Thursdays in the Alpaca Barn

Thursday is my day in the alpaca barn, my turn to do farm chores.  Of course chores get done every day, but Thursday is my day, and today I think the alpacas are excited to see me!

When we first had alpacas, I did all the chores.  My husband was busy working a real job.  Years passed, life happened, and Matt found himself with time to do farm chores.  We took turns for awhile but before long, he was doing them every day.  This freed me up to develop and grow our alpaca business, process fiber, run the store, teach classes, work on the website, crochet, knit, spin, felt, weave.   It worked, for awhile.  He found that there just really isn’t much  stress in the barn, and that was very appealing to him.  I found that I missed caring for the alpacas.  So we’ve made some changes and now Thursday is my day … and I am loving it!

I love it most on sunny days, but that was not the case today.  It seems to have turned to mud season … ugh!


Certainly, not a job everyone would love, but I do.  Getting outside, caring for animals that count on me to bring them hay, feed, and fresh water is a privilege, really.  Clearing my mind of all except the task in front of me, is therapeutic, and a welcome relief from some of the tasks of running a business that weigh me down.


I don’t waste any time putting their feed out, spreading it out in numerous different feed dishes to keep the arguing (and stress level) over who eats first and who stands where to eat, to a minimum.  Yes, alpacas do spit (mostly at each other), and feeding time is when you will see it.  Hence, this is the reason the inside of our barn is covered with spit.

This is Mabelle, waiting patiently.   I like to put the alpacas out of the barn, then put their feed in their dishes, and then let them in.  This way I have a chance to touch each one, and they have a chance to learn to trust me enough to walk that close.



This is Savannah, Amelia, and Amelia’s sister, Annalise.  Sorry if there mouths are full, but it is feeding time.  I put out hay in different locations, both inside and out, in Rubbermaid wheelbarrows that can be moved to different places as needed.

     I start clean-up, working amongst the alpacas, wanting them to feel comfortable with me in their midst, and also because I just like being with them.  In the winter, chores are actually a bit easier because we layer fresh straw over the manure each day, a system called deep bedding.  The water and urine seep down to the lower layers of straw and the straw on top keeps the animals dry.  Find out more caring for Alpacas in Winter.  Did you know there actually is a Manure Management Handbook?  I discovered it just today.  It actually is quite interesting.

I add fresh water to the water troughs and heated buckets, that we switched to mid-winter, because the floating heater in the boys’ water trough gave out.  The chickens get feed and water.


Fitzgerald, our angora rabbit, and the latest addition to Alpaca Meadows, gets some leafy greens, and fresh water.  More about him later.

Chores don’t take that long, just depends on how much time I want to spend.  It’s very peaceful in the alpaca barn.  Sometimes I just enjoy sitting on a bale of straw watching the alpacas interact.  Caring for the animals on our farm, as well as the two that are inside, seeing that their simple needs are met, is the least I can do for them compared to the joy they give back to me.

I finish up my chores each week by working with one or two of the alpacas, on halter training, and going on walks out of the pasture back through our woods and hay field.  I worked with Martha today, three years old, but still resisting having a halter on and being led anywhere.  I’m making progress, but it takes time to build trust.  Today Amelia (left) and her sister Annalise go for a walk with me through the hay field.  They are somewhat tentative, but have each other so it’s not quite as scarey.  The walk back to the barn is at a much quicker pace.

Tour our Farm Store

Holiday Hours in the Farm Store are Wednesday thru Sunday, 12pm-5pm, through the end of the year.  Take a look at what you might see by clicking below.


Purchase Gift Certificates online for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list, to use in our Online Store.

Or purchase Gift Cards in our Farm Store.

Happy shopping!



Free Crochet Pattern – Squish Cowl

I love this pattern by Tamara Kelly that she calls her Squish Cowl.  She uses a special stitch called Split Bullion Stitch that involves yarning over six times which creates lots of gorgeous texture and squishiness!
Tamara’s pattern is FREE and can be found on her blog that she calls Moogly, by clicking here.

Squish Cowl - Snuggle Yarn

I chose our Snuggle Hand Dyed Yarn, which is a soft and lofty, bulky alpaca blend yarn, and used a 9.0 mm (M/N) crochet hook.  This color is called Knot of Naturals.  I love the effect that the shades of grey produce with this yarn and pattern.

Squish Cowl


spbs: Split Bullion Stitch – Yo 6 times, insert hook in first indicated stitch, yo and pull up a loop, yo and pull through 4 loops (5 loops remain on hook), yo, insert hook in next indicated stitch, yo and pull up a loop, yo and pull through all 7 loops on hook.

 There is a video tutorial on Tamara’s blog for both right and left hand folks demonstrating how to do this fun stitch.

squish_cowl (2)

 The finished measurements of my cowl were 42″ circumference (21″ laid flat) x 8″ wide which took 172 yards of the Snuggle Yarn.  To customize the length, begin with a starting chain in a multiple of 2, plus 1.



Tamara Kelly is a Craftsy instructor and offers an online class you might be interested in called Quick & Easy Crochet Cowls (w/Tamara Kelly).

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.


Adult Coloring Books on

Free Crochet Pattern – Striped Triangular Shawl

Striped Triangular Shawl - Astral Yarn




4.0 mm (G)


Total of 512 Yards of Astral Yarn

This pattern is a good one for using up leftover yarn, which is what I was doing.  For this shawl, I used five different colors of our Astral Yarn.  If you happen to be using leftover yarn, use your smaller lengths of yarn first. The rows will get longer as you work, so you’ll want to save the yarns you have more of for later in the project.

The pattern instructions won’t tell you when to change yarn colors.  Change colors as you see fit, making sure to switch colors after completing a row so each stripe is a solid color.


This shawl is worked from the center of the wingspan out and downward. Constructing it in this manner means that you can continue until the shawl is the desired size without making any modifications to the pattern.  Each row of the shawl increases by 4 stitches. There will be 1 stitch increased at each end and 2 stitches increased at the center point. Using locking ring markers to note the center 2 stitches will help prevent loosing your place. The pattern notes when to begin using them.

Striped Triangular Shawl - Astral Yarn


I crocheted 52 rows and the finished measurements were approximately 60 inches/ 152.4cm across the top, is 29 inches/ 73.66cm long from neck to point of triangle, and 76 inches/ 193cm around the bottom edge.

Striped Triangular Shawl - Astral Yarn


Ch 4 loosely, 2 hdc in 2nd ch from hook, 2 hdc in each of the next 2 ch sts — 6 hdc.

Row 1: Ch 1, 2 hdc in 1st st, 1 hdc in next st, [2 hdc in next st] twice, hdc in next st, 2 hdc in last st — 10 hdc.

Row 2: Ch 1, 2 hdc in 1st st, hdc in next 3 sts, [2 hdc in next st] twice, hdc in next 3 sts, 2 hdc in last st — 14 hdc.

Place locking stitch markers on the center 2 sts. To do this begin counting at one edge and place marker on the 7th and 8th hdc st.

Row 3: Ch 1, 2 hdc in 1st st, hdc in next 5 sts, 2 hdc in next st with stitch marker, replace marker on last st made, 2 hdc in next st with marker, replace marker on first st made, hdc in next 5 sts, 2 hdc in last st — 18 hdc.

Row 4: Ch 1, 2 hdc in 1st st, hdc in next 5 sts, 2 hdc in next st with stitch marker, replace marker on last st made, 2 hdc in next st with marker, replace marker on first st made, hdc in next 5 sts, 2 hdc in last st — 18 hdc.

*Continue working Row 4 until shawl is desired measurements. Be careful to place the stitch markers on the second of each increased stitch or the center point will begin to veer off in the wrong direction.

Fasten off and weave in ends.  I always like to block my projects for a nicer finish.  To do this wash or simply wet your shawl, roll in a towel to absorb excess moisture, then stretch your shawl out on a flat surface. Gently shape your shawl to your satisfaction and let dry.  Did your shawl come out slightly smaller than you anticipated? It is made out of natural fiber so you can block it to larger dimensions.

Striped Triangular Shawl - Astral Yarn

Crochet Abbreviations
* = a repeat in the pattern
[ ] = repeat instructions within brackets as many times as indicated
ch = chain
hdc = half double crochet
inc(‘d) = increase(d)
st(s) = stitch(es)

See more Shawl Patterns



Needle Felted Bears

I’ll be teaching two Needle Felted Bear Classes this weekend. For those of you attending, or trying this at home, I’ve put together a Pinterest Board with lots of inspiration for you!  There are bears of all shapes and sizes and colors and breeds, felted by many talented felting artists.  You can keep it simple but making a roundish shape, adding some bears, a face, and a little bear muzzle, or spend more time adding legs and feet, and feet pads, even clothing and accessories.


for those that live nearby, be sure to check out the classes at Alpaca Meadows.  For online classes, be sure and check out the wide selection of Craftsy classes available on our website.  You might also be interested in our Needle Felt An Animal Friend Kit by Back to Back Alpaca.

Free Crochet Pattern – Swizzle Alpaca Ribbed Scarf

I use this pattern by Prague Loop over and over.  This scarf was made with our 100% Alpaca Swizzle Yarn, and took just one skein of yarn for a scarf that measured 60″ long  by  5.5″ wide.  The scarf is worked lengthwise, back and forth in rows, and gauge is not important.  Any yarn could be used and any size hook. Super easy one row scarf, very suitable for beginners.

Swizzle Alpaca Ribbed Scarf

The color of the Swizzle Yarn pictured above is called Goldenrod.


US Size I – 5.5 mm


197 Yards of Swizzle Alpaca Yarn


5.5 inches wide, and 60 inches long


Decide how long a scarf is good for you.  Chain an amount of stitches that is the length you want.  The scarf above was made with 145 stitches.

Setup row: HDC (half double crochet) in each st.

Row 1: HDC into back loop of every HDC of previous row.

(Note for the beginner: Unlike single or double crochet, the HDC stitches appear to have an extra loop at the top.  You will be using the loop that is at the back of the stitch.  In a few rows, you will see that the two loops you have not been using form a “chain” along the length of the scarf.)

Repeat row 1 until the scarf is as wide as you want or you run out of yarn.

You might want to work one round of single crochet around the whole thing, so the edge looks neat, but it is not necessary.  Weave in ends.

Blocking is optional.

Swizzle Alpaca Ribbed Scarf

The color of this Swizzle yarn is called Plum Perfection, and the yarn below is Academy Blue.

Swizzle Alpaca Ribbed Scarf

This scarf pattern is easy, mindless and quick, especially with a bulky yarn.  See the Bulky Ribbed Scarf made with this same pattern, and our Snuggle Yarn.

Free Crochet Pattern – Dixie Alpaca Charm Shawl #2

For the second Dixie Alpaca Charm Shawl, I used three different yarns, one our Swizzle Alpaca Yarn, color Plum Perfection, our Astral Yarn, color Libra, and our Classic Baby Alpaca Yarn, color called White House.

Swizzle Alpaca Yarn - Plum Perfection Astral Yarn - Libra Classic Baby Alpaca Yarn - White House

Kathy Lashley of Elk Studios Crafted Crochet Designs designed this pretty shawl pattern that she calls Dixie Charm – A Summer Shawl.

Dixie Alpaca Charm Shawl




US 5.5mm (I)


One skein each of Swizzle Alpaca Yarn, color Plum Perfection, our Astral Yarn, color Libra, and our Classic Baby Alpaca Yarn, color called White House or colors of your own choosing.
Tapestry Needle for sewing in the ends


Note: Each row increases by 8 st.


66 inches/ 167.64 cm across the top, and 31 inches/78.74 cm long from neck to point of triangle

Dixie Alpaca Charm Shawl

Click here for the pattern, and see the color changes below:


Plum Perfection – PP
Libra – L
White House – WH

Ch 3, sl st to first ch to make ring, using Plum Perfection (PP)

Row 1 – PP
Row 2 – PP
Row 3 – L
Row 4 – PP
Row 5 – PP
Row 6-7 – PP
Row 8 – WH
Row 9: (L)
Row 10-13 – PP
Row 14 – WH
Row 15 – L
Row 16-19 – PP
Row 20 – WH
Row 21 – L
Row 22-25 – PP
Row 26 – WH
Row 27 – L
Row 28-31 – PP
Row 32 – WH
Row 33 – L
Edging – PP

Dixie Alpaca Charm Shawl


Free Crochet Pattern – Dixie Alpaca Charm Shawl

Kathy Lashley of Elk Studios Crafted Crochet Designs designed this pretty shawl pattern that she calls Dixie Charm – A Summer Shawl.  I’m changing the name a bit and calling it Dixie Alpaca Charm Shawl, because I used alpaca yarn of course!  I’ve made two so far, the first one was out of our Paca Paints Yarn, a hand-painted 100% alpaca yarn, by The Alpaca Yarn Company, a color called Wisteria Way.

Dixie Alpaca Charm Shawl

Stitches Used:

SC- single crochet
HDC – half double crochet
DC – double crochet

Paca-Paints Alpaca Yarn - Wisteria Way

Dixie Charm Alpaca Shawl




US 5.5mm (I)


Two skeins of Paca Paints Yarn
Tapestry Needle for sewing in the ends


Note: Each row increases by 8 st.


66 inches/ 167.64 cm across the top, and 31 inches/78.74 cm long from neck to point of triangle

Dixie Charm Alpaca Shawl

Click here for the pattern.

For the second shawl, I used three different yarns, one our Swizzle Alpaca Yarn, color Plum Perfection, our Astral Yarn, color Libra, and our Classic Baby Alpaca Yarn , color called White House.  I’ll list the order of yarn colors I used in my next post, or just alternate as you wish.  The White House has the least amount of yardage, so save that one for single rows.

Both alpaca shawls are available to purchase, just click one of the images.

Summer Sale Days Pictures

It all started when my daughter Abby said, “you ought to invite some other vendors” for our Summer Sale Days!  We both got busy and in a relatively short amount of time, had 12 vendors that were willing to give this first-time-ever event at our farm a try.  It poured down rain the Friday before the weekend of our event, and the Monday after, but the weekend itself was beautiful!  We had a wonderful variety of vendors showcasing plants, garden art, essential oils, out-of-the-ordinary desserts and baked goods, hand-crafted jewelry, children’s boutique items, beef jerky, oven roasted almonds, honey, jams, produce, organically grown tea, and more!

Memories from Summer Sale Days

Vendors in attendance our first year were:

3 Little Brushes – Melissa Moneysmith Jordan; Delaware, Ohio
8 Sisters Bakery – Mount Gilead, Ohio
Amburgey Homestead – Adrian and Denise Amburgey; Shelby, Ohio
Corletta Metal Works – Ben Shaum; Mansfield, Ohio
DoTERRA – Lori Rupert; Ontario, Ohio
Eurka’s Garden – Erika Shifflet; Ashland, Ohio
Glitter & Stitches Boutique – Angie Burge; Marion, Ohio
Kristin Ellis Jewelry – Kristin Ellis; Galion, Ohio
Sub Rosa Tea
Tae’s Bakery – Tammy Arm; Galion, Ohio
The Candy Cabin – Mary Ruth Cook; Mansfield, Ohio
Wolf Creek Produce Farm LLC – Neil and Kelly Pfleiderer; Galion, Ohio

  Handwoven Guatemalan ItemsHandwoven Items

Abby came home from Cleveland, set up a display of African Market Baskets, Handwoven Guatemalan Items, and Guatemalan coffee.

4-H Kids and Alpacas

Two local 4-H kids, Arica and Carson, worked with their alpacas, Amelia and Annalise, and talked to visitors about alpacas.

Zavier Shuttles Visitors

Our grandson Zavier shuttled people to and from their vehicles (pictured with my husband Matt).  In case you are wondering, he did not ride the alpaca, just was the only picture of him I was able to get.

Peeps are a Hit!

Baby chicks arrived just in time for kids (and grown-ups) to enjoy, and visitors were able to enjoy the alpacas up close and personal!

Visitors Get Close to Alpacas

Of course The Farm Store was open and a huge sale was going on, a great time to stock up on Alpaca Socks and Alpaca Yarn, save on Alpaca Teddy Bears, or do some early Christmas shopping.

It was a great weekend, so much fun that we’ve decided to do it again next year …

Mark your calendars and save the date for July 21st and July 22nd!

Guatemalan Coffee

Guatemalan coffee is still available!  Purchase of coffee helps support our mission trip to Guatemala this coming January, as well as the coffee farmers it is purchased from.  This coffee is hand picked and processed by the families and farmers we serve while in Guatemala. With your help, we are able to work with the coffee farmers from whom our church purchases coffee, build water filters for families using unclean water in remote villages where there is extreme poverty, build fuel efficient stoves for those still cooking over open fires in their homes, and serve the teachers and students at Próximos Pasos, a Christian elementary school for girls in the Mayan village of Santa María de Jesús.

We have dark roast, light roast, whole beans and ground, and it is $15/pound.  Contact us to arrange for pick-up or delivery.


Felted Purses and Other Great Bags

Enjoy my Pinterest collection of Felted Purses and other Great Bags!

See my blog post on Wet Felting Purse Tips or take a Wet Felting Purse Class at Alpaca Meadows!  If there is not one scheduled, gather a few friends, contact me and together we’ll schedule a class on a date and time that works for you.

Alpaca Meadows