Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Day on the Farm

Friday I had the chance to visit my childhood friend, Linda, up near the Canadian border in a little town called Nooksack. She and her husband raise alpacas on a former dairy farm that has been in Alan's family for generations. They shear the alpacas every year and Linda spins the fiber from them into yarn as well as makes fiber art. You can visit Linda on her blog Fiber Fabrications.

Linda and I met when we were 12 or 13. The story goes that Linda's father and my mother were arranged to be married in the Lithuanian community just prior to 1940. They liked each other but weren't in love, so they decided to forego the arrangement and marry others. We like to joke that we could have been sisters! Once we were old enough we would visit each other by riding the bus from our respective suburban communities to downtown Seattle. We would spend our babysitting money, eat lunch at the Woolworth's counter and then ride the bus back home.

First I got a tour of their vegetable garden. I was struck by the Zinnias up front - Mr. Squash's favorite annual - they were nearly 3 feet tall and full of color!

Check out the beans! I made the remark to Linda and Alan that they had enough vegetables to sell them in their farm store! They've done quite a bit of canning and freezing already this summer and have a lot to go!
Next came a visit with some of the alpacas. They keep the males and females separated. The males were out back, and since the ground was wet and muddy from the recent rains, we stayed up front with some of the females and their new babies. I don't remember this lovely gals name, but she sure is pretty!
Linda comes up with the cutest names for the new babies. This one is appropriately called Pippi Longstockings and her mother is Betsy Ross. Apparently, Pippi's coloring is quite unusual in the alpaca world.
Here is another mama and her baby. All the babies were born within a few weeks of each other. It's a lot of work - 7 days a week! I'm always impressed at how hard Linda and Alan work - and we're not getting any younger!
This curious lady was standing next to the barn. I think she's saying: "Hullo, would you happen to have a marshmallow?" They are particular creatures who don't often allow you to get very close (at least not to me), so I was happy to get so close to this one.
Alan's sister, JoAnne, was visiting from Montana. I hadn't seen her for over 20 years! Before we three headed off for a fun day of quilt and antique shops in Lynden, Linda wanted to show us what she is entering in the country fair next week. Click on the photo for a better view. She dyed the yarn herself, then needle felted this depiction of an alpaca, one of their ancient apple trees, the field in the distance and her wonderful flower gardens. I definitely think it's a winner!

They have a small farm store where they sell alpaca products along with Linda's hand-dyed and hand-spun alpaca yarn. I was struck by another needle felted project above the door to Linda's studio! How fun is this!
I'm doing some more pattern testing this week. I can't show you finished products just yet, but will have a sneak peek or two in a few days! In case anyone is wondering, real estate is still slow, slow, slow in our neck of the woods. I've noticed more and more homes going up for sale on my daily walks - but I don't see any of them selling, either. So we're trying to stay positive and just go with the flow!

22 comments:

Piecefulafternoon said...

How neat that you and Linda are friends - we are planning to get up there one day with our grandsons to meet her and the alpacas. Great photos.

Quilt Hollow said...

Fantastic photos...I could easily sit all day and watch those buggers! Then the green beans...brings back fond memories of hubby's side of the family in KY! Lot of reunions with huge pots of beans that were the best ever!!

Anne said...

What a fun day you had. That first little lady looks like she has a blanket on her back. She's all ready for someone to ride her. Yeah, right. Linda's entry to the fair will definitely win. The detail is amazing. I'd give her a blue ribbon if I were a judge! Great pics.

Kay said...

I've enjoyed Linda's blog in the past. I always say that in my next life, I want to raise goats in the Pacific Northwest. Alpacas would be ok too! Too bac about the real estate market. It has to change someday.

Stephanie said...

How fun to be with your friend. I went to an alpaca show and learned that they are shy animals but social. They have the sweetest faces.

sewtakeahike said...

aww Candace! They're so cute! What a fun day!

Karen said...

Oooh love the farm pictures. Pretty pretty. If you ever get some alpaca yarn you don't know what to do with ... hint hint hint.

And HA HA HA HA I always thought you had a knife in your mouth in the profile pic and I finally clicked on it. Glad to see it is something a little safer :)

Kaaren said...

I'd love to knit a pair of socks from alpaca yarn.

Linda's needle felting is amazing. I can't even imagine how it's done but her work is super.

Gorgeous zinnias...must be from the alpaca fertilizer. (wink)

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

what a wonderful story of friendship! and the farm is so interesting, what a neat place. I know she will win, her work is amazing!

Eileen said...

What a neat time, That Alpaca is so cute with her saddle.
You need to stop by Have a surprise for you.

Lisa D. said...

Sounds like a great visit with your friends - such beautiful pictures!

Mary said...

Wow, what a fun day you seemed to have had. Those alpacas look so cute. Are they a friendly animal to those that are around them all the time?

Libby said...

Look at all you've been up to! A trip to Squash House - how great it's looking *s* And those deco mirrors are just delish.
As for alpacas - I had secretly been hoping to move where I might have one of my very own. Not in the cards for now . . . . but someday - they are so darned cute!

Anonymous said...

I will have to look for Linda's work in the Lynden fair. We already have our tickets. I love the sweet little faces of the alpacas. Not sure if I like alpacas or the little dwarf goats best. Thanks for sharing..Louise

Linda B said...

What a nice post about me, friend of mine! I had a great time with you that day. Busy at the fair. I got a second place on the picture, a first for my pincushion, and best of show for my fleece. Third place on my yarn and scarf, and second for my purse. Never have I taken a third before. Oh, well.

Jackie said...

What a great story about you and Linda and your parents! It's so cool that you've been such good friends for so long.

I love alpaca! Yummy yarn!

Ulla said...

Old friends are a treasure! I loved the Alpaca runner!

Carrie P. said...

Fun day at the farm. It looks like the one alpaca is wearing a saddle.

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

So these are the people in the commercial making their living from alpacas? ha Kidding. Their garden is incredible!!

Rita said...

Your photo remind me my those days when i was there. Thanks for this.


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Karen said...

Alpacas are so sweet!

Michell said...

Your post is always inpsires me...
Great photos...

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Michell
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