We’ve begun to prepare the barn for Saturday. The cider has been purchased. The hound dog greeters rested. The crafts shaped. Now, it’s time for our holiday craft fair, and we so hope you’ll join us. We’ll be open rain or shine with a warm fire in the wood stove and hot cider to share. Come shop and enjoy the spirit of the season with us here on the farm. ALL ARE WELCOME!
I don’t know if you guys watched it this summer, but I fell in love with the TV show Making It! about people who made amazing things by hand – puppet theaters and star-gazing cabins, handmade wedding arbors and fascinating photo albums. I watched – not as someone who wanted to do those things – but as someone who knows the joy of making things with her hands. (I also watched because I love Nick Offerman and came to love Amy Poehler more and more.)
But the show was just the TV version of the appreciation of artisan work that I’ve had since I was a kid. My mom and dad made a lot of things when I was a kid, and they taught me to do the same. Dad sat us down with soapstone blocks and taught us to carve them, and Mom put a need and Aida fabric in my still-clumsy fingers to show me how to cross-stitch. I watched my dad use railroad ties to build an elaborate rock garden, and my mom crafted beautiful wreaths from dried flowers. They modeled for me that working with your hands – even in a small scale – is a work of commitment and creativity.
Now, when I pick up a crochet hook or needle, I treasure those memories with them, and I know that when I have the opportunity to buy something that someone else has handmade, I am supporting them not only financially but creatively. (I also know that we often under-pay for work that takes many, many hours to create, and I find that very sad.) There’s nothing better, to me, than handmade gifts.
So it’s always with great joy and excitement that I plan our annual craft fair here at the farm. This year, we’re having our show just in time for the last weeks of holiday shopping – December 1. The barn doors will open at 9am, and we’ll have hand-crafted coffee tables and coat hangers, crocheted scarves and onesies, handmade walking sticks and much more (including cross-stitch Christmas items if I can get my fingers going.)* Plus, we’ll have the woodstove going and hot cider for the sharing. It’s going to be a lovely day.
Plan on stopping by and doing a little shopping and a little visiting. Your children are welcome to visit with our animals, and you can take a walk round the farm if you’d like. We hope to see you December 1 between 9am and 4pm in the barn.
*We would love to have you join us as an artisan if you have handmade wares to sell. Just email [email protected] to get the details.
When I was in school, I was an English major, and my favorite writers were the Romantic poets – Byron, Wordsworth, Keats. In those years of my young life, I loved their rebelliousness – their willingness to walk away into the “wilderness” and live life on their own terms. (Okay, I still sort of love that.)
But now, as I look out over our garden that is rapidly dying back, as I see the pink and orange heads of the zinnia that I planted so late I didn’t know if they’d bloom, as I see the clusters of sunshine that are the marigolds that I sowed as a gift to Philip – they are his favorite flower – I think of what the Romantics had to say about “mutability,” the tendency of all things to change. Given the Romantics fascination with nature, they often wrote about what they observed in the world not made by humans. . . even mountains change over time. Nothing stays the same.
So as I sit on this chilly morning and look at the dance of color in the garden, I know it will soon end. A frost will descend, and the beauty will shift to something more barren, more raw. I will glory in that, too.
This Saturday, we will celebrate the ways we use our hands to make things, things that feel permanent, that feel steady and unchanging. We will celebrate craft at our annual craft fair, and I will revel there, too.
Making has been a part of my life since I was tiny. Dad tried to teach my brother and I to carve soapstone when we were just tots. Mom had a cross-stitch hoop in my hands when I was not even in school. That making set up the way I try to make and recreate and capture in words.
Somewhere between the recognition of change and the need to fasten things down in words and materials lies life . . . in all its sharp edges and soft landing places. It’s a good life.
We hope you will come celebrate all of this – including the bursts of color in the garden – with us this Saturday at the craft show. We’d love to have you visit.
Made in Virginia Craft Show
Saturday, October 7
Message [email protected] for more details.
Last night, I was working on the final part of the sampler that was Philip’s wedding gift from me. Our 4th Anniversary is in September, so you can see I’ve just been buzzing along on the project. It’s a sampler, so the pattern is a series of repeated motifs, all in flora or fauna. . . I love it, and he does, too. . . although it would be nice to see it out of the cross-stitch hoop sometime.
I keep trying to weave my words around the reason I find handwork so pleasurable . . . there’s something about a meditative state, about a motion of my hands that I don’t have to think about, about the way accomplishing something that is so bodily. . . maybe you have language for it if you find joy in manual work – gardening, woodworking, painting, weaving, throwing pots. . .
There’s something about making things with my hands that is life-giving to me.
So one of the things I wanted to do from the get-go here at the farm was to host a craft show every year, a place where local folks can sell the things they make with their own hands. In October, we’ll be hosting our Third Annual Made in Virginia Craft Show, and I can’t wait.
Artisans of all sorts – we have jewelers, woodworkers, authors, and sewers signed up already – will join us to share and sell what they have crafted. And we’ll all have a chance to own and give away one-of-a-kind treasures.
The show is October 7 from 9am-4pm, and we are still accepting vendors. If you’d like to sell your handmade items*, we’d love to have you join us. Sew, crochet, throw pots, paint, write books, make candles, craft jewelry, turn wood . . . we have space for you.
The cost is just $10, and we’ll provide the space and a table for the first few folks who sign up. We do all the advertising and promotion – although, of course, we ask that you help spread the word – and then, you just come that morning, set up, sell, and enjoy the camaraderie of the day. If you’d like to reserve a space, please write to us at [email protected]
And if you’re not a crafter or artisan but appreciate that work, mark your calendars and plan to join us. We’ll have the cider on and the woodstove burning. Plus, the rabbits will be here to greet you with their bouncing noses.
It’s honestly one of my favorite days of the year, and we’d love to share it with you. See you there?
*Please note, this show is for handmade items only. Thanks.
The other day, I stopped Philip outside of the chicken run and said, “Oh no.” We looked down at the stream of fathers coming from the beside the fence and began the hunt to be sure that someone hadn’t been killed.
No bodies, thank goodness, which could only mean one thing – we are in the midst of molting season.
If you haven’t ever watched a chicken molt, I think I’d be grateful. They aren’t pretty in this time. Their feathers get all dank and limp, and they start shedding them with abandon. Right now, our rooster Xander is particularly pitiful because he’s lost ALL of his gorgeous tail-feathers. He’s also more ornery than usual probably because growing new feathers is a painful process and also because he isn’t able to preen and prance as powerfully just now.
Molting means the girls’ egg production drops because they’re putting their energy into growing feathers rather than into building eggs, so right now, we’re averaging about 13 eggs every two days. (If you come by the stand and don’t find eggs just now, that’s why.)
In terms of our egg sales, it would be nice if the flock could molt in rotation, but nature doesn’t work that way. Instead, when the walnut trees begin to shed their leaves, all the birds begin to shed their feathers. It’s a lesson, for me, in surrender and in having tenderness to creatures who cannot earn their keep at the moment. It’s a reminder of how much I cannot – and would not want to control.
Soon though, Xander and his 31 girls – he is SO PROUD of his entourage – will be looking fit and fine. They’ll have tossed aside any broken feathers and any mites that may have been on them. (We are pretty careful to prevent mites though.) They’ll have fresh plumage to show off, and those new feathers will help keep them warm in the coming cold months. It’s a wise system, really, even if it makes the guy grumpy.
Our new girls will start laying this winter, and then we’ll have a couple dozen eggs, we hope, in the stand each day. The funds from those sales will help us pay for farm goods in the months when the produce has slackened. We finally figured that out this year.
Now, though, we feed our 32 birds and celebrate with them. Right now, Fern – one of our Polish girls – is talking up a storm, and the other gals are letting out the quiet coos of their day. Even when they don’t feel well, they make music, and I am joyful.
- a jeweler who will make you a ring while you wait,
- a woodworker who crafts beautiful decor from reclaimed objects,
- a woman who makes wonderful purses,
- a friend who sews the most exquisite baby dresses and blankets,
- my sister-in-law who crafts gorgeous wire-wrap jewelry,
- our friends from For the Love of the Local with their various, wonderful wares,
- crochet by my step-mom and step-grandmom,
- Philip’s walking sticks,
- some whimsical people that he and I have created together,
- and MUCH MORE!
We’ll have the cider on to share, and we do hope you’ll stop by. Admission is totally free, and Mosey, the basset hound, will be on site for photo ops. 🙂
October 29 – 9am – 4pm
Hope to see you here!