Thursday, June 18, 2009

Where sheep may safely graze (sort of)

In case you're not up on the latest thrilling news about the weather in New England, this spring hasn't been optimal in terms of sun and fun. Think rain along the lines of Noah's fludde for most of the past two months (or maybe it just seems that way). H and most other gardeners are beyond frustrated because little is germinating, lengthening, or otherwise doing as it should at this time of year, save for the grass, which grows apace and has to be cut as soon as the rain ceases--which it does intermittently--to keep a roaring prairie from overtaking the areas surrounding our house.

Yesterday the sun made a rare appearance and we began the protracted celebration of our summer solstice wedding anniversary (#11!) by driving to Beaver Brook Farm, in Lyme, Connecticut. ( to commune with sheep, cows, fiber, and cheese.

Several kinds of sheep are raised at Beaver Brook, including (if I remember correctly) Corriedale, Romney, Friesians, and Dorsets. Their fleece is varied in color and texture. The yarn for sale is high in lanolin and fairly coarse. It's well priced at $14 for a two-ply 240 yard skein. Colors are varied shades of natural (I bought two creamy white ones), including marled brown and white, and some appealingly vegetable-dyed shades of cadet blue, Nantucket red, and sage green. My guess is that the wool softens a lot after washing, but since it's lanolin-enriched, it's ideal for heavy-duty outerwear. The farm's shop also sells yarn wound onto cones, and it's priced by the pound--that comes out a bit cheaper than per skein, so would make sense to purchase for large projects.

The farm sells dairy products made from cow and sheep milk--it was quite interesting to watch the sheep in their milking stanchions. (They were not wholly placated by the blue buckets of feed placed before them.) The farm sells meat as well, and at Beaver Brook, perhaps more so than at less bucolic establishments, one is confronted with the cognitive dissonance of contented cows and sheep and gamboling lambs (who are insanely cute, very tame and friendly, and freely roam the farmyard), and their ultimate disposition.

We concluded the trip by having lunch in Niantic, and walking along the shore, where Niantic Bay flows into Long Island Sound. It was a lovely excursion, and today it's raining again. Supposed to continue until the middle of next week. What is so rare as a day in June? A day without rain?

1 comment:

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