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Tregelly’s Fiber Farm. August 5, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Up in the hills of nearby Hawley (though it’s only accessible by road from Buckland) sits Tregelly’s Fiber Farm, operated by Ed and Jody Cothey.  It’s an amazing place filled with a menagerie of animals, many with fur useful for weaving.

Although Ed has largely given up weaving and sold off all of his looms but one (know anyone looking for a beautiful twelve-footer?) the place is still amazing to visit, as I did this past Saturday with my sweetie Susan.  She has an affinity for animals, and is in fact a communicator, and needed some photos of her interacting with them, so…  😉

Susan and I were greeted by Ed and most of his nine dogs:

The house and barns sit on the brow of a hill overlooking the Deerfield river valley.  The northern exposure gives a beautiful light to the great stone Stupa in the front yard:

Susan had a friend right off the bat –

Our little parade o’ fur meandered around the property, stopping to smile at common animals like goats and uncommon ones like yaks and this Bactrian camel:

These guys are BIG!  They grow to over seven feet tall and can weigh over a ton.  I asked Ed how they do with a New England winter, thinking of camels as desert beasts.  He said these guys are native to the Mongolian plateau and the Gobi Desert, which is a desert only in that it’s dry – they routinely see temperatures of -40C in winter, and the camels do just fine!

Susan connected with some little burros…

…who were so excited and delighted to have the attention that they played up a storm!

They were a lot of fun to watch.  🙂

A little llama joined in the socializing:

…as did this somewhat skeptical sheep:

It was lovely to see, and I got lots of pictures, including this one of a sweet little Jack Russel terrier (I think)  who wanted his “fifteen minutes:”

He only got three, but they were good ones!  😆

After the photo tour, Ed invited us in for tea, and we got to meet his birds, which he obviously adores as much as he loves his furred friends:

If you’re going to be in this area before November, I’d like to recommend a visit to this wonderful spot.  Ed has a LOT of inventory from his now closed store, items made by his friends in countries all over the world (think Ten Thousand Villages or some such store) and is trying to move it all out before he leaves for six months in the Phillipines.  Consequently, the prices are really hard to believe – I bought tee-shirts for a dollar apiece!

And if you can’t  visit, I hope these photos will suffice.  🙂

Fiber Farming. January 23, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Politics and Society.
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It’s not uncommon in these parts to find farms where the primary product is hair.

Animals which get sheared for fiber (think “sheep” as a starter) are common in Western Massachusetts.

At a farm up in Hawley, goats and their man-servant:

Goats aren’t one of the fiber producers, but that guy is – tending stock is a job without Sundays or vacations.

Jacob sheep, noted for their multiple horns:

Generally four, occasionally six.  That’s news to me, but then, I’m a country boy, not a farm boy.

A Llama:

These beasties were roaming free, but with short leashes attached, which I suppose would make them easier to get hold of, if (when) you needed to.

This place was also raising pigs and Guinea hens, the latter of which played Chicken with me in the narrow road.  I knew my 4-Runner could win that one, but I really didn’t want to fricassee someone’s assets.  Or hurt a birdie.

Rural life continues in these parts, but it ain’t a get-rich-quick scheme.

By the way, these were all hand-held with Gizmo, my 400mm lens, from the driver’s seat of my running car.  They came out better than I anticipated without image stabilization (which is a whole lot more bucks that I didn’t have when I got Gizmo.)

Spring On The Farm. April 12, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Springtime is busy on our local farms.  Maple sugaring is winding down, and attention turns to livestock:

Dim-witted sheep stand around shorn and shivering in their barnyard Johnnies, having just been swindled out of their warm winter coats:

…yeah, I’m talkin ’bout you!

…while their distant cousins remain aloof and above it all:

Most of the farm ponds have iced out, though the grass is still just vaguely green:

…and somebody has been using the barbed wire fence for a scratching spot:

…perhaps this Scottish Highlander and her calf?

I mean, I’m totally ok with that, Yes Ma’am, no problems here…

All in all, a nice time of year in these parts:

I’m still in JPEG mode, so pardon any appreciable lack of photo quality.

They’re calling for rain the next few days, so I was glad to snag these shots today.

More From The Festival Of The Hills! October 10, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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Here’s a brief tour of last weekend’s festivities in Conway:

The “welcome wagon,” in front of the Field Memorial Library, built by a local-boy-made-good:

The library is a visual anomaly in this little hill town of one story wood-framed buildings, but when a local-farm-boy-turned-department-store-mogul builds his home town a library, you just say, “Thank you.”  😉

The town hall is the only other “modern” building in sight, and the gateway to the festivities:

This is basically an agricultural fair in the old New England tradition, with displays by local farms:

…these being organic goodies from our CSA.

There’s fresh cider from local apples:

…Did I mention that it’s fresh?

And lots of food from local restaurants and crafts from local artisans:

But the real excitement is provided by Six Flags Over Conway – witness the Giant Swing:

…the Slide of Death:

Mountain Climbing for Those Who Dare:

…and of course, what country shindig would be complete without… a rodeo!

While some might express their disdain for such reckless pursuit of excitement…

(I was going to title this one, “Llama Lifts a Leg” until Susan pointed out that it’s an alpaca, which doesn’t alliterate as easily…)

…none could be other than impressed by feats of Herculean Strength such as the Ladies’ Skillet Toss:

And let me tall ya, these grrrls could hurl!

All kidding aside, this was a great day of family fun, with all proceeds going to benefit scholarships for the town’s students.

That alone was plenty of reason to go and drop a few bucks.