• Plotting and Scheming

    So it's been months since my last entry which was way back in May - but that just goes to show how busy we were over the summer! It's now November and we are enjoying having some down time - although with 62 animals (and counting!) to look after there isn't much of that! We are missing the visitors but quite enjoying not having to keep the farm quite so tidy which is a relief as all this rain creates lots of mud which sticks to tractor and quad tyres and ends up all over everywhere! And I (Jo) am enjoying having a break for baking and decorating so many cakes!!

    So our animal inventory at the end of 2014 is:

    29 alpacas (12 girls and 17 boys)

    10 ducks

    4 greyface dartmoor sheep

    4 rabbits

    4 piglets

    3 ponies

    3 guinea pigs

    2 pygmy goats

    1 Berkshire Sow

    1 puppy

    1 kitten

    With 5 more Manx Loaghtan sheep arriving at the beginning of 2015, that's lots of poo!!! And then as of next spring we are are hoping for 9 ewes to produce lambs, two pygmy goats to produce kids and Pepper, our berkshire sow to produce piglets. We have mated 7 alpacas so their cria will be arriving slightly later in the early summer. It's very exciting (and a little bit scary!). I would like to say that my midwifery training sets me in good stead. But it doesn't!

    With a little more time on our hands and long dark evenings we have been busy planning events for next year and, as a new business, are always open to suggestions and ideas.

    Our first event planned for 2015 is MothersDay on Sunday 17th March. We will be hosting afternoon tea for mums (and their children/families) at a cost of £8.50 per head. This will include entry to the farm and then a cosy afternoon tea of homemade cakes and sandwiches in the barn and we'll even throw in a discount off any purchases in our shop. We are happy to provide vouchers so you can surprise mum and, for an extra £10 to cover postage and packaging, will gift package it with a lovely soft toy alpaca. We only have space for 20 people so it will be first come first served, and places MUST be booked. There will be more information on our website in the new year.

    Following on from Mothers Day will be our Easter open day on Good Friday April 3rd from 11am - 3pm. As usual entry will be £5 per car and there will be an Easter Egg Hunt and craft activities for the children.

    If there is enough interest we might also open on Easter Sunday 6th so let us know.

    Then will be Open Farm Sunday on June 7th by which time we will have lambs, kids and piglets.

    We have also made the decision to open on Thursdays during term time for "Elevensies" and Afternoon Tea. These will both need to be booked to allow for catering at least 48 hours before and will give you an opportunity to come and visit throughout the year (from Spring until Autumn) for a quieter more personal visit than on an open day and to meet the babies as they arrive. We have many enquiries from people wanting to visit and, as we're not an open farm and never will be, this is a way to come and visit without booking an alpaca walk or alpaca experience.

    We will, of course still be offering alpaca experiences, and these are extra special private visits to our farm where you each have your own alpaca to halter and walk around the farm. We have had great reviews this year (as seen on Tripadvisor) and they really are very special. We can take bookings for these any time during the week and on Sunday afternoons.

    In addition to these we are introducing alpaca walks, which are for larger groups and we will leave the farm for a walk and wonderful photo spot, before returning meet all of the other residents. Each visitor will get the opportunity to walk an alpaca for a short while. These will run once or twice a month, on a weekend afternoon and possibly a weekday afternoon.

    And finally Birthday Parties, which have been hugely popular this year, will be available to book for Saturday and Sunday mornings from 10am-12pm and after school 4pm-6pm. These are priced at £8.50 per child with a minimum of 10 and maximum of 20 and include an hour feeding/petting the animals and then an hour in our barn for a craft activity (pebble painting or alpaca cupcake decorating) followed by a birthday tea (not provided).

    For more details of all of the above, please click on the relevant tabs.

    We have also had a lovely cowl designed and knitted for us by Christina Guays-Atkins, and a pattern created exclusively for us that we can sell on its own or as part of a kit. We are busy planning and designing more patterns so we can create more kits. We still have some of our 100% baby alpaca DK yarn available and arriving soon, will have our 2014 clip. This will be in 50g balls of DK and 4 ply and 100g balls of chunky, all in natural white and all from alpacas here at Abbotts View Farm.

    We will be offering a shearing service again next year in May and June.

    Schools are welcome to visit from March - May and September each year. We have decided not to take school bookings in June and July as we are so busy with Alpacas birthing, hay making and shearing.

    For purchases from our shop (yarn, knitting kits, alpaca toys, alpaca socks, cards etc) you are always welcome to visit by appointment and the same goes for hay and alpaca feed.

    We are also thinking of running workshops or coffee mornings with an introduction to knitting/crotcheting or needle felting. A great way for like minded people to get together in peaceful surroundings and learn a new skill. Please do get in touch if you would be interested in this or have skills you would like to share.

    We love to hear from you whether it's with feedback, ideas, or questions so please do get in touch!

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