Here on the east end of Long Island, we’ve had a solid week of clear, chilly days, with nights dipping into the 40s (Fahrenheit). A precocious autumn, not unwelcome in a house that uses cobweb-spinning fans to circulate the air, but a bit unsettling nonetheless. Wait up, summer! Don’t be a stranger! We’re going to be indoors for a long time!
With summer fading so fast, I got it into my head that I needed to bust out of here, see some new scenery, and perhaps some sheep.
So last Saturday, which was Rosh Hashana, instead of sitting in front of a screen watching services, a young companion and I drove to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to see a man (and a woman) about a sheep.
This is the sheep. His name is Clark. He’s a beautiful boy.
Under the auspices of Prado de Lana’s Patreon, I have the honor of being Clark’s virtual shepherd. This entitles me to watch videos of Clark as he goes about his business as a doted-upon member of the Prado de Lana ram clan.
Clark has it pretty good, and the great thing about Clark is that he knows this. He has an air of contentment that beams out in a constant, I’m-not-bothered-by-a-single-thing way that I have really needed these past months. Pandemic or no pandemic, Clark still did his job, got his fleece clipped and his well-ram appointments kept, and generally carried on.
We met up with shepherds Amanda and Alberto Barcenas at their lovely Prado de Lana shop, in a flower-lined mews off Main Street in Stockbridge. It was my first visit to the shop, and it was everything I’d envisioned from seeing it on the internet. A serene, cozy space, full of light, with shelves stuffed with tantalizing small-production farm wools. A shop like no other, with a curatorial focus on rare yarns of character. Knitters of the Berkshires, I hope you know how lucky you are.
As we followed behind Amanda’s pickup truck on the 12-minute drive from the shop to the fields, I got a little choked up at the generosity of Amanda and Alberto, and the sunshine of the day. Amanda told me she was getting misty on the drive over as well. “I love showing people our sheep,” she said.
We came home on the ferry from Bridgeport, Connecticut, with families who’d had a similar day out, their kids playing on the top deck and making TikToks of themselves jumping high in the air.
I don’t think I’ve ever used the panorama feature on the phone camera anywhere except on a ferry.
It was a good start to the new year. A hearty shana tova to everyone who celebrates.
MDK Open KAL Update: A Surprise Prize
Kathryn Johnson, known on Instagram as @koshababooshka and in the MDK Lounge as Koshababooshka, got out ahead on making Jeanette Sloan’s intriguing Mood Cardigan. Kathryn’s pictures have been so inspiring, and she has given motivation and cheer to everyone else in the knitalong who is in the mood for their own Mood.
From Kathryn’s swatch…
To her FO…
To her modeled shot…
She has been the wind beneath our wing-like sleeves.
We hereby grant her the Babooshka of Valor Prize:
It’s better than a trophy: it’s cashmere. Two skeins of Jade Sapphire Mongolian 4-ply cashmere, which go a long, fluffy way, whether in Bristol Ivy’s Nesting Wrap or whatever Kathryn decides to make.
To all our MDK Open knitters-along, keep posting your photos on Instagram (#MDKOpenKAL) and in the Lounge. Look busy! You never know when a surprise prize attack will occur.