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vermont

Guest Posts

Guest Post: The Gift of Lambing

March 26, 2015

This is the first in a new series on the blog, featuring posts from past Woolful podcast guests, giving a bit of a deeper look into what they do, wisdom they have to share and stories they have to tell.

I’m thrilled that Kim Goodling of VT Grand View Farm is here to share a bit of her lambing journey at her farm in Vermont, where she raises Gotland and Romney sheep. Thank you Kim! 


Keeping Watch

The ewes grow round and full with lambs and the wait begins. I have cleaned the barn, set up the lambing pen, and restocked my lambing kit. I now watch for signs of labor, spending much time bent over, looking at the back side of my ewes. Swollen udders and sunken bellies signal that a ewe will soon deliver her lambs.  Night watch will begin soon, as we near the first due date marked on our calendar, March 28.

Walk…Relax…Stay Nourished…Breathe Naturally…Make Your Nest and Push…

For ten years, I taught natural childbirth classes. I worked with couples, teaching them how to labor. We spent time practicing deep abdominal breathing and focusing on our bodies and how they work during labor. Every week we watched videos of natural births and talked about what we saw and our anxieties and fears. We became a support network for one another. Through the miracle of life, I saw grown men cry and women become empowered by the ability to take control over their birth experiences. I saw amazing new lives unfold before my eyes time and time again.

Although I no longer teach childbirth classes, I am blessed to have this rhythm of keeping watch over new life on our farm. With each season, I am reminded of the shear miracle of birth. With each delivery, I stand in awe of the process.

A laboring ewe is the perfect picture of natural childbirth, working with her body to bring the lamb into the world. A healthy ewe will labor and deliver her lambs completely on her own. She will stay on her feet throughout labor, eating hay, and chewing her cud. Every now and then, as a contraction begins, the ewe stands still, closing her eyes and breathing deeply. Once the contraction passes, she goes back to walking and eating to keep herself nourished. As the ewe’s contractions become more frequent, she quits eating, as she must focus her attention on each contraction. Ewes may squat or sway with each contraction, helping to get the lamb in the correct position. Once the ewe begins to push, she paws at the ground, as though making her nest. Laying down, she works hard during the pushing contractions. Often the ewe will nicker to her lamb as if to encourage him along the way. The lamb enters the world with front feet and nose first, slipping easily from the warmth of the womb into the still of the barn. The ewe speaks to her lamb in soft nickers as she cleans and nuzzles him.

Of all the jobs I have ever had, teaching my natural childbirth classes was one of the most rewarding. Now, I am blessed to continue to see God’s amazing gift of birth and life right here on my own farm, in my own barn, every lambing season.

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Labor (1)

Bonnie and Idris

 

Woolful Podcast

Episode 16: Michael Hampton and Tamara White – Vermont fiber farming and milling, Shetland sheep and overcoming fear

March 24, 2015

I’m very excited to share the sixteenth episode of the Woolful podcast. Today we get to meet two very enthusiastic fiber folks from Vermont, both of whom have had quite the journey to where they are today…Michael Hampton of Hampton Fiber Mill and Tamara White of Wing and a Prayer Farm.

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Sponsor: This episode is sponsored by Taproot Magazine, a quarterly print magazine full of delightful stories and photos written by and for people living fuller and digging deeper. Each issue is created around a subtle theme, featuring amazing recipes, crafts, and tales, all with the intention of inspiring people who are interested in deepening their connections to their families, communities, and themselves as they strive to live locally and closer to the ground. You can visit Taproot Magazine online at Taprootmag.com and on Instagram @taprootmag.

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Fiber folk 1: Michael is a passionate knitter, spinner, and fiber mill entrepreneur. He’s been on an exciting journey from engineer to now building and operating a fiber mill in Richmond, Vermont where he mills a very exhaustive list of wools and fibers, including our second guest Tamara’s beautiful yarn. His enthusiasm and excitement for fiber and helping bring something back to this community and industry is a really wonderful thing. You can find him at Hamptonfibermill.com and on Instagram @hamptonfibermill.

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For this week’s “Man on the Street” I asked a handful of fiber enthusiasts to answer a question, shared by Samantha in our Raverly group. “Is there a project that inspired you to improve your skills?” We had some amazing replies from Nikki @woolenviolet and Leanne @leannecoppola.

Fiber folk 2: Our next guest, Tamara is a gem among farmers, fiber folks and friends. We were lucky enough to have her and her daughters SJ and Char, stay for a visit last week at our home. Our time together was filled with laughter, good food, Vermont maple syrup and plenty of farm stories and it was great to be able to talk and record our chat in person as we all sat on the living room floor. She is a true testament of strength, compassion and her love of fiber farming and her animals is infectious. You can find her at wingandaprayerfarm.com and on Instagram @wingandaprayerfarm.

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The winner of last week’s giveaway, is Jessica from Mittens and Mason Jars! You’ve won 5 skeins of the Westcountry Tweed yarn from Blacker Yarns. Congratulations!

This week’s giveaway is sponsored by Taproot Magazine, and we’re giving away a two year subscription to this wonderful publication that brings so much to this community. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment below.

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We’ve got an exciting shop update this week. Tamara, our second guest has worked very hard to create some beautiful yarns, all carefully and skillfully milled by our first guest Michael. Her latest yarns include a bulky white Shetland and Mohair blend, and two aran weight yarns, a warm brownish grey Shetland and Mohair, and a dark rich grey Merino, Shetland and Mohair. You can now find all three yarns exclusively in the Woolful Mercantile and woolfulmercantile.com

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Music by Jónsi

Transcription to follow shortly…