Quick Post

Quick Post to update everyone. Shenandoah Valley Fiber Fest was great fun! We took several custom orders for corsets and Charlotte’s schedule is filling up. Get your orders in soon before there is a longer waiting list!

We have turned Meduseld’s store to “Maintenance Mode” so that we don’t sell more of an item then we have. Can be tricky when we are selling at Festivals. We will turn it back on after the Frederick Fiber Festival and we have done inventory.

Speaking of the Frederick Fiber Festival, it is October 12 in Frederick. Check Meduseld’ Facebook page HERE for details about that event.

Happy Fall!

The Biggest Little Farm Review

Yesterday we went to the Alamo to watch The Biggest Little Farm. We felt we could relate to the day-to-day activities of this pioneering couple the Chesters, who like us, are trying to develop their land into sustaining cycles of life between the plants and animals in a way that enhances the quality of both.

We bought our 230 acre farm in June, 2000 and they bought theirs about ten years later. While the sizes of the farms are comparable, they seem to have had much more investment income, being able to do very large clearing and excavation projects.

But it is on the daily trials and successes that their story is so moving. Like us, they have predator problems. For them it is mostly coyotes, in our case it is an assortment of possums, raccoons, foxes, snakes and even the periodic fisher that eats our chickens and Bantams. A blue heron even drops in from time to time to eat our fish, and completely cleaned one of our small ponds of Koi. The Chesters solves this in much the same way we do, encouraging the dogs to patrol the animals in their care, with mixed success.

When they state in the movie that they planted over 75 varieties of fruit trees I had to chuckle to myself. Our vineyard has over 20 varieties of grapes, and we have planted about 20 kinds of fruit trees on a property that when we arrived only had only apple tree. We agree with their desire for diversity. Not only do most trees ripen at different times, but some will show more resilience to the specific soil of the area. It is this trial and error process that eventually leads you to the best varieties of trees and plants for you area. Doing this means that you can limit sprays and treatments that would be needed by a weaker plant.

They have solved other problems by seeking solutions that benefit another part of their plant/animal cycle. For example, when inundated with snails that devoured their citrus trees, they released their flock of ducks into the vineyard to devour the pests. Food for the ducks, fertilizer for the trees, and no pesticides. Problem solved. Many of their processes and philosophies echo Sepp Holzer’s permaculture methods, but his name, or the work permaculture, are never mentioned.

We try to solve problems in the same way. I used to spend hours weeding the hoop house (low tunnel), or seeking a safe way to get rid of pests like aphids. Now I pick up the phone and call Moyers chicks for a batch of Broiler chicks. They eat the plants and aphids and I get a fertilized hoop house and 9 weeks later excellent quality chicken. I call this a win-win situation!

The Chesters use this method to solve many of their farm problems, including installing owl houses to control the gopher problem. They found that their farm thrived on the checks and balances of nature and achieving equilibrium. It was a delightful movie.

We have been trying to attain this equilibrium here as well, but we are fighting against the stream. The predators that we have the biggest problems with are ones that have few natural predators to keep them in balance. Snakes abound, and the DNR released rattlers some years back to keep the turkey population in check. As a result the rest of the natural bird population took a hit. We haven’t seen a grouse in years, or quail. DNR states they are concerned about a dwindling Whip-poor-will population, but I wonder if it occurred to them that the snakes might be an issue. Years ago we scarcely saw snakes but this year alone we’ve sighted over two dozen and just this morning had an almost five foot snake in our family room. Still seeking to protect the animals we raise, and always looking for more solutions, just like the Chesters.

Meduseld Pick-Your-Own Grapes

April showers have provided beautiful May growth on our grape vines, and weather permitting we will have these to sell at the Market at Silver Lake Farms later this year. Next year, we will provide the option to pick them here at our farm.

Enjoy these pictures!

Sommerset Seedless Grape

Sommerset Seedless Grape

Concord Grape

Concord Grape

Traminette Grape

Traminette Grape

St. Vincent Grape

St. Vincent Grape

Chambourcin Grape Cluster

Chambourcin Grape Cluster

Wild Grape

Wild Grape

More information on West Virginia wild grapes can be found HERE – WVDNR

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc

Meduseld Expanding Wine Grape Varieties

Meduseld is expanding the varieties in its “Pick-Your-Own” Vineyard! We are diversifying the varieties so that homeowners making small-batch wines for personal use will have more options. This year we are expanding our Cabernet Franc to three full rows. Our experimental Carmeniere and Viognier vines did well on our soil so this year we are adding more of those vines as well. I have been transplanting Steadler Noir cuttings that I started last year. I am astounded at how much root develpment I was able to get from cuttings in one year!

A Marechal Foch Vine budding at Meduseld

A Marechal Foch Vine budding at Meduseld

We are making soil adjustments as a result of soil test results that we got back earlier this Spring, and hope to see improvements in the quality of the vines. We have been pruning vines and trellising young ones.
As time permits, we are also going to expand our vineyard, adding perhaps another half acre.

A pruned Marechal Foch grapevine at Meduseld

A pruned Marechal Foch grapevine at Meduseld

Once the vines produce their first leaves this Spring, we are sending leaves to a laboratory which will provide detailed analysis of the major nutrients in the vines and give us much needed information for fine-tuning our soil-enhancements.

Even the humble dandilion makes excellent wine

Even the humble dandilion makes excellent wine

This is not all that is going on at Meduseld! Last week the sheep were shorn and the fleeces are ready for us to sort and send off to the fiber processing mill. The Romney Bulky wool is always popular and we are almost completely out of stock, so I am eager to get more of that.

Meduseld worsted romney yarn

And, our seedling trays are bursting the plants are ready for transplanting. Spring has sprung, and we are busy!

What is Meduseld Farm?

Meduseld Farm produces a variety of farm products, and remembering that we are stewards of the land and animals, tries to achieve this using methods that improve the local environment rather than hurting it.

Meduseld is Anglo-Saxon for “mead hall.” We chose this because of Anglo-Saxon roots in the family as well as the bees that we keep and the mead that we make for personal use.

We sell a variety of products and many of these are seasonal. We grow a large variety of fruits and vegetables and these are available at the Market at Silver Lake Farms during the summer months. Larger orders such as bushels of apples and tomatoes are available seasonably at our farm – please send us an email or priavate message on FB. We also have yarn, maple syrup (if the winter was obliging) and lambs for sale that we can deliver to the butcher for your convenience. From time to time we have broiler chickens available.

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We also have assorted beautiful Koi by appointment only. We have Sanke, Kohaku, Ogon, Shusui, Butterfly and more. They vary in size from about 6 inches to over a foot. We have placed a champagne bottle in one of the ponds for scale.

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We have also been working on a one acre vineyard through trial and a great deal of error. Following early mistakes about planting, browsing by deer, and some setbacks due to late frosts, we have learned a great deal in the process. We have experimented with many varieties in order to see which would take to our soils and climate with the most vigor. Even this year, we are still planting and experimenting. We are adding more Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Viognier (the State grape of Virginia) that we planted last year did very well so we will add more. Our goal is to have these grapes available for a pick-your-own operation so that people can make their own small batch wines for personal use. The varieties we have at present are: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Marechel Foch, Traminette, St. Vincent, De Chaunac, Carmenier, Chambourcin, Gruner Veltliner, and more. Hopefully we will be able to start the Pick-Your-Own program in 2020. Stay tuned for updates.

Steadler Noir Grape Vine

Steadler Noir Grape Vine

We are also trying a novel approach to the vineyard. Adopting influence from permaculture, we are raising the height of our vines to five feet and over. Not only do we hope this will limit the damage from deer, but we hope to replace the mower with sheep. Not only does this provide food for sheep and save us a great deal of work, but the sheep would in turn provide organic matter to the soil. There would have to be considerations for this, such as no animals in vineyard for months before harvest, and very little use of copper as a fungicide since sheep are susceptible to copper toxicity. We will keep you posted!

Indomitable Spring

Behold, my friends, the Spring is come.
The earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun,
and we shall soon see the results of their love!

Sitting Bull

Rhubarb in the snow

Find some Spring-like shades of yarn in our store HERE!

Preparing for Spring

Snow is still in the forecast, but we are preparing for Spring! In one hoophouse, the Spring garlic has already been planted and little green shoots can be seen.

In the warmer Conservatory, we are watching some banana clusters mature. Hopefully they will be ready to eat soon. Tables and shelves are filled with seed trays with an assortment of vegetables that can withstand colder temperatures. We have been planting mesclun mixes, mizuna (a mustard), kohlrabi, assorted kales, beets, chard and more. With the lengthening days, the plants are eagerly growing.

Rajapuri Banana

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We are fortunate to be able to sell some of our produce at the Silver Lake Farm in Delray, WV. It may open as early as April this year. They carry quality locally grown fruits and vegetables including from their own farm, as well as many artisan products. Their lamb chops are outstanding.

New Yarns Inspired by the Great Sherlock

Cold weather is the perfect time to snuggle indoors with a good book or movie. This winter, we have been revisiting The Sherlock Holmes movies, especially those featuring the great Jeremy Brett. With those movies in mind, we have dyed a series of Meduseld Romney and Alpaca blend yarn inspired by the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. A link to the store follows each description.

These are all limited stock 200 yard skeins, but we may be able to take special orders for small lots.

The first is inspired by the Hound of the Baskervilles. According to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the predatory dog is covered in a luminous phosphous that makes his muzzle glow. In the Grenada movies, they show the hound in a luminous, glowing green. We have mingled this green with an earie mixture of browns and burgundy reds. Pipe is not included. Hound of the Baskervilles – Romney Alpaca

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Sir Arthur was actually not happy with his Sherlock Holmes stories and tried to kill Holmes off so that he would not have to continue to write about him. He set Holmes’ passing at Reichenbach Falls. After an uproar by subcription readers, Sir Arthur was forced to resuscitate his hero. This blue variegated yarn is inspired by the water in the Reichenbach falls. Reichenbach Falls Wosted Romney/Alpaca

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There was only one person who ever got the best of Sherlock – Irena Adler. In addition to her beauty and intelligence, she was a talented singer. We’ve dyed these skeins envisioning a dress she might have worn at the opera. It has wine colored reds and hints of antique gold. Irena Adler – Sherlock Inspired yarn

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In The Adventure of the Copper Beeches, the nanny is required to dress in an electric blue dress and sit in a window in order to impersonate the daughter who is being held against her will in an upstairs room. We’ve used a bold blue and a subtle variegation that hints at the shades the folds of fabric would produce when light falls upon it. Copper Beeches Wosted Romney/Alpaca

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A favorite of ours is The Second Stain, a sober reminder that what comes around goes around (if you are a blackmailer) and that if you are going to tamper with a crime scene, it’s best to put things back that way you find them. If you’ve seen the movie or read it, you don’t need a description. Fittingly, this yarn is dyed a bold red. Turn the carpet at your own risk. Second stain yarn

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Wisteria Lodge is our final yarn in this Sherlock-inspired set. It is dyed in shades of wisteria purple, and shades of green, and hints of blue. Much more cheerful than the plot of the story. Wisteria Lodge Worsted Yarn

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Stay posted for future inspirations in Meduseld’s store.

Featured Items October 10, 2018 – Corsets!

We have been busily sewing and updating inventory at our store. We have completed two lovely corsets and they are now available.

Corsets should fit very comfortably, so we welcome you to contact us about exact meansurements and fit. A well-fitted corset will feel much better than an underwire bra.

The first corset is a lovely civil war style corset. We have made it with a delightful pale blue silk and lined it with a pure cotton that has a delicate pattern. The corset has a combination of both plastic and spiral steel boning. The spiral steel is in the sides where it provides more flexibility for bending and twisting while still providing good support. The corset is made with a quality busk and strong grommets. Other advantages to this corset is that I have created the cups to curve back in toward the body slightly so that you don’t get a pronounced ledge effect under your garments.

Prussian Blue Silk Corset

Prussian Blue Silk Corset

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The second corset is an 1860’s style corset with gussets for a very custom fit. It will fit approximately size 12 with a D cup. The shell is 100% cotton Moire’ and the lining is a polyester in a silky grey. This corset has plastic boning, and has some hand finishing on the exterior and interiror. It has a sturdy gold colored busk and quality gold colored grommets.

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If in doubt, we can make a custom corset to your measurments and made out of the fabric of your choice. Please contact us for a measurment form. You can see all our clothing items here.

Meduseld Back On-Line!

Meduseld’s Website is back on line after being down for the weekend. Our website’s server, C-Panel, experienced a massive outage which affected websites all over the country. If you were trying to reach us during this period or just peruse our website we apologize for any inconvenience! If this happens again and you have a Ravelry account, you can still contact us through our Ravely account.

We had a wonderful Saturday in Edinburg and met many delightful people. We ran out of business cards and our small magazine. Lots of people were eager for information on the custom clothing and corsets we are now making.

In particular there were people who approached us about the custom corsets due to back, posture, or comfort issues. I explained to people how wearing a corset had solved my umbilical hernia problem (seven children….)

Silk Victorian Style Corset

Silk Victorian Style Corset


We talked frequently about the book by Sarah A. Chrisman Victorian Secrets The author does extensive research and dubunks a lot of myths about corsets. Interesting reading.

(I recognize that some people may be uncomfortable with the issue of corsets. Modern society has taken what was a necessary garment for 400 years and turned it into a sexiness issue instead of its real purpose, which was to provide structure for a woman and support her back. Interestingly, in the past a woman was considered “lose” if she did not wear one, and now society is trying to present the opposite. I hope that we can show these garments in their historic context.)

Sunday was a complete washout! The heavy rains leaked into our tent and made it impossible to put out our clothing and yarn for people to be able to see and purchase.

You will see some changes to our website reflecting the custom, historically-inspired clothing that we are making. We are adding inventory to the store, as well. Don’t hesitate to contact us!