Yes well I couldn't stay away.....
Today we went to the annual heritage fair, a celebration of the culture of this region. And what a rich heritage these mountains indeed hold. All the things that I love, although these days I do not practice many as I would like, yet natural dying, wood carving, basket weaving, broom making, spinning, beekeeping and so much more, all areas which I hope to dwell more into once we are settled into a home of our own again. As for today, there was lots of insightful experiences, I learned a lot and the children too were inspired. I find these kinds of authentic fairs so rewarding, so much folklore so much history, a wonderful mixture of the old and as it turns out what we are once again turning towards, age old proven techniques and wholesome practices, good for us and good for the earth..
We started at the beginning, watching as a spring lamb had its first shearing. the farmer told us lots of interesting facts about sheep, and to my surprise kept the attention of the children. One particular fact that I did not realize was that domesticated sheep have over the years had their shedding ability bread out of them, and their fleece would continue to grow if not sheared by we the humans, also that they will always seek higher ground if they were to be free, and that a sheep on its own would be quite lost because they need the herd to feel safe
The farmer told us lots of interesting facts about sheep, and to my surprise kept the attention of the children. One particular fact that I did not realize was that domesticated sheep have over the years had their shedding ability bread out of them, and their fleece would continue to grow if not sheared by we the humans, also that they will always seek higher ground if they were to be free, and that a sheep on its own would be quite lost because they need the herd to feel safe
Then on to the natural dying of wool, something of special interest to me as I am very much looking forward to fill my garden with plants for natural dying
Throughout the day we kept returning to watch this whole process take place, first the mordanting;
Then she prepared the dye, cutting the goldenrod flowers and simmering them in water for about an hour
Then removing the flowers, (usually she would have strained more thoroughly she said)
and then adding the yarn, the children really enjoyed this part of the process, she left it in simmering, never boiling, for about an hour, we did not see the finished product...
but we did see plenty of her other naturally dyed yarns, and the whole process is for me now much simplified
The children got to watch as these beautiful brooms were made, and also make a small one for themselves
The weaving of the handles is exactly as we made out lavender wands, which was neat to realize
This was another table of great interest to me, not that I imagine I will be processing flax into linen any day soon, yet how fascinating (for me anyways) to watch as they turned flax straw into fiber then spinning it into string and then weave it into cloth, just like the wool of the sheep
another table of great interest for the children, perhaps what fascinated them the most was the wood carvers, they had set it up in such a way that the children got a real understanding of how the figures were fashioned from the raw wood, Kaleena came home and drew a mermaid on a piece of wood intending to carve it with her pocket knife (she uses extreme caution and care when using her knife)
ahh yes and the whimmy diddle, an old-fashioned toy originating in these mountains, a simple wooden stick with a few grooves and a propellor loosely attached with a nail, with a second stick you then rub up and down the stick to make the propellor go first one way and then the other
they really enjoyed this simple little toy
and one last thing worth a mention, well there were many more, but this post already being so long I will leave it at this bag, made from the green bark of the tulip poplar tree, abundant in these parts..
and just before we went home we enjoyed a lively clogging show. Clogging is big in these parts and as it happens this type of dancing is recommended in the Waldorf curriculum, so it seems we may all soon be clogging together
A lovely day spent in the shade of the trees in these blue ridge mountains
~Thanks for looking in, and a lovely evening to you~