Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Celtic Festival 2009-- The People

The weather for the Celtic Festival was shocking--warm, mostly sunny and humid. Where was the rain, the damp, the cold breeze?? I was up and at 'em early on Saturday, trying to get everything done and on the road by 7:15. I came pretty close. Rosemary, Rosetta and Jackdaw went into their catch pen with only a little murmur. JackieD ending up getting choked on grain and there was drama with that. Once I got them penned I pulled the truck up right by them. Rosemary was beastly about being loaded. She went up, but then became a stiff ridged sideways sheep statue, and would not be forced into the carrier. There followed a silent battle of wills and eventually she was stuffed in. Rosetta was easy, JackieD was almost easy, but he weighs a ton! The little spotted pig.

Calling of the Clans

Once I got there, I was told I could drive my truck right up to the display pen. I made the pen a little smaller with an ex-pen I brought and then started to unload sheep. My Dad, who is in the Sheriff's Posse was on parking duty at the event and he came by and held the carrier closed while I carried each sheep and plopped it over the fence into the pen. Went very smooth. Then I had to figure out my layout/setup for the day. I brought raw fleeces, roving, and silk/wool scarves to sell and hand carders and drop spindle for a display of fleece to roving. There were also lots of business cards, brochures and info sheets about Shetlands. I honestly don't look at this as a sales event, because the crowd is not normally a 'fiber buying' bunch. So I was more than pleasantly surprised when by days end I had sold 36 ounces of roving, a raw fleece and a silk/wool scarf.

The day was filled with fibery people it seemed. As usual there was allot of questions about the sheep, with most people being very interested and open to learning. I had one little boy pretty much scold me for not brushing my sheep everyday. Obviously in his eyes they looked a little too unkempt! Another lady rushed up exclaiming that I had brought a big horn mountain sheep (Jackie). I'm pretty sure she hadn't thought through the whole idea though...Celtic Festival = Big Horn Sheep?... She was very surprised and a little dubious that he was a Shetland Sheep...

There were the usual contingent of people that 'eventually' would like to have a few animals, and were thinking about sheep. Some are still in the dreaming stage, some will never make the step, and others have researched and will fulfil their dream. My mantra to all is 'good fences' must have good fences. I think it comes as a surprise to some that good fences would be so important to having sheep. Those that were interested in fiber were numerous too, and the cross range of ages was inspiring. Then you have what I term in my mind as 'city folk' who haven't a clue about farm animals and just want to have their picture taken with them. Cows or sheep, uh, tinkling is cause for great exclamations and observation. (Oh people..get a life--you do it all the time--glad someone isn't in the bathroom with you, cheering you on!)

More Calling of the Clans

On the whole though, people are interesting and they like to discuss the sheep and fiber. The day was filled with meeting new folks, visiting with a few old friends and family, and generally talking more than I normally do in a month of Sundays. I had two things I wanted--Fish and Chips for lunch and one of the plate sized shortbread cookies. Jama eventually found and bought me the cookie, which thrilled me no end. I didn't share it with my family at all! Nope...I still have over half of it and am enjoying every bite. Allena stopped by with her family and gave an impromptu drop spindle lesson for new Shetland sheep owner, Barbara. My Mom, Dad (when he could get away from his duties), Sister and Niece all came by and stayed for a spell.

This guy was sorta like Captain Jack Sparow meets Braveheart

I didn't get as many pictures as I normally do, but tried to get a few. From what I heard the number of vendors was down, and it looked to me like clans were fewer in number as well. There were no marching Kilties, or parade as usual either. However, the 'civilian' crowd seemed pretty steady in number and the music was a nice background accompaniment throughout the day. I really can't think of a time when there was any kind of long lull in the stream of people that came through. The weather was very sticky, and for awhile the sheep were uncomfortable. I think part of that was stress. I had brought a battery powered fan, but didn't' use it as eventually a nice breeze picked up out of the north.

Here are a few pictures of my 'booth' and sheep setup. It was difficult to set it up so that it flowed, but eventually I settled on an "L" shape for the tables. I had a chair set up next to the sheep between the tables and pen, so I could answer questions and run interference if necessary.

Rosemary (front), Rosetta and Jackdaw

People looking over the wool display and checking out the sheep.

All in all a good day! Coming next...Celtic Festival --the Animals....

Oh...and here is your gratuitous man in a skirt photo. All of 'em were wearing these sock things this year! Okay, okay...I know..they are kilts and kilt hose...


Anonymous said...

LOL! Jackdaw is a big-horn mountain sheep??? He'd be awfully runty, since they top out around 300lbs. I guess he'll just have to dream big :)

Vicki Lane said...

Sounds like a fun day. (Gratuitous man in a skirt pic -- tee hee!

L'Hélène said...

Did you check if they had knickers on? ;-)

Tammy said...

Beau---some of the comments are amazing, and it's hard to keep a straight face, but people are so SINCERE. Sincerely wrong at times.... Also I don't think the big horns come in black and white spotted. ;-0