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Country Living Expo adds fiber palooza, more Sunday farm tours

Jan 4th, 2016 | Category: Skills

The annual Country Living Expo returns to Stanwood High School on Saturday, Jan. 30, offering more than 170 classes in practical living and skills. Registration includes five sessions, a prime rib or vegetarian lunch, snacks, and a trade show with agricultural and service businesses and organizations.Canning Class web

The Country Living Expo and Cattlemen’s Winterschool is presented by WSU Extension, Livestock Master Foundation and the Tri-County Cattlemen’s Assoc., and is hosted by the Stanwood FFA. Registration is $70 per adult and $40 per student (though some scholarships are available). To see full class descriptions, and to register, see

This year’s event includes a new fleece and fiber palooza. To enter your favorite fleece or fiber, contact the WSU Skagit County Extension Office at (360) 428-4270, ext 0.

In conjunction with the Country Living Expo are farm tours the following Sunday, growing this year to a total of five locations on Jan. 31. All tours are $10 per adult and students are free, except the Lopez Island tour is $15 for students and adults and includes a lunch. Those who register for tours will receive a ticket with directions and information at the Expo.

The following tours are available:

• At Anderson Farm in Stanwood, owner Jim Anderson will show the process of working a young group of calves including vaccinations, worming, ear tags, purebred identifications, and humane dehorning. In addition Dr. Cuchna (DVM) will use ultrasound for evaluating and scoring reproductive tracks in heifers as well as preg check bred cows. Jim will demonstrate his weigh scale and share his intensive management system for feed costs and setting his retail marketing price for beef. The tour starts at 10 a.m.

Miller Farms in Clear Lake have a swine breeding program with 14 sows and their registered Hereford boar. The pigs are pastured in spring through fall and have access to the barn yard in winter. Boer goats are also raised and marketed from the farm, plus they keep several milking goats to produce the family’s milk and dairy products. Millers’ market their pork by the half, weaner pigs, roasting pigs, and goats for breeding, grazing or milking. Dr. Joe Powers from Chuckanut Valley Veterinary clinic will be on hand to show proper techniques for injections, drenching, banding, hoof trimming, worming, dehorning, castrating, etc. Allen will also show techniques for handling and caring for pigs and goats. The tour starts at 10 a.m.

The Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park in Redmond is owned and operated by the City of Redmond, and home to a Riding School, Farm School, Farm & Nature Preschool, and 68 acres of second growth forest. The tour will showcase the “Northwest friendly” infrastructure, animals, all-ages educational programs, and how the City manages a farm that is open year-round to the public in a park setting. The livestock include many heritage breeds and a few commercial such as an Irish Dexter Cow, a Belted Galloway Steer, numerous chickens, Nubian and Miniature Nubian goats, a Yorkshire sow, Juliana Micro Pig, Baby doll Southdown sheep, and rabbits. The tour starts at 10 a.m.

S&S Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Homestead Farm at Lopez Island will show the history and economics of a self-sufficient biodynamic farm that produces most of its inputs (food, animal feed, fertility, energy, water, and wood products). The the 750,000 gallon roof-sourced water catchment pond will also be discussed, as well as the Kw photovoltaic system, micro-dairy, and more. The tour starts at noon.

Jo’s Fleece Fields in Carnation 10 is a 6.5-acre family farm raising the finest natural fibers and producing eggs from uncaged poultry. The farm’s herd includes 30 huacaya alpacas and around 30 fiber goats (commercially cashmere and mohair production). They also have chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys for eggs. The farm tour starts at 10 a.m. and will include meeting various animals, fiber discussion and craft, and the farm’s composting facility and management practices.

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