Halloween may be “black magic,” but the real magic is in the beautiful fall itself. This is such an inspiring time of year. The brilliant colors of fall and light you could never create. You walk out the door, breathe deep and try to decide which incredible adventure to have next! One I got to take recently was a trip to the northeast to visit the wonderful people who spin our yarn, weave the cloth and put the luxurious “finish” to our Imperial Blankets. And I came away with the most unexpected treasure! You could never guess in a million years.
So here I was, driving along in all those states you’ve always heard about like Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, seeing the leaves in their glorious colors. What a time to visit! At the spinning mill, we moved through the receiving area, and saw how the heathers are weighed and blended, the carding operation and spinning frames, then on over to the twisting operation. Each time I find myself amazed with this fascinating process. I thanked the owners for the great work they do, and gave a small token of our appreciation — some beef jerky from the Imperial Stock Ranch. And then the owner reached under his desk and pulled out a gift for me. A 2015 World Series Baseball!!!! Are you kidding??!!! I could hardly get my head around what he had just given me. I know I couldn’t help the squealing, but it was so exciting, and the World Series hadn’t started yet! How did he get this?! Well…..they make all the yarn inside baseballs used in professional baseball. Now that would put a new perspective on the games for me!
You never know where twists and turns in the journey will take you. We will be making a custom blanket for a new customer on the Oregon coast in the town of Astoria. The Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa, built on the 100 year old pilings of the historic Union Fisherman’s Cannery, honors the Columbia River — the Great River of the West, whose famous salmon runs built the town of Astoria into the Salmon Capital of the World. How fitting that this partnership would develop, that wool from Imperial Stock Ranch and the Columbia sheep which originated commercially in the late 1800’s on the Columbia River plateau, would become the Astoria Salmon Blanket. Imperial Stock Ranch is the commercial birth place of Columbia sheep, and the birth place of Buckhollow Creek, a major tributary to the Deschutes River system. And Buckhollow Creek is the birth place of salmon.
Sheep graze the landscape, playing a vital role in watershed health and aiding habitat for spawning salmon. Sheep “tend” the grasses and provide the harvest which is then crafted into the Astoria Salmon Blanket, bringing this journey complete. I wanted to verify that the salmon who return to spawn in Buckhollow Creek on the Imperial Stock Ranch, have indeed swam past the Cannery Pier Hotel, and here’s what the data specialist for Oregon Fish & Wildlife Department shared with me:
“In response to your specific question, yes, wild salmon that return to spawn in Buckhollow Creek have come from the Pacific Ocean, (past Cannery Pier Hotel) through the Columbia River Estuary, the various tributaries, and finally Buckhollow Creek. It is truly an amazing journey these fish make.”
I think we should all be in awe.