Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Winter 2004/2005 Farm Newsletter

Sorry for the delay, our printer finally died, and so we've posted the newsletter here!

Vancalcar Acres
Winter 2004/2005 newsletter
392 Elwood rd Ft. Plain, NY 13339 518-993-4326

Winter is almost over, though as I write this a late winter storm is blowing and it’s only 7 degrees outside. The wind takes your breath away and is giving us a windchill well under zero.
The sheep are doing great, we have 137 now, as we’ve added quite a few beautiful Icelandic girls. 2 beautiful moorit girls the color of dark caramel, several black/gray girls, a single lovely moorit badger and a bevy of white sheep to give me something to put in the dye pot. I haven’t had time yet to sit down and see what the color genetics are in our new additions, and most have been exposed to rams, but it’s always exciting to see the rainbow of colors when the lambs are born. Look for lambing updates in the spring newsletter, the Icelandics are due to begin lambing as early as mid-april, with the rest of the flock looking at the 1st of May.
We will begin shearing here in the next week or so, you can contact me for contract spinning or fleece if you want to reserve something, or look for information in the spring newsletter.
The cows are surviving the winter just fine, they hang out with the sheep all day, bed down with them at night… pretty smart cows, actually! The chickens finally have a small coop in the barn, it sure makes it easier to find the eggs – otherwise they insist on hiding their nests somewhere in the 300 bales of hay on the farm! It sure is nice to have fresh eggs to bake with now that they are laying faithfully every day like good little chickens. **If you are local to us, feel free to give a call about eggs, we often have more than we can keep up with, even with the baking!
I’ve been spending quite a bit of time searching seed catalogs for this coming summer’s gardens, we’d like to have a flower garden with lots of cut flowers available, as well as some new veggies for the farmer’s markets. For those of you who are local to us, at this time we are tentatively scheduled to be at the new Ft. Plain Farmer’s market located at ‘Mace’s Place in Nelliston on Saturdays beginning the end of May. Updates in the spring newsletter. We are looking to add a mid-week market, so if you know of a good one, please let us know! Baked goods, veggies and fresh eggs are always available at the farm, call before you come to check availability, or a couple days early to place an order. Once the farmer’s markets are in full swing, you can also place an order for p/u at the market to be sure you don’t miss out on something.
We’re working on the new website, if anyone has a picture of something they’ve made with fleece or yarn you’ve gotten from me, I’d love to put it on the site. You can email it to me at
Well, that about wraps up the winter newsletter. If you have any questions about us, or the farm, feel free to call, email or write to us.
Thanks for letting us keep in touch with you,

Jennifer, Eric & Nora,
137 sheep, 4 chickens and Apollo the guard dog.

‘Rent a Sheep’ program
The Rental program here runs for 1 year, fall to the following summer. There is a spinner’s version, a knitter’s version, and a ‘crafted’ version. Prices are listed below.

Here’s a breakdown of what is included for the year:
1 year subscription to our farm newsletter
A Bio, picture of the animal you've rented and an introduction letter (hard copy mailed to you).
Pictures of offspring in the spring (ewe's lambs or a 'group' photo of the lambs sired by a ram, depending on who you've 'rented') also mailed to you.
Sample of the fleece as it comes off the animal when we shear.
pictures of the animal at shearing.
Final summer picture and thank-you card from your sheep :)

Spinner’s Version: $65.00
Includes all options listed above plus your animal’s well-skirted fleece in the spring, skirted by a spinner (me).
A one-of-a-kind orifice hook made here on the farm

Knitter’s Version: $90.00
Includes all options listed above plus 1 lb handspun yarn processed by me here on the farm. Washed gently and hand carded, spun softly in a 2-ply yarn (if you want to discuss options like 3 ply or a particular weight, call/email me). (more yarn may be available separately from this animal.)
Beaded stitch markers made by me here on the farm.

‘Crafted’ Version: Price varies. Contact me for more info.
Includes all options listed above plus your choice of finished product, contact to discuss these but options range from hat/scarf/mitten sets, shawls, woven blankets, or other knitted/woven goods.

Sheep in the Rent-a-Sheep program for the 2004/2005 year:
‘Buddy’ the black Border Leicester ram. His fleece is a lovely, very light red from the sun, with black at the skin moving into grays before it turns red. Very light colored ‘black’ fleece, will make a beautiful and unique yarn! Impossible to dye to match this one.
UPDATE: Buddy has been rented. Check back next fall.

‘Romeo’ the black Romney. His fleece is a very dark chocolate, with some bleaching of the tips but barely there. Very large animal, very large fleece. This would be a bargain fleece in the spinner’s version.

Moorit ewe lamb, ¾ merino ¼ icelandic. Her fiber shows the icelandic qualities only by adding to the merino. Added length to the typically shorter merino staple/length, and she seems to have less lanolin than a merino. Beautiful crimp, not as tight as a merino. Very dark chocolate brown fleece with bleached tips.

Black ewe lamb, ½ merino ½ icelandic. She is actually a black mouflon. Her belly, chest and neck (think a stripe on her underside) is cream and the rest of her is black. She looks 100% icelandic. Her fiber is silky-soft. ** Over the winter some silvering has come into the black on her haunches, very elegant looking.

5 white ewe lambs with fiber similar to a border leicester, longer free-flowing locks.
Update: 4 ewe lambs available, 1 rented.

5 white ewe lambs with fiber more dense, ‘springy’ and similar to a cheviot or typical ‘meat’ breed, no black fibers , these are white faced girls.

3 black ewe lambs, lovely chocolate fleeces, fiber is dense and springy, really beautiful color. Really only the top 1/8 to 1/4 inch is sun-bleached, the fiber is so dense the sun really couldn't get in any deeper. Very black underneath! If you would like to reserve a gal and have her coated, there is an extra $15.00 service fee. With a flock this large, managing coats can be difficult, but we will coat a few for you!

Fleece from the rest of the flock will be available to spinners in the spring after we shear. Look for more info in the spring & summer newsletter, or contact me privately.

We always have handspun yarns, knitted goods and fleece/roving available, just give me a shout. Sometimes we’ll include yarn samples in the newsletters. If your going to be in the area and would like to visit us, please give me a call to schedule something so we’re sure to be here. We’d hate to miss you! Fresh eggs, produce and grass-fed meats available seasonally here on the farm and at local farmer’s markets.