The road to Robin Theon’s farm takes you down narrow roads lined with the deciduous forests of the Great Lakes Basin, tracing the rolling hills and sharp outcrops of Escarpment country. Pulling up to the house near Cambellville Ontairo, Robin’s gardens are stunning. The barn and pasture are set back from the house and surrounded by trails through the forest. Robin tells me of the variety of foraged dye plants — bloodroot, birch bark, elderberry, madder root — and invites me to take a stroll to see what we can find.
There is an abundance of wild ginger, trout lilly, solomans seal and evidence of triliums that have just past their peak. This deciduous forest region is the most diverse in Ontario and is home to some rare species, including the grey tree frog, flying squirrels, red sassafras and tulip trees. Black walnut (a natural dye), magnolia and many types of oaks are also indigenous to the area.
Robin is a true naturalist at heart and does all she can to insure that her farm uses ecological practices. She also has some interesting rare breeds including: Blue Faced Leicester, some BFL crossed with Corridale, Romny and Gotland, and a few Rambouillet (a type of Merino). She will be cross-breeding the Rambouillet with the BFL over the next year. The colours of her sheep range from snowy white, to rustic browns, blueish-grey and deep blacks.
Always protective of the flock, the Llama peeks out to see who this new visitor is. Friend or foe?
Robin is also a talented hand spinner and weaver. She took up the arts half a decade ago and keeps busy with commissions for blankets and hand-spun using wool from her flock. One skein stands out for me – a black-charcoal hand-spun of BFL from a sheep named Humphry. It’s stunning. The colour is so rich and dark. I can’t resist.
Robin can be commissioned to weave blankets and handspun yarn. For more information or to make a purchase go to our store. Thank you Robin for joining our community and blessing us with such beautiful natural colours, talents in weaving and spinning and a depth of knowledge around natural dye plants!