Making Podcast Woolful Podcast

Episode 74: Shannon Hayes – Professorship, Genetic Legacy, Multigenerational farming, and the Radical Homemaker

January 26, 2017

Sponsor: Designs by Romi came about serendipitously in 2005 when designer Romi Hill began creating a collection of simple and elegant shawl pins as a solution to her problem of the shawls she’d worked so hard on, not staying put. What started as a bespoke side project, soon turned into passion, leading to knitwear designs many of us have come to love. Romi’s style transcends the common wardrobe, appealing to both novice and seasoned knitters. Her most recent eBook from the 7 Small Shawls Series, Asymmetry is a celebration of lace, a brilliant collection incorporating lace patterns with some of our favorite yarns. Make sure to check find this eBook on Ravelry. And on February 1st Romi will be releasing a new eBook subscription. And Feb 24-26, if you find yourself at Stitches West, make sure to stop by and say hi to Romi in person who will be at the Verb for Keeping Warm booth #917,919 and 921. You can find Design by Romi at and follow her on Instagram @romidesigns

Fiber folk: I first became captivated by Shannon Haye’s work when I came across her site after searching ‘Multigenerational Farming’ and quickly became engrossed in her blog and books. Shannon is an amazing storyteller, living and operating a multigenerational homestead and farm to table cafe with her husband, two daughters and parents in rural upstate New York. From meat to fiber, homeschooling and running a farm based business, I hope you enjoy hearing Shannon’s fiber and farm journey as much as I have. You can find Shannon, all their farm goods and her books at

Photos by: Shannon Hayes, Stewart Cairns, Daily Gazette

Sponsor: Sunday Knits has quickly become one of my new favorite yarns to knit with. Started in 2008 by Carol Sunday, Sunday Knits is a collection of 4 merino and merino blend yarns and beautiful patterns designed by Carol. From the 100% extra-fine Australian merino to the French Angora, all their fibers are humanely sourced and then milled in Italy to Carol’s meticulous and caring specifications. Aside from this yarns obvious qualities, they’re a dream to knit with…so soft yet sturdy and the breadth of colors are beautiful and perfect for color work. And if you enjoy knitting shawls, make sure to take a look at Carol’s latest pattern, Soutache, featuring a 2-color brioche design…a little warmth and a lot of style makes this beautiful shawl a wardrobe staple, and an enjoyable knit, in any of Sunday Knits’ 3-ply yarns. You can also find kits for this design on their website. Visit Sunday Knits at or if you can make a trip to Roscoe, Illinois near the Wisconsin state line, make an appointment to visit Sunday Knits gorgeous studio. You can follow on Instagram @carolsundayknits.

Giveaway: The winner of last weeks giveaway is Judith B. You’ve won a Reindeer doll from Erika Barrett and two skeins of Brooklyn General’s Barnwool. Congratulations! 

This week’s giveaway is sponsored by Romi Hill and The Radical Homemaker and they’re giving away Romi’s 2016 eBook, a subscription to this year’s eBook club and a copy of Shannon’s book Long Way on a Little: An Earth Lover’s Companion for Enjoying Meat, Pinching Pennies and Living Deliciously. To enter, leave a comment on this post.

Music by Jónsi.

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  • Reply Lynne January 26, 2017 at 5:01 am

    Loving this podcast and how amazing to listen to this particular podcast!

  • Reply Lynne January 26, 2017 at 5:02 am

    oH no! I entered my email incorrectly! Sorry this is to fix that.

  • Reply Elaine January 26, 2017 at 6:18 am

    This is so great and relaxing. Love the pictures of their home and family.

  • Reply Carol January 26, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Love this podcast! These photos are wonderful and inviting!

  • Reply Sunny January 26, 2017 at 7:24 am

    Beautiful photos. Thanks for bringing us into your farm and home. I am looking forward to seeing Romi at Stitches to show her the first shawl I made of hers.

  • Reply Leslie January 26, 2017 at 7:42 am

    I love the Grassfed Gourmet- super helpful for learning to cook with grassfed meat.

  • Reply Azure January 26, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Love hearing everyone’s incredible fiber journeys! It is so inspiring ✨

  • Reply Susan January 26, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Wow! Definitely going to my local farmer’s make this weekend!

  • Reply Kathleen January 26, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Well this has been my favorite episode so far. I will listen to it a second time. So inspiring.

  • Reply Rachel Tuck January 26, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Great story! Thank you for sharing it.

  • Reply Mary January 26, 2017 at 9:09 am

    I loved this episode…so inspiring! Thank you!

  • Reply Amylynn McDevitt January 26, 2017 at 9:56 am

    Ashley thanks for another rest episode! This truly spoke to me to help me find what awakens my spirit in he road ahead. My family and I are moving from San Francisco to New England in search of peace, quiet and longing for family. We search in what would be the best outlet for us as individuals and for our family and seven year old, a little bit of Shannon’s words/advice and lifestyle is what we aim for. ❤️

  • Reply Margaret January 26, 2017 at 11:03 am

    A very interesting podcast. I enjoyed learning more about Shannon and her mult-generational farming. Thank you.

  • Reply Annette January 26, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Interesting podcast once again!
    I have a Mac Ausland blanket that I bought in the 90’s…….who’s wool was that?
    Love the story of a simple life but definitely a lot of work, team work !

  • Reply Melissa January 26, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    I absolutely loved this episode! Everyone’s stories are so fascinating. Thanks for all the hard work that you do making the podcast happen!

  • Reply Mary January 26, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I would love a copy of the book Long Way on a Little – it sounds like it is EXACTLY the inspiration I have been looking for for my future!

  • Reply Marybeth OConnell January 26, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    You are an inspiration to me as I look to simplify my life. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Reply Rebecca January 26, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    I would love to go knit for a day at the farm. Great episode!

  • Reply Terri January 26, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    I just LOVE Carol Sunday’s Soutache design, as well as the color combo she used!

  • Reply Rebecca Bandy January 26, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    I’ve so enjoyed scrolling through the above pictures. Looking forward to relaxing with the podcast!

  • Reply Morgen S. Daily January 26, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    I’ve just discovered your podcast and am enjoying working my way through the archives!

  • Reply Lili Blalock January 26, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    You mean I am not the only one knitting at meetings and on the road? Great to know that there are others out there!

  • Reply dee January 26, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    So love these podcasts. I look forward to them. You open new doors for me. Thank you.

  • Reply Marieke van Esveld January 27, 2017 at 12:25 am

    Only stumbled on your website and podcasts late last night and listened to this one this morning and really enjoyed it. It surely is a world apart from how I grew up and live. Since I live in a town in The Netherlands in Europe. Shipping agross the world for the giveaway might be to expensive, but I simply wanted to say thank you for these podcasts, I will definately enjoy listening to the rest as well

  • Reply Susan January 27, 2017 at 2:53 am

    A wonderful podcast, once again. I so appreciate that you allow your guests to speak and tell their story while only occasionally asking such great questions. Thank you for the opportunity!

  • Reply Kaarina January 27, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Wow! Amazing story! Thanks for bringing it to us! I admire Shannon!

  • Reply Sherrie Fudikuf January 27, 2017 at 7:01 am

    What a powerful podcast, really enjoyed Shannon’s thoughtful insights on the joys and struggles of sustainable agriculture. Can’t wait to read more of her story!

  • Reply virginia Sattler-Reimer January 27, 2017 at 10:18 am

    I really loved hearing about Shannon’s experience and her insights. I love her perspective on what skills rural american kids need to survive and thrive and hearing some of the nuts and bolts about the economics of the farm. Also love the talk about what we need and the negotiations we make with the choices we make. I love her fresh perspective reflecting that there are all sorts of ways to live a fruitful and meaningful life.

  • Reply Carrie January 27, 2017 at 11:17 am

    I woke up sad today but after listening to this podcast my frown is now upside down. I look forward to doing one of these patterns and tracking down a cookbook to do a meal. I also will have family , when up north see how close they are to the farm .

  • Reply Michaela Hitchcock January 27, 2017 at 11:25 am

    Great episode, as always!!

  • Reply Bonnie Klatt January 27, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    Loved listening to Shannon! I live in western NY state and think I might need to plan a road trip this summer to her cafe !

  • Reply Arianne January 27, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    I read her book radicle homemakers years ago and loved it. I am so glad you I terviewed her. I’d love to read her other books and am off to check out her book. Thanks for more inspiration, Ashley.

  • Reply Monica January 27, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    I loved this episode. I have been listening to a lot of podcasts about slow and simple living and minamilism, and this fit right in. Love the pictures of the farm and the philosophy of sustainable farming!

  • Reply Lisa D January 27, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Great podcast! So interesting to hear the process of transition with the family farm and the difficulties involved. Sounds like they’ve worked hard to create a wonderful life!

  • Reply Sarah Machado January 27, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Loved this episode. Now all kinds of ideas are circling my head about homemaking and living authentically. So much of what was said here felt right and true and real. Thank you.

  • Reply Erin January 28, 2017 at 2:36 am

    Wow, I love her perspective about income! “If I’m only making $20k a year but I can still take a nap, and hike every morning and knit by the fire at night, I am doing alright!” Amen!

  • Reply Cindy January 28, 2017 at 3:32 am

    Oh my, I was so excited to listen to your podcast and to find out that I live only 45 minutes away from Shannon and her farm/restaurant. I suspect we may know some of the same people, as my great-aunt and uncle had a farm for generations in Medusa, NY. My great-aunt Pearl knew everyone, and she lived in her own home until 104. I hope to visit the restaurant soon (Saturday 9-12) and I am SO looking forward to it!!

  • Reply Pat Herkal January 28, 2017 at 7:10 am

    inspiring and intersting

  • Reply Genevieve R Depa January 28, 2017 at 7:25 am

    Excellent podcast! Valuable lessens regarding family and farm! Best wishes!

  • Reply Debi Fenton January 28, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Love this episode as I love all. Look forward to each and every one. Thank you for sharing your life.

  • Reply Kelsie Doty January 28, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Wonderful podcast, thank you for giving your time and energy to produce them.

  • Reply Stephanie D January 28, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    This podcast is a constant source of inspiration! Thanks for such excellent work.

  • Reply Erika Bahler January 28, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    I so enjoy listening! It’s inspiring to hear how other women are successful and thriving from the farm.

  • Reply Elizabeth January 28, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    I loved this podcast and I love her perspective on family, farm and business.

  • Reply Louise January 29, 2017 at 12:52 am

    I love listening to woolful, and this episode in particular inspired and spoke to me. Listening to this episode made me think of how to be successful on the land in a different way. I grew up on a farm and could see no way of the land supporting me as well as my father. Many years have passed since then and the farm has been sold but perhaps I could approach farming for my meelf in a way that honours my father but Doesn’t try to mimic him. I’m waffling … But thank you

  • Reply asteride January 29, 2017 at 6:21 am

    Always loved Romi patterns. Now let me grab my knitting project.

  • Reply Vicki January 29, 2017 at 7:14 am

    I’ve really enjoyed this podcast. It sounds like a wonderful life in spite of the hard work to keep everything going. I hope to visit the cafe some day if I end up in upstate New York. For now I’ll have to keep up with the farm from the blog stories and purchasing some of your books. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  • Reply Sandra January 29, 2017 at 7:34 am

    I’m endeavoring to be a spicier knitter , I loved this story of family, sheep & the amazing power of knitting!

  • Reply Marsha January 29, 2017 at 9:34 am

    I am living vicariously through Shannon Hayes and her lovely family. The photos along with the podcast. bring it all to life. What a wonderful community I belong to.

  • Reply Christine Nordell January 29, 2017 at 11:29 am

    I really enjoyed hearing Romi’s story and seeing the photos
    I’ve been listening to back podcasts and trying to catch up on previous ones. I subscribed a long time ago but the length made it so I didn’t begin listening but I’m enjoying them so much and don’t even think about the length.

  • Reply a y January 29, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Thanks for another great interview–I think this one is going to be one of my favourites! Shannon’s perspective and philosophy are fascinating!

  • Reply Ruth January 29, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Very interesting – enjoyed hearing about the journey from blanket runs to yarn for knitting to barista lessons to farm to table. The ever changing world of agriculture. Every region of the US has a story to tell and Shannon did s great job of telling her story.

  • Reply Rose Y January 29, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    Another amazing giveaway and podcast! Thanks!! 🙂

  • Reply Meagan January 30, 2017 at 7:40 am

    I love hearing about how other people live, thank you for bringing this to us, thanks for sharing Shannon.

  • Reply Madeleine January 30, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Interesting and passionate episode. Thinking about the annoying comment a cafe visitor made about the cafe being a hobby, perhaps the woman was a bit baffled as to why a cafe would close at noon if luncheon food, such as quiche and curries, is served. Or perhaps I misunderstood and the lunch fare is for takeout, in which case it would be logical to pick it up before a noon closing. The coffee must be amazing!
    So glad Roma is doing another Year of Shawls. I heartily recommend them!

    • Reply Madeleine January 30, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      Meant Romi. Autocorrect prevailed.

  • Reply Kristy January 30, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    I am always excited to listen to your podcast, but this one was especially relevant to me. My family recently began farming Christmas trees and it has been a huge journey working as a family to create something special. We continue to learn and grow, but I loved listening to Shannon discuss the generational divide and the importance of being present in your life as a family. Thank you for this episode! I will listen again and share it with others.

  • Reply Penny January 31, 2017 at 8:30 am

    Absolutely beautiful podcast. Shannon is living proof that hard work and loving what you do should go hand-in-hand. Not easy, but oh so important to purposeful living. Such an inspiration, no matter your line of work. I am so impressed with the example she is living in full color for her girls.

  • Reply Maaike January 31, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Loved this one! Great story! Please sign me in for the give away.

  • Reply Joanne January 31, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Great set of interviews. Love Romi. So glad you introduced us to Shannon.

    • Reply Sunny January 31, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Well said everyone. Thanks Romi for introducing to to this thoughtful podcast. I really appreciate the time given to each person talking about their lives and their work. Working back with many podcasts to keep me inspire and educate.

  • Reply Doreen MacL January 31, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    Interesting family farm story and great photos too. Thanks for the giveaway chance.

  • Reply francesca February 1, 2017 at 12:54 am

    Thank you again for another insipring and interesting story. I really loved hearing about this journey to pick up the legacy and making it her own. But I miss more of the vice of this wonderful husband who is so supportive. I guess he is not only agood support but another driving force in this adventure? Especially I was surprised at the description of how she was able to support the faily at the beginning stage, where was his contribution? It sounds like a wonderful family and I would love to be able to visit the cafe one day 🙂

  • Reply Nancy February 1, 2017 at 5:09 am

    Again another informative and very interesting podcast. It is so wonderful to be introduced to all these interesting people that I would not have the chance to meet.

  • Reply Angela T. February 1, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Wonderful podcast! Great to hear her talk about her children and homeschooling!

  • Reply Traci February 1, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Such a fantastic story and story teller. Left me wanting to hear more. Thank you Ashley, we benefit so much from your work.

  • Reply Anna February 1, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    I was so excited that you interviewed Shannon that I had to listen to this episode immediately!!! I’ve been reading Shannon’s essays for a long time now and absolutely loved her book Radical Homemakers. It was great to hear her voice and some of her stories that I hadn’t heard before. Thank you Ashley for choosing to interview such a wonderfully diverse group of fiber-lovers!

  • Reply Ines February 1, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    It feels so good to be back, listening to this podcast and hearing inspirational stories!

  • Reply dorinalouise February 2, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    Shannon is an inspiration and I look forward to checking out her books.

  • Reply Robin February 2, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    My favorite episode so far! And seeing the photos really brings Shannon’s story home. Such a tribute to hard work, creativity and sheer perseverance.. thanks to Shannon and to you Ashley for bring these stories to us!

  • Reply Katrina February 3, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Shannon has a fabulous story to tell, thank you so much for sharing it with us! I was actually musing about what my cookbook would look like if I were to write my own after listening to this episode.

  • Reply Josh B. February 3, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I just discovered this podcast! Thank you for what you do!

  • Reply Angela February 3, 2017 at 11:22 am

    What a terrific story 🙂

  • Reply Susan Crosby February 3, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Inspiring , encouraging story. Her home, family, and farm are all so beautiful.

  • Reply Rachel Palfini February 3, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    I enjoyed her attitude towards a work/life balance and how the focus of life needn’t be on acquiring vast amounts of wealth.

  • Reply Laurel February 4, 2017 at 11:43 am

    This was a very interesting podcast and I really enjoyed hearing about Shannon’s journey. Loved her story and her candor in telling it!

  • Reply Camille Wieder February 7, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Great episode! I enjoyed hearing all about Shannon’s endeavors and how they all came about.

  • Reply Karen February 7, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Each of your episodes is better than the next. You embody the phrase “fiber journey” with your podcast

  • Reply Katie February 7, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    I loved this episode so much. Shannon’s story is so beautiful and incredibly inspiring. Thank you both for sharing.

  • Reply Alicia February 8, 2017 at 12:46 am

    Thank you for your story. I am working on starting a mill to process wool from farms like yours, to help diversify farms. It isn’t glamorous and I’ll never become rich. But it is fulfilling (and my village wants me to start a cafe on site).

  • Reply Tabatha Holtz February 8, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    I’m a new listener and adoring your podcasts! I love your format, very much like many documentaries I’ve seen or listened to. Thankfully, I get to catch up on old episodes and enjoying every second.

    I’m a long time knitter/crocheter (40 years) and am wanting to dip my toes into the spinning pool. Seeing as spinning wheels are quite expensive, I’ve decided to start with spindling.

  • Reply Sarah February 10, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    What a great story <3 It was lovely to learn more about her fibre journey, and now all her books are on my wishlist! 🙂

  • Reply Naomi February 11, 2017 at 8:53 am

    As always, a wonderful podcast.

  • Reply Cathy Wist February 11, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    I look forward to each new podcast you produce! Shannon’s story was fascinating, and a reminder that what we love is worth all the hard work!

  • Reply Loretta February 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I love that she’s found a way to utilize more of their farm products ❤

  • Reply Nicole February 14, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Oh I so loved this episode and I’m about to relisten to it!

  • Reply Sindy P February 14, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Lovely episode, and such a wise woman!

  • Reply Leslie February 14, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I can’t wait to listen to this episode!

  • Reply Kristina Nilsson February 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Thank you for yet another nice podcast episode! I’ve listened for quite some time now, but can’t remember if I’ve entered to win before.

  • Reply Anne February 14, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Listening to your podcasts always makes me happy.!

  • Reply Janelle February 14, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Oh man! So much love for this episode, thanks for featuring Shannon Hayes! Her cookbook “The Grassfed Gourmet” is one of my absolute favorites – I have yet to find a recipe my family doesn’t like. We raise grass-fed beef on a multi-generational farm, and learning to cook what we raise has been invaluable ❤

  • Reply Nadiya February 14, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks for another great episode❤

  • Reply Kim February 14, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Second podcast I downloaded on my new smartphone. Found the conversation with Shannon fascinating. Looking forward to catching up with all the podcasts!

  • Reply Emily Falke February 14, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Thanks for the great giveaway! Love your podcast!

  • Reply maggie February 14, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Really loved listening to this story! Will definitely seek out their little cafe next time I am in up-state NY, sounds devine 🙂

  • Reply Michelle Miller February 14, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Thank you Shannon for sharing your interesting journey! Spending time on my grandparents farm as a child taught me so many life lessons and I’m so happy you’ve been able to continue that Legacy while also fulfilling your own dreams of writing!

  • Reply Leslie Hocking February 14, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Love listening to these podcasts! Have listened to some more than once.

  • Reply Paula February 14, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    I’m excited about this one! Thanks for sharing

  • Reply Wendy Feller February 14, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    I always look forward to your podcasts! So many interesting stories related to wool! Thank you for sharing these! It really makes my day and many others must feel the same way!

  • Reply Yasmin February 14, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    I came across “radical homemakers” at the library several years ago and it gave me much to think about!

  • Reply Judith B February 14, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    I really enjoyed this story because it touched on the true feelings of family,business and real life. Showing how you face ups & downs but family- business and life continues. Thanks

  • Reply Myriam C. February 14, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Great podcast! Thanks so much!

  • Reply Hannah Welling February 14, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Loved listening to the podcast with Shannon…as a homeschooling, homesteading, fiber-farming mother, much of what she has to say is relevant to my current way of life. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Lisa W. February 14, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    What a lovely giveaway – thank you so much for sharing the stories, too!

  • Reply Rachael from Australia February 15, 2017 at 2:28 am

    Learnt a lot from this lovely lady. Always impressed on the level of ‘hard work’ that goes into an intentional and authentic life.

  • Reply Mary February 15, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Another lovely episode! This one was especially inspiring for me – thank you!

  • Reply Rachel February 15, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Beautiful and inspiring, just what I needed on this day.

  • Reply Julie utley February 15, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Loving your podcast! Thanks so much!!

  • Reply Kate Greenwood February 15, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Great episode! I sent it to my mother in law: she and my father in law have a house on Lake George, a bit north of West Fulton and I thought they would love to hear Shannon’s story and then visit the cafe and store.
    Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Erin February 16, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    What a complete and total bad-ass this woman is. Finally, a modern farmer who GETS it.

  • Reply MJ March 29, 2017 at 7:56 am

    This episode is phenomenal! I’d actually read Radical Homemakers before, without associating that book with this episode. Duh. Shannon’s work ethic and insights are inspirational–this is definitely one of my favorite Woolful episodes. Many thanks, Ashley!

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