For those of you who may not have known, this past weekend was National Alpaca Weekend. And for those of you who may not know my girls, they cannot miss out on any type of festival that involves seeing, touching and playing with animals. So, while Daddy was off setting up his tree stand for the upcoming deer season, the three of us girls headed out for a day of fun, and lots and lots of fiber.
Our first stop was Willow Glen Farm. This absolutely gorgeous property was nearly five miles from the main highway. We followed a winding gravel road until we saw a beautifully crafted barn situated amongst the most exquisite backdrop of rolling hills and arching trees. It was a most serene dwelling for these beautiful animals that my eldest daughter called “the mini camels” (which we later found out to be kind of a true statement because alpaca are related to the lama and the camel). While at Willow Glen we had the opportunity to feed some of the male alpaca, see some baby alpaca and also purchase some lovely felted crafts.
We later made our way over to True Colors Alpaca Farm. We found this farm to be a bustling place, filled with all kinds of people wanting to see these interesting creatures. The highlight of this particular visit was the girls got to pet a tiny baby alpaca. They were in seventh heaven. Of course, once the girls pet the baby, they were ready to go. So, off we went, but not without buying some fiber to take home with us for a soon-to-come felting project.
These are the words my five year old daughter uttered when she woke up Wednesday morning and realized that the day had finally arrived…the day of the first farmer’s market of 2012!
Even though the weather threatened storms, it held off long enough for us to make an appearance. It was truly wonderful to reconnect with those farming families we hadn’t seen since the end of October. We had a chance to chat, catch up with one another, and discuss this year’s harvest. This is why I love going to the market. There are true relationships formed when you interact directly with the person who grows your food. We grow a large majority of our own food, but we still attend the market each week to interact with others in our community. To feel a part of something real.
We left the market with a tote full of rhubarb (we cannot harvest ours until next year), local honey and some delicious brick oven pizza. Who could ask for a better morning? 🙂
Saturday morning greeted me with the sound of rain pounding against the roof of our house. I couldn’t believe that, yet again, the weather was not cooperating with our planned trip. We had been arranging to visit a nearby farmstead for over six months now, but every time the day arrived, the weather was poor, the kids were sick, an unexpected errand popped up, and our trip was put on hold. But this past Saturday, despite the rain that was coming down in sheets outside the window, I decided we were just going to go for it. And I’m so very glad that we did!
This past weekend we had the absolute pleasure of visiting the Nadig family’s farm. Although the weather was a bit chilly, the rain stopped when we arrived, and we were immediately greeted by the warmest of families we could have ever hoped to have met. This family of seven seemed to completely embrace that which is true stewardship of the land in a way that can only help to enrich the earth and everything she has to offer.
John and his wife Charlotte have a vision to “provide healthy, chemical free food to [their] children and practice what [they] consider to be godly stewardship over the land and animals under [their] care.” John visited Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm and has adopted many of the farming practices that Salatin and his family practice in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.
We spent the morning walking the farm and learning a great deal from John…and three of his young children, ages eight, six and five. Let me tell you, these little ones knew more about the life cycle of plants and animals than most adults could ever hope to know in a lifetime. My girls were immediately swept up in their discussions of life on the farm and as I assumed would happen, my five year old asked if she could stay there and live with them 🙂
After what was an amazing morning, we pulled away from the farm with 35 pounds of grass fed ground beef, eggs, beautiful hand-dyed, hand-spun wool yarn, and minds filled with information and wonderful memories. Thank you Nadig family for a wonderful visit!