Works Alpacas: At Fibre Works Farm, July has come to mean
"Alpacafest", the largest alpaca only show held in Canada. It takes place
in Red Deer, in conjunction with Westerner Days. This year I was able to attend a
number of seminars, very informative and entertaining. In previous years, I have
been presenting information and so unable to take in all of the workshops, etc. that go
along with the show. Fibre Works Farm was one of the sponsors of the inaugural
International Alpaca Fleece Show presented by the Canadian Alpaca Breeders Association at
Alpacafest. More than 80 fleeces were entered from Canada, Australia and the
U.S. The top Huacaya fleece was from West Wool, a Canadian breeding operation.
Nola Graham from the U.S. took top honors for the Suri fleece classes. On another
fibre related note, the incorporation documents for the Canadian Camelid Fibre Co-op have
been sent around to the Volunteer Steering Committee and to the Director of Co-ops for
Alberta for comments. We hope to see this Co-op come into being sometime this fall.
Fibre Works Shetlands: We moved both the
Fibre Works Farm and the Niers Lake (Baker) ewe and lamb flock from their Crossfield
winter home to summer pasture at the farm near Bergen. We have really enjoyed
watching the lambs develop and the ewes are great personalities to have around too.
Fleece type on our lambs is very soft and tending toward single coated. One of the
ram lambs has swept back horns that will not clear his cheeks when the curl comes
around. As he has very nice fibre and a very winning personality, he will likely end
up as a wethered pet. Another of the black ram lambs has very nice fibre, a nice
short tail and so far his horns seem to be wide enough. He will be for sale if we
feel his horns continue to develop in an acceptable manner. We may have one ewe lamb
left for sale but have a number of interested potential buyers. Please contact us
for more information if you are interested in buying breeding stock or wethers.
Fibre, Yarn and the Fibre Works Gallery:
Norma Westcott has finished weaving a wonderful ruana (or cloak) out of soft spun
black alpaca and white reeled silk. It is spectacular. There are a few
finishing details left to do but we hope to have pictures up in the Gallery soon.
Norma has also started on our next joint venture. It is a series of scarves woven
out of fine, handspun fawn alpaca yarn and honey coloured tussah silk yarn. The
alpaca was handspun by Kathy Buse and is so soft, you almost can't feel it. This
project will be less dramatic than the black and white cloak but will have a very
sophisticated look and will be a joy to wear.
Bergen Norwegian Buhunds: Tjalfi and
Treva have been very keen on helping with the sheep. Both show great drive and
instinct. Now if only I had some experience training sheep dogs, we would be
away. Treva has come into season at the end of this month. We will not breed
her this time around but look forward to her next heat (likely in January) when we will
breed for March puppies. Our waiting list for puppies is growing so please contact
us if you are interested in getting a puppy from this planned litter.
Farm Stuff: We
spent quite a bit of time finishing our first small stock (sheep or alpacas) pasture set
up before we brought the flocks home. We now have a very secure central pasture
(about 1/2 an acre) that has a five foot perimeter wire mesh fence. The wire extends
18" into the ground at an angle to prevent predators digging in. Each corner
has two sections of board wind fencing about 24' long and 8' high to provide shade and
shelter. This portion of the fence also has an inground wire extension. Our
10' by 20' small stock shed is located in a handy spot on high ground in the central
pasture. The central pasture is surrounded by four other pastures with secure gates
linking them together and serviced by a central waterer. We hope we will be able to
rotate stock through the pastures to make the most of the grazing while always having a
secure home base for the animals. If this works well, we will use it for a model as
we develop the remaining small stock pastures around the barn.