Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Earlham, IA...."

Continuing with our trip to Des Moines, Don and I arrived at our hotel mid-afternoon. We checked in, unpacked, and went next door, to the Raccoon River Brew Pub, for a late lunch. We had been there before on an earlier trip to Des Moines, so we knew it was good. :)

Before leaving, we'd both made email arrangements to visit someone in Earlham, IA, a small town west of Des Moines. For myself, to visit a farm where they raised Icelandic Sheep, and Don, to visit the last remaining stone house that a distant Quaker relative had built. I'll get to that part of our visit in tomorrow's blog entry.

I belong to a number of fiber related online groups. Prior to our leaving for Des Moines, I'd posted a question on these groups about visiting shops/farms around the area. I heard back from Lorraine, and was invited to visit their farm ( They raise purebred Icelandic and Icelandic X Suffolk sheep. As you might remember, I had been introduced to Icelandic Sheep roving by Joan from Maine, when she sent me some samples of it to try spinning. I LOVE it, so was happy to hear that I could see some "in the flesh/wool", so to speak.

So, back to Wednesday afternoon. After lunch, I called Hedge Apple Farm, and we made plans to visit later that evening. Below, we're out in one of the pastures seeing the sheep. Lorraine, on crutches, her husband, Scott, and their oldest son. The rest of their younger children, were giving Don an "up close and personal" guided tour of each individual sheep in the field. :)

Our "checking out everyone" prior to going over the electric fence.

Each of their children had their own sheep, and knew everything about them. How they could all keep track of each sheep's name, was a wonder to me. :)

A close up of the newest additions to the flock.

I personally, love the variety available that "natural" shades of wool provide.

These were the more curious sheep that stayed closer to us after entering the pasture.

I never did find out if they used to milk this goat or if she was more or less a "guard goat". She was very friendly though, and wanted her share of being petted.

Inside their house, Scott brought out bag after bag of processed wool roving. I bought more Icelandic, a Mohair /wool blend, Romney (1 colored cross and 1 white), and some Navajo-Churro wool. I am looking forward to being able to spin the various wools to see which ones I enjoy (hopefully, all!).

I'm checking out the white Romney in this photo. It was 1 continuous "rope" of roving, so I have a basketball sized ball of Romney, the rest of the wools are in 4 oz. "bumps", I think Lorraine called them. :)

1 comment:

Barb said...

and the dog, what about the dog?! :) Is it a pyrenees for guarding the flock? Do they also have a herder?