What does summer look like at Chetwyn Farms? Our summer season starts with sheering the alpaca on the first weekend in June. Sheering day is stressful for both the alpaca and those of us involved in the annual event, but it's necessary to keep the alpaca comfortable during the hot summer weather – and the fleece is the basis of our business; creating fibre products to sell in the farm shop. We like to think of it as a “spa day” when the alpaca get their silky, glorious fleece sheered, toes trimmed and (occasionally and as needed) their teeth trimmed too! Fleece is sorted, weighed, cleaned and sent to the mills across Canada for processing into our signature yarn, felted insoles and slippers. Even waste fleece is saved and used for our creative and practical fleece feeders for the birds. The birds love it to line their nests during nesting season.
Summer also means haying on the farm. We use approximately 500 bales of fresh green square bales of hay to feed our alpaca and horses over the winter months, when grazing is impossible. Getting all that hay off the field, into the barn and stock-piled for the winter ahead was done early this year due to the favourable weather. As they say "make hay while the sun is shining" and so we have it done for another year in record time.
Hot days on the farm call for serious “splash” play, where the alpaca play in sprinklers to cool off before heading out to the pastures for the day. While alpaca are native to South American countries like Peru, Lima and Bolivia, they are mountainous animals – so the heat of a summer day in Ontario isn’t as pleasant for them as a crisp cool winter day with snow, like they might experience in the high altitude mountains of their native lands.
Summer on the farm also includes our Wellness Programming, a series of activities designed to let you be “one-with-the-alpaca”. These include our popular Yoga Classes – where alpaca roam freely around participants, or our new Alpaca Encounters, where our guide shares insights and educates on the value of fibre and fleece, and of course spend time feeding the alpaca in the natural setting that is the pastures on the farm.
Once a year we open the “farm-gates” and provide a magical setting for an outdoor concert. Part of Big lakes Festival, we host this annual concert in the paddocks, surrounded by alpaca. Proceeds from all of these events are donated back into various charities and non profits in Prince Edward County. It’s a summer full of activities that celebrate the alpaca!
The County is a summer playground for visitors from Toronto, Ottawa & Montreal, conveniently located within an easy drive to each urban area. With bucolic rural farmland, naturally beautiful beaches at Sandbanks Provincial Park, gastronomic delights in Picton, Bloomfield and Wellington - and world-class vineyards & wineries, Prince Edward County offers an unforgettable escape!
Planning on visiting this summer or during the fall and winter months? Consider our farm cottage as your home base during your stay! Our loyalist cottage is the perfect location for all activities in the County, and offers a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend time on a working alpaca farm. Find out more and contact us if interested.
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