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Posted 7/30/2012 6:32pm by Andrea.

The votes were coming in fast and furious.

We asked for names for Bella's baby, and names you gave us. You guys take the naming responsibility seriously. You researched the meaning of names. You wrote things in perfect Italian. You sold your choices with passion.

Alas, there can only be one winner (well, in this case, there will be two.) But we appreciate each and every person's efforts.

So, without further adieu, may we congratulate Connie B. for her contribution of CaraBella and Amy J. for suggesting di Michelangelo. We are combining the names and the new little one will be officially named as That'll Do Farm's CaraBella di Michelangelo. But, seeing as that is a big, big name, and she is just a little girl, around the barn, she will be known simply as Cara.

Thank you to everyone who contributed. We appreciate your interest and your naming skills. There were some duplicates, but as we said when announcing the contest, we gave credit to the first person to suggest the name.

Didn't win this time? Don't despair. There are several pregnant alpacas that are due this fall and we will have another contest. So keep thinking people, keep thinking!

Connie B. and Amy J., send me an e-mail at BrightonWool@aol.com to claim your prize.

Tags: Alpacas, Cria
Posted 7/24/2012 12:49pm by Andrea.

Folks, we're stumped.



At our wit's end.

I think you get the picture.

Beautiful Bella

gave birth to an outstanding female cria back on July 2nd. And we have yet to come up with a name for her baby. We are very bad farmers indeed.

So we're asking for your help. The cria is a dainty and girly-girl alpaca with deer-like qualities. Her fleece is butter soft and creamy to the touch. Much too pretty to go unnamed for so long!

All names for crias born at the farm this year need to start with the letter C. (It helps us keep track of the year the were born.)

So give it your best shot. Leave us a comment before the end of the day Sunday, July 29th. If we pick your name, you can pick one of two prizes:

Maia's Signature Yarn

Prize 1: A skein of deep, rich cocoa brown yarn from Bella's good alpaca buddy Maia. This is approximently 250 yards of Maia yarn, mixed with 15% Merino wool. The words warm, soft and drapey come to mind when touching this yarn.

Or, for the spinner, Prize 2 is a box of our Cinnamon Roll Roving. Six ounces of our soft-as-a-cloud alpaca roving mixed with 15 percent Merino wool. It is a dream to spin.

Cinnamon Roll Roving

So leave your suggestion, along with your name and a way to contact you in the comment section below. We will announce the winner on Monday, July 30th. You can leave more than one suggestion. In the case of two people suggesting the same winning name, we will consider the first one listed in the comment section as the winner.

So put your naming hats on and enter to win. Bella's unnamed baby thanks you.


Hint: The mama alpaca's full name is Tuscan's Amber Wave Di Bella Vita. (You need a nap after saying all that!). And the daddy is El Nino's Accoyo Michelangelo. Two Italian names so we're really leaning towards an Italian sounding name for this young lady. Or a name that incorporates the parents name or names somehow.

Posted 7/13/2012 10:44am by Andrea .

Our third alpaca baby was born yesterday to the ever-lovely Ember.

She delivered a healthy, strong, fawn-colored cria.

Keep those name suggestions coming. Remember, they must start with the letter C.

Tags: alpacas, crias
Posted 7/9/2012 9:08am by Andrea.

In the "Ask a Country Vet" column of the July/August issue of Country Living magazine, a reader asks if its possible to own just one alpaca.

At first, I thought this was an odd question. The alpacas at That'll Do Farm are raised to sell and also for their fiber. How could anybody want just one? It didn't make sense to me. Then it occured to me that there are people out there that are hobby farmers. They have other "real world" jobs, but they live on a few acres with just enough room for an alpaca or two. (I never said I was the sharpest tool in the shed, that's for sure!) Alpacas make perfect sense for the hobby farmer.

Country Living's vet, Dr. Rob Sharp, explains that alpacas are herd animals. They don't like to live alone. They need their buddies around them. And he is exactly right.

But they don't need a couple dozen buddies to be happy, just one more would be good. Think of it as an alpaca BFF.

Alpacas make great pets. They aren't hard to handle. They don't need much room -- two alpacas could easily live on an acre. Their beans (a polite word for poop) make excellent fertiziler for the garden and  isn't "hot" -- meaning it can go directly into the garden without danger of burning the plants. And, if you're a knitter or weaver, you have a constant supply of yarn.

Shy and somewhat aloof by nature, they are not usually an affectionate animal, but they are very curious. If you're in the barn, they want to know what you're doing. But they don't demand attention 24/7.

Children love alpacas. Those big doe-like eyes get you every time (I'm talking about alpaca eyes, not the pleading eyes of a small child, although those get you too!) Alpacas are great animals for 4H and there are even alpaca agility trials. At the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival, I watched kids put alpacas and llamas through their paces; walking over crinkly objects, jumping small fences, walking across bridges. I was fascinated and all the kids seemed to have their animals under control. It's a great way to introduce children to caring for livestock.

Pet qauality alpacas can be purchased for as little as a few hundred dollars. Upkeep costs include worming and vaccinations, hay and grain supplements and shearing. On average, costs for caring for a couple of alpacas would be on par with costs for caring for a couple of dogs.

You also need a barn or three-sided shelter with a good, fenced in pasture and access to water.

If you're curious about what it would be like to own alpacas, as pets or for any other reasons, give us a call. We'll be happy to introduce you to these gentle creatures.




Tags: alpacas
Posted 6/29/2012 5:28pm by Andrea.

The first cria (that's what baby alpacas are called) of the season was born on Monday.

Meet Clint. He belongs to Maia.

Don't let Brigitte Bardot, the tan alpaca pictured above, fool you. She is not his mother. But she loves him with every fluffy hair on her head. Are there such things as cougar alpacas? Because if so, she is definitely one of them!

Here's the scoop on Cling: He's a male, born on June 25th at 7 a.m. Maia went 11 months and 17 days with him and had a very quick, no issues kind of delivery.

Clint is very healthy and extremely energetic, spending his days running laps. His father is Hobby Horse Farm's "For a Few Dollars More" but is known as Eastwood. Hence Clint's name.

All the alpacas born at the farm this year will be given names begining with the letter C. It helps us keep track of their birth year.

The next cria is due July 7th. We're taking any and all suggestions for outstanding names starting with the letter C. Send 'em in! We can use the help.

Tags: Alpacas, Cria
Posted 6/6/2012 2:28pm by Andrea.

We are certainly not at a loss for pretty faces at the farm.

Now before you go thinking we're quite vain and taken with ourselves, I can assure you I am talking about the pretty faces on the animals. The humans are usually adorned in baseball hats, carhartts and knee-high boots. We rarely point the camera in the direction of the humans.

But really, who wouldn't melt at the sight of the ever lovely Dottie Biscotti.

There is so much personality packed into this face it radiates from her.

However, she is certainly not outdone by Grady.

That's a whole lot of Border Collie packed into 40 pounds.

Grady's best friend in this big, wide world is Jack.

To meet Jack is to love Jack. He will greet you with kindness and closed eyes, perhaps with a moan of happiness escaping his lips if you happen to scratch behind his ears. He has one purpose and one purpose only in life and that is to be loved.

I guess if one names an alpaca Brigitte Bardot, one should expect a bit of attitude.

Brigitte is too cool for us and enjoys looking down her nose at the farm's mere humans.

Not to worry, Dottie will keep on eye on her and keep her in line.


Tags: Alpacas, Dogs
Posted 5/19/2012 5:31am by Marilyn Kennedy .

We are excited to introduce to you the newest herdsire at That'll Do Farm.

Please welcome Allblack -- and for those of you "in the know" as far as rugby is concerned, yes, he is named after the current Rugby World Cup championship team from New Zealand -- the All Blacks.

We'll be telling you a lot more about this outstanding young man in the weeks to come. He was the reserve champion brown male at the 2011 AOBA National Fleece Show in a field of 27 fleeces.

We expect great things from him. Please stop out at the farm to see him for yourself.

Tags: Alpacas
Posted 3/19/2012 1:12pm by Andrea.

It's time to kick up our heels a bit. That young man, who was born at the farm last summer, is a winner!

Farmer Gal took "Mr. Big" to Columbus last weekend for the "Best of the U.S. Alpaca Show" and he promptly took first place in his class.

"Ahh, shucks," he said. "It was nothing." Any alpaca with outstanding fleece and wonderful confirmation could have done it.

You can read more about Mr. Big and all the other alpacas on the farm at Open Herd.

Needless to say, you are more than welcome to come out to the farm to visit Mr. Big and his barn-mates. We'll even show you his blue ribbon!

Tags: Alpacas
Posted 12/17/2011 11:04am by Andrea.

Today, it almost feels like Winter. We've had a dusting of snow, which, compared to last year at this time, shouldn't even count as snow.

Moose doesn't mind. As long as he can play ball, it can snow all year long.

Annie didn't mind either. It's much easier to hunt varmints with a bit of snow on the ground to slow them down. Snow doesn't slow Annie down.

Nor does it bother the goats and Joey, the llama. They do what they always do.

Eat. Eat. Eat.

However, Raphael thought he would face the snow with a bit of holiday bling.

Nothing says Christmas like a goat with bells in his hair.

This is the first time little Dottie Biscotti has ever seen snow.

She can't quite believe it. She went to sleep last night and all was right with her world. This morning, everything has changed!

Not to worry. Dewey calmed her down.

Dewey explained that a little bit of snow doesn't change anything. There is still time to sit on your favorite hill and watch the world go by.

Tags: Alpacas, Dogs
Posted 8/15/2011 6:22am by Andrea.

A large tour bus rolled through the farm on Saturday, bringing with it a group of very nice farm enthusiasts.

We showed them the herb and dyers garden, the bee hives, the goats and the llama.

We had yarn and vegetables and honey for sale.

But the star of the show was the new cria, born just hours before their arrival.

This is Star's as-of-yet-unamed baby girl. She is a Suri alpaca and as cute as can be.

Star has that look of all new moms: What the heck do I do now?? Somebody help me!

But she figured it out quickly and mother and baby are doing just fine. This is the cria's first attempt at standing, about an hour after her birth.

She has since mastered the difficult task of standing and has moved on to running and frolicking.

The veteran babies, the ones born in the past month or so, are watching her first attempt like the seasoned standing up pros that they are. Soon, the new cria will join them and they will all be out kicking up their heels and driving their mothers crazy.

Krispy Kreme, the mother of one of the crias, has a headache just thinking about watching one more baby in the pasture. I have bad news for Krispy Kreme. Thee more crias are due over the next month or two. She's going to need some asprin.

Tags: Alpacas, Cria
Posted 7/5/2011 7:00pm by Andrea.

Happy post-July 4th.

The farm hosted a small holiday party yesterday for about 75 or so family and friends.  That sure makes it hard to get back at it today. So we sort-of eased back into the work week.

Farmer Gal had a little heart-to-heart chat with Dewey while Mr. Big listened in.

Bug and Dottie Biscotti enjoyed a spirited game of chase.

And slowly, oh so slowly, we moved out to the gardens to pull weeds.

I did not abandon Wheel or the Tour de Fleece. We were up early to do a bit of spinning -- some nice Bluefaced Leicester top from Mountain Colors in the "Wilderness" colorway. I couldn't pass up a color called Wilderness. It had my name written all over it.

On Sunday, I finished up some other spinning for the Tour.

Certainly not the most even yarn in the entire world, but I like it. I think it is begging to be knit into a pair of fingerless mitts.

But not today. Today feels like a Monday and fingerless gloves are way too ambitious for a Monday.

Posted 6/23/2011 5:34am by Andrea.

You can not be unhappy when there are babies about. Human babies, dog babies, giraffe babies, alpaca babies -- any of them will make you smile.

But when you put a coat on one of them, the cuteness factor goes way up.

This is Molly's little girl, That'll Do's Bug-A-Boo, also known as plain old Bug. She is petite and it was a chilly morning so she needed a coat. Makes me want to squeeze her to death . . . but that would be wrong. No squeezing.

This is Ms. Bug's good friend, Mr. Big.

This picture was taken just an hour or so after he was born. Mr. Big is a big, strong boy.

And just like in the human world, the boys always, always, always get the eyelashes.

Why is that? He will not need Revlon's Luscious Plumping Mascara to make his eyes look big. That is a fact and the girls are not happy about it.

And then we have the lovely Dottie Biscotti, who already seems wise beyond her weeks.

The youngest of the spring crias is Quintessa's as-of-yet-unamed-baby.

She is a beauty. If you could feel her fleece you would think you were in knitters heaven.

That's her mama Quintessa on the left. But un-named beautiful baby had an "Are You My Mother" moment when she saw Bella, on the right. They look an awful lot alike.

But Quintessa gave the cria a talking to, saying "Look. I am your mother and that's that. You don't have to like it, but you do have to listen to me." You know, it's the same old mother/daughter talk that has been going on for centuries.

The moms got the crias together for a play date.

Soon they were running,

and jumping

all over the place.

It was exhausting. Especially for the moms.

But all is well in babyland. One more cria is due any day now and then that's it until fall, when five more are due.

As in the human world, babies sure do add a lot of life to your day.

Tags: Alpacas, Cria
Posted 6/7/2011 6:39pm by Andrea.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Children of all ages.

Let me introduce to you the newest arrival at That'll Do Farm.

Krispy Kreme's yet-to-be-named cria.

Isn't this the cutest baby you've ever seen.

She made a vet-assisted entrance into the world, causing both her mama and Farmer Gal much concern.

But both mama and baby are doing great. Krispy Kreme is a first-time mother and she's a natural. She is quite unhappy if you go into the stall to check on the baby. She comes right over to make sure you aren't doing anything to hurt her precious giraffe . . . I mean cria.











Sorry, I got confused for a minute. Long legs. Long neck. Spots.

But we double checked. She's an alpaca. And a darn cute one at that. 

Her mama loves her. We love her.

What's not to love!

Now we need a name. All alpacas born on the farm this year will have a name starting with the letter B. Start sending us your suggestions!


Tags: Alpacas, Cria
Posted 6/4/2011 5:57pm by Andrea.

Week three-and-a-half of baby watch and still no new alpaca baby.

In fact, no new alpacas, with an s. As in more than one. As in three. That's right. Three are now overdue.

Come on ladies, it's hot out there. You'll be much more confortable if you'd just deliver those babies. Nobody likes to be pregnant in the summer! 

We have plenty of babies at the farm, none happen to be alpacas.

Robin babies.

Mourning Dove babies.

Painted turtle babies.

(This could possibly be a turtle teenager. It's hard to tell with turtles. But we were in baby picture mode, so let's just stick with that.)

But. No. Alpaca. Babies.

It can't be long now. But I think I've said that every day for the past three weeks.

Cross your fingers. Tomorrow is another day.

Tags: Alpacas
Posted 5/27/2011 6:30pm by Andrea.

"No Not Yet"

This was the saying on a plaque that hung at a family cottage in Canada. It was meant for fishing. When you'd take the canoe or boat out, the other cottagers would yell from shore, "Did you catch anything?" The idea was to hold up the sign to save yourself the chore of repeatedly yelling, "No, not yet!"

We need that sign now!

"Were any baby alpacas born at the farm?"

Standard answer: "No, not yet."

That sign sure would come in handy.

Not only is Krispy Kreme two weeks overdue, but Maia is now officially one day overdue. We are on double baby watch.

Come on ladies, we're waiting! Inquiring minds want to know. What color is your cria? Is it male or female? What's the fleece like? How much longer are you going to keep us waiting?

It was just over a year ago that young King Arthur was born at the farm.

Artie has grown quite a bit since this hours-old picture was taken. In fact, he's become such a big boy that he needed his first shearing.

I'm not sure if I've ever seen anything cuter in my life.

But wait, that head reminds me of something. Something from my childhood.

Depending on how old you are, you may remember it too.

I spent a good part of the early 70s wearing a stylish hat like this. It went with my faux white fur coat and shiny go-go boots. I was a true fashion plate.

Looking at the back of Artie's head brought back some memories. Who knew an alpaca could be stylish and retro!

Artie knew it all along.

Tags: Alpacas
Posted 5/25/2011 8:03am by Andrea.

Just a quick update for those of you anxiously waiting with us for a new alpaca baby -- Nothing to report yet!!

Ms. Krispy Kreme is two weeks "overdue" today . . . and still we wait.

She's acting a bit like she's getting closer to delivering -- not eating, not playing with the others and generally grumpy. You know, typical pregant female.

Farmer Gal is spending an awful lot of time in the barn, not wanting to miss the big event. But there is other work to be done. So come on Krispy, bring that cria into the world!

Tags: Alpacas
Posted 5/16/2011 7:54am by Andrea.

Like expectant grandparents everywhere, we are anxiously waiting for an overdue baby. Only this baby is called a cria and its mother looks like this:

I'd say Miss Krispy Kreme looks pretty darn good for being one week past her expected delivery date. She is bred to the spectacular Charles P. Atlas and we can hardly wait to see this baby.

Put your thinking caps on and start thinking of cria names. This year's baby names will all start with the letter "B". Ten alpacas are pregnant so that means lots of "B" names.

While the pregnant Krispy Kreme did not leave the farm this weekend, Farmer Gal did. She was at the Buckeye Alpaca Show in Columbus, Ohio with several other That'll Do Farm alpacas.

Dewey is always very helpful when the truck pulls into the pasture after a long weekend. She has to come right out and see where "her" alpaca have been.

Cinco is cautious when exiting the trailer. After all, he just won a blue ribbon in his class! He has to act with all the dignity befitting that honor.

Annelise, on the other hand, has thrown dignity to the wind and has decided jumping out of the trailer is much more fun . . . and so does Farmer Gal. Not to worry. Both landed safely.

Dewey, however, was in shock. All that jumping. It goes against her nature. She'd much prefer to sit quietly and watch others do the jumping . . .

. . . and the running. These three girls were off to the races when they saw the trailer pull in. Each wanted to be the first to see what was going on. They are curious animals, that's for sure.

(On a side note, did you happen to notice Dewey's collection of large bones? She doesn't bury them, but rather collects them in a nice pile right in the middle of the pasture. We don't know why. It's just a quirky little Dewey habit.)

Steeler was also curious to know who was coming back home.

We're not sure he could actually see who was coming but with those great big beautiful ears he could certainly hear them!

And so today, Monday, all is back to normal at the farm. We are still on baby watch. It's still raining. And Krispy Kreme is as calm as ever.

But it can't be long now.

Tags: Alpacas, Cria
Posted 3/1/2011 11:28am by Andrea.


Welcome March. We have been waiting for you. And you did not disappoint today.

You were cold, but sunny. Everything is better when the sun shines. 

Dog number one enjoyed a stroll along the "river" that appeared after Sunday's storm.

Dog number two did some hunting by the pond. Look closely for her. She's a "Where's Waldo" kind of dog -- never out in the open. Always hunting in the brush for something.

Silver Lining and her daughter Alibi spent the morning lounging in their open doorway, thinking about venturing out into the sunshine.

A few of the other girls got an early start on their sun bathing.

And then there's Artie. What can you say about Artie? He's too funny. Too cute. Too Artie.

Artie's birthday is next month. He'll be a year old. He was the first cria born on the farm. Send gifts if you'd like. He likes cash. And jewelry. Oh wait . . . maybe that's us. Artie just likes being Artie.

So welcome March. You've come in more like a lion cub than an actual lion. But we'll take. Just as long as you go out like a lamb.

Tags: Alpacas
Posted 2/24/2011 3:34pm by Andrea.


Farmer Gal and her daughter, Alison, went on a road trip this past weekend. Yes, the weekend with the major ice/snow/hail/kitchen sink storm. They traveled with four alpacas to the Carolina Alpaca Celebration in beautiful, warm Concord, North Carolina. They traveled home to cold, icy Ohio with four alpacas and a few ribbons.

That's Farmer Gal in the middle with young Artie, the first cria ever born on That'll Do Farm. This was Artie's first show and he done himself proud.

He behaved like a proper young man. No shenanigans. No antics. Just proper alpaca behavior.

Next it was Alison's turn to show Cinco. Cinco was the veteran here, with Alison showing for the first time. But she handled Cinco like a pro.

You can tell by Cinco's posture that this young man has been around the block a time or two. He's proud. He likes the show ring. He WANTS you to look at him.

He's also a bit porky.

And, as it goes for all supermodels everywhere, Cinco did not come home with a first place due to his weight. He received a third. The judge said he would have placed higher but we "need to do something about those groceries."

So it turns out Cinco has the same problem many of us humans have. He has put on a few pounds over the Winter. And, also like many of us, he is now on a diet  to get rid of some of his fluff. But, being a supermodel and all, we don't have the heart to come right out and tell him he needs to drop a pround or five. We just tell him he is big boned. We don't want to damage his fragile ego.

So back to the farm they came, through rain and sleet and ice. Artie is telling everyone that will listen that he was well behaved and did well for his first rodeo. Cinco is running laps trying to drop a few pounds before his next show. He didn't buy the big boned story.

Tags: Alpacas
Posted 1/24/2011 4:47pm by Andrea.

How do you feel about Winter?

I like it -- for the most part. Today wasn't bad. Somewhat sunny, not too cold.

Joey the llama likes Winter. It makes him smile.

Dewey, the Great Pyrenees, likes the snow, too.

She likes it so much she sleeps out in the front pasture. Sometimes the sight of her sleeping in a snowstorm stops traffic on the road in front of the farm. Like it's unusual to see a huge dog asleep in a snow drift!


Moose likes the snow, too. But he likes to sleep inside. On a fluffy bed. They say border collies are the smartest dogs around and I think that proves it.

The chickens, rooster and guinea hens don't venture too far from their coop. In fact, this is pretty adventurous for them.

For the alpacas, even the babies, a Winter day is just another day. They are toasty and warm, covered in their fleece. Ahhh, to be an alpaca.

But the goats, they are constantly asking questions. When is it going to get warmer? Can we have more food to help us keep warm? Why do we live in Ohio and not Texas where they don't get snow? You know how goats are. Never happy unless the're up to something.

Posted 12/4/2010 11:56am by Andrea.


We've been known to have a bit of "weather" here in Northern Ohio, snuggled up as we are against the southern shores of Lake Erie. In fact, we can tell you exactly what "Lake Effect Snow" means and how it can change your day.

But we got lucky this past week. Buffalo got all the lake effect snow. We just got the faintest of faint dustings. Enough to freeze the ground and hold the yucky mud at bay. We're a big fan of faint dustings.

Joey the llama checked out the fresh snowfall first and declared it safe for all to come out.

Fred, ever fearful, wasn't quite sure, but if his pal Joey said it was o.k., then by golly, it's o.k. with Fred.

Miss Alibi didn't have a problem with the snow at all. But one feel of her beautiful fleece and you'd know why. She's as toasty warm as if it were an April morning.

Just the thought of snow and cooler weather makes Quintessa smile.

The chickens, being chickens, wouldn't come out of their coop yesterday. But they "chickened up" and were out exploring this morning.

The guinea hens, being braver than chickens, were out together (always together -- they never travel one without the other.)

But, judging by the look on this rooster's face, the poultry members of the farm are not going to enjoy Winter!

Posted 11/24/2010 11:24am by Andrea.


This is the big weekend football fans. The Ohio State - Michigan football game.

Take a wild guess as to which side I want to win.

Go Bucks!!

In honor of the Scarlet and Gray, now through Sunday, November 28th, we're offering our gray alpaca roving, mixed with 10% fine Merino top,  at 25% off regular prices.

This is beautiful stuff, from our own Ohio-born Cinco, smiling here in anticipation of a Buckeye victory.

The regular price for our roving is $4 per ounce. But, for the big weekend, we're offering Cinco roving at $3 an ounce.

Warm up your spinning wheel, get a good spot in front of the television, and spend a Saturday afternoon watching football and spinning gray fleece into yarn.

Send us an e-mail or stop by the farm this weekend to purchase some beautiful roving at an excellent price. Oh yeah, Go Bucks!

Tags: Alpacas
Posted 11/23/2010 2:03pm by Andrea.


It's that time of year folks. Gift giving season. And what better gift than the gift of manure!

I'm sorta kidding . . . but not really.

Believe it or not, there was a time in my life (pre-farm), when I would have loved the gift of manure. Because while the farm is new for us, my love of gardening isn't. I frequently brought home sheep manure, or composted horse manure, or some other compost material for my garden -- anything to add some organic nutrients and help break up the heavy clay soil.

I've even been so silly as to purchase "Zoo Doo" and bat guano. No artificial fertilizers for me. My soil's texture improved and my gardens thrived. Dare I say my soil became loam-like -- the holy grail of soil types.

Now we're on the giving end of the equation (Well, technically, the girls are on the giving end of this equation. We're just their scoopers.). They are making more manure and barn litter than we can till into the ground. So we're offering it to you.

If you don't think your loved ones will be thoughtful enough to gift you with manure, come on out and scoop your own. Just bring your shovel and a bucket, a pick-up, or whatever container you want and scoop up some alpaca "beans."

Your garden will thank you.

We compost manure for a few months before we dig it into the beds, but you can put it directly in your garden because it's not "hot" like some manures. The N-P-K ration of alpaca manure is about 1.5-0.2-1.1.

So this year, tell them to keep their diamonds and pearls. No new Lexus for you. You're going green. You want the gift of manure!

Tags: Alpacas
Posted 11/9/2010 2:38pm by Andrea.


We've been very lucky this past year. Friends from near and far have come to the farm to wish us well and help us get started with this whole operation.

Friends from New Mexico, Missouri, Louisiana, Oregon, and lots of Ohioans and Floridians have all been generous enough with their time to pay us a visit -- and sometimes lend us a hand! This weekend was no exception as Florida was represented again.

Our friend Isobel flew up for the weekend. She must have gotten word that we are requiring all out-of-state farm visitors to bring gifts, and lots of 'em, because she came through with the goods.

Check out these beautiful, handmade Christmas gift tags.


(Just for the record, there really isn't a gift requirement -- far from it. We just like seeing our friends. But if they have the silly, misguided notion that gifts are part of the visitation rights, who am I to stop them!)

We spent the weekend visiting with the goats and the alpacas.

Another friend, Heather, enjoyed her visit with Joey the Llama.

Joey loves all the ladies. He doesn't give a hoot about any guys that visit, but he sure does love the gals. I think his real name should be Casanova.

After all the animal hugging was done, we got down to some serious crafting.

We needle felted pumpkins, snowmen and baby chickens.

It was a real Ohio farm themed weekend.

But, before you knew it, it was back to reality.

I've told Joey the bad news -- "his" girls were gone. He has to settle for me and Farmer Gal until more visitors stop in. I hope he'll be able to cope.

Posted 10/20/2010 8:55am by Andrea.


Oh deer.

That is exactly what I said when I first saw the new cria, born on the farm in early October. She looks exactly like a newly minted fawn. Cute as a bug this young lady.

Her mama, Ms. Silver Lining, is quite proud and keeps a watchful eye over her baby.

And she should. The young Miss Alibi almost didn't make it.

It was a long and difficult birth that required the help of farm friend Dr. Ed. He made sure things progressed smoothly and mother and baby were doing fine. That was on a Sunday.

The next morning, all was still fine. The baby was running and jumping and all was right with the world. We thanked our lucky stars that we had a healthy, beautiful female cria.

Then an hour later, the world changed. Alibi started convulsing. And wouldn't stop. She was rushed to the local large animal vet hospital by Farmer Gal and her daughter, Alison.

Head trauma? Blood issues? The jury was out as to what had happened to this day-old cria. She was sent home with medication and the instructions to watch her carefully.

When Alibi showed no signs of improvement, Farmer Gal and Dr. Ruthanne loaded up the truck and trailer and rushed  to the Ohio State Veterinatry Medical Center in Columbus, two hours south of us.

It was touch-and-go for several days. But finally Alibi was well enough to come home. However, the clinic thought she would be blind. Put a bell on her mother, they said. Plenty of blind alpacas do quite well on farms. She would learn the lay of the land and be just fine.

So home she came, where we watched her like a hawk. And that is when we witnessed a miracle. Our little gal can see!

The medical explanation is she suffed some sort of head trauma in her pen after birth -- maybe she was stepped on or kicked, which caused swelling in her brain, thus causing the convulsions. As she recovered from her head injury, the swelling went down, releasing the pressure on her eyes and she can see just fine. But we prefer the miracle explanation.

Whatever the reason for her recovery, she has been officially checked out by Dewey, who has declared her to be a-ok. Dewey is a very smart dog. A genius.

But the whole experience was hair-raising for Alibi's mother!

Tags: Alpacas, Cria
Posted 10/4/2010 10:55am by Andrea.


When it rains, it pours. True for the weather and true for life.

Between the farm manager's trip to Italy, my trip to the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival, Farmer Gal's trip to Indianapolis for an alpaca show, a new cria born over the weekend to Silver Lining, and a soon-to-be-announced yarn give-away from the farm, we have had a busy weekend.

Also, the winner of one of our previous contests posted what she made with her prize of alpaca yarn. Very talented!

Check back later today, and over the next several days, for more details on everybody's whirlwind week.

And I thought things slowed down in the fall!

Posted 9/27/2010 10:24am by Andrea.


Just in case you're not up on your alpaca holidays, this past weekend was National Alpaca Farm Tour Days. Yup, if you weren't here, you'll have to wait an entire year to celebrate again.

That'll Do Farm was open for tours both days. We met a bunch of wonderful people -- thank you all for stopping by. We appreciate your interest in the farm.

It was a lovely weekend for touring.

The neighbor's cornfield was rustling and sounding very fall-like.

All the fall flowers and fruited twigs were begging to be picked.

I love this kind of an arrangement. Casual, natural and oh so seasonal.

Farmer Gal had young Steeler out for halter training.

He's as cute as a bug. In fact, all the alpacas were on their best behavior for the tour. They must have known it was their weekend to shine!

The goats were showing off in their new pasture, climbing anything they could.

And then on Sunday, Mary Jane from Up Close and Personal Alpaca Shearing came to give the goats their haircuts.

I've never seen anything quite so funny in all my life. Naked goats. Our big, macho goats now look like little pipsqueaks. And Fred. Oh my, my, my. Poor Fred. Mary Jane left some fuzz on top of his head. He looks like a Chinese Crested dog, and that's just plain wrong. Funny, but wrong. Which is why I love it.

The strange thing is, Fred is now the bravest goat. Before, he was shy and timid, and now he is King of the Goats. Samson in reverse.

All-in-all, it was a perfect National Alpaca Farm Tour Days weekend. Festive, Fall-Like & Fun.

Posted 9/25/2010 5:13am by Andrea.

It's National Alpaca Farm Tour Days! Check your calendar. I'm sure it's on there.

Come on out to the farm to meet a few of these strange looking, shy creatures. Watching them is better than watching TV -- and without the annoying ads.

Who wouldn't love a face like this!

The farm is open for tours today and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you knit or spin, stop in from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. today for a Sit-N-Knit session. 

And Sunday, at 1 p.m., we will be demonstrating how to skirt an alpaca fleece. (For those of you new to the fiber world, that does NOT mean we are putting skirts on alpacas. That would just be silly. We are showing how to prepare the fiber for spinning -- although skirts on alpacas would make for great pictures and quite the conversation starter.)

You'll also meet the chickens, and the goats, along with their new guardian, Joey. He's a llama and a very handsome devil. Hope to see you!



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Farm Fresh Eggs

heritage breed chicken eggs

How do your eggs measure up?

Purchasing grocery store eggs is a complicated thing. There are lots of decisions to make. White, brown, organic, cage-free, free range. What does it all mean? Isn't an egg just an egg?

The answer is no. Not all eggs are created equal.

First, let's talk color. The color of the shell does not determine the nutritional value of the egg. Different breeds of chickens lay different color eggs. We sell a mix of blue, green, dark brown, brown, pinkish and white eggs from a variety of heritage breed chickens. The nutritional content of the eggs comes from the chicken's diet and has no relation to shell color.

The best way to buy fresh, nutrient-dense eggs is directly from a farmer who allows the chickens access to pasture and a more natural, varied diet, including bugs, worms and fresh vegetables, in addition to regular portions of chicken feed.

If you can't buy from a local farmer, this will help you decipher the labels you'll find on eggs sold in grocery stores:

Certified Organic: Eggs from chickens which have been fed an organic, vegetable diet. The use of antibiotics and cages is forbidden. However, debeaking and forced molting are still allowed. The chickens must have access to the outdoors, but there are no regulations on if this is on pasture or just a fenced, outdoor hard surface pen.

Free Range: Chickens are allowed access to the outdoors. It does not mean they spend their days outside. They may or may not. There are no regulations on the time or size of their outdoor range. Flocks raised in warehouses or hoop houses with access to dirt or concrete floors, with an occasional trip outdoors, can be considered free range.

Certified Humane: Uncaged birds with access to perches, nesting boxes and an area for dust baths. There are strict limits on the number of birds per square foot. They may or may not have access to the outdoors. Forced molting is not allowed. Beak trimming to reduce fighting is acceptable, but debeaking is not.

We sell our eggs at the farm on a first-come, first-served basis for $3.50/dozen. We think once you've eaten one of our eggs, you'll never buy a supermarket egg again.

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