First Branch Farm and Fiber Tour

Last Saturday, Vermont Grand View Farm opened our doors for the second annual Farm and Fiber Tour. Visitors arrived from all over New England to experience farm life first hand. A few of our visitors were repeat visitors who had come last year and wanted to come again because they had so much fun. As they left, they threw their hands up in the air to wave good-bye and to say, “See you again next year!”

Visitors participated in ongoing fiber crafts and demonstrations, asked questions, and spent time in the pasture hanging out with our flock of Romney sheep or by the bunny hutches learning about angora rabbits. It was evident that each visitor was on a mission. Some people already owned a small flock and the invitation to visit and chat with a fellow shepherd was irresistable. Others were fiber fanatics coming to meet the sheep and wrap their arms around soft farm raised yarn. And then some wanted to learn about angora rabbits and what was required to raise them.

One family came with their two small children ages 5 months and 2 years old. Their mother said that the 2 year old loved animals. That was evident as he grabbed my finger in his little hand and lead me around the farm chattering about all the animals and what they were doing. We laughed that he was giving ME a tour of my own farm instead of me giving HIM a tour.

One young woman arrived from an hour away to pick up her yarn CSA order. She had traveled to our farm to meet the sheep and to see the farm she was supporting by purchasing our CSA. It was exciting to have a share holder here and to meet one of our yarn customers in person! Most of my customers are online and we seldom get to meet them face to face.

Two women arrived from http://www.mtfiberfolk.com/Mountain Fiber Folk Cooperative in Montgomery Center, Vermont. I had made a trip about two hours north of us to visit their cooperative fiber store in May and they were returning the visit. There was much laughter and chatter between the three of us. There is nothing like having other fiber crazy people around to put a smile on your face. I was touched by their desire to make the drive south to visit our hill side farm.

Two large vans full of teens from a Farm and Wilderness Camp pulled into the drive early in the tour. About 25 teens from all over the United States piled out of the vans. For some, it was the first time they had experienced farm animals and for most the first time they had sat at a spinning wheel or made a piece of felt out of wool. They seemed to enjoy the sheep and left with a glimpse into the life of a shepherd. Their counselor spoke with me about her desire to develop a fiber curriculum at the camp in the coming years and she was appreciative to have the opportunity to see our farm.

At the end of the day, our family of five, had greeted, talked with, and given cookies and lemonade to about 75 people. We sat exhausted sharing stories with one another about the people we saw and the questions they asked. It had been a GREAT day and we all agreed that we will do it again next year.
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