Monday, June 1, 2015

The Shop at Lavender Hill Farm is Open on Weekends!

The shop will be open every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 - 4:00.  Stop in to browse alpaca apparel made in Peru (where they originate) such as hats, gloves, scarves, socks, sweaters, throws and bears.  We have roving and yarn that was made from our alpaca's fiber.  We also offer hand made soaps, felted ornaments, stained glass sun-catchers, rag rugs and catnip.
The shop is a post and beam buidling, built by Mystic Timber Framers in 2010.

Be sure to visit the barn where our 21 Huacaya alpacas, 12 hens and horse reside.

Welcome to the barn!

The alpacas are curious, gentle natured animals that love to have visitors come to see them!  You can get really close to these unique animals and even feed them hay.


Shearing 2015

We were so lucky to have the most perfect day for shearing this year.  Shearing was on Friday, May 8th and as usual was done by Rick and Jeremiah from Twist of Fate Spinnery of Portland, Connecticut.  This year the Connecticut television show, Better Connecticut, was at the farm to film shearing and to interview Paulette and myself!  To check out our farm on Better Connecticut, click this link

It was great having Melissa Cole and the camera man, Eric, at the farm for shearing day!  They had a great time watching shearing and seeing the alpacas afterwards.  They even interviewed a couple visitors that were at the farm to watch shearing also!

 Jerry is almost finished being shorn and is about to have his teeth trimmed.  Some of the alpacas had their toenails trimmed also while they were restrained for shearing.

 Rick (man standing on left) is referred to as the head holder and is an essential part of the shearing team.  He maneuvers the alpaca while Jeremiah (shearing on right) shears the alpaca.  They are a great team that works very efficiently together.  They make shearing less stressful on the animal by getting them done in less than 10 minutes an alpaca.  Kevin and Pam are seen collecting the fiber as it comes off the animal.

These three girls are ready to be sheared.  Acura (on left) is mother to Rose Petal (center) and Mia (on right).  They will feel much more comfortable for the summer weather once their fiber is off them. 

Here's a close-up of an alpaca being sheared.  The fiber is beautiful!

Our new row of tulips, we just put in last fall, turned out great!  They bloomed beautifully, just in time for shearing day!

The alpacas have all been sheared for the year.  Now they can enjoy the summer in comfort!

These are all the blankets off of each alpaca!  The blanket is comprised of the sides and back of the alpaca and is the best fiber for processing.  Look at all that fiber!

  You can stop by to see the alpacas on weekends from 10 - 4 each day!

~ Rose

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Shearing Day Is Coming!

Friday, May 8th   9:00 - 12:00

Shearing day is one of the most important days on an alpaca farm.  Shearing happens just once a year enabling the alpacas fiber to grow as long as possible.  Alpaca fiber is similar to sheep's wool, but is warmer, not prickly and contains no lanolin, so it is considered hypoallergenic.  The fiber is collected during shearing and is then sent to a fiber mill to be processed into roving or yarn.  Rick and Jeremiah from
Twist of Fate Spinnery of Portland, CT shear our alpacas each year.  

The photos below show the shearing of the blanket (both sides and the back).  
The blanket will come off in one piece and is also the 
fiber most used for yarn and roving.

If you would like to experience such a unique event, visit our farm from
 9-12 on Friday, May 8th, 2015!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Snow, snow and more snow!

We've been dealing with snow on a regular basis since the first snow of the season fell in January.  Even though we snow blow trails for the alpacas to have more space outside, they seem to have a little cabin fever, just like we do!  They'll be glad for warmer days to be here to melt all this snow and give them their paddock space back!

The girls were hanging out in the stall one day when I caught Ambrosia with a back full of snow!  She must have been outside in the snow for awhile.  Their fiber is about two to three inches long and the snow just sits on top of it.  I don't think they even feel it!

This was a really cold morning while doing chores.  Champ is seen behind me with his usual smile on his face.

Acura, in the middle is mother to Rose Petal, on left and Mia, on right.  
These three can usually be found close to one another.

Buster Brown must have been eating snow!

The barn looks very different this time of year, with huge mounds of snow on either
 side of the front gate.  There's not much more room to put any more snow!

The snow is almost as high as the fence!  Mateo is looking out from the barn.

This is the area between the paddocks that leads to the manure pile out back.

Champ and Smokey just hanging out after breakfast one morning.  
These two were born the same year on our farm and are good buddies.

Buddy was the cause of a traffic jam on the path that runs along the side of the barn.  
He was busy eating snow and wasn't about to move so Champ could go by.  
Champ finally turned around and went another way.

This was the view of the field out back, from the manure pile, while the snow was coming down.

Mellea is in the forefront while her girlfriends eat at the hay box.

Mellea is our largest alpaca on the farm and just fits into the hay box! 
She loves to lay in it!

The alpacas don't mind eating their breakfast in the snow.

Chance wears a blanket to keep warm and stay protected from the snow. 
He too, would rather be outside even when it's snowing.

~ Rose

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Looking Forward to Spring!

While we're in the grips of winter I thought it might be nice to look forward to spring!  In the fall of 2014, we got a rototiller that we have a lot of plans for.  We'd like to make our existing vegetable garden larger, add more lavender to the farm, and break ground with it to add new gardens all over the property.  The rototiller's first job was to break ground at the top of the bank in front of the shop for a long row of tulips.  We carefully placed tulip bulbs that will bloom to be an array of pinks, white and purples.  We added alpaca manure on top of the bulbs before covering them up with dirt.  Alpaca manure is great compost for a vegetable garden and it was recommended to add compost to the bulbs, so alpaca manure it was!  We can't wait to see them bloom in the spring!

 This rototiller will have plenty of work to do on the farm!  
It was easy to use and did a great job on the tulip bed.

Chickens are kind of a rototiller of their own!  They love to use their feet to scratch up
 the dirt and find bugs to eat.  This hen was not afraid of the tiller and spent
 a long time walking the row of freshly tilled dirt.

The tulips span from the left of the stairs leading up to the shop all the way to the
 old manure spreader that's on the other side of the shop!

The bulbs were placed and covered with a fine layer of alpaca manure.  
You can see how much darker and rich in nutrients the manure
 is compared to the dirt that was tilled.

Buddy, our Boston Terrier, enjoyed the sunshine
 while we worked on the tulip bed.

 To finish the tulip bed we covered the bulbs with dirt and gave it a good watering.  They're all tucked in for the winter and now all we have to do is wait.  It'll be so exciting to see the bulbs starting to come up in the spring and even more so once they bloom!  Only 43 days until spring!


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Horse Arrives!

In early January, Lavender Hill Farm became home to Chance, a 16 year old Thoroughbred.  He's solid bay and 17h tall.  We converted part of the girls' side of the barn into a stall for him and put up corral panels to give him a separate turn out area.  The alpacas have seen horses only a couple other times on the farm and Chance had never seen alpacas before.  We kept the alpacas close to the barn while letting Chance get accustomed to his new surroundings.  The boys came around to see him first, causing Chance to trot back and forth for a little while, as he was trying to figure out what all the alpacas were.  After a short while Chance settled down and became more comfortable being around the alpacas.  Now they are very used
 to each other and enjoy each others company.

 Chance had just arrived in this photo.  You can tell he's a little worried,
 but he settled in great!

He hasn't seen the alpacas yet..

The boys came to see what all the fuss was about and they followed Chance from left to
 right as he trotted back and forth in his paddock.  The alpacas couldn't take their eyes off him!

Chance stopped and got a better look at the alpacas.  He finally realized they're
 not a threat and calmed down.

This is Chance after a couple days on the farm.  He's much more relaxed and has his
 alpaca buddies in the background.

I took Chance for a walk out back and he grabbed
 a bite of what little grass he could find.

Chance is settled in and has a much more relaxed look on his face.  

He enjoys soaking up the sun!

Kimmy, the alpaca, is seen spying on Chance.  She's a very curious alpaca and just seconds after this photo was taken, she stood up on the bars of the corral panel as if to get a better look.

It was nice to see Ember, Peg, and Ambrosia cush (lay down) near Chance's paddock.  They're all very comfortable with each other already.

Buddy came by to say hi!  Buddy may be small, but he's
 not afraid and wants to be friends the alpacas and Chance.

Chance is getting a better look at Buddy.

It's great to see he's settled in so well and feels comfortable
 enough to lay down and take a nap.


I opened up Chance's paddock space so he could roam in the deep snow.  He loves the snow!

There was great weather this day with no wind and tons of sunshine, so I took off Chance's blanket so he could get some fresh air.  He loved just standing in the sun.

This is what a horses' snow angel looks like!  Chance enjoyed a nice roll in the snow!

I'm looking forward to nicer weather so I can start riding Chance again, but in the meantime it's great to be taking care of a horse on the farm!  He's a really friendly horse and very easy to work around.  He's a great addition to the farm and I'm sure many visitors will enjoy meeting him!