Thursday, July 30, 2015
3. road trip...canola, custom woolen mills
Natali arrived after coffee and a quick breakfast the next day for the first of our road trips. She and Denise had planned a tour of NW Alberta Province so we loaded up and headed out driving through the rolling countryside. Coming from the truly flat coastal plains, I was a little amused at their description of the province, the north end of the Great Plains, as being 'flat'. Also their remarks about the humidity while I was liberally applying lip goo to my chapping lips.
Flat or no, it is a beautiful countryside. The canola fields, which were abundant, were in full yellow bloom interspersed with the occasional wheat field. Denise told us this was the first time in weeks that the skies had been clear enough to see the Rocky Mountains in the distance from the wildfires elsewhere.
Natali, chauffeur extraordinaire
Our first stop was the Custom Woolen Mills, truly out in the middle of nowhere.
This is a small factory where farmers bring their raw wool to sell.
They use machines all manufactured in the mid to late 1800s to wash and dry it, card it, comb it, spin it, dye it, and roll it into skeins and on spools. We weren't there on a day that they give tours and because all the machines were running on the factory floor we weren't allowed to get close and watch but they did let us up in the loft where they store the bulk product which had windows overlooking the factory.
They also make cotton or wool filled comforters. The quilting is automated, with the sewing arm following the path created by the nails in the overhead board.
And of course they had a shop where you could buy the yarn. Natali knits, which for some reason I find incongruous with her, and she bought several skeins to make some socks.
barrels of dyed wool for felting
to be continued...