Yesterday we had our first school presentation for a group of 90 Kindergarteners. The original plans were to have the presentation at a local farm but with the rain in the forecast plans were changed. We quickly adjusted our plans to better accommodate 2 groups of 45 rather than the 6 groups of 15. We started out the presentation with an overview on Alpacas before splitting the group in half. My husband took his group outside where we had 4 of our boy alpaca in a pen waiting for the kids to pet and give them treats. I had the other group inside and talked to them about the Alpacas fiber. I showed them some before and after pictures of shearing day and let them feel the difference between alpaca and wool. Then I did a quick demo of drum carding and spinning fiber, finishing up my part of the presentation with a fun wet felting project.
Thanks to the input of some experienced fiber artists I decided to teach the kids to wet felt in a Ziploc bag making either a rose or a butterfly. It was a huge hit! The kids loved it. There wasn’t much mess at all. A special thank you to all the Kindergarten teachers at B A Kennedy Elementary School in Prairie du Chien Wisconsin for having us over and all the help to make things go so smoothly.
We had so much fun working with all the kids! We are looking forward to doing more events like this in the future.
Our family has been asked to be part of a field trip for around 90 kindergarteners. We are all super excited! We will be teaching them about alpacas and giving them a chance to pet the alpacas and even give them some treats. We are also planning on doing a fun wet felting project with the kids.
Would you would like to learn more about Alpacas, touch their luxurious fiber, have them eat out of your hands and perhaps even receive a special Alpaca Kiss. Contact us to set up a Farm tour. We also offer simple fiber art projects perfect for beginners of all ages conatct us for more details.
Happy Friday everyone. What a beautiful week. With the nice weather and longer days we have been very productive on the farm this week. Lots of fencing, hauling wood, cleaning up the yard and than there is the fun fiber stuff.
This week I started crocheting dishcloths a little each night. My goal is to replace all my old ones in my draw over the next week. I am also thinking of adding a colorful trim around them. Hopefully next week I will be able to share a photo of a finished stack of them :)
I made sure to find some time this past weekend to spin, I love how relaxing it is to spin. However it has been difficult to find time to spin with a toddler who wants to figure out how the spinning wheel works, my little man was even sitting on my lap and adding more fiber as I was spinning.
We tried to start shearing our alpacas and ran into a problem with the new shears. Luckily the company is sending out a replacement part so we can finish shearing and cool the alpacas down. This is our first year shearing our own alpacas so we were hoping to "practice" shearing first before anyone came to watch. So we started with our very pregnant girl Bertanica we wanted to make sure she was sheared before her cria arrives.Poor girl was only 1/2 done when it stopped working. However, I have already washed up her fleece that we had done and I am going to start carding it this weekend. Can't wait to spin it :) Speaking of shearing make sure to check out our Fiber CSA we have both Raw & Spinners shares available.
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Happy Friday Everyone. My hubby made a pair of pretty niddy noddies for me awhile back and I thought I would share a quick picture tutorial on how to put a PVC Niddy Noddy together. He used 1/2 inch PVC and colorful duct tape. They turned out so nice. Now I am able to take off the yarn from my bobbins and turn them into beautiful skeins. He used this video for inspiration on making these.
*2- 16 inch pieces of 1/2 inch PVC
* 8- 4 inch pieces of 1/2 inch PVC
*4 - 1/2 inch T connectors
*8 - 1/2 inch end caps
Once all the supplies are gathered and have been cut to the correct size it is really quick to put them together. And after they were all put together Lewis decorated them with colorful duct tape to make them more pretty.
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We found this injured garter snake hiding under our little rose bush we moved him or her to a safer place in the valley were the chickens won't find it.
Last friday my kids were part of the local homeschool science & art fair. This was the first time my kids have participated in anything like this, they were so excited! They did such an awesome job explaining how they made their fiber projects!
Abigail spent the prior week working with her alpaca Elsie's Fiber. She showed the process from shearing to yarn with photos and with explains for the kids to be able to see and feel.
Last Thursday I had decided to crochet Isabel a new hat to wear to the science & art fair. I spun up the mini batt that she had carded for me awhile back and also used some of my first yarn. She loved it. Landen right away asked if I can make him a hat. So I am hoping to carve out some time real soon to have him help card some batts with colors of his choosing and than I will spin and crochet a special hat for him too.
This week we opened up our Fiber CSA Shares. Now is your chance to reserve the prime blanket off one of our alpacas. We also have spinner shares available for those interested in having batts or rovings ready to spin.
We have been enjoying the nice weather and doing a lot of fencing the past week. We are getting the new valley pasture ready for the boys. On Tuesday the temps were above 80 degrees it was beautiful the kids played with the hose and helped hose down the alpacas, they were lining up for their turn. We even had a surprise visit this week from family all the way from Tennessee. The weather now isn't as nice as it was earlier this week it is cold rainy with a chance of snow mix......what a crazy spring we are having.
Enjoy some of our highlights from the past 2 weeks :)
What fun things have you been up to this week?
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Wow where have the weeks gone? I can't believe it has been about a month since we added to our heard. We have been really busy working on getting more pasture ready for them and putting together shelters. As well as working on fiber projects for the Homeschool Art & Science fair and working on starting up both an Alpaca and a fiber project for our county 4H.
The new females are Romona and Rosie. Rosie has a male cria at her side he did not have a name yet.The two females we will breed this spring along with two we already owned. (That means 4 crias will be born on the farm next year!!!)
For this little guy we wanted to go with something modern. So we went with Zander. Lewis teased me after we picked the name that I like it because it was Vin Diesels' character in the movie XXX. My hubby is so funny.
The little yearling we brought home is so handsome. I just love his markings around his eyes and it reminded me of the famous mime Marcel Marceau. Do you see the resemblance? So this little sweetie name is Marcel.
(Source for the picture of Marcel Marceau)
The fawn boy is so curious also checking out everything we are doing. He reminds us of a bear with the way he moves around and behaves he is so fun to watch. We thought it would be fun to name him after a bear so we searched around and wanted something that also fit his personality.
Let me introduce you to the other two boys that joined our farm this week they came to us with names. Below is Cooper he will be our herdsire or also known as the stud of the farm. He has such great personality and his fiber has such a gorgeous crimp. He comes from a good bloodline I will have to do another post on that sometime soon. He will be ready for his studding services next year.
This is Black Jack we picked him up when we visited a friends sheep shearing day and she was looking at downsizing her alpacas.
We have decided to take Black Jack back to the farm we got him from after he attacked our suri Erik earlier this month. Erik was hurt very badly he had been bitten on the upper part of his leg and was losing a lot of blood. We did everything we could to try to save Erik, the local vet came out to the farm and gave him IV fluids and looked at his wound and rewrapped it. Despite all our efforts he did not make it. We are very saddened by this loss, Erik was such a sweet alpaca and we all enjoyed working with him. He will be greatly missed!!! Our alpaca vet had been out sick for a few months and just returned this week, when I talked to her she reassured me that we did everything we could for Erik and that it is normal for the males to be territorial and fight. We have now learned that the best prevention will be to doing regular checks for the male alpacas fighting teeth and once they appear have them removed. The fighting teeth are hooked shape teeth that are located in the back of their mouth on the sides. These teeth are very sharp and pointy like a shark’s tooth, and they come in around the time the male reaches sexual maturity. It is really sad that we had to learn this lesson the hard way! We hope to share this with others so they can be forewarned so this doesn't happen to others. We had our original boys together for almost 2 years without any serious fighting just spitting at each other and had no idea that they would fight like this.
What do you think of our alpacas names? What do you use to name your alpacas or other animals? Have you had any hard or sad lesson learned while farming?
Welcome to our farm blog I am Jennifer, wife, mother of 4, fiber farmer & Homeschooling mom. Learning and growing along the way to a more sustainable life.
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"To accomplish great things, we must not only act,but also dream, not only plan but also believe.." -Anatole France