We’re Having a Heatwave!

2016-07-06 14.15.30When the “feels like” temperature reaches above 90 or 100, like it has this week, we urge our employees to drink plenty of water and we supply them with free popsicles to keep them cool. We also make sure that our animals get the same treatment. Animal popsicles and fans to the rescue! They all get the royal treatment! Animals can become stressed in extreme heat and they don’t all have sweat glands like we do. Freezing their favorite snacks in water not only keeps them entertained, it also keeps them hydrated. The chickens and rabbits love herbs and fruit combinations and the angora goats thoroughly enjoy cabbage and peach popsicles.

IMG_2517 Our sheep really appreciate their industrial-size fan that gives them a breeze on a sweltering day. And there’s nothing better than a cool foot bath as far as Equinox, our alpaca, is considered!

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Check out our chickens discovering their first popsicle! The first chicken just jumps right on it while the others are a little more tentative but in the end, they loved their frozen snack: Chickens and Popsicles

Stay cool out there, it’s going to be another hot week!

8 Boredom Busters for Summer Fun at the Corner Market

School's outSo, school’s been out for over a week, and you’re officially out of ideas. The kids are bored, and as the parent, you find yourself counting down the days until school starts again. The Fall Festival doesn’t kick off for another 81 days, so you can’t wear them out on our giant slides, but our retail market does offer some low-key fun when you need a change of scenery. Here’s how to entertain the kiddos for a couple hours with a (mostly free) visit to the Corner Market:

  1. Feed the goats: For $1, you can purchase a cup of goat food to feed the “kids” through the fence, or you can try your luck with clover for free. Remember to say hello to Chewie the llama and check out his new haircut!IMG_4669
  2. Play on the train and boat! These wooden play structures are always a big hit our younger visitors.
  3. Rock the porch swing: Hidden in the shade around the side of our market barn, you’ll find an old porch swing… the perfect place to relax after all that playing!
  4. Have a picnic! You’re welcome to bring snacks or a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the picnic tables around the market.
  5. *Insiders Only* Pick flowers! While they last, you can cut your own flowers from our flower beds and create your own beautiful arrangement. Just stop by the cashier to pick up the scissors, and we’ll show you the way! (Pricing for Pick-Your-Own bouquets is the same as our cut-flower arrangements.)

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6. Find the cat: “Black & White” is our tuxedo cat-in-residence at the Corner Market. She spends most of her day lounging around in the shade. You can get some practice searching with our weekly Facebook #findcatfriday photo

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7. Cool off: Take a refreshing walk through the cool mist near the barn.

8. Shuck it: Pick up some fresh Virginia sweet corn on your way out, and then get the kids to help shuck it before dinner!

The Corner Market is open from 10-7 during the week and 9-7 Saturday and Sunday. For more info on Summer at the Corner Market, visit our website.

 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

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 Looks like the groundhog was right.  It’s now March and the end of this winter is nowhere in sight. So…since some of the most frequently asked questions we receive are related to our animals and, more specifically, animal care/welfare, we thought this would be a good time to let you know how our beloved, four legged friends fare during these frigid temperatures.

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First of all, our animals are more comfortable in cold weather than in our steamy Virginia summers, given that they are generally indigenous to countries with colder climates.  Think about it this way: llamas, sheep, alpacas and angora goats all have coat made of fibers that are used to keep US warm in winter.  In fact, one of our Co-Farmers in Chief, Lucas Cox, has those fibers from the spring shearing sessions spun into wool for his wife, who then knits them into beautiful creations.

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Even the goat herd in the goat village grows an undercoat of cashmere that makes them all look adorably pudgy!

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All of the animals have enclosures or 3 sided shelters to protect them from wind and rain, and they are given water and fed daily (a little more feed in the winter than in the warmer months).  Don’t we all tend to put on a couple extra pounds in the winter?  As for the “free range” animals, the peacocks and guinea fowl, they can make their way into one of our greenhouses for a little extra warmth.

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We are counting down the days until spring has sprung.  In the meantime, stay warm and we look forward to seeing you in the spring!

 

How We Spent Our Winter Vacation

Originally planned as a blog to let you know what we at Cox Farms do during those long winter months, we decided that it would be more enjoyable if the animals told you how they spent their winter instead!

The Winter of Our Discontent

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Did you miss us? It’s been a long winter for all of us, so we thought you’d like to know how we’ve been changing, growing, enduring and entertaining ourselves. This winter seemed to never want to end but “hope springs eternal” in April!

We participated in “No Shave November”.

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We kept guard.

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We waddled and roamed.

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We found ourselves in embarrassing situations.

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We put on a few pounds. Hey, who didn’t?

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We flirted and unfurled our feathers in the sun.

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We welcomed a new friend, Sammy, a shepherd mix puppy, who gets to sleep in the house.

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Oh – and we had a baby!  Meet Hoppy, our new lamb, who was born a few weeks ago!

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Now that spring has officially sprung, we are getting ready to make our annual trek to the corner where we can get some extra human attention and interaction.  The Corner Market opens on April 10th and we sure hope that you will come visit all of us and often!

For Corner Market hours, visit our website: http://www.coxfarms.com/corner-market/spring.aspx

 

 

So, What’s New? This Is Your Fall Festival Sneak Peek!

With only 2 days left until the 2013 Fall Festival Preview Weekend, we thought you would like to have a sneak peek of a few new things you are sure to enjoy this fall!

Farm Chores, which has always been a huge hit with the 10ish and under crowd, the kids (and a few adults) will love our horse grooming stations!  Brushing and braiding these horsetails will become a favorite!  Over and over again!IMG_0105

When it comes to edibles, we have added something new, slightly tart and sweet!  Fresh from our Caramel Apple House, you will love homemade caramel apples, hand dipped by Cox Farms Baker, Cupcake Jeremy!  They are delish!

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On the Hayride route you may come across the Monsters Bus…just cute little monsters on the Crocodile School Bus.  Of course, seeing it depends on whether you go the EASY WAY or the HARD WAY!

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So much more to tell! A fire engine slide!  Beautiful pheasants! Piglets due to be born any day! We would love to show you more, but with only 2 days left, there is still work to be done!  We will leave you with a peek at a chick that goes “peep”!

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See you this Saturday and Sunday for Preview Weekend!  For all the Fall Festival information you need including tickets, hours, tips and a map of the grounds: coxfarms.com/fallfestival.aspx

 

 

 

How Our Farm Critters Beat the Heat

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When you work outside, there’s no escaping summer heat… but we all have our favorite coping strategies. (“Rearranging the cooler” becomes the most coveted task of all!) For our resident animals, surviving the summer heat can be a real challenge, and part of our job is to make them as comfortable as possible. It turns out that animals use many of the same strategies humans do to stay cool!

Here are the top five ways critters beat the heat:

  • CHILL OUT! Perhaps most obvious is that many of our animals shift from spring frolicking to summer lounging. Sure, they still run and play some, but they spend a LOT of time lying around. And, like your pooch, they pant to cool off.
  • SHADE! We provide lots of options for shade. Generally, the preferred spots are those that, like the tarps, the wagon and the “bus,” allow the cross breeze while blocking the rays.IMG_0319
  • WATER! Our critters drink a LOT of water to stay cool. Sometimes, you’ll even see the alpacas dipping their front legs in to cool off.
  • ICE! We don’t let our animals into the walk-in coolers, but we bring the cool to them! Every afternoon, you’ll find our rabbit snuggled up with a frozen water bottle. Lucas Cox has been known to ice the animals’ water bowls, although rumors about him blending up smoothies for the alpacas have not been confirmed.
  • HAIRCUTS! Some of our especially furry friends get special hairdos to keep them cool. Chewie, our resident llama, gets a particularly striking new look. The alpacas, sheep and angora goats all are sheared, and their fiber is spun into yarn.

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We hope all critters, great and small, find a way to stay cool in this week’s heatwave!  Don’t forget to provide your own pets with water and shade!

 

An Interview With a Lamb Dad

IMG_6280Father’s Day is just a day away and I think it’s important to acknowledge and honor all types of dads.  Surrogate dads, father figures, etc., one may even qualify for the moniker of…”Lamb Dad”!  Such is the case of Lucas Cox, Co-Farmer-in-Chief here at Cox Farms.   Unlike his sister, Aaron (the other Co-Farmer-in-Chief), who definitely is a goat person, Lucas leans toward the more exotic, wooly animals.  Chewie, the llama, Ivan and Hamlet, the angora goats and Equinox and Quincy, the alpacas, are all Lucas’s “kids”.  The newest members to Cox Farms are two precious lambs that were born in mid-May.  They’re the offspring of two of Lucas’s Bluefaced Leicester sheep, pronounced blue-faced Less-ter, just to keep you in-the-know.  Yesterday, I spent some time with Lucas and the sheep and lambs and let me just say, they are easy to love!

Q:  Let’s be honest, it’s no secret that we all thought these were odd looking sheep!  Why this breed of sheep?

A:  Come on, they’re cute now, right?  It’s all in the eye of the beholder.  Some people may not think I’m cute, either.  Their wool is great.  That’s what this breed is known for, their long wool and blue/purple pigmented skin underneath the wool.

Q:  I’ll give you this – those babies are adorable.  What’s up with the wool thing?  You don’t strike me as a knitter.

A:  My wife is the knitter in the family.  You know, Chewie has won awards for his fiber.  It’s amazing stuff.

Q:  Back to those lambs-they’re a month old, but last time I checked, you hadn’t chosen names for them.  Any decision?

A:  Yeah,  I wanted to stick with the theme that was started with the three adult sheep,  named Pilsner, Smuttynose and Porter.  Staying on that path, The little female lamb’s name will be India and the boy is Stout.

Q:  So, who’s the favorite?

A:  Come on, I can’t pick a favorite!  You love ’em all the same, right?

Spoken like a true dad, even if the babies are all four legged.IMG_6272

To learn and see more about the animals at Cox Farms, visit our website: http://www.coxfarms.com/about/animals.aspx

 

Meet Chewie the Llama’s Biggest Fan!

IMG_4814In Llama Land, or the “Chewniverse” as we call it at Cox Farms, we are very much aware of the fact that Chewie, our guardian of the goats, has a huge fan base.  They like to call themselves “Chewleaders” and there are many.  Some observe Chewie daily from afar and some Chewleaders come to the farm and watch him more closely.  Today, we interviewed Tayler from Centreville, who just may be the Captain of the Chewleaders!

Q:  When did you see Chewie for the first time?

A:  It was last spring and he reminded me of an angsty teenager, awkward and adorable at the same time.

Q:  Did you know it was a llama?  I ask because many people confuse him with an alpaca or sometimes a camel!

A:  I knew he was a llama.  I’ve liked llamas since I saw “The Emperor’s New Groove”, even though it was animated!

Q:  Can you name one of Chewie’s features that you like the best?

A:  His stubby legs and the way he flails them around when he lays on his back to scratch an itch.

Q:  Give me three adjectives to describe him, please.

A:  Spastic, opinionated, and awkward.

Q:  Opinionated? Why?

A:  Because he knows what he wants and who he likes.  He has no patience for anything else.

Q:  Would you call this a healthy obsession?

A:  Maybe.  He is the screensaver on our computer, my mom searched for as many stuffed llamas as she could find for me for Christmas last year.  He is my sunshine, my happy place!

Thank you, Tayler!  I call Cox Farms my happy place, too! Are you a Chewleader in the Chewniverse?  Please send us your Chewie photos and/or the reasons why you love Chewie! IMG_4809

It’s Baby Season on the Farm! No Kidding!

Spring on the farm is special for many reasons, but when it comes to cute,  baby goats are head and shoulders above the petunias.  You don’t even have to be a “goat person” to fall in love with the wee ones.  I speak of what I know, because, I am technically NOT a card carrying “goat person”.  There are several “goat people” on the farm, one, who’s first name starts with two vowels, is the Chairperson of the Board of Goat People.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like goats, but as the animal rule book defines us, I am a pig person.  Given that distinction, I can’t help but get a little soft when a new kid arrives.  Spring brings babies and three have been born in the last two days.  All three are uber adorable.  Plus, unlike a piglet, they like to be held, sometimes.  Pigs have an innate fear of their feet leaving the ground, hence the expression, “When pigs fly”.  Learn something new everyday!

Now, back to the kids!  Take a look at these photos and video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERxpNi4NGc8IMG_4960IMG_4921IMG_4906IMG_4883

 

Cute, right?  Come down to the Corner Market and see them.  Who knows, there may be a kid born today!