MABA Maryland Alpaca and Fleece Festival 2018

MABA Alpaca and Fleece Festival

Fleece, Yarn, Crafts, and Food!

What better way to spend a November weekend? 

Come on out and visit the MABA Maryland Alpaca and Fleece Festival at the Howard County Fairgrounds – admission is FREE!

There will be a great variety of vendors, so you can be sure to stock up for all of your winter crafting needs.  The festival features a huge assortment of one-of-a-kind project supplies and high-quality fibers of all sorts.   This is the perfect place to find that special something for a holiday project or gift!

There will also be seminars and classes if you want to try something new or just hone a skill you already have.

Our booth will be in the dining hall this year, so no matter the weather, you will stay dry and comfortable when you visit us.  As usual, we will be offering hand-spun art yarns made with fleece from our herd.  There will also be cottage-milled yarns from our herd’s fleece, spun at a local mill.  Heather will have beautiful felted pieces of wearable art for sale as ready-made gifts as well.  In addition to the items for sale, we will offer live demonstrations throughout the day, including spinning and blending boards. 

Stop by and say hello!

For more information visit the MABA Maryland Alpaca and Fleece Festival site.

Keep up with all of our events by liking and following us on Facebook and Twitter.
You can also check our Events page here on the website.

New Arrivals Up the Cuteness Factor

New Cria Alert!

In the past few weeks we have had the true delight of welcoming some new cria (baby alpacas) into the herd.  We have a new little Suri and a Huacaya, with another on the way any day now.   We haven’t named them yet – we want to wait and get to know them first!  But golly they are precious.

Here’s our new little Suri girl:

new Suri cria

Here she is, still VERY new.

new Suri cria with mama

And here she is in the pasture, enjoying the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s amazing how quickly they’re ready to be out and about!

Our little Huyacaya is so brown and fluffy we almost can’t deal with it.

new huacaya cria and mama

Mama and baby giving good face for the camera.

 

This little cutie is still a fairly skittish, so we don’t have a great close-up yet, but you’ll just have to trust us when we say the little fluffer is totally adorable.  We love how proud mama is striking a pose for the camera!

It’s a good thing these babies are born ready for winter!  Crisp autumn nights decided to arrive at last, so the fluffiness is both cute and functional.  Good job, nature!

Be sure to stop by and meet the newest members of the family – we’d all love to see you!  Tours are available by appointment each weekend.

A cute and fluffy new arrival!

We are delighted to announce the birth of a baby girl at Breezy Hill!

Her mama is blue ribbon winner Dream Possession,
and blue ribbon and champion sire Fast and Furious is her pops.

You can tell just by looking at her that she is a pretty incredible little alpaca.

alpaca cria

alpaca cria

Her mother, and sister Mavrolita, have welcomed her with ‘paca kisses and smiles.

alpaca cria

alpaca cria alpaca cria

The whole family is doing great!

alpaca cria

BHF at South Mountain Creamery Spring Festival

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream (and/or beautiful yarn)!

During the weekend of April 28 and 29, Breezy Hill Farm will be a participating as a vendor at the South Mountain Creamery Spring Festival.  We are thrilled to be part of such a fun weekend, full of games, activities, hay rides, food, and locally-based vendors. There will be something for every member of your family to enjoy!

We will be selling our wonderful alpaca yarns and roving, as well as hand-crafted scarves, pins, and accessories.  Bring the whole family and make a day of it – and be sure to stop by our booth and say hello!

Saturday, 4/28: 10:00-5:00

Sunday, 4/29: 11:00-4:00

Festival Address:

8305 Bolivar Rd.
Middletown, MD 21769

For more information visit the SMC Spring Festival website!

Creating Your Own Wearable Fiber Art

Calling all fiber fanatics, creative crafters or those looking for a fun hobby!

Breezy Hill Farm will be offering a half-day workshop in which we will create felted scarves using fiber from our alpacas and other fine animals. Participants will get to choose their fiber colors and embellishments, craft it into roving/batts, and then needle felt it into a finished piece of pure beauty and softness.

This workshop is suitable for anyone seeking to expand their creative horizons!  Whether this will be an introduction or a deeper delve into working with gorgeous fiber and an appreciation for soft, lovely, wearable art, you are sure to learn and have fun. Beginner-experienced crafters are welcome!

The registration fee of $125 will cover all materials, equipment, lunch, and snacks/refreshment during the workshop.

Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your spot soon!

You can visit our Meetup page to RSVP and reserve your spot.

Charm City Yarn Crawl 2018!

yarn crawl

We Say “Yarn”, You Say “Crawl”! Yarn! Crawl! Yarn Crawl!

We are thrilled to be participating in this year’s Charm City Yarn Crawl!  This is a wonderful week of exploring your local yarn suppliers, getting great discounts, and entering to win prizes!  You must purchase a Yarn Crawl tote ($15) and have it with you to receive the discounts, but believe us, it’s worth it.  The totes are available at our own Little Boutique online (for in-store pickup), or at any of the participating shops.  Fourteen different yarn stores in the area are participating, and every one of them will have great specials you won’t want to miss!

In addition to offering the yarn crawl discounts all week, we will be offering demonstration events during the weekends. 

On April 8, 14, and 15, we will have demonstrations every two hours, cycling through Ravishing Roving (art batts & rolags), Spiffy Spinning (art yarn techniques), and Fabulous Felt (needle felting).  Heather can’t wait to show folks the different techniques she’s learned at various workshops during the past year!

Please note that we will not be able to offer demonstrations on Saturday, April 7. 

Heather is giving a talk that Saturday with the Creative Knitters Guild in Kensington, so she won’t be on the farm to work her magic with fiber.

Please visit http://charmcityyarncrawl.com/ for all the details about the totes, the prize entry passports, and, of course, the participating shops.  We can’t wait to see you!

Shop Small. Save Big! Holiday Sale at Breezy Hill

Holiday Sale

We’re thrilled to announce our holiday sale, November 24 – 26, 10:00am – 5:00pm each day.  You will find fantastic discounts and a little reward for the first ten customers to spend $50 in-store every day.

Come see us to shop small and save big!

MABA: Maryland Alpaca and Fleece Festival

Maryland Alpaca and Fleece Festival

Come and see us at the Maryland Alpaca and Fleece Festival!

We’ll be in the Dining Hall, in booths 10 & 11.  Rain or shine, we’ll be dry and comfy!

Admission is free, and there will be plenty of animals, vendors, and refreshments for a great weekend.

A Trip to Peru (part 1 of 2)

In September, we were lucky enough to go to Peru!  Well, Alex and the kids stayed home to take care of the farm. But my sister and I, as passionate alpaca breeders,  got to go to Peru and experience alpacas in their native environment and learn about the long tradition of alpaca-based textiles there.  Thanks, Alex and kids!

Today’s post will take a look at the incredible land alpacas call home and the alpacas themselves. A post next week will feature our visits to two different cultural heritage centers/museums.

The Land

So. Peru. We spent most of our time in various towns in the Sacred Valley, in the Cusco Region.  In this landscape, the Andes dominate, and are absolutely gorgeous.  We “oooooh”-ed and “aaaahhh”-ed enough during one drive that our blessed driver finally just laughed and pulled over so that we could get out and take some pictures.  How can you not be awestruck with views like this?

View of Sacred Valley

Looking down into the Sacred Valley

View of Sacred Valley

Just gorgeous!

Or, from the other direction, as it were, views like this?

Mountains

Looking out and up from the Sacred Valley

Do you see all of those lines going across the mountain in front?  Those, it turns out, are worn and ancient remains of stepped terraces cut into the mountainside by the Inca peoples of the region.  In fact, when we were at the pulloff spot taking the pictures from above the valley, there were ruins right behind us that were in better shape.

Ruins

There are ruins just about everywhere you turn, and it’s humbling to think how ingeniously (and how far up the mountains!) the people indigenous to this land worked with their environment to develop a thriving society.

The Alpacas

We were fortunate enough to meet up with an alpaca breeder in the area, Feliz, who agreed to take us to the land where he keeps his herds.  It wasn’t quite seeing alpacas in the wild, but the grazing lands he shares with his community are vast enough that they don’t fence alpacas in the way we have to keep them here in the states!  Feliz wasn’t quite sure how much land their community had for grazing, but he thought it was probably over 1,000 acres.

He and his son drove us out of town, then out of the smaller town, and then up, up, up into the mountains, where there were small villages that dotted the landscape.  Eventually the paved road gave way to packed gravel, and before it was over we were just literally driving up the side of a mountain where no road at all led the way.  It was not a trip for a person with a tendency to get car sick!

As we rode along, it seemed like Feliz was looking for the herds – not too surprising given how much land they have for wandering.  It turns out, that’s exactly what was happening, except technically he was looking for his aunt, who stays with the herd to keep an eye on them, and passes the time spinning fiber and weaving in the field.  When he spotted her, we all got out of the car and hiked our way down to where she was sitting with her weaving, and Feliz let us look around while he visited with her.

Rancher and Tia

Feliz and his aunt. He’s holding a slingshot, which he uses to throw rocks at predators that get too close to the herd. His aunt is spinning fleece with a drop spindle.

Our alpacas in Maryland have a pretty sweet life, but we couldn’t help but think they would be jealous of the space their cousins in Peru get to enjoy.

Grazing herd

Alpacas (and their sheep friends) have LOTS of room to roam in Peru.

It turns out that Feliz has three different herds of alpaca, and we were visiting one of them.  The other two herds had moved too far from the road for us to get to – it was looking for the second that we ended up driving up the roadless mountain!  Fortunately, while we were wandering around this first herd, we thought to ask Feliz if it might be possible to actually get a good look at the fleece on the animals. The herd isn’t what you’d want to call tame, but Feliz managed to sneak up behind one of the alpacas and grabbed a leg, which was impressive to watch.  Once he had the alpaca in hand, it was quite calm, and we got to go up and investigate.

Alpaca closeup

This beauty is the alpaca Feliz caught. Look at that fleece!

Because of the altitude and climate, they shear the alpacas every two years instead of annually.  The fleece gets unbelievably thick, and we were wondering just how long it was on these Huacaya that are due to get their shearing in March.  The density and crimp of the fiber was incredible.

Fleece closeup

No wonder they stay so toasty warm in the mountains!

How lucky to be able to visit this alpaca breeder’s herd!  It was kind of him to take the time to pick us up, drive us out there, and show us around, not to mention catching an alpaca!  It’s hard to imagine ranching on the scale that he does – both in terms of the number of animals and the expanse of land.

One thing is for sure, though: no matter where you find them, alpacas are just about the sweetest animals around.

Alpaca hug

Feliz and his aunt with Heather and her new best alpaca friend.

Also, just because they were the happiest piggies I’ve ever seen, here’s a picture of some pigs, who were happily rooting around in the mountains with the alpacas and sheep.

Piggies

Happy pigs! The amount of earth they can throw around while they root is impressive.

You Know What’s Cute? Crias!

We have a few new faces here at Breezy Hill Farm, and we couldn’t be happier about it.  The crias and their mamas all are healthy and doing fine.  Also they are cute.

First up we have Kronos.

We named him after the Greek god of time because he ignored the calendar and arrived a whopping SEVENTEEN DAYS LATE.  Maybe he was just waiting for Mother’s Day, because it seemed appropriate.  He was born to our beautiful Rhapsody, who no doubt was thrilled when he finally arrived!  He’s a big and funny young one – you’ll probably be seeing more of him before too long.

crias

Next up we have a very new cria, just born yesterday (June 8): the cute, fluffy Eros.

He is our first Suri cria, and we are delighted to welcome him to the farm. He’s a cutie, and we anticipate that he will be quite photogenic.  His mother, Faith, thinks he is perfect.

crias

They are both so fluffy and wonderful – you should probably stop by for a visit and see for yourself!