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Posted 2/9/2009 6:48pm by Catskill Merino.
"Members of Congress should wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers to identify their corporate sponsors." — Author Unknown
Tags: Politics
Posted 2/9/2009 6:06pm by Catskill Merino.
Posted 2/8/2009 7:13pm by Catskill Merino.

By February you’re dreaming of Spring, you've had enough of Winter, the cold hands, the wet feet, the slippery ice, the layer upon layer of bulky clothing—the frigidness never ends—but when it does, Spring will seem to have come too soon with its warm temperatures that turn January snow into March rain to become seas of mud that you slog through, going slowly from chore to chore, wearing slip-on rubber boots to keep your feet dry, step by cautious step, trying not to step out of your boot when it sinks in and gets stuck above the ankle,  because if your foot does come out of your boot, to keep your balance, you’ll have to put that stocking foot down in the icy, umber muck (half mud, half manure) to not fall face dowm into itand there you'll be: one foot in and one foot out, one foot dry and one foot wet (the cold goo oozes between your toes)—and you can't put that foot back into the boot  (it'll be ruined if you do); so, one boot in-hand, one boot on-foot, you hobble to firmer ground, foolishly dreaming of Summer.

Posted 2/8/2009 6:44pm by Catskill Merino.
Lois Flook
Lois did marvelous work on her cabled scarf—beautiful knitting, soft & warm—she models it in the recent brrrr of Philadelphia.  Thanks for sending the picture; knitters love to see what can be done with yarn from the wool of the sheep.
Posted 2/6/2009 6:39pm by Catskill Merino.
Rams Sunset

Tonight the low will be 12°F and tomorrow the high will be 41°F; this looks to be the beginning of a warming trend.

Temperatures in the 50's consitute a heatwave for sheep in fleeceBut still, I want it warmer than it's been for them: we shear the flock March 2nd & 3rd; that's 24 days from today—the 10 day forecast is sunny days with temperatures in the 40's while nights will drop into the 30's—and we need dry shearing weather too; but this is unlikely in March which, if not the cruelest month,  is certainly the wettest.

Posted 2/5/2009 5:00pm by Catskill Merino.
Green Mountain Spinnery has spun three new weights of yarn from our wool that are now for sale at the stand in Union Square and here in the Merino: Undyed Yarn department of the Yarn Store, that will soon come in colors.



Sport Weight: 2 ply, 2 oz. skein, 185 yd.



 Bulky Weight: 1 ply, 4 oz. skein, 175 yd.



Lace Weight: 2 ply, 2 oz. skein, 260 yd.


Posted 2/2/2009 6:34am by Catskill Merino.
Yearling Rams
Nikon D700, 14-24 mm f /2.8
14 mm
1/200 sec at f /16
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Posted 2/1/2009 9:22pm by Catskill Merino.
When Saori asked for a "meelo," I apologetically handed her our broken mirror.  Her smile said nothing about bad luck so I guess this superstition is not transpacific.
She looks good in purple; I asked her to send me a photo of the hat she knits in Japan.
Again the temperature in Union Square didn't get above freezing and sales were off as they have been the past four Saturdays; I spoke to farmers who wondered if this slowdown was due to an unusually cold January or if we were feeling a new chill—the terror of recession—the fear of worse times ahead for New York. 
A sunny shopping Saturday in the 50's will tell us if our losses are from the weather or the economic downturn.  Either way I should replace that mirror.
Posted 1/29/2009 2:46pm by Catskill Merino.
Winter Dye Studio

I look at the yarn colors in the stand on Saturday afternoon to see what's been sold to determine what we'll dye the coming week.  We needed lime greens, teals and dark indigos. 
Dominique washed 16 lb. of yarn on Monday to mordant on Tuesday to dye on Wednesdaybut an ice storm brought freezing rainon Thursday the sun shone; it was a good day to dye and a good day to be a sheep. 
A 14-24 mm Nikon zoom lens at 19 mm distorts perspective: it appears that I'm standing several yards from Dominique but in reality the lens is less than 2 feet away from her  To use an ultra-wide angle lens properly you must not be shy about getting close to your subject.
Posted 1/28/2009 6:21pm by Catskill Merino.

2 ply Sport Weight

New Sport Weight

We are using a new spinnery.  Green Mountain Spinnery of Putney, Vermont has spun new weights and styles of yarn for us:

  • Sport Weight—2 ply, 1500 yd./lb.
  • Lace Weight—2 ply, 2100 yd./lb.
  • Bulky Weight—1 ply, 340 yd./lb.

These yarns spun at Green Mountain are strong and well finished.  The employee/owners handle consigned wool with care and take pride in the yarns they spin.  I am pleased they have spun a new and stronger version of our most popular yarn:

  • Double Twist Worsted Weight—1 ply, 1000 yd./lb.
This Saturday we will have the new, yet to be dyed, yarns at the stand in Union Square.  We will begin dyeing it at the farm this coming week with a new line of ecologically conscious dyes from Greener Shades, along with our natural colors from Earthues.
Here are some photos I took at the spinnery of the old machinery; much of it put into service here in New England in the early 20th century but since abandoned as scrap metal by the globalized spinning industry as it chased profits south to the Carolinas, then off-shore to mainland China; that is still in good use at Green Mountain.
  The Card
Spinning Frame
 The Spinning Frame
The Skeining Machine