Written by Meredith O'Neil, head pooper scooper and alpaca lover, Springtime Farms
When I grew up in suburbia, I never imagined being a farmer. The closest I got to livestock was driving by cows on the highway. I've always loved animals though.
After graduating from the University of Puget Sound, I got into news. I worked at MSNBC for nearly five years before ditching corporate life. Selling the house was easy (this was in 2001), and getting rid of all my stuff wasn't so bad. Hitting the road with my dog, Grace, and two cats, Spring and Autumn, was an absolute blast.
I traveled the country in a travel trailer for four years, visiting Alaska, California, Washington, Maine and Georgia. I wanted to find something, someone, or some place amazing.
The "something" turned out to be alpacas. One visit to Jefferson Farms Alpacas and Llamas was all it took. It was a rainy, mucky day when Jane Levene took me to the barn to feed the girls. Suddenly these fuzzy, long necked creatures were staring me in the face looking for treats. I was in love.
The next few months I stayed at the farm, helped with daily chores, and learned about these amazing animals.
Long story short, I started Springtime Farms in 2005 with 12 alpacas.
Meredith's Menagerie has grown to 33 alpacas, 7 goats, 6 chickens and 5 dogs, including three guard dogs for the alpacas. Every once in a while a foster dog or cats visits until they find a forever home.
I try to be as self-sustaining as possible. After living off-grid for many years (I loved it), I moved to Salem, OR to be with Mr. Wonderful. I'm back on the grid, but in an area of the country where I can actually grow things! I'm in love with the fresh apples, cherries, blackberries, pears, plums. This year the carrots, peas, beets, and cauliflower were successful. Wait until next year. Fresh milk and eggs grace my table daily.
I've been working with alpaca fiber since day one. It's absolutely incredible. It's softer and warmer than wool. I already knew how to crochet, but had to get it from the animal into yarn. So, I learned to clean, card and spin. A class on needle felting was fabulous. Unfortunately I haven't been able to spend much time on that project.
I got the idea for alpaca shoe inserts from a woman who had been putting lose fiber in her shoes to keep her feet warm. You could almost see the lightbulb above my head...something warm, sturdy, and long-lasting.
Since then, I've seen them for sale twice. Both have been from felted fiber. That's how I started making them, but they didn't hold up very well.
A few tries later, and I realized if I spin the fiber, crochet it, then felt it, the inserts hold up very well.
The yarn for Snuggly Toes has been spun at a small U.S. mill. In fact, it's at another alpaca farm. I then knit the fiber on a knitting machine.br>
Felting something that's been crocheted or knitted is very easy. Throw it in the washing machine on hot three times, and viola, it's felted. (Ever washed a wool sweater by accident? Same thing)
Snuggly Toes are then cut from the fabric.
Springtime Farms is open to visitors. Come see Paco, Fat Patti, Walter and the rest of the gang. You'll get to feed them treats just like I did.
Our contact informationBy email:
By standard mail:
1140 Cordon Rd. NE
Salem, OR 97317
This is my home phone, so please call during "awake" hours, Pacific time. (I go to bed early)Thanksfirstname.lastname@example.org
I try very hard to fill and ship orders within a day or two. Orders are shipped via the U.S. Postal Service.
Refund, Returns and Cancellation Policies:
If you change your mind about Snuggly Toes before they have been shipped, I'm happy to cancel your order and return the full purchase price.
If your order has already been sent, please contact me by e-mail. I will refund your money, except for shipping costs once you have returned the unused Snuggly Toes if they are returned within 15 days.
If you have already used your Snuggly Toes, I'm sorry. I cannot provide a refund.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can Snuggly Toes be washed?
Yes, Snuggly Toes can be washed. The best way is to fill a sink with enough hot water to cover the Snuggly Toes. After the sink is filled (not during), put in a squish of Dawn dishwashing liquid. Let the Snuggly Toes soak for about 20 minutes. Take them gently out of the water and drain the sink. Re-fill the sink with hot water. Once it's full, put the Snuggly Toes back in for a 20 minute rinse cycle. Let air dry.
Alternative: Throw them in the washing machine on cold and let air dry. I have tried this with a few washings, and the Snuggly Toes are holding up. However, I don't guarantee they will last as long as washing them in the sink.
How do I confirm my order?
I will send you an e-mail when your order has been sent. If you have any questions before that, please feel free to e-mail me (Meredith@SnugglyToes.com) or call (719-783-9619). Please call during "awake" hours, mountain time, as this is my home phone.
How long will Snuggly Toes last?
I used my Snuggly Toes all winter (a long 6 months here) for morning and evening chores. The answer depends a little bit on how often you use them, but planning for one season is reasonable.