After leaving Kristin Nicholas‘ cool studio, I set out to my next visit further north. Originally the plan was to meet Melissa Morgan-Oakes at WEBS Yarn Store in Northampton, MA. Instead I drove up about twenty minutes directly from Kristin’s farm to Melissa’s. Once there, I was as smitten with her place as I was with Kristin’s. As I parked in her driveway, she walked out with – no surprise – a cup of coffee in her hand. Eager to see the chickens and Yoshi, I ended my phone call and stepped out of my rental.
Now whatever you do after reading this post, if you have the chance to chat with Melissa, take a class from her at STITCHES East this October, or better yet visit her home, do not (I repeat DO NOT) call her solar barn a chicken coop. Because if that building really were to be a chicken coop, it is one heckuva luxurious one! Here’s a quick shot of myself holding up one of the baby egg-layers:
Yes, I know I am wearing glasses and my hair is windblown. I just came from a sheep farm and was visiting a chicken farm. What would you have done? 😛
In case you have not read it yet, as Melissa held my camera she encouraged me to kiss the baby chicken that I was holding. Figuring “Why not? Life’s too short for regrets,” I did. But I think she missed it because you can see that I am smiling in the above photo.
Now when we began walking out of the chickens’ area and towards the house, Melissa told me to wait and turn around. We were at the base of a small hill and were facing the chickens’ barn. Melissa then called out, “Chickens, Chickens, CHICKENS!!” Immediately all the chickens that were out (the egg layers alternate out-time with the meat hens) began running toward us. I almost fell over laughing because they reminded me of little kids running to the ice cream truck in the heat of summer. Mixed among the hens were several roosters strutting about. For the life of me, I cannot remember their names, but those birds were handsome ones. Thanks to Melissa, I can see myself raising a dozen chickens!
Since I could not decide which picture I liked best of young Yoshi, I put all three in this post. He is a mischievous boy who loves having his mother’s attention. I mean, what would you do if those cute eyes begged at you all the time? Though he did do a bad thing and discovered a taste for cashmere. Here’s the look on Melissa’s face as she gazed at the tangled mess:
I did come up with a solution. I untangled and balled up the pretty yarn while Melissa took Yoshi out for a much-needed bathroom break. When she came back, she autographed a copy of her new book, “Teach Yourself Visually Circular Knitting” with the words, “Thanks for your
business VISIT!” (We had a huge laugh on that one.) She then let me take pictures of her kitchen and stairs. Her secret for the fabulous furniture? IKEA. I also adore her pot rack and already told her that I wanted to borrow her idea. If you click on the below photo on the right, you will see a closer detailed shot. I love beautiful function!
As we toured the rest of the downstairs, I gushed at the beautiful wooden staircase. It seems that the staircase and the deck (which wraps around half the house) had her husband and her hooked. Hands down, as a bungalow-style fanatic I would have probably plunked down whatever I could as a down payment if I had ever seen anything like that in Virginia.
Another item that I spied and asked about was Melissa’s dish soap and household cleaners. I noticed that they were the same ones that Kristin used. It turns out that Mrs. Meyers is available across the United States. Thanks to both Melissa and Kristin, I bought some at my local Kroger grocery store, and it is terrific!
I close this post with one last photo. The story behind it is that when Melissa and her husband moved into the house, her knitting group buds made these fibery chickens and if you look closely enough, you will see that the feathers are from Melissa’s chickens. So what do I think whenever I see Melissa? Chickens, Chickens, CHICKENS!!
Bunny hugs for now,