To tell the truth, not much has changed for us in a world without social interaction. We focus on the ewes and lambs at this time of year. We have 73 little lambs, most thriving and gaining and a few special ones that we’re trying to nurture.
But even though social distancing is just how we live generally here and even though our area has had only 9 cases during this whole situation, we can’t deny the changes afoot.
We have seen a surge in meat orders as people look to local again to feed them. There’s nothing like seeing whole megacorp meat plants being shut down due to illness and contamination to remind you that local and decentralized sourcing minimizes the hands that touch your provisions. Personally, I think it’s time to consider that the consolidated model will be a problem every time a new disease emerges, and that Covid-19 will not be the last disease we see. We are running low on lamb right now
We have also gratefully enjoyed a huge surge in yarn purchases. Our 2020 yarns are back from the mill and I am skeining and dyeing like mad. We have a new shawl pattern coming up from KnittyMelissa that we’re very excited to launch. I’ve also made some gradients that will go wonderfully with the Vermont Maple Shawl we featured at Rhinebeck last year. We have more new patterns in the works, too!
Speaking of Rhinebeck, there’s a lot of “what if” out there about the likelihood of large gatherings like Rhinebeck going forward, now or in the future. I admit I am scared. I depend on big shows like Rhinebeck and VT Sheep and Wool to help me sell product. Yarn is tactile – people want to touch it, see it knitted, feel the fabric. I hope that they will adjust to a world of trying new yarns online. I wonder if samples would help – I used to offer yarn samples for $1 that came with a dollar-off coupon if you bought the yarn, but I never had many takers. Maybe now is the time to try that again?
More broadly, I wonder what the new normal will look like. We have had an uptick in lamb sales, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. Just like in the Great Recession, folks seem to be remembering that being self-sufficient and capable really matters when our fragile distribution systems break down and fail. I’ve never been more grateful for our freezer full of stocked-up food now that continued shortages are projected. Centralized systems for transport and food are failing and centralized spaces full of people are where the illness has spread the most. With companies considering whether working at home might be the new normal, now is a great time to return to the countryside where you can have the goats, sheep and chickens you’ve been wanting. Homes are cheap and much of the land wants for good stewardship and a bit of care. Supply chain disruption shows us that “city conveniences” have been illusions all along.