You’ll have to visit our History webpage to read a bit about our past, and the Home web page tells you about the latest goings on. This page might change a bit from time to time as our life situation changes but, at the moment, we’re both involved with our critters, farm, and products.
We’ve cut back considerably on our volunteerism. In the past, it seemed like we had lots of time available to do things that needing doing here at home without cutting into the time we could put in on other projects. Now it seems to take us so much longer to get things done or maybe it’s the level of energy – regardless, we’ve decided that it was time to focus a bit more on “us” instead of everyone else.
Viv has finally (really!) retired from the pharmaceutical industry. Now the closest she comes to “heading off to work” is when she occasionally mans the shop where some of our fiber and products are sold. Mill Artisans, right here in Sherburne, is a great little shop that sells locally handcrafted gifts and also is the area’s local yarn and fiber arts store. The shop is usually open afternoons from 1 until 6 pm on Thursday thru Saturday. Viv tries to teach our Continuous Strand Weaving & now Peg Loom Weaving workshops on Sundays when the shop isn’t open but we can also schedule them early in the week (Mondays-Wednesdays) if that works better for folks.
Normally we split chores depending on the season. In the winter, Bob does the feeding – grain, hay, and water, while Viv handles the manure pick-up. Viv’s preference actually as she thinks she gets a better physical workout doing that job. Once all of the animals are “in” for the winter, it doesn’t take us too many days to work out the best “schedule” for feeding and cleaning within each barn. Since so many of our animals are elderly now, Bob goes up early in the morning as a double check and to make sure all have plenty of hay since it is the hay that generates warmth as they digest it and they eat mainly during the day. Putting the new hay out in the morning gives them the most time to devour it so at nighttime, they can comfortably utilize the digestive calories as they sleep. Evening chores includes feeding of grain and additional nutritional supplements as needed, more hay if they’re getting low, and manure clean-up.
Last winter was especially hard on our elderly llamas mainly because it was too cold for long stretches. Even though their feed intake was increased, they were in deep bedding, sheltered in an enclosed barn, and wore specially made coats, for some it was still too much. We also lost our remaining elderly cashmere goat (Evelyn) although she would cuddle up next to one of the llamas. She was 16 which is rather old for a goat but still…… Herd of llamas is now down to 23; 3 mini-donkeys, and 2-5 outdoor cats make up our menagerie. 2 cats live here all the time, the other 3 temporarily make our barns their home for days/weeks/months at a time. Our oldest llamas are now 20 (we lost Marengo at 25+ this past Thanksgiving) and only 6 are less than 15 years old; we expect we’ll continue to loose at least a couple more this next year.
While the weather is less conducive to outdoor activities, we spend time working on fiber projects. Bob made more user-friendly oak rectangle looms for Viv to use in her Continuous Strand Rectangle Weaving workshops to replace the old pin and cardboard units. And then the students often end up purchasing them, so just keeping enough available for the workshops is an ongoing job. Of course, he also has to keep making the two sizes of the full size rectangle looms to replace stock sold. Bob also made a convertible loom stand – it goes from being a table model to a full size floor unit capable of handling the large 6 foot looms many people have. Check out our Products pages on the website for details of all the things we proudly offer.
We have a number of fleeces that are ready to go to the mill but also more that need picking. Having purchased a small peg loom from a dear friend who moved to Colorado, we toyed with the idea of making and offering them for sale too. Since our friend’s wood worker wanted to retire, Bob decided to make them; they sold nicely at the recent fiber festival. Viv used most of our core llama yarn making up small rugs and bench pads. She even made up some sample items like a really cool jute baling twine door mat perfect for a garage or barn door entry – that took a lot of pulling power and the roughness of the jute meant pretty sore hands too. But it turned out great! She also used up all the plastic shopping bags in the house to make a sample market bag, and then there were a couple of circular stool and chair pads. The last “sample” on the list was a “rag” rug; this is being made while demoing so it isn’t done yet. It’s a cut-up terry towel but thanks to the shedding of little green bits of yarn, she will probably never use a terry towel agin in a project. Instead she’s collecting old flannel sheets and shirts and t-shirts to try out as “rag rugs”. Good opportunity to destash the closets.
Can’t forget the weaving either. While the woven tote bags seem to sell slowly, our first instinct is to not make them, but then the over-the-moon reaction by those that DO see them and buy them, suggest we should keep doing it. Basically now we need to get more core yarn made up so until the latest fiber harvest gets processed, not much can be done on them anyway. Viv has slowed way down (actually stopped) knitting and felting llama fiber hats as she’s been totally involved with weaving shawls and scarves of various sizes. Then they sell and she needs to make more. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there doesn’t seem to be time to take photos, or just enjoy being around them. What’s fun is putting together the yarns and patterns, trying the combination, then making changes (or not) depending on how it turns out. You never really know until you weave it.
In 2015 Viv added mobius handkerchief scarves to the collection; they were available for the first time at Fingerlakes Fiber Festival in September. And speaking about September, Viv taught both Continuous Weave Workshops at the PA Endless Mountains Fiber Festival the weekend prior to Fingerlakes. She also entered her first competiion with one of her weaving projects – a wide scarf woven in a horizontal mock cable twill pattern with one of our llama yarns (Silver King) which is 90% llama/10% sparkly Firestar. Happily it took the blue ribbon in that category. It was a lot of fun for the two days. As were the other three fiber festivals we “do”: CNY Fiber Arts Festival, Fingerlakes Fiber Festival, and NYS Sheep and Wool.
Never a dull moment at Rhodie Hill Farm!
Reminder, the one thing that we’ve never liked about some websites was that some people seem to “hide” behind their farm name. You don’t see people’s names – only a business name is listed. Well, we’re not like that. We are not building up a business to pass on to others once we’re gone. The business is focused around what just the two of us are doing so just like it says on our checks, we are Viv and Bob Fulton doing business as Rhodie Hill Farm. Our contact information will always be at the bottom of each webpage and you can feel free to phone us or (preferably), send us an email. If we are here, we answer the phone but emails allow us to respond whenever we are able. Since we live on a farm, our hours are not that “consistent”. And while we may have to resort to writing our email address in words here and there, to cut down on spam (bvfulton at frontier dot net dot net), it will be there. We just ask that you refrain from sending us photos or attachments without getting our okay first.
If you have any questions – just drop us a note.