Fall Harvest


I  must admit, autumn is my favorite time of year.  By late August, summer’s familiar green backdrop becomes tiresome.   When September rolls around,   I love that each day adds a new splash color to the maples on the ridgeline or on the verge of the pasture.  As the month unfolds, the colors become more vibrant.   The sheep become giddy as the temperatures drop, springing across the pasture for no apparent reason.

Attending the Eastern States Exposition (a.k.a. the Big E) is a favorite fall ritual for me and for many living in the Northeast and especially western Massachusetts.  Vying for blue ribbons, farms from throughout the Northeast display the best of what they produce in competitions ranging from livestock shows(dairy cattle, beefers, sheep llamas, alpacas) to agricultural product showcases featuring anything  from  Christmas trees to wool . . .

This year, as in year’s past,  I gathered bags of the best of my fall harvest,  seven freshly shorn fleeces from my flock to  the fleece competion.    After the miserable events earlier this month, my enthusiasm for anything sheep related had ebbed to an all-time low.  I almost didn’t bother with the fleece show.   

Imagine my surprise when, late afternoon on the day of competition,  I checked the results via cell phone while driving down I91.   Cheryl, the show official, recited the show results for the various categories I had entered:   blue and red ribbons for the Purebred Longwool fleeces,  blue and red for Natural Colored Longwool Handspinning fleeces,  a couple of 3rds and a 4th in other classes.  Great news!  I began thanking her and saying  how pleased I was.  "Hold on, I’m not done," she said.  When she told me I had received Champion for the Purebred competition and Supreme Champion for the entire show,  I dropped my cell phone and nearly drove into the breakdown lane.  I didn’ think I had heard correctly.

But I had.  It was true.  For someone who lives for raising sheep and who loves watching wool grow, this was nirvana.  I couldn’t wait to get to the fair to see whose fleece had garnered the purple rosettes.

The top honors came courtesy of this little gal.


Allegrita – who, by the way,  is much prettier in full fleece.  "Grita" is a three-year-old Leicester ewe, daughter of Annie, one of my original Border Leicesters.  Sweet and unassuming, she had no idea what the fuss what all about when I came out to the pasture to scratch her behind the ears, to tell her I was so proud, and to keep up the good work.


Copyright 2007, Barbara Parry, Foxfire Fiber & Designs.  All images and content property of Barbara Parry.  Please do not use my words or images without written permission.