"A farm is more than land and crops. It is a family's HERITAGE and FUTURE." - Uknown
-REMEMBERING OUR ROOTS, BRINGING OUR DREAMS TO LIFE!-
The Grazing Hills Ranch motto.
My name is Katie DeWinkle and I'm the proud mother of 6, yes 6, beautiful daughters. We are also referred to as "Estrogen Acres", but, I digress.
I grew up in the beautiful region of the Palouse, in a little town known as Viola, Idaho, on Four Mile Road. We lived in the house that my great-great-grandparents built in 1914 and are the 5th generation to live on this land.
Growing up, we were wheat farmers and farmed with my Papa, my Uncle, and various other hired men. My mom did the books for the farm, my Nana ran various businesses leading up to her stumble upon the opportunity to being an alpaca ranch! My parents joined in about a year later and it became a full-family-run operation! They opened a little store and hosted alpaca fashion shows.... it was the life!
I was homeschooled and lived just down the hill from the alpacas. I grew up riding my horses, helping train alpacas, traveling for alpaca shows, and it was the best childhood anyone could have!
I got married and moved away, starting a family....but coming back to the Ranch was a highlight of mine and my daughters!
It had always been a dream of mine to own the alpaca ranch and all of the acreage that surrounded us on top of the beautiful hill. I just had to keep dreaming!
Well, that dream came true in 2015 when we were able to purchase the ranch and farm! My husband was able to transfer and work from home and help me pursue my dreams! It is now OUR full-family-run operation with my Papa living in the field behind us, and my supportive and encouraging parents at the bottom of our hill.
We live on the ranch with our 6 daughters, 3 golden retrievers, various ducks and chickens, a horse, the seasonal cows, and the 50 alpacas! It's the life!
We haven't stopped dreaming, either.....Our dreams continue to grow as our farm expands!
In 2016, we launched a Bed & Breakfast in our barn apartment. This has been a true "farm stay" experience and we have hosted over 350 guests over the years!
In 2018, I re-opened my grandmother's Country Store in our barn and carry our own alpaca products (yarn, hats, scarves, etc.) as well as over 6 different local consignors goods and crafts.
Our dreams still continue to grow!
We started hosting monthly educational classes in our little alpaca barn or in our home (season depending). It became a huge success and we branched into school field trips, workshops and more. The faces of the children who attend our events are priceless. Most have never experienced anything farm-like before or have even been around dogs! So, this is a low impact introduction into the farm life.
In 2018, a friend and I brainstormed on how we could start our own Fiber Arts Festival in the area, because we knew the need was there. We racked our creative brains and decided to go for it. On our farm!
We held our first annual Grazing Hills Fiber Arts Festival in July 2019.
Over 1400 attendees were counted, as well as 52 craft vendors, 6 local bands, 14 different workshops on the fiber arts, a petting zoo, shearing demonstrations, food trucks, and so much more! It was a phenomenal success, especially since this was our first large event!
2020 promises to be another eventful year, as we host the 2nd annual Grazing Hills Fiber Arts Festival again in July.
We have become fairly well known in our community as a venue for hosting agricultural events, as well as promoting the alpaca industry and giving back to the youth in our region.
-We host Santa at Christmas and offer free pictures with him and the alpacas, with over 400 attendees in 2019!
-National Alpaca Farm Days is also a free event we host on our farm in September. Its the perfect opportunity to come spend a day at the Ranch and experience a little bit of the life of an alpaca farmer. We have over 500 people attend this event each year as well, come rain or shine! We've had both!
-We allow youth to come work on our farm and get community service hours in, too. There's never a shortage of work around here!
Through all of these wonderful events and community outreach, we have realized that we need to take the next step on our farm.
We need to build an Event Center Barn!
The weather in our beautiful region of the Palouse is unpredictable. Though we love it, it makes hosting all of these events so difficult when we cannot provide enough shade or shelter for our brave attendees. They still come, prepared for this weather guessing game, but, what an amazing thing it would be.....to have a large event barn on a farm! Something that is very much needed not just on our farm, but, also in our region for all.
Our goal is to have farm-to-table dinners, agriculture-related seminars and classes, more workshops, and ideally become a wedding venue destination! It would help us promote agritourism for the alpaca industry, more agrieducational events, wine tastings, and allow us to give back in more ways to our region.
The Barn at Four Mile, needs YOUR help in making this dream a reality! It's estimated to cost around
$300-450, 000 for the style and size we want to accommodate (up to 220 guests).
It will have a kitchen, bathrooms, a loft/bridal suite, a beautifully open floor plan, and a large patio where guests can just relax in the shade! It's going to be gorgeous and look right out into the rolling hills of the Palouse.
Help us "Raise the Barn....without the blisters", we need your help financially, for now!!!
I am a dreamer, yes! But, I also have the passion and drive to make this happen. But, the finances have yet to line up. We are applying for grants and other sources of funding, but, we are asking for any additional support that you would like to give!
We went before the Latah County Planning and Zoning commission in February to get approval to become an actual event venue and the green light to build the barn. And we got the green light to move forward!
We love to keep our events free and let people truly experience the farm life. There is something for everyone out here! Help make this dream of ours come true!
Our goal is to start building in FALL 2020!
You can visit our website to learn more about us:
www.GrazingHillsRanch.com and www.GHFiberFest.com