Breezy Hill – Reopening for Tours by Appointment

Hello lovers of summer and family time outside and super cute farm animals! Based on the guidelines provided by Howard County, and keeping in mind the safety of our own family and yours, we have decided to begin allowing visits again starting on Friday, May 29. However, we are putting some requirements in place to help keep everyone involved healthy. If you plan to schedule a visit with us, please be sure you can accept the following precautions.

  • We will be open on Fridays through Sundays (11:00 am – 5:00 pm), BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. For the sake of following the physical distancing guidelines for Howard County, we must insist on appointments so that we can control the number of people on the farm at any given time.
  • All visitors over the age of four years must wear a mask. Yes, it is hot; yes, you must wear a mask. We are also sweating, we assure you!
  • We will have hand sanitizer available, and will require that everyone sanitize their hands before and after the tour. Of course you may bring your own sanitizer if you have a favorite smell.
  • Our boutique will be open, with hand sanitizer at the ready, but we will be keeping an eye on spacing within the shop. Depending on the number of visitors present, we may have to ask that folks take turns browsing our delightful wares.

We wish that we could just fling open the gates and invite everyone at once – we’ve missed sharing our farm with you! But our greatest wish is that we all stay healthy and able to enjoy alpacas and goats and yarn and trees and the great outdoors for many more years to come. So, stay safe out there, and make your appointment to come visit us!

CSA Studio Tour Cancelled

We are sad to announce that the Spring Countryside Artisans Studio Tour has been cancelled. It is the right thing to do, of course, but we were looking forward to sharing our studio with you! Be well, make good choices, and wash your hands. We will see you when we’re done helping to flatten the curve!

Countryside Artisans Holiday Studio Tour

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time to open up the studios as we take part in the Countryside Artisans Holiday Studio Tour. This year the tour takes place over two weekends – Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 13-15 – so folks will have plenty of time to visit every member studio in the tour and revel in the incredible talent of Maryland artists.

Some hand-dyed fleece on the way to being roving.

Here at Breezy Farm, Heather will be in the studio every day of the tour – offering spinning & felting demos, answering questions, and just generally having a good time. Talking shop with other fiber art enthusiasts is one of her favorite things!

“Ethereal” Scarf – created by Heather

Of course, the Little Boutique will also be open during the tour weekends, and there will be a fantastic selection of roving, cottage milled yarns, and hand-dyed, hand-spun art yarns created from our herd’s fleece. If a finished product is what you’re interested in, there’s a great variety of unique creations from Heather – beautiful fiber art you can wear! No matter how you celebrate the season, you’re sure to find some special gifts to give at Breezy Hill.

At Breezy Hill you can see alpaca fleece in many forms!

We hope to see you during these special Holiday Tour weekends. Our studio will be open 10:00am-5:00pm for each day of the tour, Dec. 6-8 & 13-15. No appointment is necessary, just come on by!

PLEASE NOTE: The Monocacy Bridge will be closed this weekend (Dec. 7-8), in both directions. Please be sure to plan your route around the studio tour accordingly. Frederick County website states closure lasts through Dec. 12, so we are hoping the bridge will be open next weekend, but we will definitely update the information if it is not.

Welcoming a Cria!

On June 28, our beautiful Greta Garbo gave birth to a healthy baby boy! They are enjoying getting to know each other, and the wee one is getting stronger and bigger every day. We still haven’t named the little guy – we’re getting a feel for his personality and that sort of thing first – but he sure is cute!

Smooch!

Sandy Spring Museum Strawberry Festival

This year we will be a craft vendor at the Strawberry Festival in Sandy Spring, MD, which supports the Sandy Spring Museum. The festival is June 1 and 2, and boy oh boy, does it have everything! Live performances throughout each day, plenty of delicious food and drink, and more activities than you can shake a stick at (more than you can shake a strawberry at?). And, of course, a wonderful variety of local craftsfolk and artisans offering unique creations for purchase. It’s the perfect way to kick off your summer! We hope to see you there.

For more information, visit their website! https://www.sandyspringmuseum.org/strawberryfestival/

Alpaca Snow Day

We haven’t been having the most wintery winter ever here at Breezy Hill.  It has been cold, sure, but we haven’t really had substantial, pretty snowfall.  Until now!  And boy do our alpacas love this snowy weather.  They were out and about most of the day, enjoying the sunshine and the snow, playing and just generally being cute.  See for yourself!

Alpacas Tour the Grounds

alpaca snow patrol

alpaca snow patrol 2

Alpaca snow patrol 3

Smiling at the front of the line!

 

Vino Gets Snow Up His Nose

Vino snow nose

What a goofy boy he is!

 

It’s hard to be annoyed with snow when the alpacas are so cute and happy in it.  Even in the winter, we are still open for tours on the weekends, 10:00-5:00.  Get in touch to schedule a visit!

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!

Shearing Day!

Back in April at Breezy Hill we had shearing day!  With our herd of about 40 alpacas, it was quite a project to get them all rounded up to the shearing shed and then trimmed up for summer.  Fortunately, we had great shearers (from Shear Perfection Farm, in Windsor, PA), who do good work quickly, and some wonderful volunteers who helped with restraining the alpacas and collecting the fleece.  Many hands make light work, or so they say.

alpacas

The alpacas mosey up toward the shearing area.

alpacas

The alpacas are not good at waiting single file.

There are a few different ways to restrain an alpaca during the shearing process, and none of them, done properly, cause the alpaca any pain.  On the contrary, the restraint prevents them from injuring themselves or the shearers, and makes the process go much more quickly.  It’s really better for everyone involved!   The method preferred by our shearer is called Australian Restrained shearing.  The alpaca is restrained between two “anchor points” and laid out on a mat, with its front legs bound together in one direction, and the back legs bound in the other.  This gives the shearer great access to the alpaca’s body and prevents any struggling that might result in bruises or worse.

shearing

“Oh, hello there.  I’m about to look so fresh!”

During the shearing, the alpaca gets turned over just once, which is nice for the animal and the shearer.  The shearing happens in specific sections: the blanket (back, sides, and belly), the neck, and the legs and haunches.  The blanket provides the best-quality fleece by far, but the other sections work well for felting, especially, and can become fiber for rugs and baskets and the like.  Depending on the size of the alpaca, and the density of the fleece, the fleece from one animal can weigh anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds!

Don’t tell the animals, but after shearing they can look a little silly.  You’d never know it by the end of the winter, before the shearing, but they have little noodle necks!

How does such a noodle neck hold up the head??? It’s a mystery.

Needless to say, we now have mountains of high quality fleece to clean and get to work on.  Before too long, we’ll have roving to dye (or not – the natural colors are beautiful too) and spin into incredible yarn or use in felting projects.

This fluffy cloud of roving (with a hint of filament for shimmer) . . .

. . . can become some of our beautiful hand-spun yarn!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We take a lot of pleasure in working with our animals to produce unique fiber products truly from scratch.  It’s incredible to look at the alpaca, then look at the yarn we’ve created from its fleece – the transformation is definitely a testament to the quality of our herd’s fleece and to Heather’s creativity when it comes to dyeing and spinning the fleece into yarn!  Stop by the boutique when you visit the farm, and see how beautiful alpaca fleece products can be!

Caring for Alpacas: 5 Essential Facts

Alpacas are one the most interesting animals in the world. Caring for alpacas is not difficult – in fact, they are easy to keep and even easier to maintain. One of their major advantages is the fact that their fleece makes one of the strongest fibers and is used in many industries.

We have a lot of alpaca farms in MD. Farmers have already discovered that these friendly animals are worth keeping. How do you take care of an alpaca?

1. Build a good shelter for them

Though they have the capability to survive cold and harsh environments, it is advisable to build a good and comfortable shelter if you plan on keeping alpacas. During the summer when the sun is scorching hot, and the temperatures are high, provide a shaded area for them.

If you are grazing them, fence the grazing area to keep them safe from predators. You do not know what’s lurking out there.

Always make sure that the shelter is clean.

2. Provide vet care for them

Alpacas also need medical care just like human beings. You will not spend much on their medical bills, but you must be willing to part with some money.

Familiarize yourself with various alpaca diseases and their symptoms. This will help you to know when an animal is unwell and call a licensed veterinarian for a consultation.

They should also be vaccinated twice every year. The vaccine is the same as that used for sheep.

3. Feed them well

For your alpacas to grow strong and healthy, you will have to feed them well and adequately. Typically, they feed on grass and hay, but they also take specialist concentrated foods. Alpaca food is cheap and easily available, so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

You should ensure that they do not feed on poisonous weeds like ragwort while they are grazing. They should also be regularly supplied with clean water.

Most alpaca farms in MD allow farmers who are interested in keeping them to visit and learn more about them.

4. Carefully breed them

An alpaca is ready for breeding at only 18 months old!  However, you should be very careful when breeding your alpacas, especially if you choose to do it yourself.

A baby alpaca, which is referred to as a cria, should not be hand-reared unless there is no other option. This is because managing them might turn out to be difficult as they grow older.

5. Shear them once a year

Alpacas should be sheared once a year since they produce fiber. Shearing should happen primarily during the spring to enable them to comfortably deal with the humid summers. This greatly enhances their survival chances even under harsh conditions.

An alpaca shearer who is experienced takes at most 7 minutes to shear one animal. Shearing is a critical maintenance task, and it should never be missed.

Successful alpaca farms in MD are enough evidence that caring for alpacas is easy and rewarding. The benefits are also great and farmers enjoy huge profits. If you can keep a sheep or any other domestic animal, you can also keep alpacas. Trust me, you will love them!