Do you have a passion for making things entirely by hand or appreciate it in other people? In my teens and twenties, I got a thrill out of being my own mechanic on my old '75 Mustang. Yep, I've changed a few water pumps and brake pads. I have sewn every stitch of handmade rag dolls with a needle and thread (no machine stitching), and I prefer to cook from scratch. Isn't it much more rewarding to gather family and friends to put in fence posts, and raise barns? So naturally for me, prepping the fleece, learning to spin, and then making things from the alpacas' luscious fiber is my idea of happiness! -Kaylen

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jolene Has A Purpose

"Some people, no matter how old they get, 
never lose their beauty - they merely move it 
from their faces into their hearts."
  - Martin Buxbaum

I've written about Jolene before in the post "Taming of the Shrew."  She came to us as a bit of a wild thing.  I'm not sure what drew me to her, but she stares deeply into you and stirs something inside.  She was an emotional purchase, but has proven to be a great first alpaca. 

Jolene has had three crias for us.  Sabrina, Mataeus, and Miss Allison (Missy).  She is a wonderful mother and an easy birther. Thank goodness our first experiences have been textbook easy.  

Learning how to breed for fleece quality and conformation has been our primary focus with the animals.  Jolene has a luxurious fleece of 20 microns through age 6, but her staple length is short. So our breeding decisions have been to add length and density while maintaining that softness.  We have had wonderful success with Jolene's offspring.  Each one having the best traits of their sire and dam and improving on our foundation.  
On our farm every alpaca has a purpose.  We have wonderful breeding genetics, luxurious fiber animals, and companions.  Even though Jolene's fleece is short, we have not let it go to waste.  Her fleece is perfect for our felted soaps. 

I have a free tutorial about felting soap coming up soon!  

Monday, July 19, 2010

COLOR-ful Names

Is it Ash Gray or Battleship? Bittersweet or Carmine Pink? 
Here is a neat List of Colors on Wikipedia.  It is a great resource for describing something or looking for colors for image editing. Now, is it Tan or Tumbleweed?  

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Recent Google Searches

How to spell A Cappella  (Acappella, A Capella, Acapella)
Who is the fastest kart in Mario Kart for Wii ?
Info on Irish Saint Caoilinn.
Skype or Google Voice?
How to skirt a fleece.

Evidently the Italian "A Capella" is preferred.  One of the kiddos must have been trying to find a sure way to win on Wii.  There IS a St. "Kaylen".  Google Voice is awesome!!! AND You can see we are putting the fleece information to use.  We built a screen out of pvc and garden fence.  Lovebug and Little Man are helping out. We are picking out hay and debris from Teddy's fleece to prepare it for spinning.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Perfect Lemonade

I didn't know what we were missing
until we made our own!

  • 1 cup sugar (can reduce to 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup water (for the simple syrup)
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice 
  • 3 to 4 cups cold water (to dilute)


1. Make a simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Juice 4 - 6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice.

3. Add juice and simple syrup to a pitcher. Add 3 to 4 cups of cold water to the desired strength.

If it is too sweet add a little straight lemon juice.

Serve with ice and sliced lemons.
Serves 6

I found this recipe at

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Camp Clean

Choosing a camp theme and sneaking in a few chores has been a hit in our house this summer.

On Blow Away Day each child gets a small bottle of bubbles and has to play with it throughout the day until it is all gone.

Dusting is fun when you turn on some music.  Give everyone a duster and have them freeze whenever you stop the music. Voila! Freeze Dusting.

My favorite is Scavenger Hunt.  We made a list of things the kids have to find in their rooms.  1 old magazine, 2 clothing items that are too small, a broken toy, a toy to pass on to someone else, 5 pieces of trash, a book they are done with.... The kids not only have fun with the game but with making the list.  

I think Freeze Dusting and Scavenger Hunt will be popping up again here, soon!