Vacation at the end of summer became a punt.
Rambling seemed like the right thing to do. We went to Chicago, then rented a car.
Once, when we went to France as young marrieds, we rented a car and set off into the countryside. We made no reservations anywhere. The local tourist information office provided names of places to stay, and the places we stayed provided names of restaurants nearby.
We learned that we really needed to get to the information office by 3pm each day. Our options otherwise became more fleabaggish, and that was not fun. I am older now, less willing to trust to fate. So when Mr. E and I drove from Chicago, we had reservations for a night at Whitefish Bay Farm's B&B in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
Is there a spinner on the planet who does not know about Whitefish Bay Corriedale fleeces? I met Gretchen in 2008 at SOAR in Pennsylvania. I have spoken to both Gretchen and Dick each year *cough* as I may have one or two of their fleeces.
Four hours of driving through beautiful farmland that was just showing the first kiss of fall. Feed corn was ripe. The roads were uncrowded. Green Bay on the left, Lake Michigan on the right, with Whitefish Bay on the quiet side of Door County.
The farm is immaculate. The Gallery has naturally dyed Corriedale yarn for sale. Weavers, felters, knitters sell through Gretchen. One of Dick's two Glimakra looms is in the Gallery. One feels at home there, hosted by people who totally understand your fiber soul. The picture is Gretchen's garden by The Gallery.
Breakfast was homecooked goodness that included artichokes from Dick's garden. The walk down to the sheep pasture felt like a homecoming. An overlay of unreality mixed in with our steps. I had so often pictured the sheep, the farm, the fields in my imagination, that it did not seem possible that I was actually there.
The sheep come up to the visitors, looking for attention. They stand, pushing into human legs. The touch is demanded. Only ten or fifteen come up to inspect visitors. Gretchen cannot say why different girls come up on different days.
Halfway through the ritual, another sheep ambled over to me. Gretchen looked at her, looked at me. The random girl who annealed herself to my knees was Zita, the sheep who grew the fleece that I have bought for the last three years.
She knew who I was.
We drove home quietly that afternoon. I knit in the passenger's seat. The fields had that burnished green turning to burnt purple.
I'll be back.