Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What I did at the Black Sheep Gathering

It took all day Thursday to get ready for our mini vacation to Eugene, Oregon. What? Why a vacation in Eugene? Notwithstanding the Eugene Tourist Bureau's glamouritization of Eugene, and that it is a quiet, University town nestled in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Western Oregon, it is hardly a destination resort town. However, the third weekend of June, they host the Black Sheep Gathering, arguably the biggest and best Sheep and Wool event in the Northwest.

Shepherds from all of the western states bring their nicest sheep and lambs to be shown and sold at BSG. All types of fiber and related vendors bring their wares from all over the West. Many and varied classes are held. Add a huge wool show and sale, and fiber folks are in seventh Heaven at BSG.

This year I went with no particular wish list - I was just going to enjoy, conduct the Gotland Sheep Association meeting and socialize. HAH!

Just before the event, Dave and I decided to look for a second ewe lamb for the 2008 summer shows. We only had one Shetland ewe lamb born here this season, and it's nicer to show two of them. I contacted Lois Moore of Stonehaven Farm who was packing to leave. She was bringing several ewe lambs for sale, at least two of which were already sold. We got on her list. :-)

Several weeks ago, we'd traded the yearling ram, Franjean, for a future choice of ewe from Marybeth Bullington-Bury, who would also be at BSG.

I also had given Robyn West of Kalaya Farms several fleeces to process late in 2007, which were now ready and going to come to BSG with Robyn.

We arrived at BSG about 10 pm on Thursday and found a great place to camp (in the asphalt paved parking lot - "great" because it was close enough to power, in a fairly quiet location, and on the edge of camperville).

This little cutie caught my eye in Lois's sheep pens. Her name is Astrid.

This gal also caught my eye after sitting with her and her pen mates for a while. She has such wonderful, creamy, soft and wavy fleece. She was always near to hand, ready for a scratch. Her name is Marissa.

By Saturday evening, we'd arranged to bring both Astrid and Marissa home with us. :-)
They're enjoying the lush grass in their quarantine pen, and are anxious to make the acquaintance of the other sheep that they see and hear, but can't touch.

Not that sheep were the only items that "followed" us home. I found a nifty combination creep gate and walk gate at Shaul's that will nicely fit our moveable setups. I found some soft, white BFL roving from Tumblecreek Farm. (Our BFLxBL ewes Hortense and Lindy came from Robina.) I found some soft mystery roving in grey, black and red, at the Rowan Tree Woolery that just kept calling my name. I didn't feel bad about that at all since they'd supported our Benefit Auction for the Black Sheep Creamery :-)

Oh, the myriad of spindles, silks, hand painted rovings, lace weight yarns, baskets and wheels that I didn't buy. Look, Honey, how much I saved by leaving them for other folks :-)

- Franna

P.S. HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Tina and John Park for their FIRST PLACE, BLUE RIBBON win in lamb/yearling Shetland Fleeces with Luna's fleece!!!


Dave said...

Marissa caught my eye too... When Franna took me to see all of the sheep that Marybeth was offering for Franjean, I told them it was Marissa as soon as they told me she was an option :)

Franna said...

He's a "brown" kinda guy. Brown dogs, brown sheep. ;-)


Marissa is a lovely Shetland. Thanks, Marybeth!

- Franna