Field Trip to Fancy Fibers Farm

FancyFibersFarmJuly2010_009Today my local knitting group In Stitches in McKinney took a field trip to Fancy Fibers Farm near, fittingly, Farmersville, TX. Mary Berry, a fiber enthusiast gone wild, gave our group of kids and adults a guided tour of the pastures and their fuzzy inhabitants, a collection of sheep, goats, alpaca, guard dogs, and (token non-fuzzies) chickens.

FancyFibersFarmJuly2010_039 FancyFibersFarmJuly2010_015FancyFibersFarmJuly2010_013FancyFibersFarmJuly2010_005 FancyFibersFarmJuly2010_020

Mary must have deep stores of patience, as her talk was punctuated by correcting errant quadruped and little-kid behavior. It’s a pity kids don’t come with horn handles like the goats do, hee hee.  FancyFibersFarmJuly2010_010

On the other hand kids don’t leap as high, hooves flying.

If only we had touch cameras, I could share the soft cuddlyness of this baby Nigora named Han Solo. Only five weeks old…aww.FancyFibersFarmJuly2010_017

Somehow the alpaca hFancyFibersFarmJuly2010_019ad been a major draw for me, never having met an alpaca, but the goats and sheep were friendlier and more pettable. These guys were skittish and reputed to spit – no thanks! They sure are interesting to look at, though.



Hmm, does this shot remind anyone else of the final scene in Close Encounters?



After the field tour, the humans and other animals moseyed back toward the fiber FancyFibersFarmJuly2010_036FancyFibersFarmJuly2010_044FancyFibersFarmJuly2010_042processing building, where we saw angora rabbits, English bunnies, some German ones I think, plus two mouser cats and oh yes, wool, roving, devices for getting pasture pieces out of wool, a spinning wheel, dyes, a weaving loom, and more. Mary does it all, from lanolin-greasy wool to gorgeous yarns. Once a month she invites people in to dye yarn or roving too, with her instruction. The experience gave us knitters a new appreciation for expensive, hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn. Wow, so much work, but it’s surely Mary’s passion. Thanks to Mary for the tour and to Sarah Dedman for organizing this fun day!

P.S. I even bought farm fresh eggs! Who wants a blue/green omelette? FancyFibersFarmEggsJuly2010_002 : , , , , , ,

Irish dance events in April

There are several great opportunities in April, hope to see you at one more more!

April has two céilís and a new class in store for you. The usual first Sunday dancing at Trinity Hall moved to the 11th, a week from tomorrow, to make way for the Easter bunny. Enjoy your chocolate eggs, and dance them off the next Sunday. A new session of Irish set dancing classes in McKinney starts April 21. We’ve had a great time with the Kilfenora Plain Set and the Antrim Square. Finally, we’re back at the ArtCentre of Plano for the SCMA Céilí on April 24. Celebrate spring by kicking up your heels!

Trinity Hall Dallas – Céilí with the Lone Star Céilí Band

Dance in a wonderful pub to awesome trad with talented local dancers. Beginners are welcomed and whirled around the dance floor. Join us!

Date: Sunday, April 11, 2010

Time: 3:00pm – 6:00pm

Location: Trinity Hall Irish Pub at Mockingbird Station

5321 E. Mockingbird Ln, Dallas, TX 75206


Cost: Free! (Please do support the pub.)

Music: The Lone Star Céilí Band

Dances: Antrim Square Set, Connemara Set, Sliabh Luachra Set

4-Hand Reel, Fairy Reel, Rince Fada … what else would you like? Email me!

Irish Set Dance Class in McKinney – April 21 to May 26, 2010

Learn new dances, fancy footwork and smooth out any kinks in the ladies’ chain.
Register now! Bring a friend, spouse, a young dancer age 12 and up, or just yourself. You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy set dancing; you only need happy feet and a playful spirit!

Class Code: 131525-A3

Dates: Apr 21 – May 26

Day / Time: Wednesdays, 7:30pm- 8:30pm

Location: McKinney Community Center, 2001 South Central Expy.

(a little north of 121, east side of I-75)

Fees: $31 Resident/$35 Non-Resident

Age: 12yr. & up

To register: call 972-547-2690 or visit

SCMA Celtic Céilí – April 24, 2010

Seems like forever since we’ve danced at the ArtCentre, doesn’t it? There will only be one more céilí here until we break for the summer, so don’t miss it!

Date: Saturday, April 24, 2010

Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Location: ArtCentre of Plano

1039 East 15th St., Plano, TX 75074

Cost: $7 ($5 for SCMA members)


Dances: Now taking requests!

Technorati : ceili, dance, irish, music, set : ceili, dance, , , set

Ceili Sat Feb 20th!

SCMA Celtic Céilí – February 20, 2010

Date: Saturday, February 20, 2010

Time: 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Location: ArtCentre of Plano

1039 East 15th St., Plano, TX 75074

Cost: $7 ($5 for SCMA members)



Please take a few minutes to look over the notes and watch the videos, so we can spend more time dancing and less time talking. Psst, print a copy and use them as cheat notes at the céilí — that’s allowed. 🙂

  • Ballyvourney Jig Set, the one with the A, B, and D parts that stay the same and the C that changes.

videos: Figures 1-5:


  • Derradda Set — This will be new to the local crowd, but it’s easy. Take a look & print the notes.

videos: Figure 1:

Figure 2:

Figure 3:


Technorati : Irish, dance : , dance

Video the Vote 2006

What are you doing this election day? If you’ve already voted and you’ve got some time and a video camera how about joining Video the Vote and documenting what’s happening at your local polling stations.

I started out this morning with camera and tripod in the trunk and geek badge around my neck and went to two of the polling places on the way to work.

Here in Plano, TX things started out very quietly near my house (where I would have voted if I hadn’t already done so last Friday) and at the location I voted last week.

Continue reading “Video the Vote 2006”

October 19th set dance workshop

Maldon Meehan & Ronan Regan will be in the Plano, TX area Thursday, October 19th and have offered to teach a workshop on the Connemara Set and steps that go with it. If you haven’t seen set dancing and the fancy footwork that can be added to spice it up, take a look at this video showing some of the Clare Plain set.

You won’t be expected to dance like that by the end of the workshop, but you will learn the figures in the Connemara Set and basics of the steps that go with it. It’s a lively and quite popular set.

The location for the workshop has not yet been determined and depends entirely on how many people can attend and what studios are available. It will most likely be held in the Plano area. The workshop will run from 7:00 – 9:00pm and will cost $15 per person.

If you are interested and can plan to attend the workshop please contact us as soon as possible so we can determine how much space we’ll need. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn a fun dance from two talented instructors; don’t miss it!

If you know someone who might be interested in this workshop, please pass the word on.

Continue reading “October 19th set dance workshop”

Palm TX user review

A little over a week ago wifey and I broke down and bought two Palm TX’s as anniversary presents for ourselves to replace our aging Sony Clie T615’s. You know you’ve turned into an old married couple when you buy gadgets for your 16th anniversary. On the other hand I took her out on a day long date on the actual day so there’s still romance there :-).

I know that Palm spells the name of this new device Palm T|X but I and wifey much prefer just "Palm TX". It’s the Texas Palm. Unfortunately it’s not nearly as big feature-wise.

In general we both like them. There are some things we really like (built-in wifi, larger screen) and some we don’t. They’re all detailed below.

Continue reading “Palm TX user review”