Friday, August 17, 2007

Halcyon days

Cousins, aunts, and uncles came together on this unique Gulf island to reconnect and relax for the day. Oh, yes, and to eat. Food by the bushel was available - I know, as we were still eating leftovers for days! Some chatted on the porch, some beachcombed, others picked blackberries and wandered across the fields. Overall, though, it was a relaxing and fun-filled day.
Checking out old family photos in the album.
Serving liquid refreshment...
Waiting by the dock for the water taxi to take them home. Saying goodbye.
Dabbling feet in the water - what a great way to spend an August afternoon!

Once the majority of the guests had left via water taxi for Sidney or Ganges, sister Kerry, son Stewart and I stayed on for a few days. There's a beautiful little log cabin overlooking the bay where the dock is; cold running water, propane stove (coffee and tea in the morning!) and a kitchen fully stocked with dishes, pots, utensils, etc., were the luxuries of our visit. The outhouse - not so much - but we spent the majority of our time at the main house or helping on the farm, so that was a minor inconvenience!
And look! You can knit looking out over the incredibly beautiful view!

What is there to do on an island farm? Fill and transfer feed bags for the sheep. Check the water supply for the animals. Load lumber for transfer. Build a rope swing in the barn (should have taken a picture of that one!) Weed the vegetable garden. Feed the animals. Bring in the hay (a huge job that was completed before we arrived!). Actually, the work is never ending and our small contribution was but a drop in a vast bucket. Feeding the animals was Stewart's favourite thing. This is Bobby, one of two calves being hand fed.

My father's older sister, aunt Jean, is the reason my sister and I felt like this island was a home away from home when we were younger. We spent many a day visiting and helping on the farm during spring breaks and summer holidays.

Sheep! Yes, this island is a sheep farm! (OK, they raise cattle, too, but how many knitters are interested in cattle??) Apparently, there are two years worth of fleece in the barn because they have missed the shipment date to the Wool co-op back in Ontario. I am tempted to try my hand at spinning... Except there is already no room in my house - where would I possibly put a spinning wheel? I also tried to convince my cousins that they should try distributing their own hand spun wool - but that was met with subtle resistance. Could it possibly be that they already have enough to do on the farm? Could it have anything to do with the fact that washing and preparing the fleeces for spinning is such a labour intensive job? The saddest part of this story for me is that, even though hand dyed and hand spun wool demands such a lovely price in the wool shop, the sheep farmers see very little of that money. Understandably, the labour involved in prepping, dying and spinning is what drives the cost, but it seems a shame that the raw material is of so little value that two years' worth sitting in the barn makes no difference to the economy of the farm.

Finally, in knitting news: I have completed all the pieces for the little green sweater Devan. The final piece is now drying and I will piece it together and do the finishing once it is dry. I have started work on the second Pomatomus sock, but there is less than an inch on the needles. However! I have completed the crazy, mad katerpillar scarf. I have discovered that the extremely loose cast on, that I thought was not loose enough, was in fact too loose! I also had some difficulty with ensuring that each row had at least 10" left for the fringe when I got to the end of the row. This may have had something to do with the varying tension of the different weights of yarn. In any case, I have completed it and have given it to cousin Barbara. I am now waiting for a photo of her wearing this elegant scarf while out feeding the sheep...
Kerry and Barbara modeling the creation.

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