It started innocently enough. I had a desire to learn how to weave a basket. I was given a name. Alastair Heseltine (check him out ~ http://www.alastairheseltine.com/) It took a little bit of convincing for him to come out the first time. I imagine it gets tiring teaching basket weaving. Sounds simple enough, but having just spent the last few days engrossed, submerged, completely entralled by willow, let me tell you, it ain’t easy. Alastair was clear he didn’t want to just teach another workshop. I was clear i didn’t just want a workshop. We wanted the whole picture. We wanted to grow willow, harvest willow, store it till the right moment, then sort through it. While sorting it, you get the scent of willow in your nose. Then we drag it all out, imagining what we are going to create, and take it to the soaking tank, where we light a fire. It sits in that tank until it’s ready to weave. And it’s exciting! All the while you weave, the smell weaves itself around you. Like a magical spell. Obviously Alastair came to Linnaea Farm, how could he say no? So here we are, like 12 years later, growing our own willow, weaving more baskets than we know what to do with, sure they don’t look anything like what he’s taught us, but he inspired us. And inspiration goes alot further than knowing how to weave one perfect basket. Inspiration has lead us to try new things, to teach each other what we have learned. To really look at each basket that comes into our view, our hands tracing the weavers through the form of the basket. We are now committed to keeping this tradition alive. It’s been an amazing journey. We are ready to move beyond just us Stewards sitting in a room, weaving, listening to music, sharing stories and food. We are looking at starting a weavers guild, cause man, this stuff has got to be shared! So, Alastair, if you ever read this, thanks for coming to the farm time and time again, thanks for sharing some of what you know, for passing it along. For propagating our love of willow. We will pass it on.
With a little more time on my hands, i found the art of cheese making to be a pleasing one. From the hard working women on this farm who milk Jazzy, our beautiful Jersey cross cow, i receive buckets of fresh milk that i turn into an amazing cultured cheese. Raw, unpasturized milk makes the most amazing flavored cheese. However it takes alot of milk to make a little bit of cheese. And what does one do with all the whey?
Spring is in the air, putting smiles on our faces, dirt under our fingernails, and just helping us have an all around good time!