Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

WOOLEY WOOLEY

Wow, did we have fun today…….who would’ve guessed…….the largest sheep and wool festival in the U.S. The 38th Annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was right in our backyard in Howard County Maryland, near Baltimore. I went, expecting to see a small sheep show, touch some wool, eat a hot dog and leave.

Yes, we’re still at Nancy’s sister Lora’s home with her family waiting on some test results on Otter. Lora told us about this Fest and thought we’d enjoy seeing it since we both have an “animal background.” The Howard County Fairgrounds are pretty and large. And it’s a good thing because with many thousands of cars converging on this Fest and the need for large open grassy grounds to park them, we walked far just to get to where the tented exhibits were held. There was also an open wagon pulled by a tractor for those who didn’t want to hike. I couldn’t believe how long it took us to park and then I saw how many people were coming to see sheep and wool……….thousands!
There was row after row of barns holding sheep and every sheep product you could want. I didn’t know that so many people cared about buying raw wool, combed wool, washed and dyed wool, knitted wool, wool everything including baskets to hold wool. I really believe that everyone in the eastern U.S. who knits was there today. And of course, the sheep and the lambs. There were sheep shows, demonstrations on how to wash sheep to make them pretty for the shows and how to handle them. There was a shearing demonstration by the sixth top blade sheep shearer in the world. We learned a hundred ways to cook sheep and lamb and there were food booths galore offering lamb every which way. Barbecue pits cooking lamb were numerous.
We spent an hour watching really well trained border collies’ herd sheep into chutes and around obstacles and it was an incredible show of controlled enthusiasm of the dogs. They worked and worked and showed us spectators what they do for a living on the sheep farm. Needless to say, they got a lot of applause. Even though I spent several years in college around sheep, I had no idea how popular the wool was with the public, or fiber as the professionals call it. So many were buying large bags of raw wool and hauling it home to refine and spin and knit something special. And I believe that every breed of sheep was represented with so many new breeds for us to see and learn about.
Sheep dog demonstration.
As I said, it was great unexpected fun and a real eye opener if you aren’t used to seeing wool on the hoof……….or off the hoof as we saw it!
Spinning wool.
This fair is a knitters paradise!
Shoppers inspecting fleece.

A hand-shearing demonstration given by the 6th best in the world.  He has participated
on the U.S. National Shearing Team - who knew there was such a thing?
Getting ready for show competition.
Inside the show ring.
A winner and proud owners.

3 comments:

  1. It killed me to read your blog - I became more and more green with envy with each passing picture... OMG that yarn... I have 2 hand yarn spinners. It's been awhile. You know how to have my kind of fun!!

    Happy Mother's Day
    Evielynne

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  2. Looks like a great time. Thanks for sharing.

    Travel Safe
    Dawn and Denise

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  3. I lived in maryland for 23 years, howard county at that, and did not even know such a thing existed. Might have to give some of my family heads up!

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