Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Looking to put together knitting lessons for kids 2nd-5th grade. Please post here or private message or email andrea@arare-breed.net if you are interested! Classes would be small in size, about an hour in length and reasonably priced, taught by a licensed K-6 teacher. Hedgesville location or possibly Berkeley Springs.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spin In Knit In Let's get together and FIBER! In

Facebook event link - RSVP

Get to know the historic house that is Cider Mill house while sharing your latest fiber goodies. The pygoras will be supervising while we spin, knit, weave, felt, crochet, you name it on the front porch of this fabulous B&B.

Please bring your own lunch!

There will be some things available for purchase, and if you want to learn how to spin, Kat or Andrea can get you started with a quick $10 lesson.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Etsy store restock!

I'm restocking my etsy store - lots of farm raised BFL this round, plus fibers from my favorite dye artists spun up by me (in my spare time of course! GRIN)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Good Morning!

Sometimes early morning surprises are the best kind!

Now we wait in anticipation of BFL X ELL lambies over at Pocket Meadow Farm!!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's ALIVE.........

The pastures that is! I went out last night with the flashlight to 'tuck the chickens in' and the ground was moving! At first it startled me - it was something like out of the old Indiana Jones movies (remember the part where the floor was covered with beetles and slithering things?).

Then a broad smile crossed my face - YES! IT'S ALIVE! BIODYNAMICS! Returning LIFE to the soil! These critters were nightcrawlers, and I'm proud to say I've enhanced the soil enough with my pasture management program (no till, soil testing, leaving cover, running chicken tractors and managing manure distribution among other things) to support a huge population of these worms.

These worms not only aerate the soil, they compost rich materials that further improves the pastures.

It's awesome to actually be able to SEE the benefit of what you are doing to the ground under your feet!

Next project, another round of soil testing and planning for clover and lespedeza seeding! Of course, after a springs and summer season of a new intensive managed grazing plan.

Monday, January 5, 2009


CFritz... CFritz Run...

Oops, wrong story!

CFRITZ stands for 'Created From Recycled Into the Treasure Zone'

Who CFRITZ is - is Valerie Rountree, a talented woman who has taken the concept of 'upcycling' to a new level.

At a rare breed, we are always re-using and recycling materials - old barns become run in's, old trailers, chicken coops, if we can find a way to reuse it, we do.

Valerie makes art out of her recycled materials. She weaves bags out of seat belts - YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT -

and crochets designer night bags out of pop tabs.

I met Valerie at ZMarket in Winchester, and I highly recommend everyone check her products out! www.cfritz.com

Friday, December 26, 2008

2008 - The Year of the Hog

Ok, so the Chinese Calendar calls it the year of the rat - but at a rare breed we had the year of the hog!

Heritage hogs that is.

We have run hogs on our property before, to help till up the underbrush. We used Tamworths. Nice taste to the meat, the hogs were not my cup of tea, and I wrote off doing pork, much to customer's dismay. After numerous requests, some verged on begging, we decided to chalk up our experience to the wild breed, and try try again.

I turned to my mentor, and hog guru, Kathy Ecker at Legacy Manor. She runs Berkshire, Large Blacks and Gloucester Old Spots (or is it Old Gloucester Spots, I never get it right), and hybrids of the three for feeders. My requirements - a) Piggies need to know pasture b) Piggies need to be docile and c)Piggies need to be lean.

Piggies on Pasture - believe it or not, a pig who is fed grain right from the get go is NOT going to be a good pasture hog. Mom teaches them how to eat (sound familiar?). So Kathy's hogs are burrowed neck deep in hay bales, out on the grass, and yes, occasionally in the hen house!

Docile - or is it lazy? The Tams were active critters, enough so that I had been bitten, and they were jumping 32" Electronet - enough times that hubby was ready to file for divorce after rounding them up and me saying I'm not quitting the farm! Truth be known, he was scared of them. Me too in a certain extent. Black Sheep the Movie meets Back Creek Valley Pigs in my memory. Then I remember Kathy's boar Bert. (Yes Bert is a Berkshire). I felt safe enough to put my then 2yo daughter on his back. A Boar. Only thing Bert got excited about was food. And even then, in slow motion.

Interestingly enough, this actually led me to think more about the Large Black and Berkshire breeds. Large Blacks have these tremendous ears, which are not only high on the cuteness factor, it makes them more deliberate about where they are going! Have I been nibbled on? Yup. And spit out when they realize it's my pant leg and not a yummy. Apparently though, rubber boots still taste good??

The Spots are DEAR - too adorable really. Can anyone imagine 4 800lb pet pigs? That would have been the case if I had brought spotted pigs home. There is also the matter of fat....which leads me to my last requirement -

LEAN. Yup. I want lean pig. Why? I hate paying for fat on my bacon. Hubby can't handle fat sausage. It's what I prefer, as well as my customers. Yes, the fat is good in pasture raised animals (CLA's etc) - but too much is just well, too much. Not to mention I'd rather have it in the muscles (marbling) than on the back of the animal.

So we chose 4 black gilts that are probably just a smidgen Berkshire to grow out. And I'm hooked. As are the customers. We are opening up new pasture for more - but for right now if you'd delight in some lean pork, take a visit to our friends at Panorama and order their pork sausage stuffed squash!

We are ecstatic to offer this unique product and we will be working to meet the outstanding demands without compromising the quality (the trees only shed their nuts once a year!)

Anyone up for nut raised pork?? (There is a marketing label/logo in there somewhere!)

As I thought - some search for needles in a hay stack - I've found mine! And it's a hog!

Yes, that is me with the piggies IN THE DRIVEWAY. Pet piggies anyone?

Thanks again to Kathy for getting me 'hooked on hogs'!