This image of snow in our back yarn first appeared here in December 2008. Today, in January 2021, there is not nearly as much snow on the ground. The birch tree is much larger and the garden shed is much more in need of paint. So in some ways things have not changed and yet they still have!
The Ewe Turn Blog began its life 12 years ago and has been plugging along at differing paces ever since. Our website has been around for a lot longer. It too has evolved with time. In all the time that we have shared a bit of our lives with the world, I never really imaged that I would be writing about our current situation. Dramatic changes have occurred in our operation over the last year, due to the evolving corona virus pandemic. Early last year we made some decisions about the farm which we hoped would be temporary. Now after a year of an altered life we have made some difficult and major permanent decisions regarding our lives and the various operations of Whitefish Bay Farm. As of 2021 the Bed & Breakfast is permanently closed. The Gallery is also permanently closed, but it will try to carry on in an altered online form. On the other side we are not closing down our farming operation. The sheep are still with us and will continue to produce quality wool for as long as they are healthy and as long as we are strong enough to support them.
Those of you who have stayed with us over the last couple of years and those of you who have visited the gallery in that time, may have heard us talking about a gradual effort to cut back on our hours in the B&B and in the Gallery. In a sense we were slowly, yet steadily, cutting back on our operation with an ultimate goal of some sort of “retirement” in the distant future. The current health crisis served to rapidly modify our day to day perspective. It created an environment which made it nearly impossible for two older individuals to be able to safely operate a B&B and still be able to offer an enjoyable and safe experience for our guests and a feeling of satisfaction on our part. The same conditions also damaged whatever was an enjoyable gallery experience for all concerned, customers and fiber artists.
Should you look at our website, you will notice that these changes are reflected there. We are leaving portions of our B&B and Gallery pages intact, but only as a historical or nostalgic reminder of what was at one time for us a joyous operation. If you look at our Mercantile Page you will see that we have begun the process of attempting to sell online much of what we produce from our fiber. Currently those offerings are limited. Gretchen did not have sufficiently good fall weather to achieve any significant amount of dyeing. Hopefully with warmer weather to come this spring that effort will be corrected. Along the same vein, both of us cut back on our normal winter time weaving projects, until we could sort out what direction our lives were headed. Now we need to overcome the inertia to get projects coming off our looms again. We will be shearing the flock in mid-March (assuming that all of our shearing crew stays healthy!). If we succeed with shearing, we will again be offering fleeces for sale in mid-April.
Gretchen and I originally dreamed of this operation in the 1970’s. It became tangible with the purchase of the Farm in 1983 and the immediate opening of the Gallery the next spring. It was followed by renovations and modernizations which permitted us to start our flock in 1990 and to open the B&B in 1991. We do not plan to abandon this existence anytime soon.
Over these last 30 years we have had the humbling pleasure to get to know so many truly wonderful people. At one time they were “just guests”, now many of you are our truly dear friends. We miss you! We truly hope that sometime in the future, life will again let us meet with you face to face. The prospect of sharing conversation and cups of coffee on the front porch almost seems like an exotic dream. I can feel reasonably sure that the sheep will also look forward to schmoozing with someone other that the two of us. Take good care!
Cannot believe it was that long ago that you two started this project. We have had so many wonderful times with you both starting with our “dinner group” & visiting at the B & B. Will always remember all the fun times & wish you the best in your “semi-retirement”.
Love reading “Ewe Turn” & seeing all of Dick’s wonderful pictures. Look forward to the next blog.
Thank you for your blog and hospitality for so many years! Your decision, while not unexpected, is still bittersweet. All our lives have changed so dramatically over the past year, but we have hope with the arrival of the vaccine.
Best wishes for your “new” lives and thank you again for sharing.
Stay well and sincere hopes for a safer, joyous spring!
Thank you for sharing this news with all of us, Dick and Gretchen. I’m grateful that both Jeff and I were able to stay at your B&B, and when travel is permitted again, I hope we’ll get to Door County so that we can make a stop at your place. All the best in this new chapter of your life! Stay well and safe.
We spent many a pleasant stay with you over the years. It is completely understandable the direction you are headed. I am spinning a roving from your Marigold I had stashed and finally got out of storage. Wish I was as good a knitter as I am a spinner. I may have to weave a 7ft triangle loom shawl with the yarn. We had hoped to stay this next summer for our 50th anniversary. We spent many a special date with you! We too have slowed down. Love to you both and the sheep! Stay safe!
Gretchen, every time I look at the pillow I wove on my rigid heddle loom with your wool, I remember how generous you were with your advice and help. I just found your studio a couple years ago and now I feel sad that I won’t be able to come in and see you anymore. I do wish you and Dick many years of happy and healthy retirement. I also cherish the beautiful blanket we bought made by Dick. It was fun watching the progress as he wove it. You and your sheep will be missed!❤️
Hello Dick and Gretchen, I am glad I checked into your web site as we are missing Door County and wondering if this past year had brought many changes. I am glad to see you are keeping the sheep and the farm for now. Bill and I enjoyed many visits to the B&B and the Gallery. I have several permanent reminders including a great painting of your barns by Cal Bonniviere in my front hall and a big green wool pillow that your dad wove when you first opened the gallery. So many changes in our lives and loss as well, but we appreciated getting to know you and loved stopping by the gallery. Wishing you well on your next chapter.