Someday Farm, Canterbury, NH
The farm was in shambles but its bones were strong; the site sang to Dean and Barbie Tilton and, adding to the allure, it was in Barbie’s hometown of Canterbury, New Hampshire. So in 1993, they embarked on the long journey of lovingly restoring and rebuilding a derelict small farm and to own something they had always wanted. The “somedays” began flooding their discussions. Someday they would have a new foundation; someday they would have a new kitchen; someday they might even have a barn and animals. In the midst of their someday visions, and sometimes discouraging their dreams, were their off-the-farms jobs. Barbie works remotely from home in disaster recovery planning for the Wellpoint Company and Dean has a busy business as stonecutter. In the end, there were so many somedays, that the name of their farm, when it became a reality, had been unmistakably established; Someday Farm.Today with many of their “somedays” in place, including the barn, they have embarked on seriously populating their spread. They have Nigerian Dwarf Goats, guinea hens and they board two horses during the winter. But their biggest effort is their 24 alpacas – what Barbie calls “their huggable investment.” They also board alpacas for neighboring Equinox farm.
Barbie and Dean prefer their long necked and long legged animals to sheep because of their “loveable personalities and for the ease in converting the coats to a usable wool.” Because they lack the lanolin of a sheep’s coat which causes the wool fibers to stick together, alpaca skins do not need to be washed before being processed. The first coat of raw fiber, called a primary, blanket or show fleece,” if desired, can be spun right into yarn without carding. But the Tiltons prefer to send all their show fleece to a company that will do their processing and carding for them. The seconds are fibers that are the top of the animals’ legs or neck, not as good quality as the first or primary fleece. That too can be processed after “skirting” or making uniform.
Thirds, which, as the designation suggests, do not have the luxurious softness that delights the touch, is from the lower leg and parts of the tail and under the belly. It is prone to more debris and shipped to be processed and made into rugs, bags, and socks – products that can be used for a rougher coarser fiber.
The processed fleece, now called roving, comes back to the farm to be sold by weight which can be bought at their farm store, Canterbury farmers market, and other locations as well as by mail order. Also available are alpaca hats, mittens, gloves and scarves in a variety of colors. With a recently opened kitchen they have expanded to jams and jellies, oils, and other edibles.
Barbie and Dean Tilton
65 Pickard Rd.
Canterbury, NH 03224
Points of sale: farm store, Canterbury farmers’ market, mail order. Check website for locations as arise during the year.
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