Bookmarks, the Amish and goats

Yes, these three things have something in common- Groton, NY!

Recently, Margaret heard back from a UK guild about exchanging
bookmarks, woven from rare breed wool. I thought I had some gray Cotswold but it turned out to be gray Border Leicester.
So after doing my homework, I chose Clun Forest for numerous reasons.
The most important being there’s a Clun farm (Rocky Top) in Groton, NY and we happened to be going there.
My in laws live a mile and half from the farm.
So having made arrangements, we were Groton bound.

Groton is lovely rolling farmland. Mostly dairy but there’s now a thriving tomato crop compliments of the Amish. Within the past ten years there’s been a big influx of Amish families buying up the abandoned farmhouse and farmland in the area. It’s provided a rebirth to a dying town. The Amish farm stand down the road always has the “English” stopping to buy fresh eggs, home made bread and, of course, Amish variety tomatoes. Yum!


My goal of buying my bookmark fiber was finally realized when my daughter, Kelley and my sister in law, Pauline, and I visited Rocky Top on Sunday.
Mary was as kind as can be and took us on a tour of the farm.
There were chickens, roosters, goats, cows, Great Pyrenee guard dogs and beautiful Clun Forest sheep. I’d never seen this breed before and I was thrilled to be seeing my choice, up close and personal.


Then there was Angelina and her Mom:


We spent over an hour with Mary and her sheep.
When we were getting ready to leave, Pauline started asking about the goats. Turns out Mary was trying to give some away, so ¬†they’re going to move in with the in laws!
Since they probably wouldn’t enjoy the 6 hour ride home in our car, it’s better that my sister in law’s taking them.
This is one of the two she’s adopting:


My quest to find rare US breed wool took me into the heart of Amish country, I met a lovely breeder of Clun Forest sheep and Pauline got two cute goats.
Who knew the first phase of the bookmark exchange would go there?
Now, I’m anxious to discover what other adventures lay ahead!

4 Replies to “Bookmarks, the Amish and goats”

  1. A perfect example of how many facets there are to our British breed bookmark exchange! For the interest of visitors, a few members of NOBO Handweavers are participating in an “Old England to New England” exchange. In celebration of the International Year of Natural Fibres 2009, an inquiry was sent and printed in “The Journal for Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers”, the quarterly for England’s Association of Guilds for Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers. The request was for a partnering guild for an exchange that involved the weaving of bookmarks of the wools of primitive, rare, and threatened British breeds. Some initial parameters had been set, generally using the British breeds identified as endangered through our own countries watch societies, sourcing wools from our own farmers/breeders, and using those wools in their natural colors. The Staffordshire Moorlands Guild of Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers responded with interest to participate. We are still in the early stages of the exchange so refined ideas are still be shared among the two guilds. However, mosst of the participants in NOBO have already chosen their preferred breed, such as Kathie and her account of a fascinating adventure.

    There is such tremendous opportunities associated with this exchange. To encourage awareness of the rare breeds and promote their preservation – demand for wool leads to the need for the breed. For some weavers to take advantage of an endeavor that will add to the continuation of the art of handweaving. To work with fellow artisans, from a neighboring country that is full of fiber history, particularly when it comes to sheep and their wool. For handweavers within our own guild to learn from one another and grow closer through our fascination with weaving and fibers. For other possibilities we will discover during the life of this exchange but I anticipate as varied, wonderful and fun as Kathie’s sister-in-law giving two goats an opportunity to live their lives together in a loving home.

  2. What a wonderful outing. Thanks for sharing. Will your Pauline milk the goats? I hope you’ll tell us more about it and bring fiber to touch at tomorrow’s meeting!

  3. I have farm envy too, now that I’m back home!
    Pauline won’t have milking goats as they won’t be breeding, so they’ll be pets.
    I keep telling her to get sheep…

    Margaret, I hadn’t even considered the part we’ll play in promoting rare breed awareness.
    Pauline and my mother in law learned a lot about rare breeds this past weekend.
    They didn’t even realize there were rare breeds!

    I’ll be sure to bring in Clun Forest fiber to the meeting.
    Mary, the breeder taught me that Clun’s pronounced like the sun, not the moon. Or is it the other way around? Darn!

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