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Dawn Campbell & Melody Macdonald
Hastings, Ontario

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All About Twoloom Alpacas

Dawn

Dawn with the dogs I was city born but have always had farming in my blood. After spending the first 10 years in a subdivision, freedom was granted by the move out to 10 acres in the country. With the exception of a short 3 year stint back in a subdivision, my life has been spent on 10 or greater acres. At the age of 12, I started training & showing Arabian horses, a passion that lasted into my early 20's. Back problems forced me off horses but I never stopped owning one, so every property comes complete with at least one Arabian or part Arabian horse.
When not showing horses or more recently working with alpacas, I work at keeping computers from completely driving the human race crazy. Many, many years ago, I graduated from college with a diploma in Computer Programming. From that point forward I have worked as, first, a teacher of computer programs and second, a network specialist. I have recently returned to my programming roots and am now doing web design.

Melody

Melody with niece I was born up north in mining country, full of great open spaces and wildlife. We moved to Hagersville, when I was six years old and there I learned to work on a farm. We had 72 head of milking cows, horses, pigs, geese, ducks, chickens, turkeys, cats, dogs, and our pets. I learned to drive tractor by the time I was eight. We worked hard on our farm, up by 4:30am to do the milking before going to school, and after school, out to do the chores all over again before being allowed off to play. I have always had some kind of animal in my life.
From my farming background I learned to tinker. Machines have always fascinated me, so when I purchased an antique sock knitting machine, I was able to teach myself to use it and now make alpaca socks.
In 2005 we met an alpaca breeder. She showed us the most wonderful, big doe eyed creature they called an alpaca. I fell in love with the way they moved, the soft hum that they communicate with and the fleece that they produce is the most luxurious natural fiber in the entire world.

Dawn & I have now grown our herd from the first purchase in 2006 of a single black male to almost 40 alpacas. It really doesn't take long to gather a herd.

The Farm

Fall Colours Dawn and Mel got together and purchased 12 acres in the beautiful rolling hills of Northumberland County just 5 minutes from both Campbellford and Hastings. The farm was a fix'r up'r and proved, what you can't see, may not hurt you, but will certainly cost you more money. It certainly wasn't the buildings that sold us on the property, it was the spectacular view! The view to the east is exceptional, the crowning jewel of the property.

The property consists of 2 5 acre hay fields and 2 acres with 2 houses, a garage, a barn, a drive shed, a workshop, and a variety of out buildings in various states of disrepair.

The first fall saw us taking down the worst of the out buildings, and each subsequent year sees us taking down more. The fall of 2008 should see an end to the out buildings.

The first winter in the farm house was rather chilly. Being conscientious environmental citizens, we did an energy audit on the farm house and were told that there was equivalent to a 3 meter square hole in the wall - yikes! That made our decision to abandon the farm house and move into the cottage much easier, although, given what we now know about the cottage, we should have just leveled both buildings. Sasha Tia Maria We didn't know, so we started out to insulate the cottage. To make a long, long story short, let's just say that we ended up rebuilding the cottage from the basement to the roof. The cottage still isn't finished, but we hope to get pretty close this year.

The cottage was put on hold in 2007 as we ended up with more pressing needs. Somehow our small number of alpacas had grown to 7 in a year and a half time span. There were now 3 cria in addition to the original 7 and we needed to get them home. Given that neither 5 acre hay field was fenced and the barn was setup for cattle and pigs, we had a lot of work to do. To make matters more complicated, Dawn herniated a disc in her back in June and was laid up for the remainder of the year leaving Melody to do the fencing and the barn renovations herself. With the help of a few family members, most of whom managed to be very busy after helping us out for a day, Mel managed to get 3 pastures done and the barn renovated in time to bring our alpacas home in November.

We still have a great deal of work to do. Not so future plans include building a new farm store.

Us

Chicken in Weeds We are passionate about good quality food for both ourselves and our alpacas so are working towards that end as well. We currently raise our own chickens and turkeys for both meat and eggs. We free range all our birds allowing them to do what birds are supposed to do and eat what birds are supposed to eat. Anyone who has had either meat or eggs can certainly taste the difference and has no problem coming back for more.

Future plans include a possible orchard or fruit crop of some sort and organic vegetables. Currently, we'll settle for finishing the flower and vegetable garden in the east yard. We will be concentrating our efforts, this spring, on the 5 acre hay field and pastures. A soil and forage test told us what we already knew - there is nothing there. Both field and pasture will require some tender loving care as they have been neglected for some time.