Now that we’re closing in on our first big festival as a vendor, we spent some time trying to configure what an indoor booth would look like for our efforts. We love the look of weathered wood, but it isn’t quite as easy to come by as it used to be. Not long ago a person could drive through neighborhoods and take their pick of any number of old fence piles. These days the use of this kind of wood has become rather trendy. Due to this rise in popularity these boards are not only more difficult to find, but many people charge you to pick them up. I’m not above paying for my own building materials, but the fact that I used to get this stuff for free makes it more difficult for me to buy them.
Thankfully, while I was responding to another ad and purchasing some wooden crates, I mentioned the problem with fence wood and the seller asked, “Do you want some?” He pointed to his storage shed and there were piles of the stuff! I eagerly accepted and we loaded several pickets into the car and drove them home. We were also graciously given an old fence gate by a long time friend. This gate needed to be deconstructed so we could use the pickets.
Once we had everything laid out on the floor, we decided on the design and got to work. We’re very satisfied with the result and look forward to seeing how well they work for us at the festival. The neatest feature we designed into these shelves is that they are held together by wooden pegs. That means that they can be broken down for storage and easy mobility.
Jumping in with both feet! That has been our theme for 2019 and it has been a great experience thus far. We have two festivals under our belt and are about to participate in our biggest event yet.
November 8-10, 2019
Preparing for an event of this nature has been an almost monumental effort for us. We have visited the Kid-n-Ewe Festival twice before as consumers and are familiar with the wide array of beautiful hand-crafts, yarns, fibers, and fiber-processing equipment. The idea of producing enough merchandise to support our own efforts as a vendor has been a little daunting, but we’ve slowly been adding items day-by-day.
Kerrville may be a little out of the way for most of our readers, but if you take the beautiful country drive out to the festival grounds, I believe you will be rewarded for your effort. There is a little of this and a little of that, but most of all there is pretty much something for everyone. The list of vendors for this year’s events is a great sampling of some of the best fiber artists and suppliers one could imagine. If you’re a beginner, there are great classes to participate in. If you are a seasoned veteran, there is going to be no shortage of what you need to finish (or start) that next project. If you aren’t sure where you are in your fiber hobby, there are so many friendly and helpful folks at this festival that can help you with just about any question you may have. Even if you aren’t a fiber hobbyist, the scenic drive and the wonderful country atmosphere is a great way to take a weekend break from whatever troubles you. Not to mention all the fabulous finished fiber goods and fashion created by talented Texas artists!
We at Whirl’d Works Farm hope to see you at the fair!
As an incentive, here’s a 10% coupon redeemable at our Kid-N-Ewe Festival booth.
Hill Country Youth Event Center
3785 Highway 27, Kerrville, TX 78028
We started this blog shortly after purchasing our land in 2014. We invested much time and effort in this new experience and experienced some positive results from it. A couple of years ago we experienced some unexpected employment chaos and for a short period cut most of our external time and financial expenses in order to keep our lives on track.
Since the reinception of our blog earlier this year we once again put a lot of effort into making this a quality and informative blog. Our readership numbers returned and even saw some growth. Anyone involved in maintaining a blog knows that it requires dedicated time and effort to keep one growing. My short term goal has been to keep the site views at about 400 consistently and we saw this happening in July and August. When I checked the report for September I was blown away. We received 724 views from 280 visitors! I want to thank everyone for your help in growing this site.
So, with the wonderful results in September, a traditional blogger would try to capitalize on the sudden growth. I admit my shortcoming in that regard and do offer my apologies for not adding much content in October. Perhaps the following announcement will help to explain the slowdown.
We, Whirl’d Works Farm, have upped our “game” this year and began participating as vendors at a couple of festivals. We enjoyed them for many reasons and learned far more than we expected. We made the decision a couple of months ago to become a vendor at a much bigger venue. We are officially going to be a vendor at the 2019 Kid-n-Ewe Fiber Festival in Kerrville, Texas from November 8-10.
Due to this committment we have been very hard at work behind the scenes to develop and create far more inventory than we have ever done. It is because of this huge effort that I haven’t given as much attention to the blog.
We are closing on our target so I wanted to get the word out that yes, we are still here and that we hope to meet you in person in November at the Kid-n-Ewe Festival!
Come out to the beautiful Texas countryside tomorrow and join us at the 31st Annual Wendish Fest in Serbin, Texas (near Giddings).
When: Sunday, September 22, 2019 from 10:00am – 3:00pm
Where: 5 miles Southwest of Giddings at the St. Paul Lutheran Church Picnic Grounds
FM 2239 & CR212
English Church Service … 8:30
Sunday School … 9:30
German Church Service … 10:30
We will have our booth set up and demonstrating how to card and spin wool (raised from our very own flock of Debouillet Sheep. There will be far more than our own exciting addition to the festival. Exhibits open at 10:00am and will include:
For even more information, download the event brochure here!
Anyone can walk into a big-box store, or even smaller craft stores and pick up a package of machine spun yarn. It’s definitely a quick and easy way to get back to your own crafts, and usually at a pretty reasonable price too. Then there are those stores that specialize in selling solely or predominantly hand-crafted yarn and other great fiber items. It doesn’t take long once inside such a store to feel that perhaps someone may be trying to take advantage of your pocketbook. There are deals to be found for sure, but the price tags on these hand-made goods can seem alarmingly high, on occasion. Let me assure you that (to the best of my knowledge) nobody is pulling in easy money through the sale of these items.
In fact, for the most part, hand-crafted fiber goods are a labor of love and there is a great deal more attention, thoughtfulness, quality, and so much more poured into them. If you are not quite convinced (as I was when we began this journey), please allow me to share the amount of work and devotion that went into what may seem a simple ball of yarn. This is a story from my wonderful wife who I have watched working diligently at this project for about a year:
There are many projects going on simultaneously around our home, but at some point I started keeping notes on some of them. We had our first batch of wool processed into roving at Independence Fiber Mill in 2018. For this particular project I noted that I started spinning 4 oz of Winton’s wool on May of 2018. The final note on this project shows that I finished spinning it on September 1st of 2019. Now, keep in mind that during this time I’ve been raising a 6 year old (now 7) and gave birth to another beautiful boy who is now about to turn a year old. We also spend a lot of our “spare” time managing and caring for our very own flock of Debouillet Sheep, several chickens and our beautiful homestead.
To be honest, I also took a few frustration breaks due to the VM in the wool and losing the yarn ends more times that I could or would want to count. In hindsight, I probably spun it finer than I should have, a bit finer than sport weight for sure, but it is part of the learning process. At any rate, I was so happy to celebrate the final spin of the wheel that brought this stage of the project to a satisfactory end. After I spun the initial roving into a single strand, I then double plied it and then measured it out on the niddy noddy that I bought at Yarnorama in Paige earlier this year. I tied of the ends and removed it from the niddy noddy ( note you are supposed to wrap one side on the arm that DOESN’T have a knob on it, so it can easily be removed.
Next I soaked it in clean, steaming hot water (to set the twist) until it cooled enough to remove it. I love the lanolin smell and even though it’s very clean just the tiniest bit of lanolin is enough to get to enjoy that smell again. Now that I think about it, I should probably save the water next time for a luxurious foot bath. Once the yarn was dried, I put it on the scale. The final weight was 2.5 oz and 595 yards, plus an additional .3 oz and 75 yards for a grand total of 2.8 oz and 670 yards!
Of all the projects I have done so far, there really is no price I could assign to this yarn that would help me to let it go to someone else. In fact, this is going into my private collection and am definitely going to make it into something very special!
Few treats are as refreshing as a cold cup of homemade ice cream on a hot homestead afternoon. Ice cream is a very rare reward here at Whirl’d Works farm, but it is certainly a hit with the entire family. If you are taken to read the ingredient labels on the things you buy at the store like we are, ice cream is one of those many things we typically steer clear of. There are a few that have simple, easy to read and understand ingredients, but most of them require a degree in chemistry to understand what is in them. We try to limit the amount of sugar that we consume as a family, but recently discovered an ice cream recipe that uses honey instead of processed sugar (and don’t get us started on the high fructose corn syrup!).
We do have a small ice cream maker in the house, but it doesn’t get used much (definitely not often enough). In fact, several of our attempts with different methods and recipes resulted in dismal and frustrating failures. Intrigued by this rather simple recipe, we set out to give it a try. There isn’t a taste bud in this house that hasn’t jumped for joy at the end product this time!
Before you begin, it is important to understand that the best result comes with patience. Trying to hurry this process along may not bring you the results you desire. Don’t expect to whip this dessert up in an hour, but instead, prepare yourself to expect about a full day to experience this sweet treat in all it’s magnificence.
Ingredients (Makes about 1 quart)
In the greater scheme of things needing to be done around the farm, digital marketing usually takes a back seat. We’ve been using essentially the same icon that we developed for our site over four years ago. I really like how the colors grab your attention online, but in recent months we have been having some difficulty with it in large printings as well as in trying to make stamps and a brand for woodwork crafts. The horizon aspect of the inside of the wheel was designed to give the feel of the sunrise over our farm, but having all that color inside just turns black when submitting art work for stamps or brands. What we end up with is a solid circle.
Since we had a little down time this summer, okay, we were simply hiding from the summer sun, we developed a new logo that incorporates the same style, but reduces the color and fill problem of the original icon. I am posting both of them next to each other below and would like our reader’s opinions on the change. Do you like the new design or do you like the original better? Chances are we are going forward with the new icon, I just thought it would be interesting to read our follower’s opinions.
You never can be sure how adding a new animal to your livestock operation is going to work out. We pushed this reality to a new limit this year by adding a donkey, a cow, and a new guard dog, all within a couple months of each other. There wasn’t any real reason for making all of these additions at nearly the same time. It just worked out that way because when a good opportunity arises, sometimes you just have to go with it and do your best to make things work.
Thankfully our new dog, Rusty, is working out very well. For a pup he is already showing signs of being a good sheep dog. Every evening we take the sheep off of their pasture and put them up in barns for the night. Little Rusty has already figured out the routine and does a good job of making sure the sheep not only know where to go, but that they get there. He’ll herd them right into the barn and then sit at the door to make sure they stay put. It really is a big help.
He has sneaked into the pasture with the donkeys and quickly learned they aren’t interested in his presence. I haven’t seen him there again. He has also sneaked into the pasture with our new cow, Ada, but he kept his distance and I think he just wanted to make sure that big animal was no threat to the sheep.
Best of all is that he gets along very well with our existing guard dog. In fact, those two get along far better than the relationship between Daisy and the guard dog we eventually had to part ways with. Rusty is still pretty small, but if his paws are any indication of his future size, we may be able to saddle him up some day in the not too distant future!
The dog days of summer are definitely in and the continual temps above 100 degrees are bringing our summer garden to a close. I wasn’t sure how well the garden would perform since we were a little late getting the garden ready this year, but we’ve managed a few fun harvests. One was quite a surprise as It seems one of our seed packets was mislabeled. Instead of big, juicy watermelons we ended up with a batch of pie pumpkins. The cantaloupe crop this year was out of this world though!
Because we were a little late in planting this year, our cantaloupe harvest would have been even better, but the summer heat brought the end to the plants before many of the melons were ready. That’s okay though as the chickens have really enjoyed their extra treats. What surprised me this year was that one of the vines produced incredibly large melons nearly the size of a basketball! So far these melons have also proven to be about the sweetest cantaloupes I have ever tasted. The seeds from this variety are already drying on a rack for next year’s planting.
If you have never tried cantaloupe in your garden, it truly is quite a sweet, healthy treat in the hot summer months. I like to bring the melons in the house for a day or two before cutting them up so that they come to room temperature. If you like cantaloupe as much as I do, the whole house smells deliciously sweet! Once cut up, they go into a bowl and cooled off in the refrigerator for a refreshingly cold treat after a day of sweating outside. We’ve also incorporated these naturally sugar sweeteners into berry smoothies for a very healthy breakfast.
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