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Day-tripping from the farmette

We got the first 'real' snow over night. Just a dusting. But I think the days of unusually warm weather in November are over. We did have a good run this year. Even took the Miata out last week for a final spin. Rob got her all prepped yesterday for winter storage, and she's now tucked up in the garage.

Last Sunday, Sandy and I decided to do a mini-day trip - an open house at Alpaca Time over near Harriston followed by lunch in Hanover. Fascinating that this wee factory has been going for 16 years and we didn't know anything about it. Anyhow.

While the company doesn't actually raise alpacas, they had a couple from a local farm in a pen on display for the event.

I've often wondered why alpaca knitted items were sooooo expensive. Now I know.

The fibre has to be washed, re-washed and re-re-washed. Then, it has to go through several machines to take out the bits of straw and other detritus and make the fibres line up. Surprisingly, the owner said she has to source fibre from Australia, because there isn't enough Ontario volume to supply her needs.

But back to the process. Then comes the spinning. At this factory, they can make everything from lace weight thread to bulky yarns.

Finally, they can actually make socks and mitts at this wee facility. The machines are pretty ancient, and the owner told us she picked up them up for a song when the factory in Woodstock went out of business. She said hers is one of the only companies in the country that does the entire process - from fibre to final product. Her sales are mostly back to small alpaca farms who sell on to tourists, and trade shows, like the Christmas ones that are coming up fast.

An interesting factoid that she shared when describing the whole process was that Bentley, the high-end manufacturer of cars in which royalty get transported, actually made the machines back in the day.

Another interesting bit was that they use waste fibre to make dryer balls, which both of us bought in the wee retail shop they have out front. They, of course, also sell shawls, sweaters, ponchos, blankets, toques, mitts and just about anything else you can make with alpaca fibre.

On our way to Hanover and lunch, Sandy spied a bunch of cedars that looked like sentinels standing over a cemetery. So we took a side trip, as you do on a Sunday. Look at these beauties! Each had two or three trees emerging from a single trunk.

It was blustery and cold, but I did chat with a couple of sisters who were putting fresh flowers on their parents' grave. Never got their names, but they told me that the old church across the road was now a Mennonite school and that, back in the day, it was a popular wedding venue for the betrothed from many surrounding counties.

After a nice warm lunch at the Queen's Bush pub, Sandy drove us home. A completely satisfying way to spend some weekend time.

Until next week. Here's the gratuitous cat photo for today, courtesy of Fred, who needs to be "tapped" at least twice a day.


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