We established our family farm when we moved to the Upstate of South Carolina in 1998. Over time we have developed a market for our free range eggs & for the fiber products that we produce. We've got an interesting assortment of creatures, often because of our big hearts that have led us to open our home to so many animals that others might see little value in. Each day is filled. We cannot always say exactly what we've accomplished but we sleep well each night.
When we moved to the farm, one of the first things that we did was hand our three children the Murray McMurray catalog & let them pick chickens to raise. We ended up with a colorful variety that we very much enjoyed. As the years passed, our middle child, Eric, began investing in laying hens & selling their eggs. Although Eric is now grown with a family of his own we continue to sell "Eric's Eggs" in the Greenville area.
Our eggs are laid by chickens that truly are free range. They travel any where they want on the farm, venturing from the front driveway back to the creek in the woods. They often keep the sheep, cattle & goats company in the pastures. They are quick to gather around when we turn soil, rake leaves or do any other activity where they know tasty snacks will be uncovered. Most return to the several buildings on the property where we have nesting boxes for them. Many eggs are gathered each day. And those that are laid down in the woods or out in hay piles in the pastures usually end up as nice treats for the livestock guardian dogs that come across them.
We have about 400 chickens on the farm. A hen has only a few years of truly productive laying time but we do not get rid of any of our birds. We let them retire happily here. We also do not use artificial lighting to increase laying as we are fine with letting a hen go through her normal molting cycle. That means we have less eggs available at certain times of the year but we always manage to make ends meet & we do enjoy the birds even when they aren't quite earning their keep.
We started to explore the fiber arts because we loved the animals so! Through the nearly two decades that we've farmed in South Carolina, we've had many different breeds of sheep as well as Angora goats for mohair, llamas & Angora rabbits. When we realized that we couldn't always count on finding someone to shear our sheep, Al learned to shear. He now shears our own sheep & also shears for other sheep owners in several states.
We've learned to do all that it takes to turn the wonderful wool into fiber treasures including yarns, knitted & woven items & wet & needle felted pieces. Not only do we wash, card, dye & spin the farm's wool but we also dye luxurious merino wool & handpaint specialty millspun wool, mohair & alpaca yarns.
Most of our sheep are shorn once a year in the springtime. We have plenty of raw wool to last for the entire year as each fleece must be carefully hand sorted & washed before it is spun into yarn. We do sell some raw fleeces to other artisans as well.
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We are a working farm & are not well set up for field trips or visitors. That is why we try to tell our story through our website, the blog & our Facebook page & Instagram. Deb also goes into schools as artist-in-residence where she teaches her craft while telling farm stories & teaching about hard work, sustainability & creativity.
6101 Highway 81 North, Pelzer SC 29669