[This was written last night, but WordPress went down just as I hit Publish, so I’m publishing it this morning. I’m far too lazy to go back and change all instances of “today” to “yesterday” and “tomorrow” to “today.” Sorry for the confusion.]
Wow, this weekend has turned into more than I would have expected. I knew Kurt had a few plans for Mother’s Day, so I thought today we could hang out in the house. I even had plans to go through Grace’s closet and try to get rid of a ton of crap before this new baby comes and takes over her room.
And that, my friends, is quite an undertaking. The fact that I was finally motivated to do it was rather amazing. I tend to lean towards the “lazy.”
As I was reading back issues of the Newport Daily News (somehow I had missed Tuesday, so I had Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday’s editions to read this morning; I never read my Saturday editions until Sunday anyhow), I noticed a photo of a kid petting a sheep, and the caption mentioned the Watson Farm Spring Festival, during which the sheep on the farm receive their annual shearing. I showed the photo to Kurt, and the next thing I knew, we were racing around getting things ready so we could go to the festival.
Kurt even packed us all a lunch, and once we got to the farm, we sat on the tailgate of the minivan and ate our sandwiches. We’ve been trying to be a bit more economical about eating out; we seem to eat out more than almost anyone we know, and it’s getting rather expensive. Thanks for that “economic stimulus check,” but with the price of everything going up, it’s really not helping much. I just spent $60 to fill up the minivan today.
Let’s not even discuss groceries, shall we?
The farm at which the shearing was held is absolutely beautiful. So scenic and picturesque. The sign says the farm dates to 1796, and it’s possible that the farmhouse is that old. And inside the barn are all these old farm implements, and the grounds have several old tractors enjoying their retirement in the sun. It’s like how one imagines a farm to be in one’s mind.
The sheep-shearing was the main event, obviously. There were so many sheep to be sheared, and their wool was so long!! You’d think they had been growing their wool their entire lives, but it was only one year’s worth. The shearers would grab a sheep, flop it over on its back, and begin digging into the wool with their shears. Slowly the wool would fall away in one big layer, until the poor sheep was completely shorn. Then the shearer would wrestle the sheep so it was sitting on its bottom again, and trim its hooves down. Finally, after having endured all these indignities, it was finally allowed to regain its friends and complain about its treatment. I bet the sheep was pretty cold, too!!
The shearers would gather up the wool, and it would be this enormous wad in their arms. The entire process was really quite amazing!
And then the shearers would grab another sheep from the many that were waiting their turn, and the whole thing would start all over again.
From there, we saw the wool being carded into more manageable fibers, and then it would be spun into yarn. Then the yarn would be woven on a loom into fabric. You could even buy things, like hats and bags, that had been made from the previous year’s wool. The whole process was represented at the farm, and it was amazing for this city girl to see the wool harvested from the sheep, carded into fiber, twisted into yarn, woven into fabric, and sewn into useful objects.
It’s really mind-boggling, though not that long ago it would have been just another skill I would have had to have as a farm wife. How times change.
The rest of the farm was really neat too. We were able to wander around as much as we liked, and we saw cows and draft horses and turkeys and chickens. The male turkey was really bent out of shape, probably because we were too close to his hens. He kept making a huge racket that you could hear over most of the farm.
What’s funny is just yesterday, as we crossed over the Jamestown Bridge, I noticed the large patch of green land just past a development of expensive homes, and I wondered what it was used for. Today I ended up on that patch of green — it’s pastureland for the farm’s cows. It was just a gorgeous place to wander around, absolutely lovely.
Tomorrow should be even more fun. Kurt has some kind of surprise planned for me. I have no idea what we’re doing at all; he won’t even tell me. But after the surprise, we are heading up to see the Pawtucket Red Sox (affectionately known as the PawSox) take on the Norfolk Tides. Both are Triple-A teams, which is what I prefer if I’m going to the stadium. Major leagues are too expensive and too crowded for my taste. The amazing part of this is I love the Norfolk Tides! When I was a kid, they were the Tidewater Tides, and I remember my real mom rooting for them. I don’t really remember going to a game, at least not till I moved in with Kurt and he took me out to several games at Harbor Park. I am so excited to see my favorite Triple-A team, and even more amazed that they would be playing my local Triple-A team on this particular weekend!!
So tomorrow I shall be one happy and exhausted Karyl, and then I’ve got to run some errands with my friend on Monday. I guess Tuesday will be my rest day. By then I’ll need one!