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Weather Outside is Frightful!

The weather in our area since the first of the year has been crazy!  Rain, snow, ice, high winds and brutally cold temps seem to have taken over.  We have had a few nicer days in between so it hasn’t been all bad, but it has definitely been a wintery start to the year.

Snow Blogpost 2

Snow Blogpost 1

Snow Blogpost 3

We always get asked how the animals are doing when the weather is extreme like this.  The alpacas are in almost full fleece and don’t have an issue with the cold at all.  They typically don’t have a problem with snow, but seem to prefer not to have to walk through it and won’t even try to graze with snow on the ground.  They don’t seem to like the wind.  They spend much of a cold, blustery winter day tucked away in their barns.  But if the sun is out and some grass is peaking through the snow, they will venture out no matter the temperature.

Bella stays safe and warm in the barn with the female alpacas.  Jeff worked this fall moving extra hay in the barns to keep some of the cold out.  It is amazing how warm it stays in the barn with all the animals in it.  Bella has re-arranged a bale or two of hay and made her bed tucked away in the corner of the barn.

The chickens stay close to the barns and roost in the rafters at night.  I’m sure it is plenty warm up there for them.  The cats live in the hay barn.  They have tunnels in between the hay bales and they are probably the warmest of all!

Snow Blogpost 5

There are always things that need to be done on the farm, so we have concentrated more so far this year on projects we can do inside.  Since we both have full time jobs outside of the farm, we have to get as much done in our spare time as possible.  Here is a little of what we have been working on when the weather outside is awful.

Dyeing fiber…..

Snow Blogpost 10

Snow Blogpost 8

Snow Blogpost 7

Spinning Colorway Samples

Snow Blogpost 9

Loading up Etsy with our new yarns and rovings…..

Snow Blogpost 13

Doing a physical inventory of our products and preparing merchandise orders for the spring sales season…..

Snow Blogpost 11

Snow Blogpost 6

Keeping the driveway and pathways to the barns safe and clear of snow…..

Snow Blogpost 4

Even with the weather, this is an exciting time of year.  It’s a great time to get caught up on indoor projects, planning for the new year and watching that fiber grow!

Early Spring on the Farm


We are preparing for spring on the farm and it is a crazy, busy time!  It was an unusual winter here……..warm and dry, with only a couple of inches of snow all winter.  We finally got some rain this past week and are anticipating more this week.  Hopefully we are coming out of this dry spell.  With so much going on around here, I will try my best to keep you updated.


I got my spring garden planted last week.  Jeff had the garden all tilled and generously spread with alpaca poop.  I planted turnips, beets, spinach, lettuce, onions, carrots and tons of radishes.  There is nothing better than fresh radishes, right out of the garden!  As I was planting, I kept my eye on a slow-moving rain storm coming from the southwest.  Usually my timing isn’t that great, but this year I was able to get that garden in right before the rain kicked in.  We received some badly needed moisture.  My garden and I were thankful!

Strawberry Patch

We have had Strawberry Patch issues over the last few years.  We have tried several different ways to grow strawberries and it seems like we just end up with a big, unruly, out of control weed patch (and, if we were lucky, maybe a couple of ripe strawberries that weren’t rotten, mashed or had been stepped on).  I had strawberries at our first house and it didn’t seem that hard, but here, I don’t know, it has just been a mess.  True, we have had a couple of bad years, no rain at all one spring, then the next, so much rain that what berries we had rotted before we could get to them.  I have had a plan to build a “better” strawberry patch so we are going to give it a try this year.  Last week, Jeff tilled up an area for my patch and placed concrete blocks around for edging.  We ended up with an area of about 2 feet by 20 feet.  It’s not the prettiest thing, but I’m hoping it will be functional.   It is a little early here to purchase strawberries so I am watching for sales and will hopefully have them planted in a few weeks.  My hope is that with my new patch, 1) the strawberries will be controlled and kept within the blocks and, 2) I will be able to weed and pick strawberries without having to walk through the patch itself.  We will see how it works out.  If I can finally get a successful, easy to maintain patch going, we will probably build another one and get it started next year.  I will keep you posted!

Strawberry Patch


I am very excited to announce that we will be starting a small orchard on our property.  We have purchased 10 fruit trees that are packaged so that they are good for our location and good for cross pollination.  They should be delivered by the end of this week and we are expecting 3 apple trees, 2 peach trees, 2 pear trees, 2 plum trees and 1 cherry tree.  Since we have a very busy weekend ahead of us, we decided to go ahead and start preparing the holes this past Sunday.  It took a lot of time preparing 10 holes on Sunday afternoon so we were glad that part of the job is out of the way.  We are expecting more rain this week, so also didn’t want to take the chance that it would be too wet to dig.  We want to get the trees in the ground as quickly as possible once they arrive.


I am preparing for the MOPACA show this weekend.  The show will be at Hale Arena in Kansas City this weekend and will have lots of alpacas, vendors, fiber and some great competition in the show ring.  We will be one of the vendors and since this is one of the bigger shows we do and with it pretty much being our first show of the year, there is lots of prep work to be done.  I will be setting up for the show on Friday and the show and vendor booths will be open both Saturday and Sunday.

This is just a bit of what we have accomplished the past week and what we have in the works for the farm this year.  Next week, I will update you on how the spring garden is doing, if I’ve found any strawberry plants, the progress of our little Orchard and the MOPACA Show in Kansas City.   Until then, enjoy some other pictures of Early Spring on the Farm!


Fall Farm Day – September 25th

Sweet 9

Are you Coming?


We’re waiting for you!

Bella at Pond 1

And watching for you.

Donks 1

We’re discussing and making plans.

Sweet 1

And promise to be on our best behavior.

Because Parsons’ Prairie Farm’s 2016 Fall Farm Day is almost here!

Last year we were so busy and had so much going on that we decided to cancel Fall Farm Day………a decision we regretted almost from the minute it was made.  We so missed opening up the farm to visitors, meeting new friends and the enjoyment of sharing our farm with others.  I vowed we would not miss a Fall Farm Day again!   So come on out to the farm on Sunday afternoon, September 25th and see what we are all about.  Learn about the alpacas and the fiber they produce.  Shop the farm store for handspun yarns and hand dyed yarns, rovings and craft felts.  Start your Holiday shopping early by browsing our selection of alpaca socks, hats and gloves as well as hand made soaps, made right on the farm!  Try your luck at fishing in the farm pond, gather eggs in the hen house or just sit, relax and enjoy the farm day refreshments.

Things to keep in mind:

So far, every year that we have held Fall Farm Day we have been blessed with perfect weather!  But we will hold the 2016 Fall Farm Day rain or shine, so come prepared for the weather.  If the weather is nice, we will open the front female alpaca pasture so you can move among the alpacas.  If it rains, we will figure out a way that visitors can view the alpacas close up and stay dry at the same time.  In any kind of weather though, if you want to move among the alpacas, make sure to wear poop-proof footwear!

We would like to invite you to try your luck at fishing in our farm pond.  We will mow down to the north pond (you will be able to drive down there if you wish) and will mow around the pond.  Bring a pole, bait, a chair and bug spray to make your experience more enjoyable.  Of course, all children must be accompanied by an adult.

We want your visit to be enjoyable.  Feel free to wander the property and take all the pictures you want.  If you find a nice, out of the way place to relax and enjoy the farm, please feel free to do so.  Poke your head into the hay barn and look for the many (too many) barn cats that call the farm home.  Check out the fruit trees, berry bushes and grapevines in the back yard.  Whatever you choose to do, enjoy your farm visit!

Farm Day No Pets Policy – please do not bring your pets to Farm Day.  We currently only have one dog, our livestock guardian dog, Bella on the farm.  Bella has a job to do and although she might be visiting with Fall Farm Day guests, she is always alert and ready to defend the alpacas.  Bringing other pets to Farm Days could possibly cause either your animals or ours to be hurt.   We will all have a better experience if all pets are left at home.

Feel free to contact us should you have any questions.  Look forward to seeing you on Fall Farm Days!

Jeff & Kim Overbey


Bella & Kitten Update

It is time I gave you an update on Bella and the kittens.  First…..Bella.  She went to both the vet for her annual checkup and to the groomer last week, so for her, it was a great week.  She weighed in at 93 pounds!  The vet said she was a healthy girl and at the perfect weight.  It was a very hot day and she enjoyed plopping down on the cool, tile floor at the office.  A few days later she spent the day at her grooming appointment.  She seemed to enjoy that day as well, another hot day spent inside.  When she got home she looked and smelled so nice that she got to spend an hour or so in the air conditioning with me.

Groomed Bella

And the 3 kittens……wow have they grown!  They are 4 weeks old now.  In a couple of weeks I will be looking for a good home for them.

Larry 1

Curly 1

Moe 1

Are they not the cutest things you have ever seen???



Surprise Kittens

We’ve had a bit of a barn kitten explosion on the farm lately and knew it was way past time to do something about it.  We had plans to take both Knit and Purl to the vet this morning to be spayed.  Knit had kittens about 6 weeks ago and Purl was too young (or so we thought) to have kittens yet.  We gathered up both cats over the weekend and put them in a dog crate so that they would be ready to go to the vet.  What a surprise I had this morning when I found that Purl had 3 new kittens in the crate.  We went ahead and took Knit in, she had her surgery and is recovering nicely.  Purl got a reprive for 6 weeks to raise her kittens.  Purl has hardly ever been handled and is pretty wild so we decided to keep her in the crate and eventually on the screened in porch so we can catch her again when we need to.  She can raise her babies there.  The good news about all this is that I can finally watch a litter of kittens grow.  Knit always hid her babies among the hay bales and you never saw them until they were up and moving around on their own.  This will be fun to watch and I want to share the experience with you.  Purl is not a happy camper in the crate right now but she seems to be a good mom and handling the kittens well.  She is very protective.  I didn’t get the best pictures as I was trying to take them through the bars of the crate, but here  you go:

Day 1:  3 kittens; 1 yellow, 1 black & white, 1 mostly white with some black

Kittens 2

Kitten 1



For many reasons, I need to get back to blogging! But there is an important post that I must do first, and to be very honest, I have been putting it off. We lost our livestock guardian dog, Balto, last November and I just haven’t had the heart to blog about it. We are moving on here at the farm and there are a lot of exciting things happening so I need to get this done. I really haven’t been able to talk about him to date, but I owe it to Balto to let everyone know how much we loved him, how much we miss him and how much we regret that we let him down.

October 5, 2012 – November 9, 2014

Sweet Balto 2

We lost our beautiful Balto on November 9, 2014. He ran out in front of a pickup, was hit and killed pretty much instantly. The couple that hit him (or maybe I should say, Balto hit them) were wonderful, stopped and checked to see if there was anything they could do and then notified us immediately. While it was all so very sad, it was a comfort being able to be with Balto during his last few minutes and to be able to bring him home afterward. He is buried alongside Daisy and a few of our alpacas in a shady spot in the back pasture.

Balto was an amazing livestock guardian dog. He stayed beside a sick cria for days even though all the alpacas had by instinct “given up” on the little one. He slept beside a young weanling when he was moved over to the “big boys pasture” and let poor little Nillie the cat curl up on his blanket the night she passed. I’ve never seen a dog that could size up a situation with other animals so fast and seem to know if it was best to come up close and protect or respectfully watch from afar. We all terribly miss his presence in the pasture……comforting, protective and vigilant.

Balto & Cria 1

Balto & New Cria

Balto loved people as much as he loved animals and took his job very seriously. I think Balto felt it was his job to befriend and protect the world. He knew no boundaries, had no prejudices and I doubt thought twice about going under a fence, over a fence, squeezing through a gate, dodging through barbed wire or crossing a busy road just to visit a friend. No matter how many ways we tried to keep Balto in, he always eventually found a way out. He was smart, much more agile than his size would indicate and very, very strong.

Balto meets Duck

I have loved every dog I have ever owned to distraction, but Balto will always, always have a special place in my heart. He taught me about big, beautiful and loyal Great Pyrenees dogs and I can’t ever imagine not having one in my life and on my farm. He had the most beautiful, soulful brown eyes and I swear when you looked into them you could see right to his big heart. I will always regret that we didn’t try one more thing to keep him home and safe.

Balto, we miss you still and we are so, so sorry we let you down.

May 2nd, Really?????

Well it is May 2nd in Kearney, MO and it is snowing!  The wind is howling and the temperature is hovering near freezing.  We have had a cold rain all day and is just now turning over to snow.  We expect a measurable snow by morning.  After the horrible drought we have had over the last year, I swore I would not complain.  So all the moisture of late has been wonderful.  But I do wonder about my strawberry patch, cherry and pear trees that have just bloomed.  Will I ever get my garden in this year??

May 1

May 2

Easter Ham & Nesting Balls

I’m sure you’re wondering what Easter Ham and Nesting Balls have in common.  Well here goes…….I baked my Easter ham today.  I know I am a week early but since baked ham is one of Matthew’s favorites, I wanted to prepare it for him before he headed off back to school.  He has been home on spring break from K-State and since he has to be back tomorrow, will not be coming home for Easter Sunday.  The rest of the family will get to enjoy my mother-in-law’s Easter Ham next Sunday as well!  Can’t beat that!  Baked ham two weeks in a row!

So while I was preparing the ham, I pulled this netting off and immediately thought…….Nesting Balls! 

Ham Netting

Birds love to use fibers to weave into their nests.  Often times I just leave some fiber out in the yard for the birds to pick up and use.  But if I can, I make a nesting ball.  This way, the fiber is contained, the birds can pull out what they want to use, and since the nesting ball is hanging up high, the birds are much safer from predetors.  So, here is how I make a nesting ball.

Sew up Side

I had to take a minute to sew up the side of my bag.  If I had been more careful and planned ahead a little bit, I would have just slid the ham out of the bag.  But this time I cut the netting down the side.  So I took a nice long length of cotton cord and wove in and out securing the side.  Keep in mind that the bag your ham came in may be quite large.  I sewed only about half way up the bag and still had quite a large nesting ball.  When you get as far up as you want to go, secure the cord to the netting with a knot.  Leave the cord on so you can use it later on.  Now, if you have a netted bag that has not been cut, you can skip this step and go on to gathering your fiber.


Next I selected the fiber for my nesting ball.  The fiber I use is far less from perfect fiber.  It is the fiber I can’t use for much else.  Trust me, it will be perfect for your nesting ball and the birds will love it.

Fiber in Netting

Fill up your net bag with the fiber.

Wove Opening

Now take the cotton cord that was left over and weave around the top of your netting.

Pull it tightly

Pull it tight and secure.  Clip off any of the extra netting at the top.  Clip off any extra length of cord.

Top to Bottom

The top is now the bottom and the bottom is now the top!  I flipped my nesting ball over because I loved the already made handle and wanted it at the top.

Help the Birds

Next, I decided to help get the birds started by pulling out a little bit of the fiber.  Trust me, by the time the birds really start working on their nests, it will have fiber sticking out of every single hole!

Hang in Tree

Treat for Birds

As you can see, today doesn’t look like the best day for building a nest!  But the new nesting ball is up and ready for Spring when it finally arrives!


I’m sure you know from my most recent posts that we have a new Great Pyr puppy who has just taken over our world with his puppy cuteness!  But Kellie mentioned to me that it seemed like I was ignoring our black lab, Shadow and not giving her credit for all the wonderfulness that she brings to our lives.  So I wanted to take a minute to try to make it up to Shadow a little bit with this post.

Shadow 1

Shadow will be 8 years old here in a few months and she is finally starting to show her age.  She was completely black, without a speck of any color for so long, that it was really noticeable when she started to grey as she got older. 

Shadow Waiting

From the first day I came to know Shadow she was spunky, brave, affectionate, sweet, light on her feet and incredibly fast.  The only toy that she has ever wanted to play with is a tennis ball.  She loves to have the ball thrown to her and runs like the wind to retrieve it and bring it back.  When anyone comes to our home or the farm for the first time, Shadow will immediately size up their throwing arm, and if you measure up, she runs to get a ball. 


Shadow now suffers from arthritis which is really sad since she finally has all this space to run and fetch her tennis balls.  She does pretty well with it when she is out running and playing, she really doesn’t let anything stop her.  But she sure struggles in the evening, especially after a long day of being outdoors on the farm.  I can tell that she is hurting. 

Shadow on Saturday 2

One thing that I am most proud of is how Shadow has become a great farm dog so fast.  She has learned not to try to cross the cattle guards, has a healthy respect for barbed wire, and understands that the ponds are great for cooling off in.  She does need to work on staying out of the ponds while others are fishing.  (I do hear plenty of complaints about that).  She has chased a coyote or two right off the property and will warn us if any are around.  She has learned how to go in and out of the alpaca barns and runs and knows which alpacas are a little less dog friendly than the others.  Shadow has been great at welcoming her dog cousins, Bentley, Sami & now Harley to her farm when they visit.  She and Balto have become best friends and she has even learned to leave the chickens alone when they are out.

Shadow & Chickens

So Shadow, here’s to you!  The Best Farm Dog Ever!


2012 Farm Recap

2012 was our first full year on the farm.  We closed on the property in August 2011, worked on shelter and fencing and were able to have our alpacas transported to their new home in November, 2011.  I’m sure you can imagine that 2012 was a year full of fun, excitement, challenges, mistakes and even a heartbreak or two.  Below is a recap of what went on at Parsons’ Prairie Farm in 2012:

I have to say, I was a little surprised that we did not already have cats living around the barns when we purchased the farm.  But since we didn’t see a cat anywhere the first few months, we adopted Willie & Nillie to be our barn managers. 

Willie & Friend

They settled in quite nicely in the hay barn and endeared themselves to the alpacas almost immediately.  It was not uncommon to find one of them resting comfortably in the alpacas hay trough or snoozing on top of the hay bales.  Nillie has always been very social, but Willie was a little on the wild side.  Willie, named after Willie the Wildcat, (yes we are K-State fans!), was never quite able to completely call it home here.  He would wander and sometimes we would not see him for days at a time.  When he was around, he tended to be very territorial, particularly in the garden so you had to watch out that he wasn’t waiting to pounce.  Eventually, he went on one of his “wanders” and we haven’t seen him since.  We hope he is ok and has found a home that he felt more settled in.  He is a beautiful cat! 

Earth Treasures 4

I had such big plans for our first season of gardening, but the heat and drought of the summer changed our plans a bit.  We had such a large garden, so many berry bushes and fruit trees that it was just impossible to keep it all watered.  We got some wonderful onions, snap peas, lettuce, radishes and spinach before the horrible heat set in.  Our tomatoes did pretty good, but our peppers suffered a little bit.  We had some nice green beans but probably not as many as we could have had it not been so hot and dry.  We planted a nice strawberry bed, and while we lost a few of those plants, I believe they will be fine and fill in for next year.  We had wonderful blackberries, but lost all the new blueberry bushes we planted.  Our corn did not do nearly as well as we had hoped, but what we did get was delicious.  I told myself last summer that I had bit off more than I could chew, at least more than I could keep watered in the horrible heat.  Despite it not being the best year for a garden, we have had plenty of blackberry cobber, blackberry jam, apricot jam, sloppy joe mix, stewed tomatoe mix, rotel, and corn this winter.

Garden Photo

We survived our first shearing day at the farm.  Jeff and I have worked at many shearing days at other farms but this was the first for us at our own place.  I will not lie and tell you it was a perfect day, nor even close.  But we got it done and learned much in the process.  We had some wonderful help and I can’t even tell you what a relief it was to look out in the pastures and see all those naked alpacas!   I know with the heat we had last summer that they were happy too.

Shearing 1

Shearing 2

Shearing 3

Shearing 4

In September we came home from our local feed store with 8 chicks.  I had been studying for months and desperately wanted hens for eggs.  I really wasn’t planning on doing anything until this spring, but the opportunity arose and we jumped at it.  We lost one of them the first night but otherwise they all made it just fine.  Unfortunately 2 of the 7 chicks have started crowing in the last couple of weeks, so obviously they won’t be laying me any eggs.  We remodeled the old chicken coop in our backyard and added an outdoor space for them.  In a few weeks, we plan to start letting them roam the backyard while we are home and hopefully, if they can get enough daylight, will start laying eggs soon. 

Ashley's Chicken Photo 1

Ashley's Chicken Photo 2

In November, 6 more alpacas arrived from Oregon.  Alpaca Jeff, Cordelia, Mari, Buttercup, Alcatraz, and Sweet Pea all got off the transport and have just fit right into life on our farm. 

New Arrival 8

Parsons’ Prairie Farm Fiber CSA was officially started although I still have much marketing work to do.  I have started with the 2012 clip and will shortly announce the plans for the 2013 clip.

Montana Roving

BoulderDash Yarn

We lost Wrigley in 2012.  I don’t know if it was the heat, if there was something else going on that we weren’t aware of, or maybe a combination of the two.  But on a very hot day, Jeff found Wrigley already passed in the barn.  It broke our hearts. 


Wrigley was, in many ways the alpaca face of Parsons’ Prairie Farm.  He was a beautiful fleeced animal, handsome, and with the sweetest temperament in the world.  Many of you who have bought roving from me, dyed or natural, received Wrigley’s fiber. Wrigley loved nothing better than to be dirty!  If there was a puddle to be found, he was in it….any loose hay to be had, he was wearing it.  I searched and searched for the best picture of Wrigley and honestly, the picture above is about as clean as Wrigley ever was as full grown alpaca.   The picture below is Wrigley as a cria.  This is how I will always remember him.

Happy Wrigley Webpage

We had our first annual “Open Farm” on December 2nd and it was a wonderful day.  We did not intend to have it that late in the year, but we had so many personal obligations during the year, it just never seemed to fit in.  I don’t know how we got so lucky, but we were blessed with a beautiful 60 degree day.  It was a wonderful day to be at the farm.  Those that came were able to get up close and interact with the alpacas (Alpaca Jeff stole the show), wander about the farm, check out the chickens and take a look at the farm products that come from our beautiful fiber animals.  We are already planning and looking forward to our 2nd annual farm day in 2013.  We hope you will join us.

Farm Day 2

We hope you had a wonderful 2012 and thank you for allowing Parsons’ Prairie Farm to be a small part of it.

Jeff & Kim Overbey