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A Visit to Long Way Homestead

June 12, 2020

A long, long time ago, when Tin Can Knits was in its fledgling years, I met the owner of one of Vancouver’s local yarn shops: Anna of Baaad Anna’s. Even at our first meeting, I knew I wanted to be Anna’s friend. She is funny and thoughtful, very laid back and yet super passionate. Anna always has a story to tell and a project she’s working on, and I always want to hear both. So when Anna said she and her family were leaving Vancouver to run a fibre farm in Manitoba, I knew it was going to be an exciting adventure!

What is Long Way?

Long Way Homestead is a charming, rustic fibre farm located on Treaty 1 territory, just outside Winnipeg in Manitoba. Treaty 1 territory is the traditional lands of the Brokenhead Ojibway, Sagkeeng, Long Plain, Peguis, Roseau River Anishinabe, Sandy Bay and Swan Lake First Nations, as well as the Métis Nation.

Anna and her husband Luke always joke that they like to do things the long way or the hard way, so of course they named their farm Long Way Homestead. They say there’s been a bit of a learning curve (and that’s an understatement), but now that they’ve had the farm for a few years, they feel like they (mostly) know what they’re doing. They raise chickens, pigs, and cats, but the most exciting part, of course, is the woolly sheep! You can read more about the farm, Anna’s crop rotation, and other farming practices here.

A row of 5 sheep bums as they dig into a trough of food.
A frenzy at feeding time!
2 chickens, one black and white with a brilliant red comb, and one a softer brown and white. Both pecking the green grass.
Chickens roaming everywhere! These gals are egg-layers.
A mound of dark brown dirt with a few orange marigold flowers and a few little green bushes, the indigo.
Anna keeps a dye garden, full of plants for dyeing her beautiful yarn.

Anna raises a flock of mainly Shetland sheep, along with a few Merino crossbred sheep and a couple of llamas. She also runs a fibre mill at the farm, where she turns fleece from the sheep into beautiful yarn. She processes fleece from other farms as well. You can read all about Long Way’s custom milling here and check out the farm store here.

Some complex looking blue and silver machinery, with a thread of yarn being wound around a bobbin.
Somehow, the inner workings of this complicated, yarn-making machinery made perfect sense when Anna explained it.
Anna's hand as a strand of yarn passes from one part of the milling machinery to another.
Voila! Yarn!

Summer Fun

Last summer, I packed up the kids and headed to Long Way for a week of catching up and farm fun! It was the absolute best. My three kiddos and Anna’s two packed together and spent most of their time roaming, playing, and having fun. When it rained (and boy, does it rain in Manitoba!), we took them to the various museums around Winnipeg. Anna was able to tell me all about the farm, and we were able to catch up over drinks after the kids’ bedtime, too.

My little ones were so excited to be there. Hunter was (and still is) completely smitten with the lambs. Jones enjoys the outdoors anytime, anywhere, so he was in his element roaming around (Batman figure in hand, of course). Bodhi was a little hesitant around the sheep at first, but she warmed up in the end. Collecting eggs from the hens was her very favourite thing.

In the middle of a green pasture Bodhi is in rainbow tights, petting a light brown sheep. Anna is showing Bodhi the sheep's face. In the background Jones and Josh are deep in discussion.
My favourite part of this picture is the very serious conversation happening in the background, but rainbow tights and sheep are pretty great, too.
Hunter is wearing a white hat with a pale rainbow of speckles. She is holding a sheep with a big smile on her face.
Hunter even learned to purl while we were on the farm. She knit this whole hat almost entirely by herself!
Bodhi is crouched down petting a lamb. She has a slight look of hesitation on her face.
Still a bit of hesitation on Bodhi’s face here, but this little lamb is irresistible.
All of Anna's family and my three kids are sitting at a long picnic table. Everyone is smiling and either giving a thumbs up, smiling, or still eating.
Big dinners outside are the best!
Jones is in the foreground, in a green field, still holding his batman figure. There are sheep grazing in the background.
Wandering the grassy fields – so much fun!

It was so interesting taking the mill tour, seeing the many processes that turn fleece into yarn. I was fascinated hearing about Anna’s rotational grazing systems, her passion for the Fibershed movement, and her love for the animals under her care. I also managed to fall in love with some beautiful Targhee she was working on when I was there. I came home with a sweater quantity (SQ) ready to become my next sweater!

7 skeins of white yarn stacked up against a grey background.
I’ve already started swatching, but I’m still not completely sure what kind of sweater this yarn wants to be yet.

We had a lovely time at Long Way last summer, and I can’t wait to go back. If you need more sheep pictures in your life (and I know that you do), follow Anna on Instagram. You can usually find her yarn at shows all over Canada, or you can shop conveniently online. If you are local to Winnipeg, I highly recommend a farm tour, too!

~Alexa

Other posts you might like:

Hunter’s Knitting
Iceland – Our Family Journey
Tofino – A Wild Place That Has Our Hearts

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ann Webb permalink
    June 13, 2020 5:21 am

    Love all of this! Such beautiful children and sheep = perfection.

  2. Jess permalink
    June 12, 2020 12:39 pm

    I’m seeing cable for that Targhee!

    • Jess permalink
      June 12, 2020 12:39 pm

      Ugh… I meant “cables.” Typo. Sorry!

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