Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival

Felted sheep and camelids from Englishman Bay, Maine

Saturday and Sunday, October 1 – 2: This is the first time I’ve been to the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival, held in Tunbridge, Vermont. The first day I went with a couple of my Quaker Knitting Goddess friends, and didn’t take any photos – I regret not getting some of the sheep shearing, but maybe another year! The second day I went with two friends from Six Loose Ladies; they were demonstrating spinning, and I just caught a ride with them, and mostly hung out at their display with them and worked on my knitting. But before that, before the crowds got to where taking photos was difficult, I wandered through the fairgrounds, still resisting buying any yarn (or fleece, or animals!!); I did buy a discounted book the first day.

Of course there were sheep (and sheep dog herding demonstrations, and sheep shearing).

My favorite sheep were the Blacknose, mostly because of how personable they were! One was persistently curious about my cane; all wanted affection and attention.

And llamas and alpacas:

Mohair goats and angora rabbits:

There was, of course, fleece of all breeds and colors.

And yarn; I kept repeating my mantra (“You do not need more yarn. You do not need more yarn. You do not need more yarn.”) especially when I fondled the gold sock yarn below!

There was equipment, from spinning wheels to buttons and yarn bowls:

In addition to the spinning demonstration from Six Loose Ladies, people were weaving, spinning, knitting and rug hooking. This was our area:

The weather both days threatened gray, and turned sunny and warm. Some areas of the hillsides were very colorful, with the leaves turning, although it’s not the most striking display of leaves I’ve seen in Vermont. The company was good, and I got a couple of inches done on the sock I’m working on. But one of the things I enjoyed most was seeing all of the hand knit, crocheted, and woven garments people were wearing, showing off their fiber creations!

Turkeys on the Move

It’s turkey season – I rarely go out on back roads these days without seeing at least one, or a group, or multiple groups. They are crossing the roads, walking along them, in the fields, flying across – and what’s amazing is that as soon as hunting season happens, they will vanish from sight! It’s hard, though, to get decent photos when driving; if one stops, they melt into the shrubbery. I guess these were far enough away they felt safe.

Visiting Easton Friends Meeting

Sunday, September 25: Because the balloon festival essentially ended when all the balloons had flown, we were to leave the camping area by 10 AM. That gave me lots of time to go find this historic Quaker meetinghouse, and join them for worship. Built in 1788 to replace an earlier log building that had burned (and where the “Indians” joined in worship when they found the Quakers unarmed; see below sign), this building is used June through September, and in the winter they use a smaller, brick meetinghouse that is easier to heat.

After visiting for a while, as I headed back to my Roadtrek I spotted these mushrooms. Obviously something thinks they are edible – but I wasn’t going to take chances!

It looks like Job S. Wilbur’s stone made a good table.

Adirondack Balloon Festival, Sunday Morning

Sunday morning, September 25: I missed an excellent photo of the sunrise, because I thought getting dressed before stepping out of the camper would be a good thing… but I was down at the viewing area as the first balloons were lifting off. This time there were three setting up on top, by all the campers. The one with the bears is the one that had done that every launch; it was joined by two more.

Then I turned my attention to the airfield, where the majority of the balloons launched. The wind was light and variable – I watched as craft lifted off, drifted south, drifted east, drifted north, and west again, basically making a large loop! And “Here comes the sun” played in my head as I saw a new shape inflated. And this time the panda went up, not just tethered in place.

At one point, I saw a chase vehicle come up the hill, with balloon and basket, but lost track of them until I heard the whoosh of propane. It had launched from up above all the campers, and came down over them.

I did a little more visiting, getting a tour of an RV the size of mine but new, and four wheel drive, and with large battery storage so it’s running on electricity, not propane, for stove and refrigerator. Nice folks, doing my preferred kind of camping (boondocking), and with a very cute small dog. Then I ate breakfast, stowed everything, and headed out at about 9:30. Most activity down at the airport was over, although I saw several chase vehicles returning with their balloons and baskets in the next several miles.

I feel very ambivalent about this sport. It is beautiful, and it’s a great group of people – but the amount of propane expended for a recreational activity is mind-boggling – to say nothing of the fuel used by all us spectators to get there! I think I’ll stick with kayaking.

Adirondack Balloon Festival, Saturday Evening

Saturday evening, September 24: By about 5:30 that afternoon, balloons were starting to lift off; I and my chair returned to the viewing area. I don’t know if the blue and purple one in the center is a test balloon, or just eager to be off – I think it was the first one out that morning, and it was the second in the evening. And the flag balloon was still in the same place. Did they deflate it during the day? Good question – I didn’t notice!

Again, the Magic balloon inflated behind me, and I think this time it was taking up the person who won the door prize from the NEHARVers. Behind the balloon, you can see about 15% of the RVs in the field!

They delivered chicken dinner, and walking back from the camper after getting a fork, I was struck by how the rounded roof of the vintage VW echoed the top of a balloon!

When all the balloons that wanted to fly had cleared out, they did what I think they called “Moonglow” where they light the balloons using their propane flame. The American flag showed up the best, and it soon became too dark for the phone on my camera to take respectable pictures.

Roadtrek Goes to the Adirondack Balloon Festival

Friday, September 23: Another Roadtrek owner had suggested I join her at this annual event. The Northeast Hot Air RVers use a large field just south of the county airport in Queensbury, New York, filling it with RVs large, larger, medium and tiny; dogs large and small, old and young; children of all ages, and the adults who get to tag along. By five that afternoon, our two Roadtreks and another larger RV belonging to friends of hers, were lined up among dozens of other vehicles. One must be self-contained, as there are no sanitary facilities, so there weren’t any tents. It’s obvious that the larger crowds were down at the airport – one runway was used as a parking lot, and the traffic was said to be horrendous, but that didn’t affect us, going in on a different road. The following photos were all taken Friday morning. I was on my way down to the viewing area with my chair when the first balloon rose – pretty much as the sun did.

I realized that one crew was inflating a balloon immediately behind me, so I went over to watch:

And it flew right over my head!

Shaped balloons are a big deal, and probably really expensive; there were several. The panda was probably my favorite, as it reminded me of my godmother, who loved them. But Taz was a hit, and the snowman. None of them went anywhere Saturday, and the American flag balloon was also stationary; I think maybe it took passengers up staying tethered.

I worked a volunteer stint at the registration tent, then visited through the afternoon until the evening launch. That will be the next post!

Hat, Completed

Let’s try this again! I thought I posted this yesterday – but it looks like it got stuck along the way. This was an unfinished project, languishing while I worked on other projects – no one needs a hat when it’s hot out! I pulled it out last week, finishing it on Friday, and lightly blocked it yesterday. I have a box of small amounts of yarn, and had pulled out a selection of fall colors to use for this; I used up about half a dozen small balls. Some were very small – but no longer having them in my stash is a win!  

Garden Raid

I was invited – encouraged! – to get zucchini from the garden belonging to friends. It is the best zucchini I’ve met – even the largest have soft edible seeds, and the flavor is great, especially when slightly browned. The flowers are large, at least a spread hand’s breadth; the larger one is 15 – 16 inches long. Yum!

Raccoons (or something) got the corn; I figure this cat is a response. Maybe it will scare the critters away. Maybe not…

Chester Fall Festival

Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18: The Village of Chester, in Vermont, has an annual Fall Festival. This was the first year I’d attended. The first day, I mostly hung out with the fiber crafters at Six Loose Ladies with my knittng – and also walked down through most of the vendors.

Then, on Sunday, I went with a couple of friends, seeing much of what I’d not explored the day before. The highlight was the presentation by the Vermont Institute of Natural Science; they have ambassador birds, unable to be released into the wild, and we got to see an American Kestrel:

a tiny Screech Owl:

and the star of the show – a Red-tailed hawk. She paid intense attention to what her handler was saying about her!

We also enjoyed live music, watched apples being crushed and pressed for cider, and ate Thai food from one of the food trucks.

I don’t need this car, even though it’s my favorite color – I suspect it lowers and raises its suspension, but sitting here it had maybe an inch of ground clearance! Wouldn’t cope with my driveway.