We were delighted to meet all the fabulous fiber lovers who participated in the Whidbey Island FiberQuest with a Summer Twist. It seemed the Summer Twist was our record temperatures! It was certainly hot on Whidbey. At Fern Ridge we had 2 groups of visitors from San Diego and another family from Toronto. More local FiberQuesters came from Lynnwood, Everett, Seattle and many more from our very own island. It was a great weekend and thanks to all of you for visiting our farms. We enjoyed chatting with each one of you.
And the winner is.... We had 19 entries in our fleece weight guessing game during FiberQuest. Guesses ranged from 300 to 1.5 ounces. The large volume of fluff can be deceiving. We had 3 who guessed it right at 16 ounces. So we put those tickets in the hat and drew out a winner. Jewel will be receiving an adorable hand-felted alpaca ornament. Thanks to everyone who participated!
July may be sunny and hot but fall and winter are not far away. The Whidbey Island FiberQuest is a great event to kick start your knitting and fiber projects for warm winter accessories and holiday gift giving.
This year's FiberQuest includes 6 fiber farms and 2 yarn shops. For each $25 purchase you make at a farm or shop you will be entered to win a $50 gift certificate. Also, visit all 8 stores, have your ticket stamped and be entered to win a $25 gift certificate. The hours are 10 - 5 pm on Saturday July 12 and Sunday July 13. You can pick up your ticket at your first stop. Visit www.whidbeyfiberquest.com to get a map of all the participating farms and yarn shops on the island.
At Fern Ridge Alpacas we will also have additional contests!
The weather is going to be wonderful next weekend and Whidbey Island is well worth the trip for the fabulous ferry ride, the lovely scenic roadways through farm and forest. And, of course, the adventure of finding unique fiber treasures on FiberQuest.
Start planning your fall fiber projects next weekend. See you at the farm next weekend!
20 alpacas plus 2 llamas and 3 alpaca neighbors equals a long day of shearing. But it was a successful day all around. We were especially grateful there was no rain during the first week of June. As we live in the northwest we are used to having to put up extra shelters to keep the alpacas under cover several days before shearing.
We are careful every year to have all our alpacas' fleece absolutely dry for shearing day. If the fiber is too wet, the shearer cannot safely do the job. And, even if it's a little damp you end up with bags of wet fleece; which if left too long you have bags of mildewy fleece. But, alas, the weather cooperated beautifully and we had a very productive day harvesting the luxurious alpaca fleece.
A FEW OF THE GIRLS: PRE AND POST SHEARING
The day after shearing I spent all day sorting fleece by grades and then shipped much of it out to be spun into yarn. We'll have to wait a few weeks for yarn to come back from the mill.
NEW YARN IN TODAY! We just received over 40 skeins of our alpaca yarn from the mill. We now have in stock lovely silver gray, a soft light fawn, rich dark browns and Apollo's bright white.
SUMMER ON WHIDBEY. Now that the weather is reliably summer, we encourage everyone to plan a day trip to Whidbey Island and visit the farm. Or you may want to make a weekend of it and relax in one of the island's many B&Bs, walk on the beach, visit art studios, tour the waterfront with Whidbey Kayaks, and shop and dine in Langley. And, of course, include a visit with our alpacas.
Woo-hoo! USA Today's readers have ranked Whidbey as #3 of Best Islands in the US to visit. Well, we already knew that.
Thanks to Whidbey Island business writer Carolyn Tamler Fern Ridge Alpacas is featured in the WhidbeyLocal webzine. Recently Carolyn, a tireless promoter of local companies, brought a friend to meet our alpacas. Carolyn's articles in the Business Buzz section of WhidbeyLocal.com chronicle the diversity of businesses on Whidbey Island and encourages readers to enjoy all that Whidbey has to offer from farms, wineries, artist studio's, shops and bookstores. Here her friend was tickled by the alpacas eating treats from her hand.
This is Memorial Day weekend and true to NW form it's wet. But that doesn't stop our visitors from coming to visit with the alpacas. We've had several families and couples stop by the farm this weekend. There's only one more weekend before the alpacas are shorn. So if you want to see them at their fluffiest...now is the time!
May gives us a special day to honor our Mothers - May 11. If you're looking for something special to give your mother visit our farm
store in a yurt. We offer luxuriously soft alpaca clothing, handknit accessories and felted gifts. Alpaca filled duvets will keep her cozy on cool spring nights and a handwoven alpaca rug will keep her toes warm all year round. If mom likes to knit or crochet, we produce premium yarn from Whidbey Island's friendliest alpacas. Come by the farm, meet the alpacas and discover a luxurious gift for mom.
Bendito takes advantage of those precious sunny days to stretch out in the warm grass. Pedro, Smitty and Demi sniff the spring air and look for fresh grass to nibble. We're all glad that spring is here. However, as I write this blog post I can hear the rains pounding on my roof. It must be spring in the Northwest.
One day it's cold and drizzly; the next it's balmy with the sun shining. We had a tremendous rain last weekend and our new seasonal babbling brook was flowing out of the hillside and running into the pasture. This tells me our climate is changing. We've never had water flow like this until the last year or so. It reminds me of my childhood in the east when the rains came in downpours. But with a sunny day the alpaca fluff right up and everyone is happy again.
We woke up this morning to a lovely blanket of white all over the farm. It snowed about 2 inches during the night just enough to create a winter wonderland. Of course, being the Pacific Northwest it won't last for long. The alpacas went out into the pasture to enjoy the snowy landscape.
Aster (on the left) is jumping with delight in the new snow.
The girls look for grass buried in the snow.
TWO UPCOMING EVENTS! Valentine's Day is this Friday. Soft and warm alpaca gloves, scarves, hats and accessories make memorable Valentine gifts. Give us a call or send an email and we'll help you find the perfect gift.
And, Mystery Weekend in Langley is February 22-23. This is a classic event. Amateur sleuths come from all over the region to figure out who did the "Deadly Deed". All of Langley gets into the act with locals playing the mystery's characters and giving out clues. And when you're not sleuthing you can drop by the farm and visit with our friendly alpacas.
This time of year on many mornings the fog rolls in and sometimes stays all day. Thankfully, temperatures are milder than what we experienced a few weeks ago. No more having to break the ice on the alpacas' water buckets!
Aster is getting a lot bigger and we've started her halter training. Just getting used to the halter is a big deal. Today she actually went out into the pasture on the lead. There was a bit of bucking at first but she managed to calm down to get her picture taken. Such a lovely young lady!
When we start them young they quickly get used to being haltered. That makes all of us a lot happier when we need to have them on a lead. Another big girl accomplishment: she has been eating her pellet feed right alongside mom for many weeks now. And this is very good. When mom weans her from the milk bar she won't really miss the nutrition. She might pine for the comforting feeling of nursing from mom, but she'll have all the calories she needs from her pellet nibbles and hay. Way to go, Aster!
Even though January isn't high season for visitors to the island, we've had lots of folks come to the farm. Whidbey is a great day trip from the mainland and many stay the weekend at the local B&Bs and inns. There are breathtaking views, country roads, quaint towns, restaurants to try, wineries to visit and our alpacas waiting for you to stop by!
Give us a call or send an email to tell us when you'll be on the island.
The holiday season is in full swing! Shoppers have started coming to the farm and checking off their gift lists. One visitor said she and her friend came over from the mainland to shop at the "Whidbey shopping mall". I love the idea of finding everything on your gift list at one of our local retailers. Just on south Whidbey you can find fused glass, pottery, fiber arts, sculpture, handmade chocolates, wine, alpaca clothing and more at artist studios and small shops like ours.
Our newest item in the farm store is hand dyed yarn in 2014 spring colors. This is high quality alpaca yarn that is certified sorted (by me) and grown by a friend of ours in the Puyallup area. We've hand dyed these beautiful skeins of 100% alpaca in seafoam, plum, alpine blue and golden yellow. Hey, the plum and gold are perfect for a knitted gift for the Husky on your gift list.
I've just finished weaving several 2x3ft alpaca rugs from our fleece. They are heavenly soft under your bare tootsies. Perfect for the bath or by your bed. For larger spaces we have several 4 ft x 6 ft alpaca rugs made from our fleece by our Texas hand weaver. All of our alpaca rugs are durable, easy to care for and will become a treasured family heirloom.
Next Saturday, Dec 7th we will be participating in the Clinton Holiday Bazaar. Over a dozen vendors will offer their handcrafted jewelry, hand carved wooden spoons, health and beauty products, artisan gifts, cupcakes and more. Plus, we'll have great music from the Tim Donovan Band and a chili feed. There will be activities and a chance to win a gift basket. It will be a lot of fun. Drop by the Clinton Community Hall on Saturday, December 7th from 10 am to 3 pm.
It was a wonderful weekend with delightful and intrepid FiberQuesters. We met knitters who drove all the way from Montana just for FiberQuest. Now that's true fiber love. I did hear something about them needing an ocean view fix, too. We met a gal who was doing FiberQuest by public transit and bicycle. She made it to all 11 locations...what an accomplishment. And we were able to chat with several repeat FiberQuesters. Glad to see them still finding treasures at our Whidbey fiber farms.
Then on Saturday there were the high winds, the 12 hour power outage and the trees downed across the road. But the farmstore in the yurt was cozy and warm; and our spirits lifted by the great fiber loving friends we made during during the weekend.
Our fiber artist friend, Lydia Christiansen, spent Saturday with us in the yurt spinning and making fiber art. We still have her handspun yarn and other fiber crafts available for sale in the farm store. She is teaching some classes this November. Check out her website www.abundantearthfiber.com And, we enjoyed our "Guess the Fleece Weight" contest. Nineteen FiberQuesters gave it their best guess. And the winner is: (drum roll please) . . Sidney Sparks! whose guess was just 3 tenths of an ounce off the actual weight. Way to go Sidney.
For all who brought home Fern Ridge alpaca yarn we would love you to email us pictures of your finished product and we'll post them in our customer gallery.
Happy knitting! And thanks to all our FiberQuesting friends.