For That'll Do Farm, the last full weekend in September is always reserved for National Alpaca Farm Days. It's the weekend we throw open the barn doors and welcome visitors to show them what life on an alpaca/sheep/goat/bee/produce farm is all about.
We've always had great weather, (you know I've now just jinxed it for next year!) and this year was no exception. Visitors were lining up to see the alpacas.
And to maybe meet one up-close-and-personal . . . even if there was some initial fear.
One of our Fiber CSA knitters finished her "Charlie's Angel" sweater in time to wear it to the Open House and to model with the animal that produced the beautiful yarn.
Alpaca and sweater got along just fine.
The bees behaved themselves nicely for the event as well.
Visitors were able to see the queen on one of the frames.
We even had a visitor whom we have dubbed the "Bee Whisperer" for obvious reasons.
And no, she did not get stung.
However, most of the crowd decided to tour the bee yard from a more respectible distance.
The goats, as always, were a crowd favorite.
Within five minutes of the first guests arriving, the goats figured out if they stood by the gate and bleated like babies, they would soon get acorns and scratches on the head.
Goats can work a crowd like nobody's business.
We are lucky to have a group of dedicated knitters that spend the last Saturday of every month knitting with us here at the farm, and the Open House happens to fall on the last Saturday of the month. These ladies are prolific. Sweaters, socks, scarves, blankets . . . you name it, these women knit it and knit it well.
They showed visitors what they were knitting and told them the ins-and-outs of their projects. I think we may have hooked a few new knitters! We're always happy to introduce newbies to a brand new addiction . . . I mean craft.
So a great big thank you to all who came out to tour the farm. We appreciate your support and your interest in the farm.
Hope to see you next year!
A local group of Girl Scouts, working on their Gold Award, came out to the farm today to learn about sustainable farming and all that it takes to make small farms like ours viable.
We started off in the garlic patch, digging up the last of the garlic we'll harvest this Summer.
And dig they did. (Really, it was just our way of getting them to do our work for us!) I think they will never look at a simple piece of garlic bread the same way again.
Next, we moved on to digging potatoes. First, Michael showed them the beautiful purple potatoes we've been harveting this season.
Then he introduced them to the shovel and they got to digging.
They seemed pretty happy with their haul.
All that digging created some hungry Girl Scouts, so we stopped at the apple trees for a snack.
And the blackberry bushes for another snack.
Then it was of to the hives to learn about honey and beekeeping.
First, Michael smoked the hives to confuse the bees and make it easier to pull the frames from the hive. Smoke masks the bee's alarm pheromones giving the beekeeper time to work the hives.
He showed the girls the capped honey cells and explained what is involved in removing the honey from the frames.
We're not sure if they were horrified or just scared to death of the bees.
We thought it would be a good time to move on to our good will ambassadors, the goats.
What's not to love about a goat.
They are really just taller dogs. With horns.
And an insatiable appetite for anything in the grain bucket. Or anywhere else.
And no visit to the farm is complete without at least one picture of the chickens.
Everybody loves a chicken. They are the gateway farm animal. You start with a few chickens. Move on to bees. And before you know, you've got yourself some alpacas, sheep and goats.
After touring the farm and discovering what is involved in the production of their food, the girls were off to a local restaurant that makes a point of using food grown at small, local farms.
And while I don't think there were any future farmers in this group, I do think they have a better understanding of the food they eat and how it is grown.
A local youth organization came out to the farm today to check out the alpacas, chickens and bees.
We've had exactly two nice days this Spring and they happened to pick one of them. Yes, there was still a ton of mud, but the sun was shining so all was well with the world.
We started off with a general introduction to the alpacas.
Then there was some face-to-face time with a few of the friendlier alpacas.
This little guy made sure he had an up-close-and-personal chat.
And then another alpaca returned the favor, giving him the once over.
The adults and older kids didn't want to be left out of the action. At first, they approached the animals with a little more hesitation than the little ones did.
But they, too, quickly became close friends with the alpaca of their choice.
We hung out in the barn for a bit.
And then we moved on to a "Meet the Chickens" session.
First the adults . . .
and then the kids got to hold a chicken.
Next was a little off-road adventure across the back of the farm to the bee yard.
Moose and Grady came with us on this little adventure. They don't have a great love of people, but they have learned that little kids mean non-stop tennis ball throwing and they are up for that.
With these two, it's a constant back and forth as to who gets to the ball first.
Grady is the lucky boy this time.
But Moose will not be outdone, and he is top dog next.
The bees were quite active on this warm day.
And after we saw them do their bee thing, it was time to sit around the bonfire
and taste the honey.
All of this activity left Dewey exhausted.
But the day ended as most Spring days around here do.
With the hauling of the manure. If the weather cooperates, we will begin planting next week.
All in all, it was a great day. The kids had fun. The adults had fun. And the dogs had a whole lot of fun.
If your group would like to schedule a visit, give us a call or send an e-mail.
This past weekend, we welcomed hundreds of visitors to the farm for our annual open house.
They came to meet alpacas.
They came to buy yarn, fresh from our farm amd from other local vendors like Destination Yarn.
They came to learn new skills, like using weaving sticks.
And they came to watch spinning demonstrations.
They came to meet Moose, a border collie with the longest tongue on the planet.
And yes, that is an official nametag Moose is sporting. All the farm hands had to wear them.
They came to hear about llamas and ask questions like, "Why does a llama need a scarf?" The answer -- because it's darn cute.
But mostly, they came to enjoy a crisp Ohio Autumn day on a farm.
And really, there isn't anything better than that.
So we'd like to give a big thank you to all who came out. We enjoyed meeting you and showing you what we do here at That'll Do Farm.
This past weekend was the Ohio Natural Fiber Network Fall Farm Tour. We spent the week before worrying about the weather and now nobody can tell me that a healthy dose of worry doesn't pay off. We had two beautiful fall days for enjoying the farm and friends, both old and new.
Visitors came out to meet the alpacas.
And the alpacas took the opportunity to stare back at the visitors. Not sure who won the stare-off. Both humans and animals were adept at this technique.
At one point during the weekend, we had a parking issue,
but not to worry. We found spots for all the visitors and life was good again.
We had knitters knitting inside and when the sun came out, we had knitters knitting outside. You've got to love knitters who travel with their own chairs!
We harvested this fall's honey.
We're quite proud of our bees this year. They did such a good job. You go girls!
We harvested goldenrod, which we used for dyeing wool. There is certainly no shortage of goldenrod in the back fields and woods. We could color the entire world yellow with the amount of goldenrod we have.
We demonstrated how to dye fiber with natural plant materials.
Our two choices for the demo were red cabbage and the goldenrod. Goldenrod was the star of the show, with the red cabbage producing (and lets be blunt here) down right ugly results.
So ugly, in fact, that we didn't take a picture of it. It came out a very light lavender color that faded to pale, pale yuk. So out it came from that dye bath and we plopped it into the goldenrod dye bath.
Surprise, surprise -- it worked. The two skeins on the left in the picture above show the results of red cabbage dyed yarn, overdyed with goldenrod. The yarn is a light green-ish color that looks wonderful on its own or held together with the goldenrod yarn.
But we didn't fret about that red cabbage dye bath. We added purple basil to it and are waiting to see what color this will bring us. The interesting thing about natural dyes is you never know what you are going to it -- its a bucket full of surprises. Maybe good, maybe another bucket full of ugly. We'll wait and see.
So a great big thank you to all that came out to the farm this weekend. We're a little crazy about what we do here and love to share our obsession. Come see us again!
Calling all fiber lovers and farm lovers.
This is your weekend!
Fifteen fiber farms throughout the state of Ohio will be opening their barn doors for you on Saturday (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.) and Sunday (Noon - 5 p.m.) as part of the Ohio Natural Fiber Network Farm Tour.
That'll Do Farm is proud is say we are one of the 15. So come on out.
Meet an alpaca or two.
Say hello to a goat.
Bring your knitting needles on Saturday and spend some time hanging out with other knitters for a free Sit-N-Knit. (Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
Watch the beekeepers harvest this fall's honey at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Or come out on Sunday to watch the natural dyeing demonstration. We've harvested a few plants from the dyers garden and back fields and will be showing you how you can use these plants to color your wool. That's at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
But remember, its now offically fall so dress for the weather.
It is a working farm so wear shoes that you won't care if they get a drop of two of mud on them.
We're open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. And while you're at it, check out the other farms on the tour.
Celebrate the season with a trip to the farm. Hope to see you this weekend!
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.
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!