Fall is here and we’re all thinking about the warm and cozy things we can knit and crochet. Five of Whidbey Island’s fiber farms and 2 great yarn stores are participating in FiberQuest 2015. At each farm you can meet the alpacas that produce the luxuriously soft yarn and roving. Start planning your holiday gift giving of hand-made alpaca clothing.
Satisfy your fiber love with the Whidbey Island FiberQuest: September 25-26-27. You can download ticket with map of farms/stores here. FQ-2015_Ticket.
Sadly, at this time we are unable to have regular open hours for tours. Our finest tour guide and farmer extraordinaire is no longer with us and we miss him very much.
In this next chapter we are hoping to find new pastures for the herd. However, if you are yearning for alpaca clothing or yarn we have socks, gloves, hats and scarves and yarn available in our farm store. Please contact us and we’ll take care of you.
If you know of anyone who wants to bring these lovable livestock into their farm life have them contact us.
If you’re planning on visiting the island this weekend – Sept 12 and 13, we encourage you to do the Whidbey Island Farm Tour. One note: although we are listed in the printed brochure we unfortunately had to withdraw from the farm tour. But there are plenty of other wonderful stops on the tour: from locally grown vegetables, cheese made from sheep’s milk to a fiber mill and a distillery.
For the next few weeks we are not able to be open for farm visits as we attend to family needs and participate in alpaca 4H activities at the Whidbey Island Fair. However, if you’re yearning for alpaca yarn or a pair of alpaca socks or some of our other alpaca products please contact us by email and we’ll be happy to accommodate you.
We encourage you to visit the Whidbey Island Fair August 6-9 in Langley, WA. It has all the fun of a rural county fair. . . . animals, rides and food. The 4H alpaca club will be having their competitions on Friday in the arena by the alpaca barn. Sit in the grandstand and watch the 4H alpaca handlers put their animals through their paces. On Sunday you can watch the egg and spoon races and timed obstacles courses. It’s a lot of fun for everyone. See you at the Fair.
Please watch the website for updates on when the farm will be open for visits again.
All the alpacas are happy to have had their furry winter coats shorn off before the temps reached record highs in the Northwest! All 20 alpacas and mama llama Sylvia had haircuts and toenail trims in mid June. They look so skinny without their fluffy fleece.
As always we were left with bags and bags of fleece. Most of it is already sorted by fiber characteristics into different grades and sent off to the mill to be made into premium yarns. We’re grateful to have another fleece harvest done for the year. Thanks to our excellent shearer and all our helpers! We are so appreciative of your hard work and good spirits as the day wore on and on.
These last couple of weeks have been really hot here on Whidbey and there’s no rain forecast as far out as we can see. On the hottest days the alpacas truly enjoy a bit of spray to cool off. We’re finding they are more interested in greeting visitors in the morning hours. By late afternoon they are all hunkered down in the shade of their shelters and not very willing to come out into the sun.
Our 4H alpaca group just had their spring show. This event is a trial run for the Whidbey Island Fair which happens in August.
The judges put the kids and their alpacas through their paces. It’s a good way to find out what you need to work on with your alpaca so you’ll be more successful at the county fair.
One session is showing your alpaca in a group with others. The judge is looking to see how well the handler keeps their alpaca under control. Can they walk single file across the show ground? Does the handler have to pull the alpaca along or is the alpaca pulling the handler? Neither is desirable. The alpaca should walk with a loose lead a few steps behind the handler.
Can they line up side by side and stand still when the handler directs them to? Sometimes the alpacas get excited and jump around and the handler has to know just what to do to get them quietly back in position.
Another challenging session is the obstacle course. Alpacas tend to be uneasy walking on different surfaces and through unfamiliar places. But, ideally the 4H handler has built a trust with their alpaca so the two can successfully navigate a series of obstacles they’re seeing for the first time. Alpacas are smart and our 4H handlers have to show them who’s in charge and that they will be kept safe when they are on a halter and lead.
It’s a fun day for everyone. And, of course, there are ribbons to be earned for all their hard work. Our judges, an experienced llama trainer and a 4H alpaca graduate had a good time with the kids and their alpacas.
Thanks everyone for a wonderful Spring Show. Now it’s time to get to work on those things you and your alpaca still need to learn. See you in August at the Whidbey Island Fair.
It was a busy and beautiful weekend on the farm with visitors to the island coming to the farm to meet the alpacas. And what a delightful surprise when a long time friend of mine and her daughter dropped by for their first visit to the farm. Here’s her daughter, Blythe, schmooozing with Freya and Electra in the girls’ pasture.
We captured a couple of other great pictures of the fluffy characters on the farm that day. How could you not love this face! Asa has lovely mahogany fleece and killer eyelashes.
And Pedro seems to be telling the boys he’s in charge and that he’s the most macho of them all.
Spring is a great time to visit the alpacas. They still have all their fluffy fleece. We’re heading towards shearing day so don’t wait too long to plan your visit to see them in their full fleecey splendor.
Oh, and we have just received from the mill more skeins of our true black, bay black and white 100% alpaca yarn — all from our own herd. Plus, for the weavers and fiber artists we have white, beige, rose gray and dark mahogany brown rug yarn spun on a cotton core. It’s beautiful and I can’t wait to get the loom warped up again for more rugs.
It was beautifully sunny day when several carloads of college students arrived at the farm. We were delighted to welcome 29 members of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association at the University of Washington. I think one or two had been to the farm before or had learned about us from postings on Weibo (the Chinese equivalent to twitter!) So they organized a spring day trip to our farm.
With cameras in hand and lots of enthusiasm, our visitors learned all about raising alpacas, their traits and personalities. They quickly discovered that getting an alpaca to stand still for a selfie is not an easy task. They asked lots of questions, took lots of pictures and thoroughly enjoyed their time with the alpacas. Our alpacas have a good bit of experience with the public through their 4H training so they are not particularly fazed by having a group of friendly people in their pasture. We’ve been told that alpacas are like ‘rock stars’ in China. They are very popular and judging by the number of visitors from China that we have had to the farm over the last couple of years I believe it must be true.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we can help you wrap your sweetie in the luxury of soft alpaca. Bendito here invites you to stop by the farm so you can touch and feel clothing made from alpaca fleece. You’ll love it.
Fashionably soft alpaca hats, gloves, socks and scarves will chase away the winter chill. Your favorite knitter will warm up with our premium yarns from our own alpaca herd.
A handwoven alpaca rug will keep your feet toasty warm and guaranteed to become a family heirloom. Other gift ideas include adorable felted alpacas, handfelted locally made soaps and felted pin cushions and one-of-a-kind handcrafted handbags by local fiber artists. Let us help you think outside the chocolate box for Valentine gifts this year.
As the calendar turns over to a new year, we typically think about a fresh start, and maybe make a resolution or two to do something different in the new year. Our fresh start for 2015 is a new website for the farm. We will continue to post about activities on the farm, update on new offerings of alpaca yarn and products made from alpaca fleece.
Since one present under the tree this year was a fancy, schmancy new camera, we’re promising to post a lot of photos of our charming alpacas this year. We invite you to look around the new site and see some new photos as well as alpaca products in our farm store. If you see something in the farm store you’d like to have send us an email or give us a call and we’ll help you out. Our next task for the new year is to make it easier for you to shop online. But that will take a bit more time.
We have had a lovely holiday with family. It’s always a treat to have our college girl at home. We survived the adventure of a major windstorm which resulted in a couple of downed trees. Two benefits are opening up a bit more of our view of Puget Sound from our house on the hill and at least one new cord of wood for next winter. Most of all we look back and remember the wonderful visitors who have come to the farm during 2014.
Here’s wishing you all a very Happy New Year and a peaceful 2015.