Although I was born and raised here in Lennox & Addington, I've never really been exposed to the ins and outs of farming, despite all the great agricultural operations in our area.
I've done hay once in my life (which was plenty) and other than help my childhood neighbour get his cows back on the right side of the fence every now and then, I haven't had much exposure to that way of life.
I find it fun and educational to step into the barnyard from time to time, and the kids really love it, so we visited Hickory Lane Alpacas on the weekend for a tour of their operation in Greater Napanee.
The husband and wife team of Mike Coles and Ashley Braun recently took over the farm from Mike's parents and have incorporated a hands-on experience for visitors. As their son Levi led us through the gate in with the animals, Mike chatted up the farm while Ashley handed out feed to the kids.
All 33 of the alpacas were named by Mike's mom Deb, and the kids got up close with them all, along with a number of chickens, roosters, ducks, pigs, goats and horses. There were even a couple peacocks strutting around while we were there.
A variety of alpaca products are available for purchase at the farm. Mike was excited to discuss their new partnership with Amherst Island's Topsy Farms. The two farms have collaborated to create a Live Edge Collection, which is a 100% Canadian Alpaca Wool Blend.
The kids thoroughly enjoyed their visit to the farm, the only problem I had was convincing my son to put the chicken down that he cradled like a football for the majority of our hour long tour.
Tours of Hickory Lane Alpacas are currently available on weekends. You can book your tour on their Facebook page. The farm is located at 7326 County Road 9 in Napanee.