Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rubber Ducky in the bathtub. Wait...It is a real duck!

Meet Prudence the Pekin duck
She is one of 6 that reside on the farm. I purchased my ducks last March when they were cute little yellow fluff balls. They grew pretty quickly and I soon realized that I had 5 males and one female. I found another breeder that was willing to trade males/females and I kept one male and brought home 4 females.

Prudence was one of the new ducks to come home. I didn't realize until we put her in her new house that one of her legs was slightly crooked. She cannot keep up with the flock when they run around outside and she tends to stay by herself in the barn stall. She, by default, has become the nurse maid.

She rarely leaves the barn stall and I need to be sure to put water out specifically for her. She doesn't bathe regularly but when she does she hops into the pool and allows me to spray her with the hose. In this frigid weather that we have been having she has not cleaned herself at all. So I decided that maybe I should help her a bit.  I am not sure if she is really thrilled with the idea.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Farm Store in Ada is Open

Finally the farm store is open at 591 Ada Drive, Ada.  I am right between Nonna's and Cranberry Hill Consignment Store.

Store hours: Monday through Friday 10 AM to 5 PM
Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM.

**This Friday, December 7th we will be open until 9 PM. 

This week I am offer 10% off any one item. And Saturday ONLY you can stop in and get a coupon for buy one and get one 1/2 off!







Sunday, November 24, 2013

Our Farm Store is Moving!!



Our farm store & boutique will be moving to Ada for the month of December. Our grand opening will be on December 2. We will be in Ada until the 21st of December.

Our new location is 591 Ada Drive (Scooper's Ice Cream Shoppe)

Our new hours: 10 AM to 5 PM Monday - Friday 
                          Saturdays 10 AM to 4 PM

New arrivals to the store including alpaca suri coats, running socks and capes.

For our grand opening we will have a few giveaways throughout the day! Come on over and visit us to see Alpaca! The New Luxury.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

MAEAP Certification-Completed!!!

For the past year or so I have been working with the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program to have my farm certified. MAEAP is an innovative, proactive, and voluntary program that helps farms of all sizes and all commodities voluntarily prevent or minimize agricultural pollution risks. It is completely confidential and free to participate.

I worked with my MAEAP advisor to rectify a few issues on my farm such as composting my alpaca manure and eliminating erosion.

Manure composting is not an easy task. I have to move my pile about to prevent leaching and to ensure that I follow MAEAP guidelines I need to keep accurate records on my efforts to compost. I also now have a road map which I can follow. It will be hard to fall off the wagon and revert to my former ways.

The erosion problem is a bit more complicated, but with a little hard work I can get it done.
Because my farm is located on Plainwell sand I basically live on a beach! I will use my compost to help re-establish fertile paddocks for my alpacas. I also will seed annual rye grass this fall as green manure for the spring. Come warmer weather I plan to till up my cover crop and plant brom, timothy grasses and a tad of alfalfa.  This should help to reduce erosion while providing my alpacas with grasses to munch on. Aesthetically the paddocks will be much more pleasing to the eye.

I have to say that I am totally thrilled with the certification and I am working on getting the sign up this week before our big event on September 21: Farm to Fashion.

If you are going to be around come out to the farm for the event and you can see the sign too!

My MAEAP advisors-Dan and Josh.

If you are a farm and are interested in being certified, check out this link MAEAP for more information.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bees, Alpacas, Chester and Tractors

Wow! It has been a long time since I updated my blog. It has been crazy around here!!! 
 I finally got my bees~all 5,000! Miriam and I set up the beehive and we cleaned up the area around the hive. We planted wild flowers with the hopes that the bees will have plenty of nectar right near their home. It has been very enjoyable to watch them  gathering nectar and then returning to their hive to feed the wee ones.
I got the bees!!

The alpacas are all shorn and I have tons of fiber to skirt/sort/grade. They are much cooler without all their fiber, but they still enjoy being rinsed off when the humidity is high. 

A Royal Charger cooling off. Quito waiting patiently for his turn.

Chester followed me up to the farm store and decided to rest on some yarn. He kept trying to tuck his head into the box and curl up but he is just too big. Poor guy.
Cute Chester

Finally we got a new toy-A Kubota L3200 to drag the brush hog around and clean up fence lines and other undesirable messes. It drives like a tractor. I use my Kubota BX to turn manure, mow the pastures and clean up leaves in the fall. It is smaller and has a really nice handle to it. (Was that an alpaca fiber term??) Anyway here is our new tractor. I am loving it!
Love orange!

That about wraps up the news around the farm. We have the Ada Parade coming up on Thursday for the 4th. I'll be taking some alpacas to the parade. That should be interesting!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Farm Store SALE!!



New Hand Spun Yarns are in! Angelina--Buy one get one half off when you stop by the store! On Sale Now!! Select winter sweaters are marked at least 20% off or more! We have beautiful 100% alpaca shawls, cardigans, pullovers, and turtlenecks. Men's sweaters too! To order call 616-460-9876 or email me at viaverdefarm@gmail.com.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chickens Galore!


The crows of several Silkie roosters are loud and clear as I head out the back door and trudge through the snow to the barn. Our, now 64, chickens and roosters are nestled in their new coop. We just finished building it in late January. I am glad it was done and ready to move the Silkies in because the following week the snow started. After the Silkies made their move to the coop, we ordered 38 more chicks and had them delivered in late January. I kept the babies in the garage with heaters until they could move to the coop. Now that they are 7 weeks old they are content in the coop. I have had a bit of pecking from the older Silkies, but overall everyone is getting along. My initial order included 15 rare breeds and 15 ornamental chicks. I am not even sure what I have now. I am still trying to identify some of them. I know I have some Polish, Silkies, Barred Rock, Black Australorpes and White Stars. I think I have Americaunas and some Buff Orpingtons. By May I should be able to identify all of them.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


A few weeks ago my husband brought home 20 pounds of labneh from the Middle Eastern grocery store. I love labneh. But as much as I love it there is no way I can eat 20 pounds in a week. But wait, what is labenh? It is made from yogurt that is strained in cheese cloth. Salt is added and then it is rolled into 1" balls. At the point it is either packed into glass jars or sprinkled with herbs such as thyme, oregano, mint or red pepper. Once in the jar, olive oil is poured over the balls to preserve it. Now the labneh can be stored for 6 months up to a year. Labneh is a traditional Syrian breakfast or snack food which is eaten with bread. It is very nutritious and delicious. I love to eat it spread on toast with sliced tomatoes, capers and black pepper. When Sam first brought home the labneh we laughed about the different ways we could eat 20 lbs of the stuff. Joking aside, we both knew what we had to do. We set out an afternoon a few days later and begin the task of rolling balls of labneh. We raided our herb pantry. All of the herbs were raised here at Via Verde. We got a little "out of the box" with our decision to use Herbes de Provence, chives, and lemon thyme. We did go with the traditional flavors of mint, oregano, thyme, marjoram. However, my two favorite flavors ended up being chive and Herbes de Provence. Sam took the photos of our hard work. We have enough labneh to get us through the winter and maybe even into summer. I definitely will try this again and maybe push the flavor envelope a bit further
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

May 9 and May 10 Journal Entries


May 9, 2012 Wednesday After feeding I wandered around the barn cleaning a bit. Petting and brushing the cats. Harrasing the goats. And taking photos of the pacs. One of the cats left a present for me in the barn. Ick. It seems to be a dead ground squirrel. Maybe one of the ferals will carry it off.
I left it with the hopes that would actually happen. The little goats were positively gleeful when I let them run around the barn today. I freed them from their paddock so I could mow it. It is a bit scary to mow on their hill. I don’t have the leaf bags on the back of the kubota to give weight to the loader on the front. I need to put some cinder block weights on the back. I just took my time as I turned on the hill. Unnerving. The middle paddock that has been partially seeded needed to be harrowed. I hooked up the harrow and quickly turned up the soil in the other half with the intention to go pick up some seed and plant it. I got the quote for my sprinkler systems in the front and middle paddock. It is a bit steep. I will have to wait on that one. But with all the rain we have had I haven’t really needed it.
May 10, 2012 Thursday Got out to the barn a bit late this morning. After feeding I used the broom to sweep off the cobwebs from the barn doors. I gathered up all the dye stuff for the demo on Saturday. I am going to use Osage Orange shavings for the natural dye demo so I poured hot water over them and let them soak overnight. Tomorrow I will dye a skein in bath to see how it will turn out. I used about 1 ½ ounces of shavings to 2 quarts of water. Tonight I checked on it and the dye bath was a orangish brown. In other events, I moved the items in the store down to the living room to be organized tomorrow. I still haven’t prepared my bags and labels! Agghhh! There is so much to do still!! I had Sean, my helper, come over and weed whack the chicken coop. Then Taima suggested that we put the goats in there since the whacker jammed and we couldn’t finish mowing the pen. I left the goats in for about 2 hours and they managed to break a hole in the chicken coop. Ugh! I’ll have to fix that tomorrow now. We moved the gates from behind the boys paddock to up by the house. The goats will have lots to munch on tomorrow. And they will be visible for the guests on shearing day! I actually drove the gates to their new location with the truck. It was faster and not as tiring. I hope the goats don’t give me problems tomorrow as we pass my blueberry and currant plants on our way to their new pen. I am almost out of goat grain and will have to find another bribe until I can get to the farm store. On the fiber side, started plying a pink combed top merino from Stonehedge farms and a multi colored alpaca from my animals. I am enjoying the colors as they meld together.