Farm News from Bullengarook

March 27, 2018

Bullengarook is a little place an hour north of Melbourne, just near Bacchus Marsh.  It is rolling, lush country, perfect for sheep.

It is where Maureen Shepherd raises her prize winning Finnsheep at Fairfield Finns. I love the fleeces produced here and have spun many projects from them including Lowtide LowfiYoke of Endurance, Bendigo Enchanted and Kowhai and Fern Beanie. Late last year, I was able to visit the farm after shearing to pick out some lovely fleeces for spinning this year and wrote about that visit in a post.

Maureen sells fleeces, hand dyed and plain tops and even Finnsheep yarn in sportsweight and DK.

On Saturday 14th April, just a couple of weeks away, Fairfield Finns is having an open day where you can visit, meet the sheep, have a Devonshire Tea and purchase some beautiful fibre direct from the farmer. Other vendors will be there too, so it will be a very special day.

The open day will run from 10 am till 4 pm, at 1275 Bacchus Marsh Road, Bullengarook.  If you can get along, please do, there is nothing quite like buying fleece or yarn from the farmer, walking on the land where the fibre was raised and meeting the beasties who did all the work turning grass into such an extraordinary resource.

Another treasure of a wool farm, just up the road a bit from Fairfield Finns is Cloverleaf Corriedales. I had the good fortune to visit with the farmer, Ronelle Welton just last weekend. Ronelle has a small flock of seventy. It is a no-kill flock, where grand dames and old fellas get to see out their time with dignity and matriarchal family groups stay together. Ronelle is breeding for fineness and she has some lovely fleeces at 26 microns.

This place is not just special for the sheep however, Ronelle and her husband are building a generous home for hosting farm stays, fibre workshops and events.  They have a grand vision for bringing yarn tourism to the area, connecting knitters and spinners with the land and sheep central to our craft.

Accommodation will open in July and will cater for groups of up to eight, as well as having an event space centred around a massive stone fireplace that will fit over a hundred. The setting is magnificent, you can see the weather roll in over the hills from the every window in the place but still so close to Melbourne. You can see and read more about this wonderful farm in the inaugural edition of Indie Road, a new Australian fibrecraft magazine.

The first edition is available free online. Most Australian fibre craft mags fall into two categories, pure textile arts or mainstream commercial yarns. Indie Road is something very different, focusing on farmers, slow crafts and light drenched photography. It is very beautiful.