Have Ewe Any Wool?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Home Again......

April 21st....vacation is over.

When we left on the 17th, our cherry tree was just beginning to blossom. I was afraid we'd miss the "blossom peak".

Upon our return on the 21st, the tree was in full bloom and blocked both the garage entry and the walk to the front door. DH had to trim off a lot of branches before we were able to approach the house "unencumbered". By next weekend, it will have lost most of it's flowers.

While in NY, I nearly finished my latest socks - the Hellen's Favorite Socks 3x1 rib in the Colinette Fruit Coulis color way. Once I got home, I finished them up - no "second sock syndrome" here! The finished socks are slightly different, but they're similar enough that my "symmetry" requirements are nearly met. I LOVE the color!
(I've shown each side of each sock in the photos below....You can see that one side is more symmetrical than the other, but that's OK.....close enough!)


There was a very cute church very close to where we were staying. I'd discovered it on my walk Saturday evening - thank goodness I took a photo on Saturday when it was bright and sunny!.

I'd never been to a Dutch Reformed Church, so I thought that would be the perfect destination for me on Sunday morning. It was definitely a great choice! The service was very "sheep related" - the bulletin cover featured a very cute sheep and we recited my favorite Psalm - the "23rd Psalm", and the sermon was about shepherds and sheep - how cool is that!!!

The church attendants were few that morning - 11 of us on a very dreary and chilly Sunday. The Pastor was part Mohawk Indian and it turns out that his grandmother was a master Mohawk weaver! One of the parishoners is a spinner...and chatting with me for a while made her want to "dig out her wheel" and start spinning again. Leave it to me to find a fiber link....even at church!

Next, we headed off to Phoenicia to check out their Earth Day Celebration. Even though it was a very dreary day, I managed to capture a few scenic views along the way. The Catskill Railroad actually runs as a tour in the summer months....it's "dormant" right now. In a couple of weeks, all the brown and grey mountains will be bursting with lush greenness!

The Earth Day Celebration in Phoenecia was held in the parish hall and was a nice little festival definitely focused towards the children. There were several activities for the kids as well as a display of artwork using recycled items. I managed to pick up a copy of the "Complete Works of Beatrix Potter" from the "book table" while I was there. My donation will be put to good use and I got a book I treasure - definitely a "win-win" situation!

Back in the car.....and we're off to take old Rt. 28 around to the reservoir. Unfortunately, it was a very dreary day, but you still can get the idea of how beautiful the whole region is. Even with overcast skies, the majestic beauty is apparent.

Next stop....back to Woodstock to drive up the mountain to the Buddhist Monastery. There was a lot of construction going on as there's a major event later this year. They've added a forty room addition to accommodate all those expected. Therefore, the grounds weren't open for touring for safety reasons. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

The views from atop the mountain by the Monestary are gorgeous as well - the sun even tried to come out a bit while we were there.

We ended the day with my friend Pete and his wife, Rose Marie. They are both the chefs and innkeepers of Catskill Rose. Normally, they're very busy with the Restaurant and Inn and we really don't get a chance to visit, but they were taking a brief vacation as well - what timing!

They had us over dinner - an absolutely delicious meal of salad, ravioli, and bread. Dessert was a fabulous chocolate mousse cake....mmmmmm! The company was fabulous! It was a real treat to be able to sit down and chat with them in a relaxed atmosphere. I had never met Rose Marie until that evening, but we all meshed like we'd known each other for years! It was a very relaxing way to end a fabulous vacation. Many hugs to Pete and Rose - our fabulous hosts!

Saturday, April 26, 2008


On Saturday evening, I took a walk down the road from Catskill Rose (where we were staying). It's very picturesque! It was so peaceful just to watch the water from the Esopus Creek flow over and around the rocks...and to listen to it "babble". The Esopus Creek runs all the way from the mountains, through Saugerties, and out into the Hudson River. It's quite a creek. Sugarland Run reminds me of the Esopus a bit....it too goes on, and on, and on!

On my walk, I also discovered one of the resident artists, Bob. He creates his artwork using a chainsaw and large logs. Of course, once the main shapes are roughed out, he uses more "refined" tools. His artwork is then sanded to a fine finish and varnished. He's quite a character!

I also discovered that there's a fiber artist just down the road from Bob. As I understand it, she's usually around and has her studio open. Unfortunately, everytime I went by, her door was closed. Sigh.

And now, for a few of the lovely mountain and creekside views that I discovered on my walk...

That evening, for dinner, we tried Tiso's. It's a family owned and operated restaurant just up the road from Catskill Rose. The had a very unusaul manner with which they presented the "menu". There was a total of about 10 dinners to choose from - all written on whiteboards that were then displayed tableside by resting the whiteboard on a chair. Interesting.

I chose the Veal Scallopini and DH had some sort of chicken dish - it was very good. We did have to take some home as we couldn't finish all of it! After dinner, I ordered a "medium" order of expresso. It was wonderful - 2-3 demi-tasses full of rich expresso goodness. But that's not the best part! I found a NEW taste treat. Our waiter came around offering some complimentary Sambuca in the expresso. Of course I accepted the offer - I was curious - I'd never had Sambuca before and had no idea what it tasted like. It was DELICIOUS!!!! I've now discovered a new taste treat for me! Wahoo!

Good Night and Sweet Dreams

Hudson Valley Sheep and Wool Company

I had a lot of fun checking out the Hudson Valley Sheep and Wool Company in Redhook. The two girls who were there working seemed to be having a great time.

Mickey "hid" behind an armful of the cleaned wool. She said that's her favorite pose - LOL! (Of course, some of the "fluff" fell to the floor and had to be picked up again - creating more work for the two of them, but she had fun "posing" anyway")

I took several photos of the various machines used in the fiber processing process, as well as photos of the various bags cleaned wool, drying wool, and bags of finished rovings.

Here, you can see some recently dyed yarn drying. Love the colors! There's LOTS of nice clean wool laying out there as well. Yummmmmm!

Phyll is feeding cleaned wool into the picker. It then comes out the other side (behind the plastic).

Next, wool would go through the "de-hairer" (if needed) on the left and then into the carder (right). Today, they were just putting wool through the flicker, so I didn't get any action shots of the other equipment.

The next process would be to draft the wool if necessary. This machine will stretch and draft the wool (left). After that, it's ready to go to the spinner (right). It's currently setup to make some 2-ply yarn.

Finally, this is the "skeiner" used to make skeins for sale or for dyeing. Whew! It's a long process!

As I look around the room, I see LOTS of unwashed wool and washed wool...ready for their next process - these girls DEFINITELY keep busy!

Of course, I had the obligatory "sheepie" pictures as well! After all, this is a farm - full of lots of Icelandic and Shetland Sheep.

I bought several skeins of yarn Icelandic Yarn, Shetland Yarn, and Shetland Lace all in natural colors. I also got two skeins of very gorgeous deep green and blue hand dyed yarn. All the wool is from the Shetland and Icelandic sheep that they raise there at the farm. My plans for this wool include a few pairs of mittens and a lace shawl. Obviously, I STILL believe that I'll eventually get around to all of the projects that I have in my queue! LOL!

Seaman Park and the Old Sawyer Gristmill

Lunch on Saturday was a picnic at scenic Seamon Park. It's a lovely park on a hill just outside Saugerties. This was a common location for the annual Mum Festival. The flowers and gardens were always quite pretty. The park seemed much larger when I was a child, but I guess that everything seemed much bigger as a child! It was dedicated by Mr. John Seamon in 1909 according to a NY Times article.

The view is still stunning. I love the mountains in the background - there's something comforting and majestic about a view like that. I also love looking down the hill toward the main gate - with all the spring flowers in bloom.

It was a bit sad for me though. The old gristmill that had intrigued me growing up....and had been mostly restored when I graduated from high school...has now fallen in disrepair. A gristmill adorned the front of the yearbook, The Saugerties Sawyer, the year I graduated. Its likeness also adorned the sides of our class ring.

Sadly, it is no more. Here, you can see how the building has been left to collapse on itself. In the other shot, you can see parts of the gears left out in the elements to rust. The grinding stones are broken and also lay on the hillside. I think the sign says it all...."DEAD END".

It's very sad - I recall that it was in good shape years ago....and I can't believe it's been lost to neglect and disrepair. You can get an idea of the function of the metal parts by viewing the photo next to the entry for the Little Sawyer Association It was also identified as an endangered piece of history when it collapsed in July 2007 as noted by the Hudson Valley Ruins organization - see the Terwilligers Grist Mill entry.

Here, from the side, you can't barely tell that a building existed. The foundation still looked in tact as did the walls of the side, but the collapsed roof and shadows obscure it in the photo. I truly wish they'd completed the renovation and had been able to maintain the mill....it would have remained a beautiful and historic part of the park.