My husband blessed me with a short road trip vacation with a friend of mine. We hopped into my little car with our bags and her spinning wheel, and I promised to drive the six hours one way and back as long as she pointed the way with the help of her spiffy iPhone maps application.
Our destination was the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon, where the fairgrounds hosted buildings-full of roving, yarns, dyes, spindles and everything else you could think of to do with animal fiber. It took a very long time just to walk through the amount of vendors and to just see everything. While there, we both took some classes, and also watched some of the fleece judging. This man, from New Zealand I think, was so impressively educated on everything fleece. He was able to just look and feel and then start expounding on the type of animal, the breed (he could even guess the cross!), the manner of shearing and the overall quality. He was also very funny! It was a jolly good show.
One of the things I did ahead of time was research the “best” places to eat while there as I prefer to avoid chain restaurants as much as possible. Oh boy, did we eat well…such as Thai food, burgers, pizza, wraps, and of course some lamb sausage at the Gathering itself. This was probably the funniest food we came across, though, all knitted:
Speaking of food, we meandered around the Saturday farmer’s market and I think there were three full blocks of vendors (no joke!). Wow, do I ever wish we had a market like that in our own neighborhood! Naturally, most of the offerings were organic. I picked up a basket of cherries that I enjoyed later that afternoon.
What I should have picked up in addition to cherries was some of this woman’s amazing rose petal jams and treats. The sample was yummy!
I mean, just check out how gorgeous her chocolate rose petal truffles look.
We were really amused by a small group of people that were walking around shaking canastas and singing “Saturday….marrrrrr-ket!….” This little girl added to the ambiance with her smirk and ears and fox tail and violin playing. And yes, there was quite a bit of tie-dye everywhere.
I was aware of the presence of at least three vendors who were either evangelizing or trying to raise money for Christian work. This particular one was selling jewelry and donating to the pregnancy care center where women could get support for choosing not to abort their babies. Ironic, how the current fight is for the abortion industry to maintain federal funding while the real support and care comes from women scrapping to sell hand goods to truly care about “women’s health”.
The funny thing is, while we were driving around trying to not go down a one-way street, in the middle of a conversation I lamented aloud, “Where are all of the street preachers, calling people to repentance and giving them the hope of the gospel like Paul?” And whaddayaknow, at that very moment my friend pointed to my left and there he was! I called out to him, “thank you!” and he nodded. Who knows if he was feeling discouraged just when I thanked him? *sigh* Jesus is amazing. And I was so encouraged that He was still active and at work in the world, not willing that anyone should perish. I really did miss going to worship that Sunday morning.
We did find a used bookstore during our stay; it was two stories and filled top to bottom. I was thinking, “great farmer’s market….great used bookstore…I could move…”
Oh yeah, and this bakery cinched it for me (the willingness to move thing). Seriously, this has got to be the best bakery I’ve ever been to. For some better photos, check out their website. Prepare to drool.
In between classes and touring and just messing around at the sheep gathering (and yes, there were hundreds of actual sheep there too), I spent a goodly amount of time just lying in the grass under the bright warm sunshine reading and writing. I almost forgot how great it feels to just lie in the grass with bare feet and a good book! It was an amazing gift my family gave me, this time just to rest and to do nothing (other than drive, eat, and shop).
One of the last places my friend and I visited was a huge rose garden. It was beautiful, but because the grounds had been fumigated just days earlier, it was rather much for our senses. But gorgeous blooms besides, and an enjoyable end to our trip.
I’m sorry to say I didn’t get even one picture of my friend and I together! It was really a very lovely time, and I’m looking forward to going again some year with my daughters and perhaps taking a friend or two again and their daughters. I am thankful for the time, and appreciate my family for letting me take it.