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Posted 3/3/2011 2:47pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Dominique called at 7:38 his morning.  "Babies, two ewe lambs lambed!"  Sunday, we knew we would face the unexpected when Aaron, while shearing the ewe lambs, called out referring to the sheep he had up-ended and was about to shear, "Hey, you got a ram here." 

This ram lamb was polled meaning he had no horns and easily passed for a girl until you saw his testes (from Latin testiculus, the diminutive is testis, meaning "witness" [of virility], plural testes).  We let him go without shearing him as his place was with the crossbred rams; when we got the ewe lamb group shorn and down the hill we would catch him and put him in with the boys.

Shearing the ewe lambs, Aaron found three who had been bred (they showed udder development); we put them with the rest of the gestating ewes who weren't expected to lamb until the 15th of March, yet knowing these ewe lambs (not even a year old) could lamb anytime. 

Ready or not, the 2011 lambing season is underway.  Also, it may carry on longer than we expected as lambs can be born for 5 months from when we pulled the young ram from his paramours.

Posted 3/3/2011 8:00am by Eugene Wyatt.

Proust, when he's writing a scene, moving his people in and out of the action, as he does here in Mme de Villeparisis's drawing room, writes as clearly as E. B. White; but  when he describes the reflections of his narrator in the same scene he writes as only he can: in a fashion that is qualifying, parenthetical and nuanced as his syntax travels backwards and forwards—even sideways—through temporal realms. This is writing that I'm drawn to.  He writes necessarily; these long and complex sentences can not be shortened or simplified without changing the characters or their concerns.

Mme de Guermantes had sat down.

Her name, accompanied as it was by her title, added to her physical person the duchy which cast its aura round about her and brought the shadowy, sun-splashed coolness of the woods of Guermantes into this drawing-room, to surround the pouf on which she was sitting.

I was surprised only that the likeness of those woods was not more discernible on the face of the Duchess, about which there was nothing suggestive of vegetation, and on which the ruddiness of her cheeks—which ought, one felt, to have been emblazoned with the name Guermantes—was at most the effect, and not the reflexion, of long gallops in the open air.

Later on, when I had become indifferent to her, I came to know many of the Duchess's distinctive features, notably (to stick for the moment only to those of which I already at this time felt the charm though without yet being able to identify it) her eyes, which captured as in a picture the blue sky of a French country afternoon, broadly expansive, bathed in light even when no sun shone; and a voice which one would have thought, from its first hoarse sounds, to be almost plebeian, in which there lingered, as over the steps of the church at Combray or the pastrycook's in the square, the rich and lazy gold of a country sun.

But on this first day I discerned nothing, my ardent attention volatilised at once the little that I might otherwise have been able to take in and from which I might have been able to grasp something of the name Guermantes.

In any case, I told myself that it was indeed she who was designated for all the world by the title Duchesse de Guermantes: the inconceivable life which that name signified was indeed contained in this body; it had just introduced that life into the midst of a group of disparate people, in this room which enclosed it on every side and on which it produced so vivid a reaction that I felt I could see, where the extent of that mysterious life ceased, a fringe of effervescence outline its frontiers—in the circumference of the circle traced on the carpet by the balloon of her blue pekin skirt, and in the bright eyes of the Duchess at the point of intersection of the preoccupations, the memories, the incomprehensible, scornful, amused and curious thoughts which filled them from within and the outside images that were reflected on their surface.

Perhaps I should have been not quite so deeply stirred had I met her at Mme de Villeparisis's at an evening party, instead of seeing her thus at one of the Marquise's "at homes," at one of those tea-parties which are for women no more than a brief halt in the course of their afternoon's outing, when, keeping on the hats in which they have been doing their shopping, they waft into a succession of salons the quality of the fresh air outside, and offer a better view of Paris in the late afternoon than do the tall open windows through which one can hear the rumble of victorias: Mme de Guermantes wore a straw hat trimmed with cornflowers, and what they recalled to me was not the sunlight of bygone years among the tilled fields round Combray where I had so often gathered them on the slope adjoining the Tansonville hedge, but the smell and the dust of twilight as they had been an hour ago when Mme de Guermantes had walked through them in the Rue de la Paix.

With a smiling, disdainful, absent-minded air, and a pout on her pursed lips, she was tracing circles on the carpet with the point of her sunshade, as with the extreme tip of an antenna of her mysterious life; then, with that indifferent attention which begins by eliminating every point of contact between oneself and what one is considering, her gaze fastened upon each of us in turn, then inspected the settees and chairs, but softened now by that human sympathy which is aroused by the presence, however insignificant, of a thing one knows, a thing that is almost a person: these pieces of furniture she would have felt had she noticed on the chairs, instead of our presence, that of a spot of grease or a layer of dust.

Le Côté de Guermantes Volume III of À la recherche du temps perdu Marcel Proust, 1921. Translated by Moncrief, Kilmartin and Enright in the Modern Library Edition, the paragraph beginning on page 273.

Tags: Proust
Posted 3/2/2011 7:15pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Tom has been shearing my sheep for maybe fourteen years, I don't exactly recall.  He and his new shearing partner Aaron sheared 387 sheep in the equivalent of 2 long days. Only the crossbred rams were not shorn; their pelts will be sent to the tannery and returned to us as washable sheepskins.

After the fleece is shorn it is thrown on a skirting table where all parts not uniform to the body of the fleece either fall through the slots in the table (2nd cuts) or are skirted off, i.e. pulled away and thrown under the table.  Here Chris, Kris and Dominique skirt a fleece.




Video of Tom shearing a big Saxon Merino ram on Twitter via Twitvid.

Posted 2/18/2011 1:57pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Boy Blue Heather

 Gray Heather

Heathers: a dyed-in-the-wool black and an undyed natural white  wool are carded together before spinning.  They are mixed. in the card lightly so there is a variation of blacks and whites and grays visible along the length of the fiber.

We overdye the yarn gently such that the heathering shows through.


Spring Green Heather


Cinnamon Red Heather


Rain Gray Heather

These colors were over-dyed in limited editions of 16 skeins.

Each worsted skein weighs 2 ounces (50 grams) and it is 140 yards in length; the wool comes from our superfine Saxon Merino sheep and is hand-dyed with natural colors on the farm.  Expect 5-6.5 stitches per inch using US 5-8/3.75-5.25 mm needles.

Available from the Heather Department of the Yarn Store.

Posted 2/17/2011 10:00am by Eugene Wyatt.

Marvelous sentence. The transcendence from Marcel at l'Opéra to his remembrance of summer afternoons as a boy walking along what was called Le Côté de Guermantes (the Guermantes way), so named because the Guermantes family had a summer house on the river Vivonne near where Marcel's family, who vacationed in Combray, often took their  Sunday walks, epitomises his desire  to recall the past as portrayed throughout the novel and made manifest here as Proust's sentence closes. 

…I would rather have had their opinion of Phèdre than that of the greatest critic in the world.  For in his I should have found merely intelligence, an intelligence superior to my own but similar in kind.

But what the Duchesse and Princesse de Guermantes might think, an opinion which would have furnished me with an invaluable clue to the nature of these two poetic creatures, I imagined with the aid of their names, I endowed with an irrational charm, and, with the thirst and the longing of a fever-stricken patient, what I demanded that their opinion of Phèdre should yield to me was the charm of the summer afternoons that I had spent wandering along the Guermantes way.

Le Côté de Guermantes Volume III of À la recherche du temps perdu Marcel Proust, 1921. Translated by Moncrief, Kilmartin and Enright.

Tags: Proust
Posted 2/15/2011 9:04pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Marcel goes to l'Opéra where he divides his attention between watching the actress Berma (a character based on Sarah Bernhardt) perform in Racine's Phèdre and paying earnest attention to the Duchesse de Guermantes and the audience in the boxes surrounding her.

…while an effort as painstaking as it must have been costly to imitate the clothes and style of the Duchesse de Guermantes only made Mme de Cambremerer look like some provincial schoolgirl, mounted on wires, rigid, erect, desiccated, angular, with a plume of raven's feathers stuck vertically in her hair.

Perhaps she was out of place in a theatre in which it was only with the brightest stars of the season that the boxes (even those in the highest tier, which from below seemed like great hampers studded with human flowers and attached to the ceiling of the auditorium by the red cords of their plush-covered partitions) composed an ephemeral panorama which deaths, scandals, illnesses, quarrels would soon alter, but which this evening was held motionless by attentiveness, heat, dizziness, dust, elegance and boredom, in the sort of eternal tragic instant of unconscious expectancy and calm torpor which, in retrospect, seems always to have preceded the explosion of a bomb or the first flicker of a fire.

Le Côté de Guermantes Volume III of À la recherche du temps perdu Marcel Proust, 1921. Translated by Moncrief, Kilmartin, Enright and me.

Tags: Proust
Posted 2/14/2011 6:49pm by Eugene Wyatt.

This is what happens when you add Iron to a Cutch pot and let it steep for 15 minutes; it changes the butterscotch Cutch into a  mellow brown—I've never seen this color before—it's the universal in the particular, as it get smaller it gets larger if you understand Derrida as I'd like to.

This color was dyed in a limited editions of 16 skeins.

Each worsted skein weighs 2 ounces (50 grams) and it is 140 yards in length; the wool comes from our superfine Saxon Merino sheep and is hand-dyed with natural colors on the farm.  Expect 5-6.5 stitches per inch using US 5-8/3.75-5.25 mm needles.

Available from the Yarn Store.

Posted 2/10/2011 7:40pm by Eugene Wyatt.

This is a pure Cutch.  It is a delicate color to dye; you must not boil it or the color flattens out and if you want it darker, leave it overnight to cool in the dye pot.

This color was dyed in a limited editions of 16 skeins.

Each worsted skein weighs 2 ounces (50 grams) and it is 140 yards in length; the wool comes from our superfine Saxon Merino sheep and is hand-dyed with natural colors on the farm.  Expect 5-6.5 stitches per inch using US 5-8/3.75-5.25 mm needles.

Available from the Yarn Store.

Posted 2/10/2011 8:46am by Eugene Wyatt.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced the plan for a Bill of Social and Economic Rights in the State of the Union address broadcast on January 11, 1944.

People have a human right not to be hungry or malnourished in this age of abundance.

Speaker of the House John Boehner just rolled over in his Sun Spa to tan his back side.

Posted 2/10/2011 8:15am by Eugene Wyatt.
Eugene Wyatt
“What for a poor man is a crust, for a rich man is a securitized asset...” Capital's conundrum: to love as we kill.