Maria Wulf Full Moon Fiber Art

The Farriers Stories. Hooves And Cupcakes

I stood in the polebarn holding Lulu’s halter and scratching her ears.  Fanny had her head all but leaning on Matt’s back as he shaved Lulu’s back left hoof.

I felt bad, I’d let the donkey’s hooves get longer than usual.  When I mentioned it to our farrier Matt, he told me about Fred.

Fred was an old farmer who up until he died a few years ago would take his horse-drawn cart into a town just north of us, during corn season to sell his corn.

Matt said he didn’t have a lot of money, but he had two horses and a donkey that he loved.  He took the best care of them that he could, but sometimes he had to wait longer than he’d have liked to have their hooves trimmed.

Every time Matt would trim the donkey’s hooves, Fred would look at them and say, “Don’t they look just like some cupcakes.”  Now when Matt trims any donkey’s hooves  Fred’s words come back to him.

It took a while for Fred to call Matt when the farrier he used retired.  Fred called several people asking if they knew a good farrier and when they told him about Matt he asked, “How much does he charge?”.  They all said they didn’t know and he’s have to ask himself.

That made Fred uncomfortable, so he didn’t call Matt.

Then he heard of an Amish family who shoed horses about an hour away.  So Fred borrowed a trailer and brought his horse to them.  But they didn’t do a good job and when Fred saw that his horse was in pain he finally called Matt.

After that he always had Matt take care of his horses and donkey.

I asked Matt why Fred had the donkey, thinking it was a frivolous thing for a farmer without a lot of money to do.   He said that Fred got it as a joke for his wife Bea.  The donkey’s name was Cleo and there was a sign above her stall with that name on it.  But above that sign was another with the words Bea’s Ass written on it.

I don’t know how Bea felt about that, and neither did Matt.

But I get the feeling that the donkey and the joke were more for Fred than his wife. I could imagine him laughing every time he came into the barn and looked at the donkey’s new name hanging over her stall.

“Fred was a tough old guy,” Matt told me. ” He got his arm caught in a corn harvester and amputated it himself with a jackknife.”  But that didn’t stop him. “He even cut his own firewood, Matt said, “although I can’t imagine how.”

Matt usually has a story to tell when he trims the donkey’s hooves.

Sometimes it’s about experiences he’s had in his work, other times it’s about the animals in the woods around his farm.

Matt’s a good storyteller and I couldn’t help thinking that these are the kinds of conversations that farriers and equine owners have probably been having since the profession was invented. I like being a part of that tradition.

But something else happened when Matt told me Fred’s story yesterday. I feel like, in a way, I know Fred now too.  And in that way, he lives on.

I also know that from now on, after Matt trims Fanny and Lulu’s hooves, I’ll look at them and think of cupcakes.

Bud Finding Comfort In Jon’s Lap


Bud sleeping on Jon’s lap with the fire in the woodstock glowing in the background.

I was sitting next to Jon, him on his chair, me on the couch.  My eyes were closed in meditation when I heard Jon call Bud to him a couple of times before Jon was silent again.

When crickets chirped on my iPhone timer after a half hour, I opened my eyes to see Bud sweetly snuggled on Jon’s lap.

Cold enough for fires in the woodstoves, all the ticking and banging the metal made as the stove warmed up frightened Bud.  He doesn’t like loud noises, especially those that sound like gunshots.

During hunting season or when our neighbors slaughter their pigs and cow in the fall if Bud is outside then the shooting starts, he’ll claw at the back door to get in the house.

This morning he only had to be frightened for a moment before Jon comforted him and let Bud know all was safe.

More Of Suzy’s Shawls Coming Soon….

Suzy’s had spun wool

It’s almost that time of year again when I sell Suzy Fatzinger’s shawls right here on my blog.

She has two just about done and two more in the works.  As many of you know Suzy started selling her Shawls at our Bedlam Farm Open Houses.  When we stopped having the Open Houses, I continued selling them on my blog every fall.

Suzy (who one of my oldest sheep is named after) hand spins all the wool she uses in her hand-knit shawls.  Some of it comes from her own Mohair goats.  And some of the wool she gets from her favorite fiber artists.

That ball of yellow wool (with the ears popping up behind it.  I have to ask Suzy which of her animals they belong to) comes from my sheep.

We did a trade back in 2020.  She knit a scarf for Jon’s daughter Emma and I gave her some of Liam’s raw wool and a bump of yellow roving made from Liam and Rosemary’s wool.

Suzy hand spun the yellow roving and used it in a couple of her shawls. Now she has a little bit left and plans to use it along with the wool (in all those rich fall colors) it’s on top of in the picture above.

Every year when I sell Suzy’s shawls I post pictures and videos of her goats.

Some of you may remember seeing pictures of Larry her angora goat.  I was sorry to hear that Larry died this fall.  He was old and Suzy was worried about him having to deal with the coming winter.  He died naturally one night in the barn before the cold weather came.   Suzy said the other goats were sitting outside the barn when she found him as if they were holding vigil.

I wish such a death for my older sheep when it’s their time.

So far Suzy has one shawl in fall colors and two others in blues and neutral colors.  It will probably be another week or so before they are ready to be put up for sale.  As soon as they are, you’ll see them here.

Suzy’s Goat Larry

“A Story Unfolding”

I think it looks like a story unfolding….once you get your hands moving, you’ll figure out a direction.”

That’s what Emily texted me back after I told her I was having a hard time getting started on making some potholders and texted her the photo of the one above.  She was right.  And it was good to be reminded about the importance of getting my hands moving.

I can only do so much by thinking about what to do. Sometimes it’s just a matter of working and figuring it out as you go.

I stumbled around my studio looking for inspiration finally accepting what I was feeling instead of fighting it.

That’s when I decided to start small.  So I used the smallest scraps I had. They were in a baggie with the note they came with still in the bag. “Older scraps from my Grandma” it read.  “I pieced a double wedding ring quilt top from these…I had Mennonite ladies in Pennsylvania quilt it.” 

These scraps are really small.  Some too small to sew, the biggest are about two inches and they re all different shapes.

For the first two potholders, I used them for the center of some crooked houses. (kind of like how I was feeling).  So that became my starting point for the rest of the potholders.

Then I added a dancing woman to a couple of them.

After that I  added fabric to the houses that seemed to work.  I do like the idea that they seem to be telling a story, even if I don’t know what the story is exactly.

I only got these six designed.  Like I said I had a slow start.  But even just looking at them in these pictures, I think I’d like to make more.

Shadow Animals

Liam and his shadow

I didn’t bring my iPhone into the pasture when I let the animals out this afternoon.  But when I saw the shadows the sheep and donkeys were casting, I went back to the house to get it. I took these pictures.

Kim and her shadow
Lulu and her shadow
Asher and his shadow

What Creative People Do. Printed Floor Cloths At Bishop Gibbons

Some of the Floor Cloths hanging in the hallway at Bishop Gibbons

Over the summer someone donated a bunch of raw canvas to Sue’s art class at Bishop Gibbons.

When Sue showed it to me, she wasn’t sure how she would use it.

This is how it works.  When a creative person receives something they weren’t expecting, they figure out how to use it.

Sue came up with the idea of making floor cloths from the canvas.

Using a soft pad that is similar to using a linoleum block, but easier to carve, the students cut out designs and printed them on the canvas to make floor cloths. Both sides of the soft pad can be carved so the designs can be alternated to make a repeated checkerboard pattern.

I was moved to tears when the saw the floorcloths hanging in the hallway at the school around the statue of Mother Mary.

It felt as if Sue had brought the art room up from the basement and into the light where everyone could see it.

Here’s a few of the printed floor cloths close up.

This one makes me think quilt.

Full Moon Fiber Art