Sagebrush Day in San Miguel - Rumination

Post date: Apr 22, 2015 8:6:24 PM

Well, actually they call it Sagebrush Days...don't know why, as it is only one day as far as I can tell. Maybe there's some secret stuff going on the day before or after - anyway, Saturday April 18 was Sagebrush Days. Day. Days. So, I went with my spinning wheel, low-whorl drop spindle, and yarn and learn-to-spin kits. It was very much fun, talking to old friends and making new friends, and talking to people who stopped by to tell me how their grandmother, or aunt, or sister, or friend, spins or used to spin. And the parade was great, very much small-town, with antique cars, tractors, with horses, with even a miniature horse (so cute!). And a lovely kid juggling while riding a unicycle! I didn't sell much, and it is tempting to think, well, why do this? Why invest a whole Saturday? Fortunately the booth fee was low. And I gave away a few flyers for our ranch and a few pamphlets for the Livestock Conservancy. But if you calculate in the labor shearing and processing wool, and spinning the yarn and in some cases dyeing the wool, not to mention the cost of feed and care for the sheep and llamas - obviously I didn't do Sagebrush Days (or the Christmas Faire, or Caledonia Days) event for the $$. Why would people buy somewhat-expensive handspun yarn from me when they can get machine spun at the nearby chain craft or department store much cheaper, or (yuck) the synthetic stuff even cheaper. I get that, and it doesn't bother me. I can use as much yarn as I can spin, or sell it on the internet. Then, why do I go to these local events?

Certainly to promote our ranch. Also to promote the art and craft of spinning, and indirectly to promote knitting and crocheting and weaving and felting (and macramé, etc., don't want to leave anyone out). Hopefully I show them that it's not that difficult and you can get unique yarns that will then be fashioned into a one-of-a-kind garment or toy or household accessory which can be used or gifted with pride and pleasure. That's it, really - not so much to sell my yarns as to show people they can craft their own yarns. And to promote heritage livestock, specifically Santa Cruz Island sheep which is my current passion, but also rare and historic breeds in general.

And also, in my small way, to support the local community. San Miguel is small but growing rapidly - you should see the number of new houses under construction! - how are they getting all these building permits with water in such short supply? - anyway - and the houses are being marked "SOLD" before they are completed. Maybe San Miguel doesn't need my help, but wouldn't it be wonderful if people who sleep here could also shop here (Farmers' Market, where are you?) and be entertained here? Wouldn't it be wonderful if the local farms and ranches could support themselves by selling their products locally (yes, including wool and fiber)? Wouldn't it be wonderful if people who live here could pick up their fresh ingredients locally? How about more community events, a community garden, a library that could be open every day, and more stuff for kids and adults to do here. How about more tourists exploring here and being made to feel welcome? And more successful shops and small businesses.

This small town has potential to be more than a bedroom community for Paso Robles or San Luis Obispo!