Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Another Saori Jacket

Everyone is creative. Its in our makeup. The difference between successful, creative people and everyone else is that the successful people “ship”, says Seth Godin. The Mother-Daughter jacket is now on its way to New Zealand. It is being featured in the 2011 Wheel Magazine, coming out in November. You can read about the Mother-Daughter jacket here.

Two handspun, handwoven jackets saori style

I submitted an article about the Mother-Daughter Jacket to Elizabeth Ashford for The Wheel back in June. She liked the article and wanted the jacket for a photo shoot. The problem was the jacket was at Gallery 2 in Grand Forks in “Magnus Opus — Hocus Pocus, magical works by the members of the Boundary Artisan Association.” The show is running until August 6. The solution was to create a second jacket — hand spun, handwoven and one of a kind design, Saori style — that could take the place of the Mother-Daughter Jacket in the Gallery Show. And ship the original jacket to New Zealand for a professional photo shoot, asap.

On June 6 Sarah and I began serious work at a second saori jacket. But we were also in the middle of planting our garden, finishing up lambing/kidding, and celebrating Sarah’s high school grad. Undaunted we each spun half the singles required for the jacket and then I plied the singles to make a consistent, hand spun 2 ply yarn in each of 3 colours. My choice for this jacket was Black, Red and Purple.

Like the first jacket, Sarah and I wove 4 panels of cloth, but with this jacket we increased the length of the panels to make a longer jacket. The beautiful concept of Saori weaving (pronounced “sorry”)  is that you make your garment out of the cloth you have creatively woven, you don’t weave to a pattern in order to have cloth to sew.

One panel of handwoven cloth from handspun merino-silk yarn

Yesterday the jacket was finished. Well, actually, I ran out of sewing thread and with a deadline to meet the jacket was “shipped”. So after August 6, the second jacket will get a pocket and a few more tailoring details. But for now it is done and on display at Gallery 2 in Grand Forks. The Mother-Daughter jacket is on its way by expedited parcel to New Zealand. Expected arrival next Tuesday.

Lessons about homesteading and self-sufficiency from this project:

Big jobs need to be broken down into smaller steps

When I thought at the beginning of June — I have to make another jacket from scratch and I only have a month — I was paralyzed. I hate deadlines. I hate stress. But when I broke it down to spinning the singles, plying the singles, warping the loom, weaving a panel, repeat. Sew the jacket. The job became do-able. And I was able to start.

4 panels of saori cloth before wet finishing

Are there projects that you want to do but you’re having trouble starting because the task seems too big. Can you break it down into smaller steps and get started on the first step today?

It helps to have a friend who shares your vision to work with you

Its a daunting task to work alone to do a huge job. I was blessed to have Sarah on-board, supporting my efforts and helping with the spinning, warping the looms and weaving a panel. Having a friend to encourage you in your efforts really helps the job go faster, and makes successful completion even sweeter.  Do you have a friend on board supporting you in your goals?

When unforseen circumstance show up — they always do — find a creative way around it.

When I ran out of thread before the jacket was finished, I switched to hand sewing.  I didn’t have enough thread to add the pocket or to make button holes.  Those details will be added once the Saori jacket returns from the art gallery show.  In the meantime, its finished adequately.  Sometimes you run out of materials, or money or time.  But that isn’t failure, necessarily.  There may be a creative way around the unexpected that will make your project successful, in spite of the difficulty.  Look for it.

Its important to do what you love because the end of a project may not be the end.

When I finished the Mother-Daughter jacket, with Sarah, I thought that that was the end.  It took us 15 months from start to actually complete the sewing.  In the process we learned a lot about creative weaving, enjoyed spinning together and made some great memories.  It was a bonus to receive recognition for our work.  Since the “Magnus Opus” show was coming up we entered the jacket as one of two Joybilee Farm pieces for the show.  It was convenient.

That the jacket received international recognition, meant more work to create a second jacket.  And we learned that we could produce under pressure, too.  It was good that the work was enjoyable to us.

Are you doing what you love?  If not, is there a step you can do today to bring you closer to your dream?

Big jobs can be accomplished in record time if you work on them everyday for a few minutes.

In the creation of both these jackets we never devoted a large blog of time to completion.   Instead we worked on the project in our spare time over a period of days and weeks.  We had pressing responsibilities, but by giving attention to the project a little bit everyday we were able to complete the task.

As you look at the big jobs on your list that you want to accomplish, don’t wait until you have a large block of free time to start.  We never get “free” time.  Begin today and do a bit every day and you will complete it.  A lot of big projects can be completed in a month if you work consistently every day.

What jobs have you been waiting to tackle until you had a big block of time?  Can you pick one job and begin it today?  How close would you come to your goal if you gave it 15 minutes every day for a month?

You don’t need to have fancy, expensive tools to succeed, simple tools and creativity will help you finish the job.

We finished our jackets with a spinning wheel, a simple rigid heddle loom and a basic sewing machine — no fancy stitches.  If you have two hands and a creative mind you can create beautiful things with simple tools.  Don’t let lack of tools hinder your creativity and satisfaction in the job.

Your hands and your mind are you — be yourself in your work.

Saori weaving is about creative expression, more than about knowledge and the skill of weaving.  Even “mistakes” are part of the design process.  I love that Saori is about human hands and human minds — over machined perfection.  There is soul in this kind of work that feeds me.
Sometimes when we approach a creative work we try to be something else, more like a machine, edging toward imitation and perfection.  But the quest to be like a machine stifles creativity and reduces clothing, or any human endeavor, to a mere commodity.

Don’t try to be like anyone else and don’t try to imitate machined perfection.  Be yourself as you approach your projects and you will thrive.   There is only one you — celebrate you in your work today.

This blog has moved.  You can continue to follow our story here.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Blog transitions

Check out my new blog.

I've migrated to a Word Press Website with a built in blog.  The website is still under revision but you can have a sneak preview now.  During the month of June, as I was in transition, I posted almost all my articles on both this blog and the new blog.  The new blog also has some unique content pertaining to self-sufficiency, and nonconformity.  If you've been reading along for a while, you will enjoy the new blog.

I am studying some new writing techniques and getting some positive feedback on the direction that I'm taking.  I hope you've been enjoying it, too. 

I'll only be posting occasionally here and once the new website is complete I'll be posting all my blog articles there.  This site will remain up for your reference, but I will stop posting new articles here in a few weeks.

Happy Canada Day.

I just posted a recipe for Florentine Bread -- a vegetarian main dish for meatless Mondays.  You can read it on the new blog.

Don't forget to "follow" me at the new blog so we can stay in touch.  And let me know what you think of the change.  I love to read your comments.

Monday, June 27, 2011

9 compelling reasons to convert your stash into wool dryer balls today and how to do it.

If this is the first time you've read this blog, you're probably asking, "What's a dryer ball?"  Keep reading...

1.  Wool dryer balls are eco-friendly, made from renewable, natural wool.

They are nonpolluting, and unlike ugly plastic dryer pods or poly-dryer sheets they break down naturally in compost when you are finished with them.

2.  They don't give off toxic fumes when they are heated in your dryer. 

So wool dryer balls keep the indoor air clean and fresh.  If you have small children in you household you really need to consider the indoor air quality.  Chemical poly-dryer sheets off-gas harmful chemical scents even when they aren't in use.  When they are added to your dryer the scented chemicals permeate your clothing -- increasing the chance of allergens, polluting your home and even outdoor air.  When we lived in the city, you could always tell when our neighbor was doing her wash -- our house smelled like her dryer sheets.  And that smell increases the chances that your kids will develop chemical allergies.  Two of my kids did.

Those ugly plastic dryer pods will save you money over buying disposable dryer sheets, but they are a toxic alternative.  Being plastic -- a petrochemical -- they will off gas into your home during the dryer cycle and you may not even be able to smell the danger.

Wool dryer balls are the safer alternative.  Not only do wool dryer balls not give off harmful, toxic fumes in use, they absorb orders from your clothing, making your clothing fresher.  You can apply essential oils like lavender, tea tree, peppermint or lemon in drops to your wool dryer balls, if you like the "April Fresh" dryer sheets.  These scents disinfect and keep you cheerful and healthy while your dryer works, because they are natural.

3.  Wool dryer balls save you money by reducing the energy required to dry your clothes. 

The larger your wash load, the more you save.  Using 6 dryer balls the size of a tennis ball will reduce the time it takes to dry your clothes by 30 to 40%.  Heavy loads like work clothes and diapers benefit the most from the use of wool dryer balls.

Wool absorbs 30% of its weight in water without feeling wet.  So the more dryer balls you use in your wash load the less time it takes to dry your clothes.  Magic money saver.

4.  Wool dryer balls remove odours from your clothing. 

Chemical dryer sheets add a chemical scent to your clothing, masking odours and polluting indoor air.  Natural wool dryer balls absorb odours from your clothing, leaving it smelling fresh, without the pollution or chemical risks to your health.  They are naturally anti bacterial.

5.  Wool dryer balls last for years with regular use.

Ugly plastic dryer pods will become brittle and break down with constant use.  As they off gas into your house with their toxic fumes they are breaking down one layer of molecules at a time. This will shorten the life of your dryer, too. Wool dryer balls, on the other hand, will stay firmly felted with constant use.  When you want to freshen them, you just add them to a wash load and dry them again in your dryer.  With regular use, you don't need to worry about moth damage to them, but if you are storing them for the summer, because you're switching to line drying, you can put them in a cloth bag for storage and firmly clothes to exclude insects and they will last for years.

6.  Wool dryer balls break down static energy in your clothing because wool balances the electrons in your textiles.

Those dryer sheets contain silicone which coats your dryer and your clothing with an invisible film that damages your dryer, and prevents your clothing from naturally absorbing water -- a bad thing for diapers, towels, socks, and t-shirts.  The dryer pods are also made from a composite of silicone and plastic -- not a healthy alternative to the dryer sheets.  Natural Wool dryer balls break the static energy, naturally, because wool is naturally anti static.  Static in your clothing actually robs you of energy.  Switch to wearing natural clothing -- get the polyesters out of your wardrobe (that's another post) -- and you will have more energy for doing the things you love.

7.  Wool dryer balls are beautiful and make you happy when you take them out of the dryer, with your clean laundry. 
If you're happy you have more energy to do the mundane tasks, like folding towels or diapers, so its a win -win proposition.  Whether they are made from natural coloured wools or naturally dyed wool, they are attractive, and compel you to touch them, squeeze them and even play with them.  They're balls, afterall, not ugly, blue thorny pods.

8.  When not in use as a laundry additive, wool dryer balls are fun to play with.
My beautiful grand daughter visited me this weekend, and you can see how compelling the dryer balls were.  Even Celia's dad, picked them up to juggle with.

9.  Using wool dryer balls will save you money, and time and improve your indoor air quality.  

 Have I convinced you yet, to spend the next afternoon learning to felt your own wool dryer balls using up wool from your stash?  It takes only a couple of hours to felt 6 wool dryer balls and that will save your wallet, and give you more time and energy for doing what you love.

If you need wool to make these, Joybilee Farm has natural wool roving for sale.  We're happy to help you out on this great project.  But if you have lots of wool you're ready to start felting now.

Are you ready to start?  This is a great project to do with your family.  My beautiful DIL, Miranda, helped me make wool dryer balls this weekend in a couple hours and we had to card the wool.

You need:
300 grams of Wool that will felt. 
Make sure its wool fleece from sheep --  you don't want llama, alpaca, mohair, angora or silk.  These will not stay firmly felted and will make your clothes fluffy.  The best wool is at least 4 inches long and comes from long wool breeds like romney or lincoln which doesn't pill as badly as merino, but you can use merino if that's all you have.  It should be washed and carded or made into roving. 

If you are starting with a fleece you will need a way to fluff the wool, separate it into individual fibers that can be layered.  You can use a drum carder, or even a dog brush.  The main thing is to separate the fibers so that the felted wool has a smooth surface, rather than clumps of wool.  Layer your prepared fiber samples until you have a large bundle and then gently pull out into a roving.

A bar of natural soap
Although you can use detergent for this project, detergent will denature the proteins in your skin and its harmful.  Instead I use natural soap -- most bars of soap that you buy in the store are made from detergent so beware.  So find a bar of natural soap because your hands will be in it for about an hour, and you want it to be safe and nontoxic.

Both hot and cold water.  
You actually don't need a lot of water.  Just enough to dampen the wool balls.  I put two --  2 litre glass bowls in the sink -- one with hot water and one with cold.

A playful nature
Yes, you are going to play with soap and water for about an hour.  If playfulness doesn't come naturally to you anymore, I'd recommend doing this with a younger friend.  Its amazing how working with someone younger -- even if its only younger in attitude -- makes it really fun.

How to Do It:
To begin you want to wrap a ball of wool -- just like winding up yarn into a ball.  You want to wrap tightly to make a solid core.  You will go around North to South to North and then turn the ball to go around West to East to West, Turn the ball again, and continue this way until the balls are about 1/3 rd bigger than the size that you want.  We used about 45 to 50 grams of wool per ball.  You want to make 6 balls about navel orange size, for optimum wool dryer ball use.  They will felt down to tennis ball size when you are done.

Once you are ready, you want to dampen the outside of one wool ball.  I do this by wetting my fingers into the bowl of hot water and then splashing the outside of the ball.  Don't immerse the ball yet.  First you are going to felt the outside of the ball until you can no longer pinch up any individual fibres. 

Rub your wet fingers into your natural soap and begin to rub the ball of wool gently, being careful not to lift any loose fibres off the ball.  Stroke in the direction that the fibre is laying.  Keep dampening your ball, soaping your fingers and stroking the wool in the direction that it lays, while rotating the ball in your hands.  If the fibres are lifting, try squeezing the wetted ball in both hands a few times to get the fibres firmly in place.  Once the fibres are no longer lifting off the ball, you can start rubbing more vigorously with soapy palms.  If it doesn't seem to be felting then wet the ball a bit more.

The fibres will tighten down and your ball may become lopsided.  Correct the shape by squeezing and rolling in several directions to keep your ball round.  Like when you made play dough balls.

Once you can no longer pinch up any fibres from the surface of the ball, you are ready to immerse the ball into hot water, squeeze out and immerse in cold water.  Squeeze out and immerse again in hot water.  Do this 25 times.  The ball with firm up and lose a third of its size.  You're almost finished.

Squeeze the excess water from the ball and throw it into the sink, or the bathtub.  Or place a towel on your counter and use that.  You want to throw it hard onto the surface.  It will splash so take that into consideration and use a place you don't mind getting wet with soapy waterDo this 20 times.

Correct the shape again and you're done.  Now repeat until you've felted 6 balls.  

Wring out the excess water from your 6 felted wool dryer balls and put them in your washer on the last spin cycle.  You can air dry them now or just put them in your next dryer load and start reaping the benefits.

Don’t have time to make your own natural wool dryer balls, I’ll make some for you at Joybilee Farm — $47 for 6 dryer balls.

But if you want to have fun and save money, make your own with a friend.

I hope you found this tutorial on making natural wool dryer balls helpful.  Tell me about your afternoon trying out this fun project.  Do you have any other tips to add?  Leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, please share the link with your friends.

Thanks for sharing your break with me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The hidden dangers of Evil Plastic Dryer Pods and a safer alternative

I was in K-town yesterday.  I went into the Quilt store -- you know the one that sells patchwork quilts in a bag -- all made in China, for a price that is lower than the costs of materials.  I was at Orchard Park Place and I had gone down the wrong maze, looking for Chapters, but saw the store.  And within this store I totally embarrassed myself, and made my daughter proud of me.

It started innocently enough.  When asked if we needed help, I said we just came in to drool over the quilts.  And we glanced at other things in the store while I imagined what Sarah's bedroom would look like redecorated for her new adult, graduated self.

We were doing other coming-of-age things in K-town, like changing her bank accounts from child to student accounts, buying shoes for her grad outfit and eating ice cream (ok, some of it was regression).  So we innocently get lost in the mall and wander into the store and admire the colours and dream of home making,,,when out of the blue these two store clerks converse, and I catch the import of their words.

"Have you seen the new dryer balls."

"Yes, I saw them.  Are they ever neat.  Are there any more in stock?"

"No, just these two packages are left."

My ears are prickling.  Dryer balls.  I've been making dryer balls this Spring from our natural wool, some dyed with ecofriendly natural dyes.  They are amazing products.  About the size of a tennis ball, they bounce around inside your dryer disrupting static, absorbing moisture (wool can absorb up to 30% of its own weight in water without feeling wet), and making your clothes smell cleaner.  Naturally anti-bacterial, they even absorb toxins and odours making your clothes fresher.  They reduce drying time by 30 to 40%.  So they save you money, too.

So I wander around the front of the counter and look at the boxes of "dryer balls" that the ladies are speaking about.  And I am aghast.  All their accolades are over these ugly, plastic, pods, with spikes.  Some alternative to toxic dryer sheets -- another toxin.  Only these plastic pods will rough up your clothes, reducing their life, while they are heated in the dryer and will off gas petrol chemicals into your home.  And they will not degrade when you are finished with them, but remain perpetually on earth -- immortal ugliness.

The price tag for this toxic alternative to another toxin is a mear $19.95, for two.  My goodness, that's the same cost as 4 tennis-ball-size wool balls. 

By the way, some people pop tennis balls into their dryers to serve the same purpose but the tennis balls are also made with petro-chemicals (called dinosaurs, around here) and will also off-gas.  Plus you get all that florescent yellow fluff rubbing off on your black jeans.  Don't do it.

So I told the nice sales ladies about wool dryer balls and how they were a better alternative to dryer sheets and plastic dryer pods.  Usually when I launch into my passion -- natural living, natural fibres and natural cosmetics -- which means getting rid of the toxic, plastic, dangerous stuff from your life and embracing freedom and well-being -- I get this glazed look.  And I think they are thinking, "forget your medication again today, Dear?"

But they didn't.  They instead expressed interest.  They wanted to know where they could get these miracle dryer balls made from natural wool.  I told them they could make them from natural wool with their own hands, soap and water.  (Yes, I had to explain what natural wool was and how it was different than yarn, which might also be made from petro-chemicals) But they actually wanted to know.  They wrote down our website, and I told them about other online places that sell dryer balls ready made.  And they wrote that down, too.

And then I talked about the dangers of polyester clothing, how polyester clothing, like plastic water bottles, releases toxins like BPA into your body, which disrupt your endocrine system -- causing cancer, reducing your thyroid function and hurting you.

Then I started feeling embarrassed.  Maybe I said too much.  Especially when I started mentioning that bras are mostly made from petrochemicals and were a direct link to breast cancer and hormone problems.  For those few soap-box minutes we were alone in the store. 

I hastily excused myself and fled the store with Sarah ,feeling that I must have embarrassed my poor, almost 18 year old daughter.

"Sorry if I embarrassed you, Sarah."

She laughed, "You didn't embarrass me, at all.  I was proud of you."

There will be a tutorial on wet felting natural wool dryer balls later this week.  Check back.

And if you enjoy reading about natural living, natural fibers, and alternatives to dangerous chemical products, please subscribe to this blog using the RSS feed and add your name to our mailing list.

Back to you:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Recipe: Tangy, Zesty Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce

One of the secrets to living life in the country and doing what you love, is learning to eat what grows on your own land.  This may seem obvious, but when we first moved to our acreage in Mission, B.C. in 1984 and I started a garden, I was afraid to eat what I grew.

The background:
I grew up in Vancouver.  All my life, my food came from the corner store or Woodward's (a department store with a grocery floor -- like Walmart only classy-er) When we moved to our 1 acre of land I had a garden and some ancient apple, pear and nut trees.  We planted more trees, blueberries, raspberries, and grapes.  I had a garden that I shared with the slugs.  I grew vegetables organically.  I would bring them into the house, wash them and freeze them or can them.  And there they'd sit while the recipes in the magazines called for cans of this and boxes of that.  I didn't know how to translate what I could grow with what we ate.  So my freezers and store room were full, and I still bought groceries every week at the store.  Cha- Ching!

Ok, fruit was easy -- desserts were no problem.  Broccoli was a bit harder -- especially the first time a bright green broccoli worm crawled out of the microwaved broccoli on my daughter's plate.  My eldest still can't eat broccoli -- its been 15 years. (Get over it!)

Now I live on a mountain.  With frost any day of the year, only hardy vegetables can survive long enough to mature in my zone.  So the choice is learn to eat what I can grow or make more money so that we can buy the food that we are used to eating.  A little creativity goes a long way to stretching the dollars and allowing us to live here in paradise, without a salary.

Bartering helps, too.  We are milking 6 saanan does and getting about 8 1/2 litres a milking -- two of the milkers are first fresheners but they will grow in their production.  Most days it gets used up feeding bottle babies, but once in a while the surplus goes in the freezer for goat's milk soap.  Two days ago my neighbour came to get some milk for a bottle lamb.  She wanted to pay for it, but I said I'd trade her my surplus for something that she had an abundance of.  Yesterday she brought over 2 huge bags of rhubarb.  Thank you very much.  But how many rhubarb pies, rhubarb crisps and rhubarb jam can a family of 3 eat? Especially when we are cutting back on sugar.

Sarah, my little genius, said, "Mom, can we make barbecue sauce from rhubarb?"  That's was how the Tangy, Zesty Rhubarb Barbeque Sauce came to be.  Its wonderful.  The perfect mix of sweet and sour, tangy and savoury.  It goes great on meats like lamb, veal, goat or venison.

Or spoon some over brown rice for a Meatless Monday Dish -- add a tbsp of sunflower seeds and spinkling of toasted sesame seeds, a spring greens salad and you've ready to change the world.

Tangy, Zesty Rhubarb Barbecue Sauce/ Pasta Sauce

2 tsp. cold pressed sesame oil
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 c. celery, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups of rhubarb, finely sliced
1/2 cup of water
1 small can of tomato paste
1/4 tsp. hot, dried chilis or 1 jalapeno pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 bunch parsley, chives, lemon balm, or cilantro, finely chopped (or to taste)
Bit of thyme, sage, rosemary or what ever you have growing in the garden 
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup or to taste
1/4 tsp. sea salt, or to taste

Put all ingredients in a heavy saucepan and simmer for 30 - 45 minutes.  Sauce will thicken.  Rhubarb will soften.  To use as a barbecue sauce, spread over meat while grilling.

To use as a pasta sauce, reheat and serve over rice or pasta.  May be thinned with water if its too thick to spoon out.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds or sunflower seeds before serving.

Wondering about the health benefits of eating rhubarb?  Here's what I found.

Rhubarb is harvested in Spring, and can be chopped and frozen for future use.  It has antioxidants, fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin C.  It helps prevent some cancers, lowers blood pressure and bad cholesterol, and helps with weight-loss by increasing your metabolic rate.  Nice benefits for a vegetable that is so easy to grow in the North, and can pose as a fruit, too.

What do you do with Rhubarb?

Friday, June 17, 2011

10 reasons why bunnies trump sheep

French Angora Bunnies - 8 Ruby-eyed Whites
Joybilee Farm French Angora Babies have arrived.  3 litters are in the 6 to 7 week age and will be ready to go to their new adoptive homes next week. 

The waiting list this year is the longest its ever been with 27 bunnies on reserve.  However, no one will be disappointed.  Many of those who reserve a bunny prior to breeding have unforeseen issues that prevent them from following through with their intent.

I am confident that each of these beautiful babies will go to a forever home, where they will be loved, and their fiber will be spun into gorgeous yarn.

Here's the top ten reasons why angora bunnies are better than sheep:

1.  Bunnies purr when you handle them.  Sheep do, too, but not as loudly as bunnies.

2.  Bunnies jump up in your lap, while you're reading or watching TV, just to snuggle.  Sheep would rather watch you from the other side of the yard.

3.  Bunnies are softer than sheep -- they have the lowest micron count of any natural fiber.

Brandywine (Torte) and Warp (lilac) babies at 7 weeks

4.  Bunny wool (angora) is 8 times warmer than sheep wool.

5.  Bunnies can be litter trained, sheep need a pasture.

6.  You can fit 6 bunnies in the space that one sheep takes up and 6 bunnies and 1 sheep produce about the same amount of wool for spinning.  The bunnies produce less manure.

7.  Angora bunny wool is not sheared and it doesn't have to be washed and carded before it is spun on your spinning wheel, saving you time and money.

Chocolate Swirl (broken chocolate)  and Huckleberry (fawn) litter at 7 weeks
8.  You can talk publicly about keeping rabbits in the city.  Don't let the by-law enforcement officer neighbours find out about the sheep poodle, in the garage.

9.  You can take bunnies across the US/Canadian border as "pets" without paperwork.  Sheep are "livestock" and require an abundance of vet checks and permits to travel.

10.  It only takes a year to raise a flock of bunnies.  As you know, bunnies reproduce exponentially -- sheep have a single or twin lamb only once a year. It can take longer to populate a farm with sheep.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

10 Top Online Resources on Agritourism

  1. BC Government Agritourism fact sheet
  2. Virginia Tech Co-operative Extension paper on Agritourism (pdf download)
  3. How to Choose an Agritourism Venture to increase Farm income, from EHow
  4. Agri-tourism Option paper for State of Massachusetts
  5. Entertainment Farming and Agri-tourism Business Guide from National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (pdf download)
  6. Establishment of an Agritourism Industry in Kentucky — White Paper (pdf download)
  7. Agri-tourism in Focus:  A Guide for Tennessee Farmers (pdf download)
  8. The Agri-tourism Market:  Drivers and Demand in a Growing Industry (pdf download with pictures)
  9. Agritourism Resource Manual (pdf download)
  10. Lesson Plan:  The Pumpkin Patch — a venture in Agri-tourism from Stats Canada (pdf download)
These are the best online resources available for Agritourism in North America.  Some of them are government documents, and some are non-profit research papers.

Use them as a starting place to gain a thorough understanding of what agritourism is, how it might be useful to your operation, how to include agritourism in your business plan and your risk management assessment.  These guides will also give you some perspective on the how many farms are engaging in agritourism in North America and what they are finding success in.

I hope you’ve gained some creative ideas on how to make your small farm more profitable, through this 5 part series on Agritourism.  Let me know what you think — leave a comment.

This is the final article in a series of 5 articles on Agritourism.

Part 1:  6 Compelling Reasons to Diversify with Agritourism
Part 2:  How to plan the Ultimate Agritourism Destination
Part 3:  Agritourism Advertising Strategies that Wont Break the Bank 
Part 4:  10 Creative ways to cultivate profit through Agritourism
Part 5:  10 Top Onlline Resources on Agritourism