Tag Archives: Scotland


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.