Here is the link to the pattern for the Red Head Wrap for all you lovely ladies who were admiring the sample this past weekend.
This pattern would work well in both Downeast and Romney Ridge Farm Blend.
Last thing I remember I was throwing hay into the feeders, lugging water, keeping up a good pace with my running, preparing for the Salem Holiday Market, followed by a trip to the mill to pick up my next run of yarn ….. stop. Chills, aches, dizziness and then a swollen knuckle. Okay, okay, off to bed … I’m just tired. Nope.
A bad infection was taking over my hand and body. Five days in the hospital, surgery and iv antibiotics and one very frustrated Kelly later, I was home. No running, no lifting, no fun. Five more days of iv antibiotics twice a day and an even more frustrated Kelly was finally was cleared to crawl into her captain’s chair and head to the mill for an much anticipated run of yarn know as THE Romney Ridge Farm Blend. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ….back in control. I am sooooo greatful for the support from my friends
I was so excited to get this run of yarn back. It’s my Romney based yarn, blended with a pinch of Mohair from my little boy goaties. After much research, and talking and looking at samples, I decided to break away from my usual way of spinning this yarn and try something new. I called a friend who agreed to sell me 80 pounds of her beautiful Romney fleeces so I could create a larger run this year. The end result? A gorgeous, oatmeal grey, woolen-spun, dk-weight yarn. It’s strong yet soft. It overdyes into rich, heathery colors. I can’t stop petting it.
Suddenly it’s January 20th. I have been to Boston to share my world at Ignite Boston, I’ve spent the weekend in Pawtucket RI at the amazing Slater Mill with my fellow fiber lovers, and today I enjoyed a few hours cleaning the barn and bonding with my wooly friends.
January surprised me! It snuck up on me! But it has been full of wonderful people and places. Can’t wait to share with you what’s in store for February.
Please consider another knitting getaway with Romney Ridge Yarns and Winona Hats.
This time it is getaway weekend LAKE VIEW in Meredith, NH. Maryly Matthewman has designed a stranded knit hat using Romney Ridge Downeast Yarn in a motley mix of colors with patterns that speak of Lake Winnipesaukee, NH.
Waves, pine trees, and mountains. The last workshop with Barney mittens we blended colors. This workshop is totally different. Colors will contrast to highlight the pattern. Corregated rib tricks and different patterns, a cable cast on, Estonian wrapped stitches and many new stitches to add texture.
After this workshop you will be able to adapt any Latvian or Fair Isle pattern to create your own hat story.
There are beginner instructions and advanced instructions so you will not be overwhelmed or bored. Something for everyone, you make the choices.
Some lodging options for those traveling:
Mill Falls 603-279-7006. Code 20U7V9
Nutmeg Inn 603-677-6245
Meredith Inn 603-279-0000
It’s funny how things stick out in your mind as you get older. There is an old farm house on the island that is now owned by Sam, a family friend. A few summers ago we spent a long weekend there with friends. The summer winds floated in off the ocean and the waves crashed with ferocity on the ledges of the surrounding islands. The house is a typical Downeast farmhouse, with the tall shallow cupboards in the kitchen, and muted tones of color painted on the molding and wainscoting in each room. There is a center stairway with a curvy banister leading upstairs to simple, small bedrooms, and and a brick fire place in the living room.
Though I love the original house, I look forward to spending time in the addition that Sam built on to the back side overlooking the field that drops down into a jagged cove. It’s a simple open room full of large windows, but the gem of the room is a tiny wood stove that the fire flickers in on a cold night when the wind howls. To the right a grove of tall, perfectly triangular spruce trees block the view from the neighbors making it the perfect place to “hole up” with good friends after a walk down the Cape Shore Trail followed by devouring “a mess of lobsters” -as we say on the island.
I collaborated with Talitha Kuomi for the design of the Frost Farm Hat and Mittens pattern. Tal took my idea and put it together in such a wonderfully unexpected way! The trees are striking against the multi-color sky. They are those Spruce trees that sick out so clearly in my memories.
You can buy the pattern here.
The colors we chose are Olive Green and Kennebec Blue.
DOWNEAST is available here.
On the end of the island where I grew up you will find some of the most amazing rocks and rock formations in Maine. The ledges are massive formations comprised of red granite that one can only imagine are just the tips of huge underwater mountains that have lost their “peaky” shapes to the relentless pounding of the deep ocean waves. Look to your left. Look to your right. It is the “end of the world” so to speak. There are no other islands or signs of land for miles in either direction.
One of the largest juts of rock has been named Red Head. The trail that leads from the center of the island to Red Head is know as the Cape Shore Trail. It’s a short 3 miles of prehistoric-looking trees on thin, winding pathways that one could easily loose their way on if distracted by the beauty that surrounds them. During a summer hike, as you near the end of the trail and emerge on to the shore, the salt air and sunshine are sweet and refreshing. Take a moment to lay on the smooth flat ledges and let the sounds and smells envelope you. It’s a warm wrap of earthy goodness like no other.
I incorporated this place, and these memories into the design of the Red Head Wrap. The shape -narrow on one end and thick on the other, the veins of rock that run through the ledges are represented by simple cables. DOWNEAST is the perfect yarn for this pattern. It’s warm, woolen-spun strands are light and airy, yet cozy and warming. It creates a light weight fabric that almost instantly warms you.
I’d like to thank designer Elisha Cram of World On A String Designs. Elisha took my hand sketched vision and incorporated her own special design style into the project.
You can purchase the pattern for The Red Head Wrap in Elisha’s Ravelry store here.
Choose from 15 bold colors of DOWNEAST worsted-weight yarn here.
It’s been a busy four months. Markets and weekend shows, keeping up with schedules, preparing for winter. Ask me what I do everyday and I will never answer the same way twice. This business isn’t seasonal, it isn’t a hobby, it’s my “bread & butter”, it is work that I have created to exist in happiness everyday. It is my love, my passion, my soul food and even during the times that it becomes a bit chaotic, I am incredibly grateful for what it has given me.
Each week is full. Pick up wool, sort wool, drive wool to the wash, pick up the washed wool, drive to the the mill, pick up the spun yarn, fill orders in between, finish design work, keep up with kid’s schedules, find a few quick moments of “me” time, barn cleaning, move fences, move sheep, stack hay, skein that yarn!!! …. dye, dye, dye! Whoa! Wait a minute …. where did my summer go?? Over the summer I managed to break the riding lawn mower, break the sliding glass door panel by shooting a rock from the riding lawn mower -just before I broke it, drop and break my favorite pie plate, and screw up my shoulder. I’m on a roll … a one-woman wrecking crew my friend called me! I fear boredom! My life is busy, busy, busy … and I love it.
This morning I fed the dogs, just like I do every morning. Maddy the Mastiff eats in the living room corner away from everyone else …she is afraid of everything. Max the Mutt eats by the front door … he likes to go out immediately after. Pirate and Puddin’, the two doxies, eat on either end of the the kitchen. Puddin’ is very old and has few teeth … her food is small and soft and has to be soaked for a few minutes. Pirate likes to stand over and “hide” his food until everyone is done then fiercely guard it from the other dogs who dare to walk by. It’s crazy, loud, and maybe a little silly. And why do I do it? I love them.
A few days ago I had a lengthy discussion about life with my 14 year-old daughter, as we often do when we are alone and enjoying a much deserved ice coffee. We talked about the difference between “liking” something and truly looooooving something. How even though they sound like such a similar thing, the emotional reaction is very different. I may say that I LOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEE deep, dark, rich, muddy coffee, and cowboy boots, and the color red. But the truth is I only like them. Yes, they make me happy, but I they do not give me that wonderful feeling in my chest that I felt when I held my own babies for the first time, or each spring when I smell newborn baby lambs and watch, or the feeling I have when I create. We both decided that love makes us happy AND feeds the soul and that we are ultimately responsible for finding our own “loves” and keeping them. She is very wise for her age and I am very proud of her.
As I frantically gathered up 187 freshly-dyed skeins that I had dyed for The Common Ground Fair this past September and brought them in from the disappearing sunshine, my youngest son helped me. I was a little flustered and he asked me why I do this for work when it is so much work. I instantly replied without even thinking, “because I love you.” My hard work pays off in many different ways. Do you know how lucky I am? I do.
My point? Find your loves. If you can, make them an important part of every day. Find them and hold on to them with ferocity. Feel that feeling in your chest that only love can give you and if it does not, slip it in to the “like” category. It’s ok. There has to be a place for them as they make their way up. Be grateful for your loves every day.
When Maryly Mathewman and I talked about creating a mitten pattern together, it only made sense that a class should accompany. This past weekend 13 ladies spent two afternoons creating their own versions of our Barney Cove Mitten at our October Knitter’s Getaway. It was warm and beautiful at the Cod Cove Inn and our gracious hosts made the knitter’s quite comfortable in a brightly lit room overlooking beautiful gardens and nature’s palette of changing leaves.
The colors in the design came from the memories of my father’s boatshop.
Colors have always stood out to me, but it wasn’t until I was older that I realized how much. Memories, jogged by words, create images in my mind.
Years later I have discovered that what stood out to me about my Dad’s shop were the colors of the curing wood, the sky reflecting colors on the ocean, the Rugosa roses that decorate the island from corner to corner, and the boat keel painted and drying into a soft orange shade from the water-proofing Red Lead.
Maryly interpreted my memories into a design, and we rightfully named these mittens Barney Cove Mittens, where my Dad’s shop sits and the surrounding colors of the area and the inside of the shop created the palette.
The Barney Cove Mittens were knit with my seasonal yarn Willlow – a DK weight, grey yarn, that I hand-dyed in colors designed for the class, but you can use any variety of colors. We used Peacock, Orange, Chartreuse, Red Grape, Woodrose, and Natural Grey. But you can use as little as three of these colors. You can find the current Willow colors that are available here.
These are merely suggestions. If you decide to knit the Barney Cove Mittens, just know that the Willow Colors are seasonal and they are starting to run low. HOWEVER! Romney Ridge Farm Blend will be available very soon and would be FANTASTIC for this pattern.
Like the Barney Cove Mittens, the Winona Mittens are also a mix of colors. But Maryly explained that that because we are using a hand-dyed yarn that started as a white base ( rather than the heathered look of the Willow) , it is better to use one of my gradient/multi-colored Kaleidoscope skeins as your main and choose two like colors as the second and third colors.
As Maryly says, “The effect is a bit more stable if you pick Solid colors which are in the Multicolor Yarn. Otherwise the mitten looks a bit too jumbled. Change Solid color when you want to, no special time or place, just when it looks good to you and the 2nd mitten does not have to exactly match. Be colorful!”
With that in mind I have come up with a few suggestions for the color choices to knit the Winona Mitten.
Downeast is the recommended yarn for the Winona Mittens as it is worsted weight. These are merely suggestions.
Be sure to read the pattern all the way through before you begin …and I will be expecting you to send me pictures of your finished mittens!
If you travel with me, you’ll find that I stop and stare at my surroundings a lot. For a “go-go-go” person I suppose that seems a little odd … well maybe refreshing to the people I am with. Do you do this? Do you see the colors in a single brick stacked in a wall creating the southern side of a building? Go and look at it again when the sun sinks lower in the sky and watch the shades change. Stand under a maple tree in the early morning hours and marvel at the shades of silver and grey. Is snow really white? Are white sheep really white? How about the night sky as the sun goes down over a lake, a city skyline, or the majestic mountains. Can you see the many colors in the ocean??? We were all taught that the sky and water are blue and the grass is green. And it is … but it is more than that.
I remember when I was pregnant with my first son and decided I needed to learn to knit. Before sheep and yarn, I used to paint. I loved oil pastels and water colors and I chose strange colors that somehow, when blended, turned into the shades I was trying to achieve. Even without thinking about the blends of shades I would just put them together and work my blend and rub and … ta-da! Perfect! Well in my eyes it was.
Dyeing yarn for me is not mass production. Over the past 15 years, I’ll bet I have pulled thousands of skeins from the dye pots. Each dyelot is different as I have perfected my secret technique that pulls different tones and shades from the dye as the yarn enters the water. My color choices over the years have ranged from brilliant jewel tones to softer grey over-dyes to mixes of colors that create another color as the two bases bleed into each other.
Last year I created my ELEMENTS colorways using a white yarn base dyed gold and then over dyed again in a second color. They are softer combos of colors yet they knit up into a brilliant mix of shades and tones in a bazillion different combinations in each row!! Start knitting and see what each row becomes and suddenly you are done with your project!! …can you tell I get a little excited about color??
As Autumn approaches (yes I know we may not want to think of that just yet) the color choices change and I find myself dyeing more rich reds and oranges. A new Taupe shade is on the schedule as well as a deep Olive Green, and soft blue I am calling Kennebec Blue for the many shades I see in the mighty Kennebec, a river I cross every day who “wow’s” me with her beauty. I’ll restock my supplies with ELEMENTS and several Kaleidoscope colorways for that POP of color everyone knows Romney Ridge Yarns for. I get very excited for crisp air, cooler temps and earthy smells as we transition into the next season. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to and receive announcements for our new yarns, new colors and upcoming festivals and markets we will be attending. Until then enjoy the rest of your summer!
It my come to shock to some of you, but I have never finished a sweater … nope, never, not one. I’m a “yarn engineer” from the sheep to shearing to washing to spinning, I start the process. I dabble in knitting, but I find my happiness choosing fleeces, putting together my “formulas”, and firing up the dye pots. The knitting process does not top my list of yarn happiness. Having said that, I am capable of some things. I once knit a cute little vest for my daughter using a chunky yarn and size 11 needles. It was fast and held my attention long enough, and she was only 5 so it was pretty small. I have attention issues, sitting issues, do, do, do, go,go,go needs. So that is why when I do “take up the needles” I knit mittens. They are fairly fast and easy and I can satisfy my need for color by blending my Kaleidoscope dyed yarns with odds and ends of more solid colors, and I can leave them for weeks and come back to them when I have time.
If you are familiar with my spinning dilemma this past spring you know I had to switch spinning mills. The emotional piece that came with that change has now adjusted into the “it’s okay” phase. And as much as I fight changes, they always seem to have a way of working out. Ta-daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! It’s all okay! ….and who is always saying “it’s time to switch things up a bit??”
It’s funny how we do things the same way for so long, and we never really think about changing the methods, the design, the flow …. sort of that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. For a few years I spun my yarn sort of “locked” into the the yardage restrictions of a pound of yarn, i.e a pound of yarn spun in a worsted weight broke down into ~ 250 yards/4 oz skein. A pound of Dk weight would equal out to ~ 430 yards/40z skein. The yarns were spun and skeined, and I would dye them and tag them, and that was that. Looking back I’m sure if I had asked we could have made adjustments, but between work, kid’s schedules, running this farm, and all the other things that needed to get done, the thought never really crossed my mind.
When I found myself needing to switch mills, I learned that this new mill only put yarn on cones. Whoa! My control freak alarm went bonkers! Never mind the fact that it needed to be skeined, I had lost the control of my comfort zone … change was seriously on the horizon! But then I began thinking about the doors this opened for me. I could skein off hanks for kits and smaller projects -like those mittens I enjoy putting together. I could dye new colors on smaller skeins rather than larger skeins to see how popular or unpopular they would be before I “upped” the yardage And most importantly I could offer my customers ( who I love to pieces! ) a new option! They could choose to buy my yarns in more of a variety of colors! I had seen you all struggling to choose which colors you needed or had always chosen , but how you would like to try others, maybe just not an big of a skein. And the best part???? My prices would stay the same! It was a no-brainer!
So my daily schedule has changed a bit, and though it seems like I have added a new “chore” to my tasks by adding the skeining part of the process to my end product, I am loving the versatility it is giving me. My new electric winder makes the job go fairly fast, and I choose a few days each week to just skein yarn while I listen to and semi-watch movies I have missed on my ipad.
So what do you think? Judging by your orders, you are loving the Willow Mini’s. And though I will continue to produce the larger skeins, is this a good option for you? Smaller is not necessarily better, but it is definitely good.
Knitter’s Getaway Weekend October 25-26, 2014
Held in the Boothbay Area of Maine.
Join Maryly Matthewman of Winona Hats, Mittens and Quilts, and create snuggly, warm, colorful mittens using Maine-grown, hand-dyed yarns from Romney Ridge Farm.
FREE cuff variation class available Friday night!
For those who can make it, Maryly will offer a free two hour workshop on various cuff styles from 6-8 with snacks and more on Friday night, October 24.We will be joined by Fiddle Player Karen Weaver
Maryly’s knitting workshop will be a fleece full of skills and techniques including color experimentation, bleeding and highlighting. She allows her students to combine their motley mix of colors in their own unique mitten creation. She will show you fringe stitches, Latvian braid variations, thumbs, yarn color changes,various cast-ons, decreases of different sorts, stranded knitting and knitting with two hands.
Maryly developed this mitten pattern while using some of Romney Ridge Kaleidoscope Worsted Weight Yarn about 18 months ago. Although she incorporates some techniques from Latvian mittens, this is not a traditional Latvian mitten.
“Romney Ridge Willow Yarn is such an ease to work with, for the beginner and experienced. The alpaca content adds warmth but it also blends the heathery colors and it all felts a bit to a “snuggie” fabric. This stranding pattern creates a fabric that hugs your hand and it feels like you have stuck your hand into the fleece of the sheep itself.”
Maryly’s grandparents came from Latvia in 1906 and settled in the Boston area. They bought property on Lake Winnipesaukee, NH in 1930 and that is where she lives now in Meredith, NH. Maryly has been knitting on and off for close to 50 years. After she retired from dentistry after 36 years it was time to pursue her passion of knitting Latvian mittens.
Maryly was privileged to have taken many workshops from Lizbeth Upitus, author of Latvian Mittens. Her Latvian Mitten Workshops and Winona Mitten Workshops have been accepted at Fiber College of Maine, Massachusetts Sheep and Wool, Estes Park Wool Market, Colo., Taos Wool Market, Taos, New Mexico, Green Mountain Fiber Fest, Vermont, New England Fiber Fest, Halcyon Yarn and many various libraries and private groups.
She has worked with various Latvian groups including the Latvian Folk Art Museum in Chicago.
“I have a very strong belief that there was a passionate Latvian knitter in my past. I have been volunteering at our county jail for over four years now and that is a life lesson, something new everyday.”
1$ of each pattern sold will go to St. Judes Research Hospital.
Kelly Corbett describes herself as an Artist/Shepherdess. Each and every day is filled with the creativity that she needs to feed her soul. And her soul is always hungry!
The Barney Cove Mitten is a unique collaboration with fellow artist Maryly Matthewmen, and will be included with several new designs in an upcoming e-book with five talented designers.
“The idea has been floating around in my head for several years. The concept was to tell the story of my memories in design. But rather than me trying to write the patterns, a skill I have not yet fully mastered, I thought it would be fun to tell the story to a designer and let them interpret the memory into their own unique design. I in turn would create the yarn colors and textures for each piece.”
The Barney Cove Mitten holds many “color memories”. Each color represents the memories of her father’s boat shop on Beals Island where Kelly grew up. The orange boat molds, the silvery grey planks curing in the ocean air, the Rugosa roses that surround his shop. Maryly has taken Kelly’s memory and interpreted it into her own unique design.
On her farm in Woolwich, Maine, Kelly produces beautiful had-dyed yarns. From her own sheep and Angora goats, she creates seasonal yarns, and from wools she purchases from her fellow Maine sheep farms comes a 100% wool line of yarns hand-dyed in striking colors. Needle Felting Kits and Calendars are also available from her website, at several shows and festivals through out the year, and at her yarn shop located at her farm.
Kelly welcomes you to visit her farm during your time in Maine, to meet and greet the sheep and goats, and see the process of taking fleece to yarns in her own unique way. A farm tour will be scheduled before class on Sunday, October 26th.
Get ready … I might just ramble on a bit. But you’ll get the idea.:) Change. How can one little word be so exciting and so scary at the same time? When I took that HUGE step and started my yarn company I wrote my business plan to with the strictest of rules. These yarns were not being spun from my flock, instead they would be a 100% Maine produced yarn, from the sheep to the finished product. These yarns had to support the businesses as close to home a s possible, the fibers were washed in Maine and spun in Maine, they had to be dyed in small batches using dyes made in Maine, they hung a certain way to dry in the Maine sunshine, were twisted into a skein with a certain number of twists, and the tags were tied on a specific place on each skein. Local, local, local was the name of the game. It’s very important to me. All of my yarns have been spun in Maine for years except for my Farm Blend which with it’s long Romney and Mohair fibers does best on the worsted spinning machinery of Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont. Finding a mill in Maine that could run this yarn for me in a timely manner wasn’t possible when I first started growing enough to need a spinnery, so my search took me to GMS and they have been wonderful to work with all of these years. So where does the change come in? Well, when things just don’t work anymore is a start. When the desire to grow is there and the need to find a new system that fits with the growth is needed. When Kelly, the self professed control-freak, finally lets go of just enough of what holds her back and finds a new and better way that benefits her company and her customers. And can I just confess that I am super excited with what I have found??!! I used to think that changing my “plan” was a betrayal of my values … not so. What I have applied to my life, the ability to adapt to changing surroundings, needs to happen with my business. Attending large industry shows such as The Nation Needle Arts Trade Show and observing the purchasing habits of shop owners, has shown me that there is a place for all businesses big and small … the most import thing I have learned though is that the smaller companies who don’t make changes fade away. The large companies with a number of creative minds, put on big beautiful displays at each show, they change with the seasons and keep up with the trends, and the shop owners flock to their booths for their affordable yarns to fill a needed place in their shop. I’ll never be them, and as important as they are, as beautiful as their yarns are, as needed as they are, so are the smaller companies like mine. There are several sides to what I do and for years I have found it hard to describe my business in small sentences. I raise sheep. I grow wool. I buy wool. I trade wool. I make yarn. I dye yarn. I make roving and batts and dye them as well. I create Needle Felting Kits and I teach classes. I sell retail. I sell wholesale. I write, and format, and take pictures and videos and share my life with my customers and friends. I eat. sleep, and breathe creativity.
In March I loaded up my Suburban with the washed fibers I use to spun my Willow yarn. I took it to my usual place for spinning and expected it back at it’s promised time. Willow is one of my most popular yarns. It is a small run of fine wools blended with Alpaca and it always sells out. This year I decided to offer it as a pre-sale so that everyone could have a chance to get the colors they wanted before it was gone for another year. It was a good plan, and truly still is. The hold up came from a back up at the mill, and seeing the time for my yarn to be spun get longer and longer, it prodded me to do what I have been looking to do for some time in order to go in a new direction … it’s time to find another spinning source.
On Monday I will take my Willow “ingredients” to a new mill. Though I have prided myself being Made in Maine, the only thing that changes is the spinning location … still located in New England. Everything else remains the same. The process will be faster, and driving time only an hour or so more. It just makes sense, and you won’t believe how it changes the game for my business. The obstacles that have held back the ideas I have wanted to pursue are about to be removed, and I am just bursting to share … but for now I have to get your yarns dyed and shipped to you!
Over the past five days I unleashed my inner “city girl”. She’s a part of me that loooongs to come out more often than there is time for. To drive for miles and miles or zip through bustling airports, to feel delightfully scared in four lanes of traffic as the towering skyline approaches with tall buildings and bright lights, to smell the pungent, industrial smell of subways and trains …. all of these things excite me and delight me and make me spin around in circles of sheer happiness! It’s a change of scenery, a change of the speed of life, a change from the normal, a change from jeans and t-shirts, a reason to dress up, and I feel very comfortable and in my element skipping down a city street looking very “touristy” as I ooooo and ahhhhhh over the amazing architecture that some brilliant mind took from an idea and made into a work of art.
Though I spent most of my time working at my booth inside the Indianapolis Convention Center at The Nation Needle Arts Trade Show, the end of the day was filled with LOTS of wandering and coffee drinking and cupcake munching. It was a welcome break from farm chores and mud. But today I had to be a shepherdess again …. and not in a good way
Being a realist gives me the strength to handle the hard and unwelcome part of this life. I used to be a sappy, cry-baby when I lost battles to keep my animals alive and healthy. And though I still feel the burning ache of failure in my chest when I do loose, I also understand that there are some things that are completely out of my control. Stop right there … did you hear that? My control freak self just admitted to letting something go that she cannot control. But I will confess that it makes me angry to have to give up.
Last summer my ewe Carmella lost weight and could not seem to put it back on. She grazed the yard and front lawn all day and yet kept getting thinner and thinner. I wormed her, hand fed her, babied her, supplemented her diet … and yet nothing seemed to do the trick. Finally in August I saw tape worm segments in her poo. They were the only worm I hadn’t treated her for. Fortunately she was not in with my flock, but I wormed them all just the same, waited and switched them to a different paddock, the typical protocol with worming. Carmella remained out of the flock and I put her in a clean paddock for the fall, close to everyone but not in with them. At one point she would not get up and was coughing quite a bit. But I nursed her through and she ate and was “perky” but remained thin.
Deep inside I knew she would never be the same. She had a constantly runny eye, she coughed a lot, and during the cold days of this brutal winter she just never seemed healthy. I truly feel that the tape worm took so much from her that she just wasn’t ever able to gain her strength back. While I was away, my husband called to say she had gone down and would not get up, and though I barked orders to him from many miles away, I knew this must be the end.
My flight came in at 1 a.m. this morning. With my head full of so many ideas and exciting news about my business, Kelly The Realist knew she had to slip out of the fancy clothes, and slip on the boots and stained jeans of Kelly the Shepherdess and make the call that I always dread. Though she was an older ewe, it is never an easy decision to give myself permission to make the call on a life. Why is it okay for me to say who may live or die? Did I do all that I could? How did I miss that it was a tape worm? I’ll question my decisions for a good week and then let it go … that’s just how I roll.
Carmella is now in a peaceful sleep and will wake up on the big green pasture where I am convinced that they all go to. It is the “down” of the “ups and downs” that this life gives me.
I started my day having coffee sitting with my lambs, and saying good-bye to my friend. The noisy barn still is noisy, the water buckets still need filling, the eggs are waiting to be gathered, and the pile of orders from over the weekend still need sorting and entering, packing and shipping. Life continues in it’s own way leaving us with the small treasures of memories that we then laugh about and say, “hey … remember when?” …. that is the secret we all seek the answer too. The small pile of wool I kept from Carmella will become something for my memories and for my hands as I will spin it and put it to a pair of mittens this fall which I will wear with great joy feeling the warmth left behind from my friend.