Sunday, December 6, 2009


Yes, it has been a while since I've written. It's that time of year...things are busy for the shop and in life.

I've had two open houses at the farm store and participated in a one day craft sale. I also turned a year older during all this (if anyone asks...39...really;)).

Saturday was my second open house. The traffic out to the farm is dependent on the weather. And boy, did it snow Friday and Saturday morning. Here's the view of the barn area from my back sunroom. Luckily, the snow stopped late morning and the sun came out. In fact, two of my regular customers came out on their way to go kayaking. (May I suggest alpaca underwear?)

We've had a very mild fall. On the good side, the alpacas were grazing in the pastures up until last week. On the bad side, with the ground not frozen, the barnyard was getting pretty mucky.
Like others who don't ski or snowmobile, I generally don't look forward to seeing the white stuff in this quantity. But with the snow came colder temperatures at night, which makes the ground more solid in the barnyard.

Another plus for the snow fall, is that Gary and Amy got to test out 'Zelda' she has been named by Amy. We bought this beater which was sitting dead at some hunt camp outside of New Liskeard this summer. Gary and Amy have been fixing it up for a farm vehicle. It helped us gather fallen wood in the fall and now, with the plow on the front, will make the driveway cleanups more comfortable than the tractor with the snowblowing attachment.

I drive a PT Cruiser year round. Last week, I invested in studded winter tires for the first time in 26 years of owning vehicles. I think it was money well spent.

Here's a picture of my shop. I carry alpaca based yarns and finished products, all from Canadian farmed alpaca and everything is made in Canada. The yarn, especially, is getting somewhat picked over at this time of year. I'll be looking at buying fibre from another farm after New Years', so that I can get some milled yarn ordered ahead of our farm's spring shearing.
There is a pretty big turn around time and effort to turn fleece from the alpacas back into yarn, even if it is milled. Shorn fleece needs to be handpicked for removing vegetable matter, sorted into grades appropriate to end use and by colour variation. This is bagged and labelled. Then it is either brought or shipped to the mill, for discussion with the mill personnel for desired blend, meterage and twist. There is a waiting list at the mill, typically of six months or more. When I get the yarn back from the mill, there is often washing required, sometimes dyeing. The meterage is checked and for knitting, a swatch to check the gauge. Then labelling before stocking on the shelves. There is a lot of hand-work and skill that goes into putting quality yarn on the shelves, whether it is handspun or millspun.

This little fellow is Buddy, our daughter's dwarf male rabbit. I found out I was allergic to rabbit fur while blending angora with alpaca for my own handspun. That blend makes such a very lovely soft yarn that I shall probably continue to blend it and spin it, but only when I can work outside. Some things are worth the itchy eyes. Just like 'Buddy hugs'.


Azure Islands Designs said...

Good to hear your are busy...

It is getting colder and we've had a bit of snow but not much yet, thank goodness...I'm not a winter person!!!

I like the photo taken from your sun room...would look great on a card!

Buddy is cute, we had a couple of rabbits when Dawn and Michael were I have my grandson's cat... :0)


Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

I hear you about winter...but actually, after bundling up and heading out to the barn this chilly morning, the sun was shining, it was quite nice. Course, you likely won't hear that when it gets to -35 in January. I understand that we are getting a storm tomorrow.
I actually look forward to January-March timeframe to have more time to play with my yarns and fibres.
All the best.