Sweet November…I have a story to tell about you.
Once upon a time, on the first Saturday in November,Well…every year actually, but this is a fair-y tale, so we begin with Once upon a time, okay?…(ahem)
Some friends went to do some spinning demonstrations at The First State Heritage Park’s Market Fair in Dover. But these weren’t just any friends. No ma’am. These were special friends from Greenbank Mill. In that one day, they sold over $415 worth of yarn in one shot, hung out with a cool momma, heard a traveling doctor who could cure everything that ails anyone (and has met the Queen nonetheless), learned what ghillies are, and watched one of their own go on a turkey chase in a backyard (true story).
The Fair was held indoors this year due to the rainy weather, so their sheep stayed back at the farm. But, the friends got to stay comfortable and dry in the Century Club building for their spinning demonstrations.
Business first, however. This is was the table full of handspun and mill spun skeins from their heritage sheep that had been dyed with historically accurate methods. As soon as it was set up, as has been the custom for a few years now, all of the skeins are bought by a lady named Linda that appreciates the value of the handspun/hand-dyed process. So, technically, the rest of the day for these friends is just spinning demos, darn it. 😉
One of the ladies is named Heather. Oh, you’ve heard of her before? Pipe down, I’m telling this story. Heather’s mother, an artist and Director who oversees art teachers in the Department of Education in Delaware, joined us for the day too. She spent a LONG time detangling some yarn her kitties so graciously tangled for her.
The little darlings. Hey, did you notice those mitts she’s wearing there? She was great company for the friends-and she fed them! 🙂
In addition to spinning, sometimes the friends take time out to see the other vendors too though. Like their neighbor during the event, Mr. Rick Schuman, the wood turner.
He displayed what would be the makings of a wood worker’s workshop that would begin with maybe a few tools that was used to make other useful tools until the workshop grew. Conceivably, you’d be able to trade your tools for other pieces for your shop.
You see how he makes a seat and a workbench to use. With those, he can make other items as well for use around the home or for sale.
His products were all handmade, as they all were back in colonial times.
Amazing, right? Much like Michelangelo with stone, Mr. Schuman has the ability to look at a piece of wood and see the potential in it. Then, he liberates the wood to be that thing he saw.
Here’s a piece of wood that has been split down the middle.
Mr. Schuman carves this spatula with one half of the wood, glues it back on and carves the other side. He ends up with a handmade tool much like what you see below.
He is also quite adept with leather. Take these shoes he fashioned, for instance.
Mr. Schuman says shoes like these were made in Scotland. They’re called ghillies. Ghillies have slits in them that were designed to keep the water out when on the water, such as in fishing. They look like moccasins or the water shoes you see out today. How industrious!
Next up, the friends saw a traveling doctor by the name of Balthasar.
He was quite entertaining! Apparently, that was his job. Besides, curing any ailment (illness and disease was a big problem then, which contributed to the mortality rates). But the miracle elixir he had could fix anything and everything from coughs and baldness to what’s keeping your daughter from getting married. He brought gossip from the next town and had a very colorful personality to combat the harshness of life for listeners during that time. This traveling doctor had, apparently seen the world and could bring back stories from even the Queen of England right to your doorstep! Maybe he was the miracle?
At some point, the ladies did go exploring to get silhouettes and see what else was going on in the other buildings that day.
They saw a beautiful loom and a handwoven being completed.
It was super huge!
They read a document containing the details of the near doubling of the length of servitude by a runaway indentured servant.
They also viewed the handiwork of what would have been the wealthier ladies of the time in paper quilling.
They even saw painters…
…and sellers of groceries such as apple cider donuts (yum!!).
There was a fiddler at work that definitely added to the mood.
Elsewhere, they saw the handiwork of the glassmakers.
All in all, it was a fantastic event, even with the rain. But all good things, eventually come to an end. So, the ladies went back to Heather’s mom’s house to have a bite before heading back to the mill. Upon arrival, they noticed a turkey in Heather’s mom’s yard…
Heather’s mom has to send that butterball over the fence from time to time because he and a bunch of other turkeys actually live there. His bosom is so large, having been genetically engineered to be a butterball, that he just can’t do it himself…So he just comes over sometimes and just looks around like he doesn’t know how he got there…
Enter Laurel, the brave animal-whisperer of the friendly crew.
She kind of followed him up and down the gate a bit to feel him out.
Now, this next sequence goes pretty fast. 😉
Ha! And there you have it!
Not just a spinner, but a turkey wrangler too! He had better watch out this season.
Unfortunately, our new acquaintances were none to pleased with our dear lady’s skills…
They started fluffing out their feathers and posturing to let us know that they were really the bosses of this here backyard.
Meh, the turkeys.
What a great time the friends had and are looking forward to doing that again some time soon.
Oh…and they all lived happily ever after too. 😉