This week, Farm Focus is back!!! I have a lovely interview with Anna Anderson of Calico Farms in Northern Idaho. Anna raises many types of fiber animals, but I am super excited that among them are Pygora and Angora goats! In fact, the farm began with some rescued goats! I was also very happy to learn that sales from Calico Farms’ Etsy shop help to support their Wooly Rescue 🙂 Read on for some more fun info about their animals and fiber and enjoy the photos that Anna sent along.
Photo Info (in order of appearance): Lily (Rescued Pygora doe) Casper (rescued Pygora wether), Jack (Rescued Icelandic Ram), Bacchus (Rescued Merino ram), Maya and Bandit (Rescued Pygora doe), Sid Pygora wether, and Scout, Anna’s son’s rescued 4-H horse.
How did your farm/operation get its start?
Our farm got it’s start by chance when we rescued a very neglected and malnourished group of Pygora fiber goats. At the time, we had just purchased 10 acres in the Blue Creek Bay area of Couer d’Alene, Idaho and it was overgrown with brush and wild roses. Wanting to keep the land organic, I started searching for goats or sheep that might eat the brush. I found the sad little group of Pygora goats by chance when a friend told me about some goats that a neighbor had dumped over his mom’s fence. We went to have a look and immediately fell in love with them. We brought home two of them, a mother and daughter, and shortly went back for the entire group. We ended up with 5 Pygora goats and one Angora doe. After some research, we were able to find the original breeder and found out more about the goats. She was understandably upset about the condition of her goats, and was very helpful in getting them healthy once again. After several visits to her farm, we came home with a small group of Icelandic and mixed breed fine wool sheep. Shortly after rescuing the Pygora goats and adding the sheep, a dear friend and neighbor gave me her spinning wheel and introduced me to the world of fiber arts! I was hooked and it soon became my passion and turned into a small home business.
What kinds of fiber animals do you raise and why?
We currently raise Pygora and Angora goats, Merino sheep, Finn, Bond, Wensleydale percentage, and a variety of fine wool crossbred sheep. I raise and keep the breeds I have for the variety of fiber qualities. I love the long wool locks and Pygora locks for art yarn and felting and the Merino and fine wool breeds for it’s next to the skin softness. In addition to the breeding sheep and goats, we also offer a home to Fiber bearing animals in need of rescue due to neglect or abuse. Along with the fiber animal rescue, we have also helped rescue a variety of large farm animals including horses, a Jersey Cow, and a dairy goat. Even these animals contribute to our fiber jewelry line, making use of mane and tail hair.
What is your favorite part of raising fiber animals?
I love the variety of fiber types and you can’t help but smile while watching a lamb or goat kid bouncing around their pastures. I also love knowing that I made a difference in an animal’s life, I love knowing where my fiber comes from and love the bond between shepherdess and animals.
If you are a spinner/knitter/weaver, any current projects?
I am a spinner, and on my wheel at the moment, is my very own farm raised fiber blend in blues and greens. It is a blend of Alpaca, Merino, and Pygora locks with Angelina and Firestar added for sparkle. On my knitting needles is a handspun yarn in the same colorway.
What would you like hand spinners to know about your fiber?
Most importantly, I’d like Spinners and fiber artists to know that all of my fiber that is in my batts is raised by me, or locally by a dear friend. All of the fiber that I sell is processed by me, by hand. Every sale from my Etsy shop or at local events goes right back into our private run rescue for fiber animals and large animals in need. We also support our local 4-H youth and often host special raffles or sales to raise money for 4-H projects. In addition to this, we also offer a very unique Batt of the Month Club that customizes the monthly fiber batts for each customer. This is one of our most popular items in our shop and all sales benefit the animals that provide the luscious fiber for our club. Our Fiber farm is animal friendly and none of our fiber animals are ever killed for meat or hides, but live out their lives on our farm, happily. All have names, are part of the family, and are very friendly.
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Thanks so much Anna!
I love farm visits and meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a mill operator, or a wool trader, I would love to feature your work on this site. Please get in touch via email or Ravelry by clicking the “About” tab (above)