Our sign in peace

Our sign in peace
Our sign in peace

Friday, December 31, 2010

Hail and Farewell 2010!

 This year was meant with much struggle and some loss. We said goodbye to "Jax" our beautiful black Alpaca. When we got him he was much older than we thought, so his brief life was spent happy here.

We also lost our old Llama, "Fergus" that we had rescued when he was very old. He also lived here for a short time...                       Our "Sweetie" retired off with her sons on a farm not far from here. We get periodic e-mails showing her happy and grazing away with her "boys"...But one of the saddest goodbyes was my Grandmother who passed away at 90 years of age, our cat "Sophia", "Scar" our whether and our old goat "Phoebe" who passed away last week at the old age of 14! She was born here 14 years ago to her mom "Daisy". She was the beginning of our farm. We have come full circle with life and death here....So as we begin another year here on the farm we move forward never forgetting our old friends and all that they brought to the farm and to our lives...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Preparing for the Storm of 2010!

   One of the biggest things when we know a big winter storm is coming is to make sure our animals are prepared and safe. We woke this morning to listen to the news and realized that the storm they were predicting is bigger than they thought. The track could have gone either way and it just happens to be the worse case senario. In the picture above a few of our Alpacas and "Freddie" the sheep (who thinks he's an Alpaca) peek out of their barn...
In this picture to the right, it is "Autumn's" first snow and she was having a blast playing in it today. I caught her just as she looked at me with a "snow mustache", she is just too cute for words. She was like a big kid for Christmas, each toy was the best one ever!
Here in the picture to the left, our Olde English "Baby doll" Southdown sheep, already snow covered. They did eventually go into their barn and get out of the storm, I was worried because the two on the right , "Rose" on top right and "Belle" in the bottom of the pic are hopefully bred so I don't want them to have any stress at all. Check out the picture though, see the snowfakes?
And last are the chickens snug as a bug in their coop with a nice heat lamp to keep them warm and cozy. Today they layed more eggs than they have been! I guess they were bored from the storm. So hopefully they will ride out the storm and we will dig them out tomorrow under 2 feet of snow!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Solstice and Blessed Yule!

   Good morning everyone! To the left is my favorite ornament of all time! I have had it for years, my little Gingerbread man tree.
As I woke up this morning I went out to the yard and hung stranded cranberries, dried oranges and apples, filled the bird feeders and suets, all as a gift to our wildlife. To the right is our "Wild Tree". Ever since my kids were young we always did this as a tradition on the Winter Solstice morning to honor our wild friends. So enjoy the day, this first day of Winter, as we begin to go inside, take a moment to remember our wild ones and leave them a gift.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The 'Girls" are home from their "dates"

Well our sheep "Belle" and "Rose" are home from their dates with Liz's rams from "Short and Sweet Farm", no worse for wear. We picked them up yesterday and Tim was worried because of the almost hour long ride home that they would be cold, so the picture on the left is of them loaded in their crates with thick quilts wrapped around to protect them from the cold.
 The picture to the right here is "Charlie", an Olde English "Babydoll" Southdown ram that was bred to "Rose". He is a bit smaller than she is, she is a big solid gal that takes after her father. As you can see he is white and has a beautiful open face. So I am hoping for many of his traits to come through in the lambs.
This is "Hank" who was bred to "Belle", he is also a white ram and I am wishing for a nice healthy white ewe this year, I am so keeping my fingers crossed. Breeding both girls to white rams should give me a better chance but one never knows. Last year our ewes each had a black and white lamb each!
Here are the girls after we arrived home having a snack and happy to be out of those cages and off the back of the truck. "Rose" is on the left and "Belle" is on the right. They seemed happy to be home and "Belle's" lamb "Lily" from this year was very happy to see her mom and carried on until she could get onto the other side to be with them. Welcome home "girls" and thank you Liz for taking good care of them. They are fat and healthy for sure!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holiday Open House has come and gone

Well Holiday Open House has come and gone and it was quite a success. We had many people stop by and enjoy some chestnuts that we were roasting atop of this old pot belly stove that Tim had and it doubled as a way to stay warm especially Saturday, boy was it cold out there! We planned a Victorian theme but my dress did not arrive on time so maybe next year.
We had everyone who attended decorate our little tree that was taken from the top of a Douglas Fir we just had to take down because it was dying. All the ornaments are edible and will be left out for the "wild ones" to enjoy! On the Winter Solstice, since my kids were little, it is tradition here to decorate the back yard for the wildlife as a gift to them.

Many of those who visited over the past couple of days helped to support us by purchasing things in our farmstand. The eggs were a big seller as well as many other items in the store. We sold many hats, gloves, vinegars, soaps, and felting kits.

As you can see we had many bare shelves because a lot of people bought many of the items we had made right here on our farm. We'd like to thank everyone who stopped by and enjoyed chestnuts, made card boxes, talked to me about bee keeping, the Alpacas and Sheep. We hope everyone enjoys the coming holidays as we look toward the year to come!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Victorian Farm Open House and Tour Thanksgiving weekend

Victorian Farm Christmas

We will be having a Holiday Open House along with some other area farms:

"Victorian Farm Christmas" will be the theme of Coon Hollow Farm for Holiday Open House. Come and join us as we celebrate the harder but easier times of the Victorian farm people. We will have chestnuts roasting, carols to sing as well as decorations such as strung fruits. Also on hand will be our Alpacas and Sheep, Chickens or just come and talk to Dawn about Beekeeping! Also on hand spinning, make a Holiday Gift Box from old Christmas cards and felting demos. Our shop will be open with many of hoilday gifts, fiber, yarn for knitters, soaps, felting kits, alpaca garments, eggs, etc. We are located at 156 Punkup Rd, Oxford. We will open Sat Nov 27 and Sunday Nov 28 from 10 to 4. Please visit our blog www.CoonHollowFarm.blogspot.com or call 203-881-1986 for more info.

"Alpaca Farm Holidays" will be the theme for Hubbell Farm at French’s Corner in Shelton (White Hills) which is an 1825 farm that retains its original barns and outbuildings, vintage tractors and farm equipment. Visitors can view alpacas, a llama and sheep and purchase herbs, herbal products, sachets, dream pillows, alpaca and sheep raw fiber, yarn, felting kits, soap and more. We will be open Nov 27th and 28th from 9 to 5. Also available is roving in natural colors from the farm’s sheep and alpacas and wool dyed on the farm. Those seeking additional information may call 203-929-2052.

"Christmas on the Farm" at Alpaca Hill Farm, 8 Willow Street in Seymour, CT. Meet our alpacas, Great Pyrenees, Kramer and muscovy ducks. You can shop at our farm store and buy warm alpaca garments, alpaca gifts and ornaments, yarn, roving, felt and other items for the holiday season. Enjoy a warm beverage and take a picture with an alpaca for your Christmas cards. Alpaca hats, socks and gloves are soft, hypoallergenic and toasty warm for the winter. Please celebrate the joy of the season with a visit to our farm. We will be open on Friday and Saturday November 26th and 27th from 10-5. Also Saturdays December 4,11 and 18 from 10-5.

"Log Cabin Prairie Christmas" is the theme for Dream Come True Farm, 82 Freeman Rd Oxford who will celebrate the holiday season November 27th and 28th 11am-4pm. Join in the fun and stop by and help decorate our tree by bringing an ornament and for each ornament we will donate .50 towards a toy for toys for tots. Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus who will arrive 12:30 pm. on Sunday. Educational hands on displays, pictures on the tractor, demos and learn all about our sheep, goats, llamas, ponies and alpacas. Our shop is ready for holiday shopping filled with gift items including alpaca products, glass jewelry, goat soap, wooden treasures and lots of handspun yarns. Truly a knitters dream come true! Visit us at www.pamsfiber.blogspot.com or call for more info 203-736-2630.

"Alpaca Farm Christmas" will take place at Alpacaboose Farm at 12 East St., Oxford. They will be open on Sat Nov 27 from 11 to 4 and Sunday Nov 28 from 11 to 3. The farm features female alpacas and products made from their fiber. Spinning and needle felting demonstrations are planned. Those seeking additional information may call Ron or Rose East, 203-888-4695.

**In the event of bad weather please contact the farms to see if they are open.**

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Victorian Farm Holiday Open House coming soon!

 We are busy at work here on the farm getting ready for Victorian Farm Holiday Open House! We will be open Saturday November 27th and Sunday November 28 from 10 to 4. If all goes well Tim and I will be decked out in the Victorian Farm era. We will have traditional Victorian Christmas music as well as a pot belly stove roasting chestnuts. There will be traditional Christmas decorations and
the store will be stocked with many holiday gifts all from our farm. So come by and join us as well as the other local farms that we will post later in the week. Most also will be having a holiday theme!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Winter is coming-the Drone's have been sacrificed

An interesting phenomenon happens this time of year in the bee hives, the workers expel the drones because they are free loaders and have no purpose in the winter hive. They are dragged out of the hive and left to die in the cold. These are the males of the hive and they only eat and breed, they do no work in the hive at all. New drones are layed by the queen in the Spring so they are expendable at this time of year. In the picture, which is the base of an outer feeder the bees put not only drones but other bees that must have lived out their life cycles. This sign always tells me that winter is here, even if the calender says other wise.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Getting my dye pots on

Check out this very cool dying rack that my friend Donna found on the side of the road that someone was throwing out. It appears to be very old and has Columbia Yarn Co printed on it. It is held together at the bottom with old fashioned cotter pins and the side are held together with a clamp like system. I looked it up on line and did some searches but nothing came up. If anyone can date it for me let me know.
So today was a beautiful fall day and I got the dye pots out and went to work dying some white Alpaca that I had spun and double plyed. I reached into the dye box and pulled out turquoise and cherry red. I also dyed some white wool for felting. The new drying rack sure did come in handy!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Greenhouse is born!

I am so excited to share my new Greenhouse, built by my future son-in-law Angel, with the help of his brother Jesse, Mace and Tim. I have dreamed about this for so long and it has finally come true! Thanks guys! In the picture to the left is the beginning, the footings are in and the frame has begun. 
In the picture to the right, Mace standing on the ladder and Angel below. Recycled items that we got from here and there make up a lot of the structure. The paned glass was found also at the dump still in the packages. They are stabilizing the panes for the roof.

 A side view of just how many windows are in this greenhouse. The back part that is not up yet in this picture has a vented sky light that we also found at the dump, it will allow us to open it in the warmer weather to allow for ventilation. It's just so amazing what people throw out!

 A view of the finished product! The greenhouse was built connecting it to the chicken coop which in the winter will radiate the solar rays from the sun and keep the chickens warm. There is a door (which we also found at the dump) inside that opens to the chicken coop for easy collection of the eggs. If you look really closely the chickens are inside, it was a rainy day and they were staying warm and dry inside.
Now all Tim has to do is put the shelves in that will wrap around the inside. I just can't wait until Spring to start my seeds! This is such a dream come true to have my very own greenhouse!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Giles gets a new home

Well as long as it took us to name "Giles", he quickly went to his new home in Hope, Maine today to continue his legacy as an Olde English "Babydoll" Southdown sheep.
He is such a sweet ram, which he inherited his disposition from his gentle and sweet father.
As soon as he gets to Maine after his 5 hour long road trip, a good meal and a good nights rest he will go to work improving his bloodline and making more "Babydoll" Southdown lambs. We are very pleased that he is from our farm and wish him the best.
He will have such a hard life, eating, sleeping, drinking and breeding, oh poor "Giles" what will you do with all that responsiblity?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

"Giles" it is...

Finally a name for the little ram, "Giles" it is. He has been formally named by the Mock Olde English "Babydoll" Registry. He has been in rare form lately, and if you look at the picture at the top that is our wether "Fred" and "Giles" has decided it is breeding season and "Fred" is his "woman"! He has not let him alone and is curling his lip and well trying to have his way with him! "Fred" however is not having it. The song "We got to get you a woman" comes to my mind!
As October comes to a close, I am sad because it is my favorite month of the year! It went by so fast and so many things that you were hoping to get to it seems there just was not enough time for, maybe they can make October longer next year!
Well as the "Wheel of the Year" turns once more we look to our goals and hope that the year is good to us in health and life...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Our newest chicken

Meet our newest chicken, Sherri Lynn, named after her rescuer. She was found on the streets in Waterbury, Ct and for you who know that area, it is city all the way. So someone was keeping chickens and lost this one. She is a Rhode Island Red and has no feathers on her back end, they must have had a lot of roosters, because she obviously was ravished by them. She is a little nervous around the rest of the flock but she is taking her licks and slowly adjusting...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's in a name?

  On this beautiful Autumn day, the day in which my son was born, I took a moment to remember 31 years ago when he came into the world. It was one of the happiest days of my life and he has grown up to be a wonderful man that I am so proud of, and everyone loves this wonderful guy I call my son. 
  So I am at a place where I have to name this little ram. He needs to be registered so a name is important for his paperwork. I have pondered the fact that he needs a nice english name because his breed is after all an Olde English Babydoll Southdown. I am thinking that "Rupert" or "Giles" would be fitting for him or maybe both names after the character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my all time favorite shows. Hhhhhmmm still pondering, anyone have any suggestions?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dirty Looks and Shot Day!

  Today was the much over-due Ivermectin shots for the 7 Alpacas and our 1 Llama. These shots need to be done every six weeks as part of a de-worming regement with the "boys". This helps guard them against roundworms, mange mites as well as mengeal worm which can be deadly to both Alpacas and Llamas. It attacks the central nervous system and an affected animal looks like they have rubber bands for legs.

In the picture to the right the boys were very upset
after being "clotheslined" by Tim and myself and then 
subjected to the neccesary but I am sure a little
painful Ivermectin shot. Here is "Awan" showing me just what he thinks of us! What an attitude!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Putting the Bee Hives to bed for the year...

 While having a little vacation time left, I took a mini vacation this week to get somethings accomplished around the farm. I take this time off every year because it just helps to stay on track with everything. Today was spent preparing the 3 bee hives that we have for the colder weather to come. The first hive was doing so-so, it had swarmed many weeks ago so they are playing catch up, the second hive was un-believably right on track with where they should be. The frame on the right (pictured) is some of their honey reserves as well as some brood (baby bees) in the center. The third hive is the little hive that could. I have worked on setting this hive up since August with surplus bees from the observation hive at the Nature Center where I work. Just last week I took another 2000 bees out of it and brought them home and added it to the hive by placing a sheet of newspaper over the first hive body. This gives them time to be captivated by the queens pheromones so they can combine with the hive and not kill her. So overall I am mostly pleased with my bees going into the colder weather. Last year I combined my hives to one strong with bad results, so I am taking my chances this year by allowing the hives to stay independent, I think the odds are better that way. We will continue to feed them and eventually pull the outer feeders off and put the inner feeders inside the hives.
I placed large rocks at the entrances under the cinder blocks as well as using old frames to block the sides of the cinder blocks. Venting a small space between the hive bodies (about a match book amount) allows for the hive to keep from building condensation up. The temperature in the hive is about 90 degrees with their body heat. So better luck next year, we had no hiney this year due to losing our hives, so next spring we should have bees ready to go and get a head start on honey!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Welcome Autumn!

We welcome a new member to the Coon Hollow Family, our new beautiful little "Autumn"! She is a precious terrier mix, with confidence one minute and not sure-ed-ness the next. She is fitting in so well here. The other dogs just love her, except old man "Charlie" who has had to set her straight a couple of times, but that's his job. She is fascinated with the chickens and just takes everything in. I caught her looking around the living room the other night as if to say "not a bad place, I like the curtains, foods not bad, I think it'll do". She is such a breathe of fresh air and I just love her. There was just something about this dog the first time I saw her when she came in from a rescue group who had saved her with one day left to go at the pound...she's definetly a keeper!
So as I enjoy this autumn day with my new dog "Autumn" on the autumn day that my daughter was born, all I can do is sit back and smile...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Let the Harvest Begin!

The Harvest has begun in the Herb Garden as I chipped away at it today, with plenty of Basil, Lemon Verbena, Pineapple Sage, Mints, Thymes and as the list goes on I will be cutting for a bit.
Pictured above left is Basil and Pineapple Sage, on the right you always should ID what you have cut and dried, believe me I have learned over the years, and below is the bush, yes bush of Pineapple Sage which grew as large as a Rose Bush! It smells just like Pineapple with just a hint of sage...nice...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Our Fiber has arrived!

Our fiber for the year has arrived! All 70 + pounds of it! It is so clean and soft and the smell is beautiful. Let's just say there is a lot of spinning, dying and felting in my future!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thanks to all who attended Alpaca Days!

Alpaca Days was such a success and thanks to all who attended! We appreciate your support and was so pleased to see that many attendees had the newspaper article in hand and had it mapped out to go from farm to farm. Some folks were doing half the first day and the other half the second day. Educating folks on small farm living was so much fun and Tim did a great job talking to many and giving them little tours. The goldfish and frog pond is always a big drawer for the kids.
I must appologize however, as many of you knew I was a little under the weather and by Monday morning a visit to the Dr was in order to find out I have acute bronchitis and pneumonia in my upper lung field. I am hoping to get better fast and the timing on this was very bad.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Alpaca Days and An Open House Farm Tour!

Ourselves as well as other alpaca farmers will celebrate National Alpaca Days and Connecticut Alpaca Days on Saturday and Sunday, September 25 and 26, by hosting an open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at their farms.
The event is free.

Besides us you can visit:

*Alpacaboose Farm at 12 East St., Oxford. The farm features female alpacas and products made from their fiber. Spinning and needle felting demonstrations are planned. Those seeking additional information may call Ron or Rose East, 203-888-4695.

*Alpaca Hill Farm, 8 Willow St., Seymour, visitors can meet 19 alpacas, muscovy ducks and herd guardian Kramer, a Great Pyrenees. The farm will only be open on Saturday, September 25. It has for sale soft yarns and roving and alpaca felt in a variety of colors from its own animals as well as garments made from alpacas, cuddly alpaca toys and alpaca bears.
Visitors will learn about alpacas and their care, and can pet and feed the alpacas. Those seeking additional information may visit www.alpacahillFarm. com or call 203-888-1526 or 203-215-8878.

*Coon Hollow Farm, located at 156 Punkup Rd. in Oxford, the public is invited to meet Tim and Dawn Sotir’s seven alpacas and other farm friends. There will be spinning and felting demonstrations as well as beverages and snacks.
The family farmstand will be filled with hand-spun yarns, alpaca items, felting kits, honey, eggs, goat’s milk soap, items made from beeswax, herbs and more. Those seeking additional information may call 203-881-1986 or visit http://www.coonhollowfarm.blogspot.com/.

 *Dream Come True Farm, 82 Freeman Rd., Oxford, Mike and Pam Blasko will feature handspun yarns, wool for spinning, spinning wheels, goat milk soap, woodworks, maple syrup and handcrafted gift items. The public can view the couple’s alpacas, llamas, sheep and goats and obtain information on small farming. Those seeking additional information may call 203-736-2630 0r visit Area alpaca farmers will celebrate National Alpaca Days and Connecticut Alpaca Days on Saturday and Sunday, September 25 and 26, by hosting an open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at their farms. http://www.pamsfiber.blogspot.com/

*Hubbell Farm at French’s Corner in Shelton (White Hills) is an 1825 farm that retains its original barns and outbuildings, vintage tractors and farm equipment. Visitors can view alpacas, a llama and sheep and purchase herbs, herbal products, sachets, dream pillows, alpaca and sheep raw fiber, yarn, felting kits, soap and more. Also available is roving in natural colors from the farm’s sheep and alpacas and wool dyed on the farm. Those seeking additional information may call 203-929-2052.

*Simple Gifts Farm, 1135 James Farm Rd., Stratford, grows fine fiber from its alpacas and Olde English babydoll sheep. The farm is owned by Marti and Ray Kosh. Once the roving returns from the mill, it is spun into yarn. Marti designs patterns for hand-spun natural and hand-dyed yarns and makes up knitting kits. Along with an array of hand-spun yarns, there are hand-knitted items and gifts created on the farm.  Visitors are invited to enjoy spinning demonstrations, stories about the couple’s “furry” friends and Ray’s adventures as a gentleman farmer.Visit www.simplegiftoffiber.blogspot.com or call 203-378-0893 for information.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Celebrating Alpaca Days!

We will be celebrating National Alpaca Days on Saturday, September 25th and Sunday, September 26, 2010 from 10 to 5 with an Open House as well as a Farm Tour with some of our other Farm Friends. The posting with the additional farms and their location will be posted in a few days. 
Come and visit these amazing creatures and learn about their personalities, which each one has their own! There are 7 Alpacas total on the farm. We will have many Alpaca items on sale in our farmstand as well as spinning demos, needle felting demos and a do-your-own needle felting project. We will have refreshments and coloring contest for the kids. So come by and say hi! 
(pictured: above left, "Awan", above right, "Cyrus", bottom left, "Garth" and bottom right, "Norman")