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Thursday, August 22, 2019

The year in review

It is much harder to keep up with Blog posts than I thought it would be. Here we are nearly a year into our journey and I have not found the time to make any more updates.

In early October of 2018, our mama alpaca Truffles delivered a healthy (and LARGE) baby boy who is now our mascot and as such was named "Emperor Kuzco". Kuzco and Truffles joined the herd from their home farm when he was 10 days old and the rest of the girls were very excited to have them back.

Later that month, I made the decision to add Suri alpacas to our Huacaya herd. Two young Suri females, Sweet Spot and Tempera, along with their "Auntie" Wild Flower joined the Farm at the end of that month.

In November of 2018 we had our first Open Farm Day to invite our new neighbors in to see the farm and visit with the animals. A wonderful time was had by all.

In March of 2019 we packed up the two Suri girls along with one of our Huacaya girls Demi and headed to State College PA for our first alpaca show as exhibitors presented by the Pennsylvania Alpaca Owners & Breeders Assoc (PAOBA). Although the weather was finicky and the mountain passes from here to there were scary (and I wasn't even driving!) we made it to the show, survived check in and had a wonderful time. Our girls behaved very well for the most part and we came home with lots of ribbons.

Upon returning from PAOBA it was time to wean Kuzco. He was so excited to see his friends return from the show that he didn't even look back when I opened the gate to let him in with them. It took him several hours to realize the door to the milk bar had been permanently closed. I was a little concerned after some of the weaning horror stories I had heard but everything went amazingly well. Truffles was a pro at this and almost looked relieved to have the milk bar shut down. A few weeks later, we added two more Suri boys (MacTavish & Indy) to our growing family and separated the boys from the girls. Kuzco was very excited to have new age appropriate boy buddies to play with and the three musketeers quickly settled in with each other.

April brought three big events....Spring Open Farm, shearing and another alpaca show. Our open Farm and Easter Egg Hunt were a HUGE success, although the girls had to be locked in the barn the day before the event due to the very stormy weather and shearing day looming the next day. Shearing day dawned clear (at least at first) after a night of very stormy weather however we discovered at 5 AM (in the dark) that we had lost a huge pine tree limb which unfortunately had fallen across the driveway (but fortunately had MISSED our pasture fencing by mere inches). No help for it but to break out the chain saws and get it moved (because we weren't moving ANYWHERE otherwise). We were headed to our mentor farm for shearing and the tree delayed us at least an hour. By the time we left it was at least clear and not too terribly cold......that didn't last long. Half way to our destination the skies opened and while the huacayas in the front of the trailer were protected (we had plexi-glassed in the front half of the trailer before PAOBA because of snow in the forecast) the Suris in the back weren't as lucky.....and they were totally SOAKED by the time we got where we were going. Luckily my mentor farm has HUGE chicken house fans which we turned on the wet animals and which dried them out enough to shear them by the end of the day. At the end of the month we loaded up the three boys for their first show and headed to Harrisburg PA for the Mid Atlantic Alpaca Association (MAPACA) show. Our boys did extremely well including Indy winning his walking fleece Class, MacTavish getting second in his WF class and Kuzco coming home with several ribbons as well. The boys were sheared after they were shown and were much happier going home.

Early summer found me learning how to skirt and prepare my fiber for the mill as well as learning special prep for Indy and MacTavish's fleeces for entry into the Suri Network All Suri Fleece show in Colorado. Our fiber went to the mill to be spun into yarn at the end of June and the fleece show judging was in early August. The weekend after the judging , I got an excited text from my Suri mentor that Indy's fleece had won RESERVE CHAMPION! His banner was just shipped to us this week and is proudly displayed!

Now that this hot and humid summer is almost at an end, we have started to focus on our Fall planning. We will be celebrating National Alpaca Farm Days on September 28th along with the grand opening of our farm store. We also have several events lined up to attend with our mobile farm store. Three of our girls will be bred in mid to late September so if it takes me another year to post again, hopefully we will be announcing some cria arrivals on the Farm next Fall.

Until next time....