DWIGHT, Ill. — Five farm families in the Dwight area are opening their small farms on Saturday, Aug. 17, to give the public a chance to visit and experience a sampling of the ambiance of country life.
They will have their animals on display, some demonstrations, and crafts and products for sale. One family will be selling lunch, as well.
This is the second year for the Livingston County Farm Crawl, which Kat Medrea says was begun as a way to promote agritourism and to give a boost to the economies of the farms and the local communities.
Medrea said she enjoys having the public out to see her farm and livelihood. She and husband Ron host other events at the site, as well, including educational programs for children.
“Education about animals is a big thing for me,” she said.
Medrea has always had a love of animals and used to be a keeper at Brookfield Zoo before she and her family moved out to the farm. She has a lot of stories about the animals at the small mammal house, which was her responsibility. It was everything from anteaters to vampire bats, she said.
And now, the Medrea’s M2A Farm (Am Too a Farm) in rural Dwight has llamas, alpacas, chickens, ducks, a pot-bellied pig, and a Patagonian mara, which she said looks like a small deer. The Medreas also have an Akbash, which is a Turkish livestock guardian dog, that keeps their animals safe.
Many of the animals on the M2A Farm have come from people who could not keep their animals anymore.
“Most of the animals here just needed a home,” Medrea said. “They just seem to find me.”
Medrea is a vegetarian, too, so her chickens are there for the eggs, not the meat. They live out their full lives on the farm, she said.
Raised a city girl, she said she loves the country life and looks forward to sharing it with people. She said two things visitors might be surprised at knowing are that her vegetable garden is fertilized by alpaca poop and that their barn has wall-to-wall carpeting.
“So many people have told me we’re living their dream,” she said. “I’m thankful every day I can enjoy this environment and can take the time to take a deep breath.”
At Saturday’s farm crawl, visitors will also be able to purchase yarn, socks, scarves, hats, mittens, gloves, sweaters, throws, llama rugs, and items for children.
The other farms open for the crawl include the Niemann-Boehles farm, Antiquity Oaks, which will be selling goat milk soap with organic oils, Shetland wool roving, Shetland and llama yarn, raw Shetland fleeces, old English Southdown wool batting, naturally colored sheepskins, and books.
They will also hold demonstrations on scything (10:30 a.m.), goat milking (1 p.m.), and wool spinning (1 – 4 p.m.).
The Zaceks, at The Farmer in Odell, will sell freshly-ground wheat, goat milk soap, goat milk hand and body cream, lip balm, sugar scrub, herbal salve, peppermint tea, lemon balm tea, frozen chicken, eggs, and peacocks.
They will have demonstrations on goat milking (11 a.m.) and soap making (2 p.m.)
The Cusack family, at Cherokee Winds Farm, will sell honey, goat milk soap, felted soap, and herbal teas.
The Jablonskis, at Eden’s Harvest Farm will sell fresh produce, honey, alpaca fleeces and roving, and alpaca beans (manure). They will also have lunches available for purchase.
For more information on the Livingston County Farm Crawl, visit http://www.m2afarm.com.