Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Thistle Cove Farm

Danny Boy
Thistle Cove Farm American Curly Horse Stallion

Today was a special day. I ventured away from Greenberry House to visit with one of the best fiber people I know. My cousin RJ and I traveled up into the mountains of Tazewell to see Sandra and Dave at Thistle Cove Farm. I had asked Sandra to save a merino and a Shetland fleece for me, and since time is passing fast, I decided it was time to go get them to be processed for summer selling! RJ is a wonderful traveling companion, and the miles passed swiftly as we talked over our usual range of favorite subjects.

Thistle Cove Farm House
Thistle Cove Farmhouse

The trip was lovely, winding through mountain passes and into beautiful coves that reminded me so much of the Scottish Highlands. High mountains with hilly pastures, sparkling streams and beautiful old farmhouses along the way kept us watching the scenery as the miles flowed. I had been to festivals at the farm and knew the way, so it was pleasant to be able to enjoy the beauty of the winter landscape. I knew when we had arrived by the sight of the wonderful old farmhouse, nestled into the cove and surrounded by beautiful fields and sheltered by the high ridges.

Sandra and Dave
Sandra and Dave

We were fortunate in the timing of our arrival; Sandra had just finished penning her escaped American Curly Horse stallion. I think this is Danny Boy, pictured above, who seemed placid enough when we drove up and came to greet us. But apparently we had missed the show when he got out of his pen and found his way to the fence, where his son was waiting to challenge his authority. Poor Sandra managed to separate them without loss of life or limb; not an easy chore, as my own limited experience tells me!

Relatively unruffled, Sandra invited us in to a lovely lunch, served in her beautiful kitchen. A handsome gas stove heated our meal of homemade multi-grain bread (I was gifted with a loaf to bring home, marvelous!), October beans and apple crisp, my absolute favorite. RJ and Dave's mother found common ground in the shared experience of teaching, and compared notes and adventures while we ate. Soon enough, they found that they knew many of the same places and some people, and several interesting stories came out. The family dogs and cats kept us company, a tradition that felt as homey as the warm kitchen and beautiful views.

Sandra and I slipped away, as fiber folk will, for me to view my new fleece on the back porch of the farmhouse. We were accompanied by a most delightful gray cat, and the inquisitive dogs, who didn't want to miss anything important. It's hard to describe how lovely it is at Thistle Cove Farm, standing on that porch and looking out over the rolling fields, with a craggy mountain high behind the barns and long ridges framing the valley on each side. Nothing could be better, except for plunging your hands in beautifully soft fleece!


This is the lovely Shetland fleece I purchased, so soft and with a lovely crimp. I really enjoy spinning Shetland, more than any other wool, I think. The fleece I had before, purchased quite some time ago, was the source of several lovely shawls. This fleece is SO much nicer than the first; I can't wait to get into it!


And the merino. Lots of crimp and I think this will have a lovely loft, spun with my angora for a 50/50 yarn. I plan to send it off to be millspun; millspun angora/merino in the past has been quite successful. I think this will be even nicer than the previous yarn; Sandra's merino has a lot of character!

We came back in and found RJ and Dave comparing notes on books. Sandra and I talked fiber and projects for awhile, and then, although I was reluctant to do it, we had to collect ourselves and head back through the mountains toward home. It was a lovely trip, thanks to the special hospitality of Sandra and Dave, and the beauty of their charming home in the cove.

Mountain at the Head of the Cove

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