Hidden Pastures Luxury Fiber Farm & Shop

A Special Place for Every Fiber Enthusiast!

Mike & Natalie Burger
35 Newton AvenueBranchville, NJ 07826
973.948.6800
973.885.4698
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

April Showers Bring Spring Babies!

Teeswater Lamb

Teeswater Lamb

Alpaca breeders are fortunate to be able to choose what time of year to breed their females and within a window (a rather large one) have their crop of offspring hitting the ground. With our alpacas I can plan ahead and choose what season I would like to have crias. Induced ovulation makes that possible. However, for those of us that also produce other luxury fiber livestock, it doesn't always work that way. Goats and sheep are primarily short day breeders. The does and ewes come into season when the days become shorter in the late summer and fall and with a gestation of 150 days, kids and lambs will arrive in early to late spring depending on when you introduce your buck or ram into the pastures.

At Hidden Pastures, we prefer not to have kids and lambs arriving in January or February so we will wait to introduce the boys until the end of October. As we are producing offspring for fiber production and not meat, we don't need to be ready for the spring holiday seasons where lamb and goat are popular choices for the menu. Meat breeders prefer to breed earlier. Our babies start arriving at the end of March and April.

We have small flocks of Angora goats, American Cashmere goats and Teeswater sheep. We have had babies arriving for the last month and I have to say that goat kids and lambs are really cute and playful. Who doesn't love babies of all kinds and nothing says spring more than bouncing kids and frolicking lambs.
American Cashmere Kid

American Cashmere Kid

Angora Kid

Angora Kid


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Goats Galore 4-H Club Learns to Make Cheese

Heating the Milk

Heating the Milk

One of the amazing benefits of owning breeding goats is that spring brings goat kids and goat kids mean full udders of delicious goats milk. One of the goals in teaching 4-H members about their project animals is to provide them information of all of the avenues they can achieve revenue or sustainability with their project. Goats are used for meat, milk and fiber. Although all of our goats are fiber goats, there are viable secondary markets for their meat and milk.

Goat udders do an amazing job of feeding goat kids, however, the more the udder is milked the more it produces. Goats are easy to milk. The milk itself is delicious, but who doesn't love fresh made mozzarella cheese! Cheese making is an art, but mozzarella is an easy cheese to make and can be a fun group project.

There are many online resources for the directions on making mozzarella out of goats milk, so I won't go into great detail here. Mozzarella is made from milk, citric acid and rennet. You heat, stir, let rest, then reheat and pull the cheese into its final form, usually a ball. Cool down and enjoy!

Another successful meeting, another skill learned.
Stirring the Milk

Stirring the Milk

Reheating the Curd

Reheating the Curd

Curd

Curd

Enjoying!

Enjoying!


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Redding Method Dye Class & Dyeing to Spin Weekend

Lots of fiber arts classes are taught at Hidden Pastures but this weekend was the long awaited Redding Method Dye Class and Dyeing to Spin follow up class. The Redding Method is a dynamic way of dyeing protein fibers using methods pioneered by Natalie Redding of Namaste Farm. There are currently a handful of Certified Redding Method teachers around the world teaching these amazing methods and Natalie Burger of Hidden Pastures is one of them.

The class started on Saturday with an explanation of methodology and technique followed by setting up the dye pots and working away. Several beautiful pots were created using the Mother of All technique. These went onto the drying racks for spinning the second day.

Sunday was a whirlwind of spinning wheels as everyone picked their fleece and prepared to spin a textured single, followed by a spiral thread ply resulting in a light airy yarn with loads of character.

It was a fun learning experience for all participating fiber artists.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Awesome Alpaca Adventurers 4H Members Learn Alpaca Facts!

Because of Winter Storm Stella, the Awesome Alpaca Adventurers 4H members didn't go out on the farm during their March farm time. Instead, leaders decided to teach the members some alpaca facts the fun way!

Spending time together playing Alpaca-opoly became not only a great learning and bonding experience but an exercise in alpaca fact knowledge. This fun filled game based on the ever popular Monopoly game gives the kids the opportunity to purchase "properties" which make up all things alpaca farming. Kush and Pronk cards are filled with alpaca bonuses and pitfalls. Instead of going to jail, players wind up in the manure pile.

Fun for all and accomplishing our goal of teaching our members the life of alpaca farming!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Alpaca 4H Member Learns to Weave

Part of the 4H project of the Awesome Alpaca Adventurers is to learn fiber arts with alpaca fiber. Members choose from knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving and felting. Depending on the age of the member they are guided towards an appropriate project.

With four leaders, all with their own favorite fiber art, there is never a shortage of guidance. Today we celebrate our member Deidre, who has learned to weave on a rigid heddle loom. Her first weaving is a scarf made from mill spun alpaca. Her weaving mentor and teacher, Pat Heavener, is proud of her accomplishment!

Congratulations Deidre!