In Search of Tiny Yellow Flowers

I had not heard that Gabriel Garcia Marquez had recently passed. Here is a loving tribute by another blogger. His book One Hundred Years of Solitude was one of the most influential (to me) that I have ever read.

Mermaid of the Plains

On Thursday, April 16, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature (1982) took leave of this earth. I learned of his passing late in the evening while perusing the day’s news and was immediately saddened by his passing. The first thing I envisioned was Mexico City blanketed in tiny yellow flowers, as in the passage from One Hundred Years of Solitude etched upon my heart the moment I read and reread the last paragraph of what, if numbered, would be chapter seven:

” Then they went into José Arcadia Buendia’s room, shook him as hard as they could, shouted in his ear, put a mirror in front of his nostrils, but they could not awaken him. A short time later, when the carpenter was taking measurements for the coffin, through the window they saw a light rain of tiny yellow flowers falling. They fell on the town all through the night in…

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Spring? … snow … Spring?

On Monday, we went for a lovely Spring bird walk, Spring in all her early glory, temps in the low 70s! skunk cabbage

Skunk cabbage in abundance with its voluptuous blooms,

our first ruby-crowned kinglet of the season singing to beat the band, ruby crowned kinglet

a Phoebe singing Phoebe-Phoebe?-Phoebe- Fee-bi-ly! eastern_phoebe_kellyazar

Red-wing blackbirds “congaree”ing red winged blackbird

Several very blue bluebirds, my favorite – I want to weave something lovely in that blue and orange bluebird

Our first blue Scilla, white Scilla, one lonely daffodil, and our first crocus on last week’s walk.  crocus scilla


It’s been so nice that we’ve finally been leaving the cars out of the garage overnight, getting the winter’s salt washed away by the rains yesterday.  And then, woke up this morning to 2 inches of snow! and 27 degrees, requiring sweeping and scraping windshields before breakfast.  But all is forgiven – snow has melted and it’s back to 40 degrees and climbing, with 50s forecast for the next 5 days!


There are two w…

There are two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
– Albert Einstein

When my partner John initiated The 500 Hats Project earlier this year it seemed like it might be a miracle if we even received 100 hats from strangers in the Valley who knit or crocheted.  To have now received over 1000 hats is truly a miracle of generosity and we extend our gratefulness to those anonymous creators.  The project update is on the front page of today’s Greenfield Recorder – you can read it here .     Hats will be collected until the end of October at the many yarn shops, libraries, and book stores in the Valley – see that list on the 500 Hats Project website at  The list of social service organizations who will be receiving the hats on November 6 at the Seuss Sculpture Garden in Springfield and distribute them is also posted on that website.  Kudos to John, to all of the hat creators, and to the places willing to collect them. It should be a warmer winter for many in the Valley this year.


A Flock of Sheep!

A Flock of Sheep!

Some people get flocks of flamingos placed in their yards, I got a flock of (ceramic) sheep!  Aren’t they cute?

Tomorrow is the Fall Equinox. Cheers!

But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.   – James Whitcomb Riley

This is my favorite season – the pumpkins are piling up at the farmstands and in neighbor’s yards; the trees have a nice deep blush on them today; our winterberries have a bumper crop on them this year and should make the birds happy through the winter.  What are you doing to celebrate Fall?  I hope knitting or weaving are two of your activities – come by the shop for inspiration, and look at our Fall Class Schedule on the Community Page – we’re adding new classes weekly.

If you’re in the neighborhood, this weekend is the Fall Arts and Crafts Festival at Old Deerfield – just 2.5 miles north of Sheep & Shawl on Rtes 5/10.  Also, Saturday only, is the Annual Honey Festival at Warm Colors Apiary in South Deerfield.  Two wonderful events close by.  I hope I’ll see you!


Enjoying the world

“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.  This makes it hard to plan the day.”  – E.B. White

I am sitting on one of the most northerly islands of Orkney off the north coast of Scotland – my second home of Papa Westray (locally called “Papay” and all of 4 miles square).  There is no way that I cannot enjoy the world when I am here – a community of 75 who “play well together” surrounded by the beauty of sea, sky, and farm fields.  (We just finished 3 days of the eighth annual Papay Fun Weekend, with children’s and adult’s games, contests, and creativity, sharing of food, music, and dance.)

In the field to my south I see three “fat” sheep (looking like they could fall over because their coats are so full).   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI heard a shearer is due to fly in within the week, but the fog is delaying the 8-seater plane that services the island.  The sheep remind me of a strange advertisement I saw at the top of the extra-long Heathrow escalator last year.  3sheepadvert

Having worked in the environmental conservation field for 20 years, I now look forward to improving the world in my own small way by opening my yarn and crafts shop next month, sharing my passion for using natural yarns, knitting, and weaving, and hoping to help keep sustainable fiber farms alive and well.  In Orkney I like to knit with the local rare breed sheep’s wool (from North Ronaldsay sheep – shown on this website’s Home page – and Papay’s “Holmie Sheep”) and will work on designing a new knitting pattern for the shop.

Why “Shepherd’s Sky?”

Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

– Goethe


Welcome to my blog!  I’ll be telling the tale of creating a new career for myself late in life as yarn shop owner, fiber artist, and promoter of fiber farmers, fiber artists, and regional and fair trade natural fiber yarns.  I’ll also relate some of my travels and connections to places that nurture me.

Why “Shepherd’s Sky?”  Besides a connection to wool (or other fiber) and the fiber farmer (or shepherd), in Scotland (and the UK) there is a well-known weather saying:

Red sky at night; shepherd’s delight,
Red sky in the morning; shepherd’s warning.

In the US it is most often used with “sailor’s” replacing “shepherd’s.”  (You can check Wikipedia for more discussion on why it is often true that weather is fine the day following a red sunset.)  There is a nice reference to shepherd’s sky in the song by the Scottish folk singer Emily Smith called “Sunset Hymn” on her CD Too Long Away.  (You can search on you tube if you’d like to listen.)

The photo above is one of the red sky nights we had visiting Scotland last summer.

Coming Soon

New to blog posting, new to website construction, new to opening a yarn shop!  ALL FUN, but the posts will be delayed until I have a little more time for them.

Thanks for your patience!