Turning Ground Hog Day into Fluffy Unicorn Day

Turning Ground Hog Day into Fluffy Unicorn Day

I just realised how time passes so quickly… I swear, honestly, sometimes it feels like groundhog day in my house! Same routine, same scenery, same activities, same supermarket, same post office, same laundry pile same food same things to pick up off the floor same… well.. same life! When its like that and you think back over the past couple of weeks, it seems like it was really just all one day with no distinguishing features to make it stand out from the line up.  Sounds more dull than a dull thing doesnt it. Well luckily I can find a few things to give me a kick in the pants and un-ground-hog day my life! In fact, one of them is in full view most of the time, and even when I am not using it, a simple glance is enough to remind me of some exciting, and more than redeeming experiences of recent life in the WoolWench house! (If youre wondering, its still all here! Indiegogo )I mean, right now, its post summer vacation blues, and the regular routine has started up full steam, with school runs, early mornings, and the usual ‘what are we eating tonight’ brain-bleed. I also have the tail end of a migraine still haunting me, and the anticipation of the near future dread of the dark cold winter mornings looming in front of me. Maybe I am not alone in this! We were lucky in New Zealand to have longer days in winter than we get here in Holland, and I never took my daughter to school in what felt like the middle of the night, while here in Holland, I know that around Christmas time it will be just that. Now this isnt a total bitch-fest for me, there is the consolation of all the white twinkling christmas lights being out, the potential promise of snow, the hot chocolate and the glowing christmas tree. (love all that!!) Its just, I am not a morning person, thats the hard part! But I am already thinking about how to manage the dark days. Its kinda lame… But there ya go, its me. So when I need a pick-me-up I can glance over at my beautiful wheel, with its amazing Elvish engraving, its lovely warm colour and beautiful rounded edges. *aahhh* There is nothing Ground-hog Dayish about that wheel or the events surrounding its journey here. That also reminds me of the wonderful weekend when it was delivered, during the JazzTurtle workshop, a truly amazing experience in itself ! I loved the yarns everyone made and all the stuff I learned and the contacts I made. That in turn reminds me of that weekend being...

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Sheepies in Holland

Sheepies in Holland

Sheep Events in the Netherlands! The Netherlands (AKA Holland) is probably much better known for its cheese, tulips, and clogs than for its sheep and fibre products. For this New Zealander, the fields look quite empty, with much of the grassland being used to grow hay. Fences are missing as paddocks are split up with networks of small drainage canals, crossed with little bridges with what look to be stand alone gates to nowhere scattered around the landscape. However, if you take a drive out in the countryside you will certainly still see animals, black and white Friesian diary cows (of course for the cheese!) graze alongside the many wild white swans, and there are always sheep. Not in the numbers I am used to seeing in New Zealand, but pockets of happily grazing sheep at regular intervals where ever there is farmland. And what kind of sheep are these? I did some sleuthing, and found that there are actually a number of very well established, distinctly Dutch sheep breeds. One of the most well known would have to be the Texel Sheep, or Texelaar in dutch (pronounced Tess-el-aar) originating from the island of Texel in the north of Holland.  Another very popular Dutch origin breed is the really pretty Zwartbles – which literally translates to ‘black stripe’, and so describes the standard appearance of this black sheep with its distinct white blaze (bles). These sheep are  quite sweet and have a gentle nature, they are often found in the many childrens farms throughout the Netherlands. I found some of these sheep at the Stadsboederij De Vos Heuvel (City farm, The Fox Hill) in Amersfoort. This is, of course, not big time farming with flocks of fleece and meat producing sheep, but it does have sheep, and they do need shearing. So each year there is a day planned to make an occasion of this, to celebrate the shear and educate the public about the sheep and the process of shearing them. On this occasion, there was a ‘Wolfestival’ (Wool Festival) planned around the event, so the farm was filled with stalls, people selling their handmade woollen items, yarns, roving, knitted and woven garments, spinning equipment, and also demonstrating their crafts. When I arrived at the festival I discovered that the shearer was just finishing the job of shearing a Zwartbles, and it was almost asleep! The sheep on these mini-farms are very accustomed to being handled, and the Zwartbles is known for its easy going nature, apparently this one was very relaxed during its shearing! I was used to seeing freshly shorn sheep scrambling to their feet and scampering down the shute to join their mates in the...

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