Spring 2017 has finally arrived at Cape Newagen Alpaca Farm. It was a really great, productive winter for us! Plenty of time knitting, spinning and embarking on a few new adventures! However, we are excited to see the leaves bursting with green and to hear the lobster boat motors humming out from Boothbay Harbor past Southport. Windows have been open for a while to let in the fresh air, but coffee on the screen porch is really the sign of warmer weather. While most around the country have been enjoying the warm air, we have just begun.
In anticipation of warmer weather, the alpacas, still full fleeced, are ready to be shorn the second week of June! So excited to see the luxurious fiber drape off into our arms as it is sheared into one solid blanket. It’s harvest time for us! Visions of custom spun yarns from our beautiful, naturally colored fleece awaits my spinning wheel….hmmm who to spin and who to send off to the mill this year? In the shop you will find hand spun yarns that I created this winter and a few mill spun yarns in skeins from our last harvest. If you desire one of our alpacas’ yarns, let us know and we will create a beautiful hand spun yarn for your next project!
What a time we have had over the last few months looking for signs of baby movements! We conducted three breedings last July on our farm with Viola to Tidal Surge; and Phantazia and Julianna to Tornado Warning. Miss America had a previously scheduled date with a stud from Little Creek Alpaca Farm, in New York. An alpaca gestation is 353 days on average! Our watch indicates that we have at least 2 cria (baby alpaca) due to arrive!! Viola is due in June and Miss America is due in August!! We will know for sure about Phantazia and Julianna once we shear them and see if either is hiding a baby under that entire fleece…stay tuned!
We so appreciate everyone who bought our alpaca socks last summer and fall and hope that you and/or your loved ones enjoyed them as much as we did ours! We wear our crew socks in winter and ankle socks in summer! Alpaca fiber has both warming and cooling qualities. For those that missed out, we continue to sell Altera Alpaca Socks made in the USA. You won't want anything else on your feet once you have tried ours!
We are now carrying body lotion made from 100% organic essential and natural oils, locally created on Southport Island, from one of our alpacas’ biggest fans! We call it Body Butter because it soothes and melts on your skin like butter!! We are selling 3 types: Rambler’s Rosemary, Berry’s Orange Spice and Louie’s Lavender in 4 oz. jars. Come in and check it out or look online at our website under SHOP!
Another new item is our own handmade, organic soap made on the farm. We have been sampling it this winter and will share a limited amount for sale. The soaps are made from scratch with organic goat’s milk (alpacas don’t share their milk!!) and felted with our alpaca fiber. The fiber exfoliates your skin naturally! This will be a pilot product. Who knew making soap was such an experiment? Soaps are made with lye. The lye mixes with the oils and a chemical reaction occurs called saponification. The first time I made it, the fireman in the house was present to keep everyone safe. I have mastered the process now and no longer need the support of the fire department.
We added laying hens to the farm last May. About twenty-five chicks arrived 2 days old at the post office…J from a hatchery in the Midwest. What a sweet adventure that was to see how fast they grew! We built a coop to give them a home with a much-needed roost and nesting boxes to lay their eggs. Since June 2016, we have had nineteen hens and one rooster. We have enjoyed frittatas, quiches, homemade waffles, pancakes and of course breakfast eggs of all kinds! We continue to enjoy fresh eggs daily and you will too if you stop by – farm fresh eggs for sale!
You may have met or heard our rooster, who at a very young age was named Matilda by my nephew. That was before we found out he was a rooster, now he is called Mattie. To date, all twenty chickens made it through the snow, cold and rain! We had one sighting of a coyote in February, but the alpaca girls “alerted” and scared the scout away. We have not seen another coyote. The chicken coop is next door to the boys who probably scare away the other predators while we sleep…The ladies and Mattie free range, into our back woods and sometimes over to the library for a good bug or two…we usually call them home when they have been out of sight for more than 45 minutes…free ranging chickens need to roam! They also have a job to do! They eat the slugs and ticks to keep both the alpacas and us safe. Our flock consists of 5 Barred Rocks (named Top Chicks), 8 Aracaunas (Hope, Gracey…) who lay the pretty green and blue pastel eggs, 2 Brown Leg Horns that lay clean white eggs, 2 Buff Orpingtons, who were named Sunny by one of our visitors, 2 Rhode Island and New Hampshire Reds, and Mattie, who is a Salmon Faverolle, a very protective, gentleman rooster. He keeps his ladies safe out in the woods! If you have ever raised chickens, you will know what a mess they can create. The benefit of a beautiful array of colored, fresh eggs, definitely outweighs the smelly poop clean up that I am in charge of on a daily basis. It’s a win-win for everyone!
We continue to hold our Stitch and Sip every Thursday afternoon from 3-5 pm. There is no requirement to hand stitch, come and join us and meet some community folks! We have a lot of laughs and learn from each other. There is always something new going on! Peg Loom classes are set for two dates this summer. Judy Mullins, from Thistle Dew Alpaca Farm in Phippsburg, ME and I have 6 spots available for each session. Every participant will leave the class with their very own alpaca rug! More info is listed on our website under CLASSES. Pictures are posted of the last class and their very own alpaca rugs!
Lastly, we are piloting half-day workshops for young children! We have the opportunity to provide fun, safe, farm experiences with both the alpacas and chickens. If you are interested in more info, please email us. We will tailor our workshops to specific dates of our visitors if there are no other conflicts on the farm.
We hope to see you this summer to enjoy a little piece of our farm! We are open Tuesday - Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. If you can’t make it in person, we usually share a daily pic of the farm on Instagram, which also posts to our front website page at www.capenewagenfarm.com - by the way check out our website - we changed that this winter too!
Anne, Mike and all the farm critters!