top with second slice.
  • Gently press the sandwich together until the tomato drips.

Makes one sandwich, but who could stop there. 

We will have lamb bacon at the farm stand every Saturday—get to Union Square as early as you can to bring home the bacon.

Posted 3/5/2009 7:38pm by Eugene Wyatt.
Light on Shearing
In one of the coldest spells of the year, the setting sun streams through the cob-webbed windows of the Persoon's abandoned, 83-cow dairy barn where we sheared almost 400 sheep; the temperature was in the teens during the day with winds blowing snow sideways and it dropped to well below zero at night factoring in the wind chill.  Inside the barn, protected from the wind, the shorn sheep were comfortable; their body heat warmed the low-ceiling space.
Posted 3/5/2009 7:19pm by Eugene Wyatt.
Who knit these good looking hats—Mu!
Posted 3/5/2009 6:57pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Ryan & Lamb

When Ryan works the stand, sometimes he wants to be paid in lamb.  What impresses me is that Ryan brings his lunch in Tupperware on a screaming black Ducati as if New York didn't have places to eat. 

Maybe Ryan knows something we don't; maybe New York dines dumb; maybe Ryan's that good a cook. 

Here, he enjoys a thick slice from a boneless leg of lamb that he baked with the root vegetables of winter: potatoes, carrots, turnips, rutabagas and seasoned with garlic, rosemary and a splash of vino blanco.

Posted 3/5/2009 6:35pm by Eugene Wyatt.
Cheryl's Scarf
Cheryl has knit a lovely scarf from a subtle indigo over a light cochineal; and below, her second scarf is knit from a more robust indigo yarn.  Beautiful work—perhaps she can describe the stitch and tell us what size needles she used. 
I  really appreciate seeing what's been done with the yarn and how the sheep have shared their warmth.
Cheryl's 2nd Scarf
Posted 2/27/2009 8:09pm by Eugene Wyatt.


Here's big 427, 9 1/2 months after his birth, on the farm to be sheared this coming Monday.  Click the "Lamb 427" Category in the lower left side panel for a history of 427.

Tags: Lamb 427
Posted 2/24/2009 10:34am by Eugene Wyatt.


We take a break from the cold while innoculating the ewes with CD/T vaccine.  I go to my idling truck, the heater blasting, to warm my hands and get my camera while Dominique huddles in with the sheep protecting herself from the 35 MPH gusts of Monday with afternoon temperatures that fell into the low 20's. 

Pink grease-marks on noses tell us which sheep have been vaccinated.  When all noses are marked, we let the sheep go to join the already vaccinated on the flats behind us; we then bring another 25 into the treatment pen keeping them bunched closely together to prevent them from moving which is easier on them and easier for us.

Gestating ewes must be vaccinated with CD/T several weeks prior to lambing to pass clostridium antibodies on to their lambs in colostrum, the first milk from the udder.  This vaccination is crucial to lamb survival as the lambs' immune systems don't begin to develop until six weeks of age.

CD/T (Clostridium Perfringens Types C & D plus Tetanus Toxoid) is a commonly used vaccine that is also approved for use in certified organic sheep; it guards against tetanus infection and enterotoxemia (overeaters disease) which is a painful, gastric affliction that is untreatable and causes a lamb's death usually within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms.