October 8th, 2012


In which your intrepid hero gets a sunburn

Turns out that it is possible to do a serviceable job of a 16-strand herringbone handle plait after only having watched one video online. Credit to the guy in the video, who's an Ocker with a fantastic Strine accent and has clearly been making whips since the year dot. Very clear instructions. Here's how it came out.

The other thing I did this weekend was an adventure! That I've been looking forward to since ages ago. Y'see, I somehow know one of the sons of the people who own Stansborough Farm. Stansborough is home of the Stansborough Grey - a gotland derivative sheep that's been selectively bred until it has enough unique properties to register as a distinct breed, and which is unique to Stansborough, bred by Elf's folks. That's the cool part for me, but for most people, the cool part is the wool. It's fine, soft and lustrous (not an easy combination to achieve in one fleece just saying), and perfect for making worsted textiles. They use all the fleeces themselves (about 1000 of them a year), having the wool processed and spun in the South Island and milled/woven/textilated in Petone.

You've probably seen some Stansborough textiles in action - in such movies as Lord of the Rings. All those beautiful cloaks? Stansborough. So, not your average sheep farm then. But for me, the combination of Wairarapa (which I love) and New Breed Of Sheep meant I wasn't going to miss this trip for quids.

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I left Stansborough feeling kind of high. It might have been all that fresh air and sunshine, but it was also being made to feel so welcome, saturating myself in sheep geekery, being in the Wairarapa and on a proper farm for the first time in over a year, and hanging out with cool people doing fun stuff. I had a fantastic time, and I'm very thankful that Elf and his family allowed us such an intimate look at their lifestyle.

Happy had his first ever ride on a quad, which means that he's now a proper kiwi. One with very gritted teeth and a white knuckle grip and possibly a bruised arse (I didn't ask).