twenty years later…2020

In 2000, my family started raising sheep. We bought 2 lambs, then 2 more, then 4 more a few times, lambed our own across two decades, and had many ups and some downs. A few years ago we decided it was time to ease out of shepherding. Now, in the fall of 2020, we have 2 sheep remaining, a far cry from the flock in 2009 shown here leaving pasture for the winter months. It has been a bittersweet decision, trust me.

Since 2005, I have been immersed in the art of natural dyeing, as well as a retail source for anyone wanting to use natural dyes in their own work. I studied extensively with the best artists and instructors around the world. My investment is great and it is my greatest passion. I welcome you to transition with me from Long Ridge Farm to Long Ridge Natural Dyes. The farm is still home to a few farm animals, dogs and hens! Now my focus continues with products that are derived from and dyed with plants, roots, barks and berries.

2020 has been a challenge for all of us, yet it also has brought the opportunity to work, create and think in new and exciting ways as we move forward in this brave new decade!

how sweet it is

This is Charlotte. Once a lamb, now 7 years old.
This is Memphis, Charlotte’s dam. Memphis won me a quite a few
fleece ribbons and Memphis’ dam, Athena, took Grand Champion fleece
at Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR.
Just this spring this photo of Memphis was a winner
in a photo contest for a breed specific CVM/Romeldale.
I got an email this morning
that Charlotte’s fleece took 1st place in the
breed specific CVM/Romeldale division
at the Maryland show. It’s the largest show in the east.
I can’t be more proud. Something as simple as this
makes me higher than a kite.

a lady’s man

Neville, a most handsome CVM/Romeldale ram, lived across the river on Betsy’s farm. He vacationed on our farm and spent time with our pretty ladies.
A romancer caught in early morning.
He chose his women one by one and gave them a whole
day, complete with breakfast the day after.
and quiet time alone.
Pretty sweet offspring were created.
Sadly this love bear’s time had come.
I was thankful to be there with Betsy when he died.
It was big and sad.
He left behind a good crop of lambs on both sides of the river.
He’ll be missed.

they do remember

Katie, dear friend and prior shepherdess,
is home for a visit from Rwanda after a year away.
she came for the weekend here on the farm.
a treat for us all.
Katie was most excited to visit the flock,
as she had done chores daily, helped with lambing
and written wonderful tales about the flock.
she was much loved for the two plus years she lived on the farm.
the first evening she and I did chores together
and it was a happy reunion.
 the following afternoon
Crystal was waiting for her own visit. she gets around
but the arthritis keeps her less mobile than the rest.
Crystal looked, listened and accepted Katie back into the fold
with no hesitation.
it’s been reported before but now I see
it first hand. sheep can remember up to
200 faces for up to 2 years time.
it was a sweet reunion we had.

Of sheep and geese

the sheep know the days on pasture are waning.
they seize a precious afternoon together with pleasure
quite sure they know much more about the shortening days
and the coming of winter than we credit them for
I took some time amidst regular work in the studio to stick bundle and dye 
some small pieces for pleasure,
in honor of India’s presence, and saw my
long necked goose is a feeling kinda loose

Hues to you!

My studio is brimming with color despite the backdrop of frigid and snowy weather outside. I frequently struggle with the yin and yang between the desk and dyepot with multiple projects and deadlines in both areas. Welcome to a glimpse of what has been cooking in the studio this week. Some freshly dyed lengths of silk ribbon…

I just finished my part of a collaborative this week which was challenging but rewarding. Although the volume of yarn was nominal the work lay in the matching. I ran tests on each sample first before commiting the beautiful one of a kind skeins to the dyepot. I wanted the finished skeins to mirror the original samples with the one variable that the samples are a white base yarn and the finished skeins are a gray base. The yarn is from my CVM/Romeldales.
I will share more when the project is complete…the small butterflies atop the skeins were the original colors for me to match through natural dyeing. Accomplished!
On a personal note, I had promised a skein of sock yarn naturally dyed by me for a business associate. She wanted pink so she could knit a pair of socks for her and her baby girl. My camera didn’t do this justice but it is a lovely coral pink with subtle variegation. In the mail and on it’s way.

Nothing wasted, for fun, I put a large cotton scarf into the after-bath from the sock dyeing….yummy, warm pale coral…

The indigo vat simmered along so I could alternately dip skeins, scarves and tests I needed to run.
Here’s Luna behind the indigo oxidizing tub…clueless to my efforts but happy!

All three dogs spend time with me, although Kalie eyes the door in hopes it will open and free her for a run!

Sidney loves the studio. He is quiet old now and doesn’t need too much entertaining, he just loves to be amidst the action with nothing asked of him! This is the perfect place!

A customer arrived yesterday with 3 pounds of her hand-spun yarn for me to dye. She has posed a challenge for her color choice and I look forward to it!
I am half way through a large custom dye order…more color to burst forth soon!

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