It really wasn't my last tour stop.... but I volunteered at Screamin' Oaks on Sunday afternoon. I figured that the last four hours of Sunday would be the hardest, when everyone is tired and worn out from the weekend.
This was the most wonderful display put on by a young 4 H member, now 17, who has been spinning since he was 8!
He is Abe Budish of Walking Sweater Farm, who raises angora goats and sheep. He had two Shetland Sheep and an Angora goat at the tour with him, and gave spinning demonstrations. As well as spinning the wool from his animals, Abe does artwork by felting. It is remarkable!
This great picture is of his dog, his favorite sheep and goat. Can you believe this talent?
He showed us how he spun, and he let ME spin a piece of roving on a drop (CD) spindle. I FINALLY understand what some of those on the knitting and sheep blogs are talking about! Keith was totally enamored of this... he had come down to pick me up, as the farm is a mile from ours and their parking was full almost all weekend. Of course, he fell in love with the angora goat... they have an affinity for him, I'm telling you.
This guy was wandering around all day... his name is Dinner. He likes me, but he picked out a few folks he didn't like and went at them. Most took it pretty well.. it would make a good story for them to tell, that's for sure.
From the table under the blue tent, where you can see people standing, we had samples of about 12 different kinds of chevre, available to taste and to purchase. We also sold goat's milk ice cream, so creamy and good! Even though it was not oppressively hot, there was very little ice cream left by Sunday evening at 6. I also got the receipe, so I am going to buy some milk and try to make some for us. Roxanne sold milk, ice cream and cheese all weekend.
The tent to the right was another goat lady... Stacey Johnson of The Little Flower Farm, near McLouth. Stacey milks Kinders and Nubians. She regularly sells at the Leavenworth Farmer's Market, and sells body butters (not made with goat milk, as she says it is very hard to do it legally with goat milk) and very large bars of goat milk soap. I hope to talk to her soon, I would like to see some Kinder goats, as I think we might be better off with smaller goats. Stacey is very interesting, and is a homeschooler. I enjoyed speaking with her.
Besides things for sale, kids were encouraged to have their faces painted... the horse trailer became a craft room, led by three high schoolers from Tonganoxie, and was extremely popular. Roxanne always sets up a straw bale maze... a pit of sand for the kids to play in, lots of things for them to do... and lots of animals to see. Several times during the afternoon she has a milking demonstration in the barn, and she lets any little child (or adult!) who wants to milk, learn how. Then the kids get a sticker that they milked at Screamin' Oaks. I noticed that some simple children's wagons were very popular, the kids were running across the yard, pulling each other around.
Folks headed to the milking room for milking time, and visiting the does in their yard.
People love to walk around and look at the chicken pens, the dovecote, a pony in his pen, a calf brought up for the tour.... a donkey (whose braying we can hear from our house a mile away!) and the peacocks who decorate the property and give it it's name.
This farm is a good experience for families.
I did learn several things from this year's farm tour weekend. I learned that I still would like to have goats... and saw lots of nice French Alpines at both Landeria and Screamin' Oaks. I know I want to investigate other kinds, as well, and hope to do that soon. I know for sure that I don't want to do anything as big as either of those... Roxanne still works a full time job at the railroad, and her schedule is crazy... she has to pay someone to milk part time for her. I would like to wait until I am at home full time to take on milking. Someone on one of the tours asked me over the weekend... "Why do you want to tie yourself down so much?"... and that is something else to consider, because it will be a huge commitment. We know we would like to have ponies again some day, true ponies, not minis... and maybe a riding horse, but these things all need to wait a year or two. We miss having turkeys, too... and those will come again some day. I really enjoyed the few stops I was able to make on this year's tour, and hope that Iwig Dairy is on next years so I can start with them!