A Fiber Farm Blog

Posts tagged ‘alpaca’

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.

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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!

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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…..

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Spinning Colorway Samples

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

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

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

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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

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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.

Garden

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

Orchard

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.

MOPACA Show

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!

 

Winter White Sale

Beige Farm Roving

It has been a busy couple of years at Parsons’ Prairie Farm. So busy in fact, that I have not found the time to do a lot of the fiber dyeing that I had hoped to do. And since I have requested an April shearing date again this year, I will soon have another annual harvest to add to my stock pile. So what better way to make room for the 2016 clip than to have a Winter White Sale and offer to you some fabulous undyed fiber at discount prices. This sale will last through March 15, 2016 or until supplies last.  I have listed some beautiful yarns, rovings and craft felt on my Etsy Farm Store at 40% off the regular price.  This fiber takes dye beautifully and is so much fun to work with.  And for those of you that prefer your fiber natural color,  you will find some beautiful white, beige, light fawn and light brown yarn and roving to choose from.

The link to Parsons’ Prairie Farm Etsy Shop is https://etsy.com/shop/ParsonsPrairie

Enjoy!

 

Shearing Day!

Shearing Day is once again upon us! And, this year at least, it can’t come a minute too soon. It has been unseasonably warm and a few days it was downright humid. The alpacas and I will be relieved when they have all that fiber off! Right now we plan for the shearers to arrive around 7:00 a.m. Wednesday, April 15th. As always we welcome visitors. If you would like to participate we can certainly find a job for you. If you would prefer to just pull up a chair and watch, we would love to have you do so.

Watch the blog for any changes to our shearing date and time. We try to be as flexible as possible to accommodate the shearers schedule.

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The boys before shearing

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The same boys after shearing! Always makes me laugh!

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2014 Harvest

Pink Pandemonium – Blended Roving

Get ready for the next batch of blended roving…….Pink Pandemonium.  This is a blend of 70% alpaca (a natural beige) and 30% bamboo (dyed a shocking red/pink color).

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The roving is already up on the website at http://www.naturalfiberfarm.com and comes in 4 ounce bundles.

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The alpaca fiber came from Ringo who has soft, fine fiber with beautiful crimp.  Ringo is one of our shy males and can always be counted on as a good & safe buddy when we move the male weanlings over to the “big boy” pasture.

Ringo

So…..do you know who your roving comes from?

 

 

Timna Valley – Blended Roving

We just received the 2014 processed fiber back from Shepherd’s Mill and it has been like Christmas around our place! We have some of the most beautiful 100% alpaca and amazing alpaca/bamboo and alpaca/merino blends to offer this year. I can’t wait to get it all marked and checked in and out on the farm store shelves. I am working very hard to get it all ready to go in time for our upcoming fall shows, but I want to give you a first look and first chance to purchase all this beautiful 2014 fiber. Once I introduce the new fiber here, it will also be ready for purchase on the farm website at http://www.naturalfiberfarm.com. If you see something you want, place your order as quickly as possible. I think this fiber will go very quickly once we start our fall show tours.

I will start by introducing Timna Valley, a beautiful 60% alpaca/40% bamboo blended roving. The alpaca fiber is light fawn and comes from our alpaca Imagine. Imagine’s fiber has been blended with bamboo, dyed a beautiful malachite color. The roving comes in 4 oz. bundles and is $26.00 per bundle.
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As you can see, we have plenty of bundles right now, but I think that will change very quickly, particularly as shoppers get their hands on this incredible fiber.
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Imagine is one of our beautiful males……..fine fleece with a nice long staple length. And that color…….gorgeous!
Imagine

So…..do you know who your roving comes from?

Shearing Day

Shearing Day 2014 was a huge success.  First of all, we couldn’t have asked for better weather….both on Saturday and the few days leading up to shearing.  We didn’t have to put all the alpacas in the big barn until Friday night which made for a much less stressful time for them.  Brian and his team arrived shortly before 7:00 a.m. and got right to work.  We were so fortunate this year to have our niece Briana, as well as Stephanie & Sarah all vet students at the University of Illinois here to help out.  Our daughter Kellie also joined in on the fun.   Not only did the girls do a great job, but they brought a lot of fun and laughter to the morning as well.  Now, it’s time to start working with the 2014 clip.

Below are just a few of the many pictures I took Saturday.  Enjoy!

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