Maryland 2018 – Day 5, The End

I have ended up with a third post to finish out this day (and the Maryland trip).  After visiting the beautiful old houses in Cumberland (this post) I went in search of more of the C & O Canal and planned to do some hiking before getting back to the motel in Frederick.DSC_0788 I shared photos of other parts of the canal in this post and the first post about this Maryland trip. This is the lockhouse at Lock 75, the westernmost lock on the C & O Canal.DSC_0796

DSC_0799      Turtles sunning themselves in the canal near Lock 75.

IMG_7053 I drove along some of the roads in this area looking for more places to explore and found Locks 73 and 74.IMG_7051Notice the railroad over the canal in the previous two photos. The railroad and the canal were competitors for business during the era of the canal. Repeated flooding and competition from the railroad were the reasons for the demise of the canal system in 1924. DSC_0809 I saw a flash of this animal as he ran under the bridge. This is the first groundhog that I’ve seen.

I drove on and came to a sign for the Pawpaw Tunnel. From Wikipedia: “The Paw Paw Tunnel is a 3,118-foot-long canal tunnel on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Allegany County, Maryland. Located near Paw Paw, West Virginia, it was built to bypass the Paw Paw Bends, a six-mile stretch of the Potomac Rier containing five horseshoe-shaped bends. The town, the bends, and the tunnel take their name from the pawpaw trees that grow prolifically along nearby ridges…Built using more than sixteen million bricks, the tunnel has been described as the greatest engineering marvel along he C & O Canal national Historical Park.” DSC_0816  I had read on line that the tunnel was closed but thought that I’d be able to see the canal and walk along the towpath. This photo seems typical of much of the length of the towpath–a beautiful hardwood forest and a broad path to walk. One thing that I noticed everywhere was the number of birds. I didn’t see all of them–but there was quite a chorus in the woods. DSC_0819 So I got to this sign and decided to take the detour.DSC_0821       Wooden planks crossed the canal.DSC_0823 The trail wound up into the woods.DSC_0826 This overlooks the town of Paw Paw, West Virginia.DSC_0837Viola pedata, Birdsfoot Violet.DSC_0841After hiking what seemed quite far into the woods I came back down to the canal and the towpath and saw this sign. From the looks of the terrain I assumed that is where the tunnel is even though the first sign had said it was open.DSC_0844I walked the other direction,  and saw this lock. The path continued around a bend.DSC_0846This was confusing. I assumed that there was a reason to make a detour and wasn’t sure if I continued to walk along here (towards where the detour sign had been) that I wouldn’t come to an impassable spot. Why else would there have been that sign? Or was I completely turned around? It was getting late in the day and my mind started to play tricks. Are there bears in these woods? I’m all by myself and no one knows where I am or will know if I don’t return. My phone battery is almost dead. There was no cell service, but I wouldn’t even have a flashlight.DSC_0851     So I decided to turn around and go back the way I had come. DSC_0854


DSC_0865No bears, but there were a lot of squirrels.DSC_0860 Crossing the canal.

I was disappointed to not find the tunnel, but this was a beautiful place to hike and a good end to the day. I drove the beautiful Country Roads of West Virginia (I want to break into song here) back to the freeway. DSC_0872 I hit this point at dusk.DSC_0869  It was dark by the time I got to the freeway and I got back to Frederick at about 9:30 after a long day. That was it. I flew home the next day.


Maryland 2018 – More of Day 5

This was the first part of my last day in Maryland. I stopped along parts of the C & O Canal on my way… DSC_0726          …to Cumberland where I finally found parking away from the touristy city center and I walked …DSC_0728     …to the Visitor Center. At the Visitor Center I asked about walking on the towpath. The person there told me that I would find more attractive areas away from town but while I was in town I might want to walk do a self-guided tour of the Victorian Historic District on Washington Street. So I headed out of the Center and started my walk, first seeing a few more of points of interest near the river. DSC_0729           Mules played a big role in the history of the canal. In the last post I mentioned 3000 mules on the canal. Each boat had a small stable for the mules at one end and the living quarters for the boat operator and his family at the other. The rest was cargo (lots of coal). Two mules worked on the towpath while the other two were in the stable.DSC_0737 The beginning of the canal system contrasts with modern transportation routes and the old buildings of the city. IMG_7019 This is the last remaining structure of what was once the largest cleaning and dyeing establishment in the U.S. and a major employer in Cumberland. I think that it is now apartments.

IMG_7032IMG_7024This is the Allegany County Court House build in 1893-94. IMG_7030Here is a view inside the Courthouse.IMG_7040           This building has housed the Board of Education since 1936 but was built in the 1860’s for William Walsh who served two terms in the House of Representatives. DSC_0753 This is the stained glass above the door. DSC_0757 The rest of these photos are in no particular order, but I walked several blocks and over forty of the houses are listed in the Self-Guided Walk Into History.  The house above was built for an attorney in the late 1890’s.DSC_0760  Built around 1890.DSC_0769 This one was built in 1890.DSC_0766Some of these houses weren’t listed on the Tour Guide or I just don’t remember which they are.DSC_0770

IMG_7044IMG_7047 1880.

DSC_0768               Built in 1855, now the Woman’s Civic Club House.IMG_7049                                                This house was built in the early 1880’s and known as “The Little House because is is the smallest house on Washington Street. The brochure says that this house “features a beautifully curved staircase and a Colonial Revival fireplace with a bullrush design in cast iron”.

Wouldn’t you love to see inside all of these houses?







Maryland 2018 – Day 5

This seems like a long time ago now because I am so busy with sheep and farm stuff, but I do want to finish my Maryland story. I left off at the Sheep and Wool Festival on Days 3 and 4. On the first day I had explored a bit of the C & O Canal System and I wanted to see more on the day that I had left in Maryland.

I had spent quite awhile studying the maps and the website to figure out how to best spend my time. The whole length (184 miles) of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is part of the National Historic Park. I like the National Park Visitor Centers and there are several along the canal, but I found out that not all were open. I decided to drive to the Cumberland Visitor Center which is at the end of the canal in Western Maryland. DSC_0733                                                            This map shows just the western half of the canal and it really should be turned 90 degrees because the canal runs east-west. I was staying in Frederick which is about a half  hour from the Potomac River and the canal. I headed for the canal at a place called Four Locks.

IMG_6980                In this area the roads cross back and forth under the railroad which also follows the river. In fact a lot of the story of the canal is about the competition between people who thought the canal would serve as the best way to transport coal to the west and those who supported the railroad.IMG_6984                   The railroad goes over the road here and the creek runs through the tunnel.DSC_0721                  I followed my phone directions and found myself turning off the main road onto other narrow roads that wound through the woods.DSC_0722                                                              This is a detail of the stone fence in the previous photo…DSC_0723                       …and this is the abandoned house at the end of that driveway.DSC_0717                    I found Four Locks, so named because the Potomac River makes a large loop here.DSC_0725             View of the Potomac River.IMG_6997          Rather than build a canal the length of the loop, the canal makes a short cut, necessitating four locks (#47-50) all within a half mile. DSC_0719             The locks were built in 1836-1838 and until the canal closed in 1924 there were two general stores, two warehouses, a dry dock, mule barn, post office, school, farms, and houses in this community.  DSC_0703                    The lockhouse at this location is available to rent for overnight stays.DSC_0711                    That is the mule barn in back. I read that there were 3000 mules working on the canals moving boats between the locks.  I found it fascinating to imagine the effort that went into this endeavor–not only the construction but also moving boats up and down the canals. I  hadn’t made it to the Visitor Center yet so didn’t yet have the full story.DSC_0714            Virginia bluebells.IMG_6999             After walking around Four Locks I wound a few more backroads to find McCoys Ferry, a crossing on the Potomac. That is the railroad passing overhead. Then I got back to the freeway to head to Cumberland.IMG_7004             This is Sideling Hill Visitors Center, a rest stop along the highway with a great view over the pass and interesting geology in the road cut.

There is too much to see so I’ll need another blog post or two.

Staple Gun to the Rescue

I haven’t finished my posts about the trip to MD, but that’s because I have so many photos to sort through. I’ll take a break and do a farm post or two.

Yesterday I gathered sheep to show a buyer and saw this:IMG_7176          Stacy’s face was split open to the bone. I called my vet and she said that if I wanted her to come it would be a couple of hours, but I could fix it myself. She told me what to do.IMG_7177                    I thought that the hardest part might be getting the old goat clippers to work. I found them in the tool box and after oiling they worked fine. That showed that the wound was longer than it appeared with hair over it.IMG_7179             Then I scrubbed with betadyne.IMG_7180                     Fortunately I had bought the staple gun (meant for this purpose) a long time ago. I had forgotten about it until the vet suggested using staples. She barely flinched throughout this.

IMG_7187            Nancy also suggested putting some kind of cover over this for a few days just to protect it. Since I haven’t worn pantyhose in more years than I can remember so it was lucky that there were some in the back of a drawer.IMG_7189              The most stylish sheep are doing it!IMG_7190                While I’m at the barn, here is a photo of the long-awaited work on the southwest corner where a lot of the wood is rotten.Foxtails               And speaking of veterinary issues, these are foxtails I pulled out of Rusty’s chest this morning. You can see on a couple of those how they had worked their way into the skin.

Maryland 2018 – Days 3 & 4 MSWF

This is the third post for MSWF. Go backwards in the blog if you want to read the others.

I missed the shearing part of the Sheep to Shawl competition on Saturday morning and, by the time I made it to the tent where the competition was being held, one team had just cut their shawl off the loom.

That was Spin City. They had a Scout theme, complete with cookies and merit badges.


I realize that unless you have a large screen you’re not going to be able to read the Merit Badge descriptions. Most have to do with becoming competent in skills of spinning, knitting, shearing, etc. However I particularly liked the one that shows a credit card and is awarded for: “Enabler (silver or gold). The requirements for earning this badge are: Teaching someone to knit, crochet, spin, felt, weave, or dye. You also must have ‘encouraged’ another to buy a braid of roving, skein of yarn, or spindle. Silver: If you have ever persuaded someone to buy a wheel or loom then you have earned the silver enabler award. Gold: To earn the gold enabler award you must have influenced someone’s decision to buy a farm,  fiber mill, or yarn store.” IMG_6873                The Fiber Friends’ sign said that they were “Celebrating the Royal Wedding with a Royal Shawl”.

Definitely a royal purple theme.

The third team was called Friends Thru Fiber and had a butterfly theme.

I was showing sheep Saturday afternoon and didn’t make it back to this area to find out who won the competition.

I mentioned in the last post about the opportunity to spend time with people who I rarely see.

20180505_081101               These are two of the JSBA inspectors that I communicate with via email a lot. Royal on the left, is the person who bought the sheep I brought. 20180505_133820                      Here is a photo of showing Serrano that Royal just sent me.

IMG_6923                 As things were winding down on Sunday afternoon I helped Royal load the sheep for his drive to Pennsylvania. That’s my two with their new friends.IMG_6925          Serrano in the trailer.IMG_6927               As I left the fairgrounds I took a few photos of the gorgeous countryside.IMG_6929                       I love seeing the farms and these old barns.

Back at the hotel…IMG_6933                   …I laid out my winnings.IMG_6977                    Stay tuned for one more day of Maryland adventures!

Maryland 2018 – Days 3 & 4 MSWF

IMG_6714                   Saturday morning I met up with a Ravelry friend and her crew for their annual tailgate breakfast before the show opened. They went to get in line and get organized for the day and I went in the back gate to take care of sheep.

After my minimal chores I went out to see the show. I showed photos of sheep at MSWF in the last post. ,but for some people fiber shows are mostly about shopping.

DSC_0562                   The number of people at this show is amazing. This was probably an hour after the gates opened and people were still pouring in. (I can’t help but think about the fool who, when I was involved with organization of Lambtown in Dixon, insisted that the beer booth would be the big money maker and didn’t give much importance to the activities for “ladies with the quilts” [did he even say ‘old ladies’?] )IMG_6746                    The main street. Food on the right. Sheep and vendors on the left. More vendors behind me and more in the distance.

IMG_6722                                                  My first stop was the Fiber Arts show. I was surprised to see this award for Best Woven Article on the shawl I entered in the commercial yarn division. This is Anderson Ranch yarn with a natural warp and black walnut-dyed weft.IMG_6730                                                      I had high hopes for the handspun V-shawl that I finished just in time for the show. It got second, but there was stiff competition…             IMG_6902-2            …very worthy of a win in this class. (There is a connection for some of you to this shawl if you read the card by kbdoolin.)IMG_6905                      I had also entered photos. (I had a whole suitcase devoted to the weaving and photo entries–good thing that Southwest allows two checked bags.) Another surprise!

After checking out the entries I started wandering through the grounds.IMG_6757                The main exhibit hall was packed with people. It’s hard to even get around.IMG_6742                This is where the t-shirts, caps, etc. are sold. The line zigzags a couple of times with those barriers keeping ordered. I didn’t even try to go in there on Saturday. Writing this post reminds me that I did go back on Sunday and bought a t-shirt. There were only a few left from this year’s festival. I must have left the bag somewhere because it didn’t come home with me. 😦DSC_0696             Outside the t-shirt building.IMG_6744                    The fleece show.

One booth had thousands of buttons, all sorted by color. I was drawn to the soap sale display. Notice that the wheel has two flyers–there were dozens of wheels, looms, etc in the Auction Tent. Saturday afternoon would be the auction of spinning/weaving equipment. On Sunday there would be an auction of sheep equipment.

Signs seen in the barns and vendor areas. This is one reason it is fun to go to a show like this–the vendors are all different than those I see all the time on the West Coast.IMG_6731

IMG_6734          Jacob horn necklaces.                   IMG_6917                 In the parking lot.IMG_6918                      Unique “flower” arrangement.IMG_6916   Speaking of friends, another great thing about this trip was meeting up with people who also raise Jacob sheep. Some I had met before and others were just names from Facebook. Now I have met them in person.

Maryland 2018 – Days 3 & 4 MSWF

The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival was the reason for this trip. I spent the first day and a half in Maryland sightseeing and hiking (see previous two posts). The Festival was on Saturday and Sunday. I think I have enough photos here for a dozen posts, but I’ll try to limit myself to just a few. This post is devoted to the sheep. One of the cool things about this show is that there are examples of several rare sheep that may not be entered but are on display. DSC_0523            Scottish Blackface.DSC_0594                  Lincoln Longwool.DSC_0656            Kerry Hill.

DSC_0664       Leicester Longwool.DSC_0670                Tunis.

DSC_0658           Herdwick.

DSC_0672            Hog Island.DSC_0674            Clun Forest.DSC_0685              Shropshire.DSC_0692              Border Leicester.IMG_6760                And of course, Jacob. This is not my ram. This one had never been shorn.IMG_6718               My sheep were shorn in February which put them at a disadvantage at this show.IMG_6794            This is Jolene and Saffron waiting for the show.IMG_6846            Andy, who drove the sheep filled trailer out here, offered to show one of the ewes.IMG_6859                                                   He is an experienced showman, but I’ll bet this is the first Jacob he has shown.

IMG_6850                                                  My sheep place in the middle. The ram, Serrano, placed 4th out of 7 or 8. Jolene was 3rd and Saffron was 7th in a class of about 10.IMG_6864                     I hung around the Fine Natural Colored Wool show in case Andy needed help. This is one of Terri M’s fleeces. Color like a Jacob, but much finer.IMG_6886                 Look who was also on display. Making their debut, these are 50% Valais Black Nose sheep, the first generation in a breed-up program with the goal of producing almost 100% purebred sheep.


IMG_6897           Elegant and cute at the same time!IMG_6869                  Seen in the parking lot!

More from the festival in the next post.