24 October 2010

A truly fabulous day: the blessings of friends

I had a super fun day visiting with a fibery friend who drove out from town today with a specific mission: she has decided to make a list of "50 things by 50" (her birthday is in a year). When she was gathering suggestions of things to put on her list (cliff diving and tattoos were definitely out, she said) I suggested shearing a sheep – and offered that she could shear one of mine, and keep the fleece for her present. She thought this would be absolutely fabulous – and hey, if someone else wants to do the jobs I have to do anyway but considers the work to be entertainment, well, who am I to argue? :)

Today, she and her husband came out, along a friend and the daughters of the two families. We had a great time visiting while my friend learned to shear, with hand shears, the old fashioned way. After the first lamb was all tidied up, there was a second volunteer … and since the kids were all out having fun and nobody was in a hurry to go, the second lamb was shorn in a team effort by both ladies – while I sat with my feet up on the barn railings! This is my idea of a great day – someone else shows up to do my work, I get to visit, and everyone has fun! The kids played on the hay bales and went exploring at the creek, the wool was packed into bags, we warmed up with tea, and everyone headed back to town happy. I can’t wait to see what my friend makes with this wool – she is a superb spinner and knitter and will no doubt make something fabulous.

Just as those friends were heading out .. another friend pulled into the driveway. He had been to an auction today, old buggies and horse tack such, and at the end of the auction there was something that he thought I might like. If I didn't want it, I was to say so, but it was a gift for me if I did think I might enjoy it.

Gee, what do you think I said?

It's an antique Canadian wheel - from Nova Scotia, he said, though I looked and it has no maker's mark (not at all uncommon for these wheels). The wheel itself is straight and unwarped (not at all common for antique wheels!), though it sits unevely in the supports and there's one loose spoke, but those are minor issues and easily fixed. The flyer (the piece where the wool is wound onto the bobbin) is cracked and damaged and has no hooks, but I’ve tested the space with my standard Ashford flyer assembly (which is a ‘spare part’ type thing that I can purchase fully made), and it fits! I can see how to fix this wheel up and make her productive again – and I am unimaginably happy. I know my friend was pretty sure I’d be pleased … but I doubt he has any idea how truly, deeply thrilled I am that someone would surprise me with such a fabulous, much-wanted, and absolutely perfect gift right out of the blue!

Many spinners say that their wheels choose their own names – and this one most certainly did: she is Jacqueline (pronounced the Acadian way, Jack-eh-leen'). My generous friend’s first name is Jack – just like the beloved grandpa for whom my farm is named - and so this wheel is named for the thoughtful, open-hearted person who carried her from the auction block to her new home.

I am so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful friends. I love my life.


  1. C'est magnifique! What a wonderful day, and congratulations on your new wheel.

    --Tracy Glomski

  2. Wood can make such beautiful things! Not only does an antique wheel look lovely, but it can be used to make more beautiful things. Fantastic!

    A good day is a beautiful thing, too...thanks Jake for thoughtfully dropping one off on my sister's doorstep!


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