What a day of adventure I had this week when our spinning group gathered for our annual trek up to Thoreson Farm in the Port Oneida area of northern Michigan. The day was filled with fiber, friends and animals, including a yak.
The morning started with a deer in my front yard who was looking for a snack in my vegetable garden undoubtedly. The main section of the garden was fenced this year since last year I lost all of my green, leafy vegetables to a interloper looking for a midnight snack. However, the day before this picture was taken my husband had planted some corn plants in an unfenced section of the garden and I had started a new strawberry patch behind the greenhouse. You guessed it, no fence there either. I spotted the deer and took a picture only to discover later the damage the deer had done to the corn and strawberries. We now have fencing for the entire garden and the deer was spotted looking so longingly at the vegetables he enjoyed the day before.
This unexpected surprise slowed me down but didn’t deter me from getting ready for our spinning retreat. Every summer our spinning group makes the 90 minute trip up the Leelanau Peninsula to the Thoreson Farm now owned by the National Park Service and is part of Sleeping Bear Dunes. Good Morning America featured Sleeping Bear Dunes as the most beautiful place in America in 2011. Mario Batali spends the summers here and shares his love for this area on GMA.
The day was very humid and a mist kept rolling in from Lake Michigan and enveloping the farm with fog throughout the day. Every now and then the sun would come out and the fog would dissapate only to return a few minutes later.
The red barn in the back is the art studio where all the spinners gathered for the day, enjoying each other’s company and a potluck lunch. The Glen Arbor Art Society has converted the tractor barn into a very nice art studio for classes.
There are two small white buildings in the photo which are the double seated outhouse behind the chick house. Whenever anyone used the “john” they were to check on the chicks too.
The ladies in our spinning group gather once a week to spin, knit and share projects created on the loom by the weavers in the group. Some of us also enjoy natural dyeing and there is always something colorful to be admired and techniques freely exchanged. We learn a lot from one another.
At the end of our afternoon of fun we were leaving the farm and spotted along Thoreson Road a couple of Sandhill cranes in the grass hunting for bugs. We took a detour to get a closer look only to realize we were driving on a bicycle path that was wide enough for a car. My camera was in the back hatch of my friend’s car so I wasn’t able to take a picture when a group on bikes came along and needed us to skeedadle.
We stopped at Great Lakes Ranch as we headed home and enjoyed the delightful company of Jandy Sprouse and her “babies”. She introduced us to her herd of Tibetian Yaks that included newly born babies. The youngest was born less than a week before our visit. I couldn’t resist getting some pictures of them when one of the moms tried to get a closer sniff of these strangers.
I bought two balls of the sofest Suri Alpaca that I plan on spinning. This was love at first touch, the fiber is so silky that I was drawn to it and couldn’t resist the temptation of making something soft and luxurious out of it. Jandy shared pictures of the beautiful animal, a Suri alpaca, named Kokolatte. This is definitely another post to share with you later, so stay tuned.
What a great day with friends, fiber and yaks?? Yes, yaks….what fun!