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Friday, August 22, 2014

Upcoming Events...Take Your Mind off the Rain!

I know into each life a little rain must fall...BUT really!?  Enough already!!!  And sooo much too!  It is true what they say though...good duck weather!  The ducks do love it, and I guess that is why there were 6 babies hatched this week!
So as for the animals:  Handsome the Rooster you read about with the Boo-Boo toe is better and out of quarantine and slowing integrating back with everyone, right now he thinks he is the baby turkey protector and that is fine.  The big turkey's are getting bigger and showing off their stuff...a little bit of parading is happening now, I tell them how lovely they are!  HA!  If you are looking for a turkey for Thanksgiving get your orders in!  We have two groups but limited quantities.

I have done some baking and made some preserves, but the tomatoes are slow to ripen so no sauces yet!

The Fall is approaching quicker than we'd like.  The weather seems to have changed without much notice.  Where did the summer go?  Actually was there a summer?  If you can't fight'm ...join'm!  SO with that in mind here are some upcoming events!

August 30, 2014 Maynooth Farmer's Market, it is the 25th Anniversary!  "Maynooth Madness" comes to life with EVERYONE visiting the market and their 40 plus vendors!  Why not celebrate some of your long weekend in Maynooth,  there will be so much to do and see.  Make sure you check out their Facebook page.
October 7, 2014 Spin - In  another 25th Anniversary!  This event will be in Campbellford at St. John's United Church from 10 am until 3 pm.  There will be a sweets table and BBQ.  What can you expect from a Spin In?  First, the finest quality of yarns and fibre for you to purchase!  There will be hand made items for sale as well.  Local artisans will have knitted, weaved, crocheted, spun, dyed,  sewn, you name it....beautiful unique one of a kind items for you or for you to give as gifts.  Admission is $ 5.00.  Any questions please call Joan McCulloch at 705-653-1509
October 11-13, 2014 - The Norwood Fair.  The Fair is open 9 am to 5:30 pm daily.  This fair is one of the BEST local Fairs going!  An ABSOLUTE must to end the fair season and to get you in the mood for celebrating Thanksgiving!  While you are there, "Thank a Farmer!"  Check out their webpage at   You have to go!
November 1, 2014 - The Inspired Creations Annual Christmas Sale from 9 am to 3 pm at the Lions Club on 959 Meadowview Road, at Orange Corners Road.  There will be over 30 artisans and vendors with a wide range of products!  See what they have to offer admission is free!

The store is open 10-5 pm Thursday thru Sunday.  Come and get your yarn!  You  might as well start your knitting, the cooler weather is here,dang it all!!!  Meats and eggs also available.  705-778-2070

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Another Week at Elmlea Farm

I debated on writing this post for a while, but a question I had posed to me by a caller kinda pushed me to bring it forward.  The owners of Elmlea Farm, Lee and Elmer are away this this is not being written by either...I have been at the farm for a year and this is my personal observation.  First and for the record, Elmlea Farm is a HOBBY FARM.  They do this because, well it's sort of in their blood!  While we all enjoy the animals, the "farm" work itself, well it is hard and it is time consuming and it does come with it's challenges.  For example, it rained so much this week that the sheep and goat barn that was all nice and clean needed...NEEDED to have some extra straw put down as Patrick's wool was starting to shrink because he was so wet!  HA!  Sheep humour!!
Inky Scarecrow

Alpaca Girls
As you know we are a fibre farm and we do not eat our Sheep, Goats, or Alpacas, yes you can eat Alpaca. We do sell goat and lamb from local farmers but not from us.  We do raise chickens and turkeys to eat.  We have ducks too and even though they are threatened with going to the oven, it has been ages since we have had duck on the table!
We do sell eggs and as the laying birds age they just live out their lives here, no stewing pot...but that is just us.  An old hen, while healthy may not be the prettiest looking bird anymore....but this "old hen" with out her feathers isn't always the prettiest bird first thing in the morning either!
This brings me to the reason for the blog....the caller wanted to see about getting eggs from us and wanted to see the animals and know how they were treated.  I completely understand that....after seeing some of the big commercial farms being reported on lately.  It is so deplorable, unnerving and sad to see this, but as a city girl myself...we the consumer are partially to blame.
I know that the turkeys and the meat chickens here will be eaten and that is their destiny...but as they grow up  they are outside in the daytime and in at night.  I probably talk to them way too much!  And they have space and are well cared for.  If there is anything that they need we tend to it.  For example, we have a rooster who has a bad "toe" currently and he has been having his foot soaked and creme applied and he even has a wrapped bandage on it.  I call him "Handsome".  Poor Handsome is currently isolated and he is not happy about that and yes he is in a cage....but that is to keep him safe.  Over the winter a hen was being picked on too much so "ugly hen" was taking out from the others and placed in her own were two other hens...who are actually very gentle and pretty...and they had their own heat lamp and area as well and I said they wintered in the "deluxe hotel!"  Eventually "ugly hen" went back with everyone else when she was better, as for the pretty hens well they "raise" the new laying hens, seems to be their calling and they are good at it!  There is no over crowding, though in the winter I am sure they get bored...but they are chickens!  A dozen eggs costs you $ 3.00.  Yup a whole $3.00, they are usually brown, and varying shades of brown and varying sizes and there a lots of double yolkers.  Eggs are collected twice a day and we have an ebb and flow in production.  But you can certainly go to the store and buy your perfect eggs for less money.  I have no problem with that...I too have done is the catch.....those perfect white eggs, or brown are not coming from chickens that are outside...chasing butterflies.  You can't have it both ways!  You can't pay $ 1.99 and want the chickens in the "deluxe hotel"... they will be in a tight quarters to put it mildly.
Turkeys....turkeys are not the smartest birds and sometimes at night it can take me over 20 minutes to get them in...just because they can't move 6 inches to the right and go through the opening....then panic sets in and they have to run around frantic.  By the way we are talking about a 2 foot wide opening that I walk gates!  Anyway...again you can't have it both ways with regards cost.  The cost of our turkeys per pound is higher than a grocery store...for 2 reasons we have less than 30 and we grow them up right...not over feeding, etc.
Now if we move on to the fibre side and a skein of yarn.....cost wise.  Yes you can go and buy yarn cheaper than here from a department store, but our fibre is a labour of love.  Are these animals treated right, well Patrick the Old English Babydoll sheep seems to like placing his head on my lap for a sleep and a cuddle and yesterday I cleaned his ears and trimmed his hooves as he lay there.  The little goat Louie stood for me as I trimmed his collar, no leash...just letting me hold his leg up and trim.  They have trust in us.  We feed them, house them, protect them and care for them.  That is the one part of animal management and then we shear, sort, pick, wash, comb, spin, dye the fibre to create the yarn for your use.  This is not a compliant...again it is a labour of love and it does the soul good to see what can be made, but this is why the yarns here are NOT $ 10.00 or less for a skein.  I have found that people also like to purchase some yarn and see where it came from...look at the animals.
So that is my view and the way I see it.  I hope my little explanation sheds some light on what we do.  And that it may encourage you to shop from your local farmers.
Bye for Now
As always the store is open from 10 am to 5 pm Thursday thru Sunday.  This weekend the Havelock Jamboree is happening so feel free to drop in if you are in the area.  705-778-2070

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Yarns and Socks in Fabulous Colours!

WOW!  The second week of August already!  Where does the time go?  The days have been nice but some of the nights are actually getting cooler I am sad to say. However, as Canadians we know that there is still lots of time left to enjoy and relax the weather and to engage in our hobbies, especially while on holidays!  So with that in mind, I have something for all you yarn crafters out there or for you who would like to get something for your crafting friends.

Our new yarn and socks have arrived and both come in great colours and yes even styles!  Styles for yarn?  Well a bit of an exaggeration but we just got in some Boucle yarn!  And in stunning colours too!  Boucle is somewhat of a novelty yarn but what it means basically is it is a looped yarn and very pretty!


We have stunning purples, reds and light blues.  Also we have received new colours in our Alpaca/Wool blends, the Black and Purple are gorgeous.

 And let's not forget the Mohair/Wool blends with it's rich reds, oranges, cranberries, greens and purple too just too name a few of all the colours we have available.


Next we have socks in great new colours....we have PINK and yellow and blues and greens...of course we have our standard colours too of neutrals and blacks and greys.  In our socks we carry a relaxed fit which is a bit looser in the calf area great for anyone who doesn't like a tight sock or who has circulation problems. We have our standard high sock and then our thermal socks in both an ankle or sport sock length.  I should also mention our insoles are in...and yes we have your size!

New Sock Colours

Thermal Socks

The store is open from Thursday thru Sunday 10 am - 5 pm, but you can always call and see if we are around or make an appointment.  There is an array of hand crafted items in the store along with many more fibre products ranging from batts, to roving to wool yarns.  And on the farm side we also have some lamb and beef in along with chicken and eggs

Monday, August 4, 2014

Something Older, Something New

 It's been a few weeks since our last'd think we were on holidays or something!  Not the case just busy and getting busier...gardens are growing, baby chickens, turkeys and ducklings are growing, alpaca baby growing...speaking of which the baby is a boy not a girl as first announced. And we have new product arriving,  hence the title of "older and new".  I will be showing and telling you things in the next weeks, regarding new arrivals and upcoming events.  But today I am featuring our authentic barn boards and our newly arrived handcrafted yarn bowls!
Barn Boards and Various Baskets

Motifs and Plain Authentic Barn Boards

Yarn Bowl
These bowls are not only practical but gorgeous pieces of pottery!  Designed to hold your ball of yarn, keeping it clean with easy access ...they certainly could be used to "hold" for other items.  I personally think it will be a great base for a gift basket!  These bowls are locally crafted and are for sale at our store for only $ 30.00.
Yarn Bowl

Various designs of Yarn Bowls

Yarn Bowl with Yarn
As always the store is open Thursday thru Sunday 10-5 pm.  Come in and see our selection of natural fibres and handcrafted items as well we have farm fresh eggs and local meats.

Friday, July 18, 2014

2014 First Cria Born!

Mocha and Cria Girl July 2014
Good Friday Morning!  This morning Mocha had a baby girl!  She is a pretty dark brown and as all cria's she is all legs!  This is the first of our cria for 2014, both Mom and baby are doing well.

Yesterday we had a group stop by the farm, they had stopped by to see the animals but to learn about what we do with our animals, our industry.  They learned about the different fibre goats, the Olde English Babydoll Southdown sheep and of course our Alpacas and Llamas.  They enjoyed seeing how the animal's fleece was made into different products.  The store was a great hit and buying socks and yarns from animals you just met makes it all a bit more special!

Mocha and Cria girl 2014
The store is open from 10-5 Thursday thru Sunday.  If you would like to have a group come for a tour the cost is $ 20.00 per person and you can come anytime during the week, we can discuss options and what you would like to see.  As always we are NOT a petting farm, but we do have a few VERY social representatives from each species who love the attention...we even have "Pretty" Hen!

The store has local beef and lamb from other farms, we have eggs, chicken and turkey's which we are taking orders for now.

To get in touch with us please call 705-778-2070 or you can email us at

See my legs, they are new!

Mocha and baby

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Brief Peek at a Farm Tour...part 1

Good Wednesday Morning!  I'm late with this week's blog!  BUT....for a very good reason....we hosted a farm tour on Monday and what a GREAT time! 

While the weather was iffy at first, it turned out to be a wonderful day.  We had our sun shelters up, there was tea and coffee when things were a bit dreary to warm you up and of course a good selection of cold drinks.

We were able to shear a Llama and Snowflake was very happy to oblige and have her huge "blanket" removed....much cooler now!  She even had a pedicure!

Llama Fibre
Patrick and Lucy along with all the other sheep and goats entertained the crowd and Patrick was very insistent on getting his head petted.  Timo was our Alpaca ambassador and he came out to give kiss and smell everyone's hair!  He's a cutie.

Lucy and her son Jerry
Elmer gave an explanation of the various kinds of Sheep, Goats, Alpacas and Llamas and even showed the chickens and turkeys and ducks of various shapes and sizes and farm fresh eggs were greatly in demand!
Then it was on to the REAL purpose of this farm, the fibre is processed....Lee took everyone through a full demonstration, the raw fibre...shearing, picking, combing, carting and spinning!   She makes everything look so easy! 

The store offers a great variety of fibre, alpaca, wool, mohair, blends of each and beautiful vibrant colours!  The solar dyed yarns were a real hit!
Store fibres

I will be posting pictures on Monday going through the steps.  Our group arrived at 10:30am and left at 3pm.  While we provided the drinks they brought their own lunch.

If you think you might be interested in having a group tour of the farm and the store just let us know.  Reach us at 705-778-2070 or email  The cost is $20.00 per person.  We can slightly tailor the even to your needs...but keep in mind that we are NOT a petting farm and while Patrick and some others love the attention, most of the animals are farm animals.  Another point of interest is being a FIBRE farm means we are NOT eating these goats and sheep...or Alpacas!  The purpose of our farm is to use the fibre from these animals is various ways whether through creating yarns for knitting and crocheting or for using the fibre in felting.

BUT our farm store does sell lamb, goat, and beef (supplied by local farms)along with chicken, turkey and eggs.  If you are looking for your Thanksgiving Turkey you need to order it soon! 

Store is open Thursday thru Sunday 10 am to 5 pm!  Come say "Hi"!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

How to Wash Fleece

With our shearing all done for the Alpacas, Goats and Sheep, washing the fibre is the next step.  Just a quick aside as the fleece is being sheared from the animal it is skirted, sorted and picked quickly.  Of course some things still manage to find their way deep into the fleece and will get pulled out later.  If you have animals you shear and don't know how to start the process of using the fibre you have, here is where to start!

10  Easy Steps to Washing Fibre

What you need to remember about washing fleece is consistency in temperature and NOT to over manipulate the fleece...other than that it is a very simple process.

Here is what you need! The fibre, a netted bag, soap, we use a sodium lauryl sulfate(Orvus Wa paste is great), a sink or tub of some sort and though not needed a spin dryer works wonders and really speeds up the drying process!
Netted bag and Orvus Soap


Unwashed Alpaca Fleece

Step 1:  Fill sink with warm water....use enough water to cover bag of fibre.  If you are washing WOOL, and this applies to WOOL use HOT do this to get the lanolin out of the wool.  Make note of the temperature of your water for all fibre.  You want it to stay as close to this temperature as possible each time you fill the sink.

Step 2: Add a handful of soap to the filling sink.
Orvus soap...note it will turn clear when heated

Step 3: Add fibre; which is in netted bag.  Let bag soak for 15-20 must monitor the temperature of the water!!! Do not let the water get really cool.
unwashed fleece in netted bag

Step 4:  Drain water and repeat as want the water to be relatively clean
another washing is needed

Fleece in soap and water
Step 5: When the water is clean enough fill the sink with only water to rinse the fibre.

Step 6: Drain the sink and hold the bag up to let water pour out... DO NOT RING OUT THE ACCESS WATER BY HAND!!!!!!  That would be a MANIPULATION!

Step 7: While still in netted bag put fleece in spin dryer for about 1 minute....if you do not have a drier you must let the fibre drip.....but only until water stops dripping

Spin dyer...fleece in bag

Step 8: Remove fibre from bag
wet compacted fleece

Step 9: Pull fibre apart.....this is IMPORTANT...if you do not, the fibre will not dry properly and may also "wet felt" during the drying period
pulled apart wet fleece
Step 10:  Place the fibre on a airy drying area

Remember....consistent water not handle the fibre too much ....and pull fibre apart after spun or dripped dried and before drying process.  You will see how the fibre "gains" size when you pull it apart and after it has dried from being washed compared to prewashed size.
Washed Alpaca Fleece, note the difference between washed and unwashed