Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Very excited!!!

I am so excited that the next alpaca event we have scheduled to attend is an alpaca show very close to our home!!

Typically attending alpaca shows mean traveling to other towns, usually other states. While we enjoy traveling, we have often wondered how it would be to have an alpaca show close by.

This year Michigan International Alpacafest is being held in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This is less than 45 minutes from our house! In the past this show has been held in Birch Run, or Flint, Michigan. Being close is a real benefit, but I also think the venue will work well for this show.

For all my Michigan readers, please come out and see our show. This is your chance to see building full of 300+ alpacas. It is a sight to behold.

16th Annual Michigan International Alpacafest

October 29th & 30th, 2011
2500 Turner Ave. NW
Grand Rapids, Michigan

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Herd Health

Today we set aside some time to go over the herd, to assess their health.

+ weighed all the cria, juvis and yearlings
+ body scored every alpaca (by feeling their level of body fat over their spine)
+ gave AD&E injections to all cria, juvis and yearlings
+ trimmed the nails on all alpacas (we have 22 on our farm right now)
+ assessed teeth, top knots, and tails on all our alpacas going to the show

It amazes me how fast we can accomplish herd health. I remember when it used to take us all day, and sometimes we wouldn't finish in a day. Today we tackled the entire herd in less than 3 hours. No one got hurt (usually J or I sustain some injury). It was was a good day!

We were quite pleased that our skinny boys, Gabe and Sig, are putting on weight. We did have to adjust grain for our older boys, they all seem on the thin side. Everyone else appeared to be right where they should be (well, we still have our full figured gals but we are doing what we can to trim them down, there is only so much you can do).

Everyone looks good and healthy. I am so glad to see a healthy herd!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I don't know where the saying comes from that things happen in threes, but I am hoping it's right. After losing both Little Guy and Cheyenne this past summer, now we have also lost sweet little Maggie. We got Maggie thinking she'd be the third 2011 cria to run around our farm with Thunder and Dutch, and go to alpaca shows this spring. Instead, she is burried next to Little Guy and Cheyenne. Three little graves.

While three losses like this seems like a lot to happen in a few months time, they are completely unrelated, a bad coincidence. Also, keep in mind that alpacas are stoic creatures. They rarely get sick, but when they do, it's usually too late by the time it's realized. We've known this to be true, but this past year has shown us how quickly it can happen. Little Guy was born with problems. We noticed that the placenta wasn't right, and I believe he was blind at birth. We believe he was deprived oxygen while in utero and had extensive brain damage. He lived just over day. Survial of the fittest at it's bleakest. Cheyenne suffered from a intestinal blockage. As we have learned, alpacas have a very complicated and delicate intestinal system, any small problem can lead to a big problem. I don't know how often alpacas get a blockage, but I know several other farms who have dealt with this also. Unfortunately, it's not that rare and often has a poor outcome. Maggie was born fine and did not have an intestinal blockage. She was thin, but we were addressing that. At the end, she was running a temperature which indicates either an infection or a virus. We did all we could, bottle feeding fluids into her, giving her medication and even taking her into our house.

Here is the bed J made for her that last day, that last step before taking her into our house:

Monday, October 17, 2011


Thunder and Dutch love to run and play. Of course, once I get out there with a camera they stop and pretend to just be standing there:

I swear they want to play on the swingset:

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Quit Fighting It

We all have plans for our lives, and often life goes along and we meet those goals. Other times, life fights us and pushes us in directions we were not looking to go.

This past weekend we took two of our best grey girls to an alpaca auction. Our plan all along has been to produce show quality alpacas, with bright and consistent fiber, in a variety of colors. However, we happened to have produced a lot of grey alpacas (and not just any greys, but ones that win in the show ring and their quality is clear when inspecting their fiber). We've noticed over the last year that we have become known for our greys (and not just at this auction, but other alpaca gatherings we have attended). When asked about our grey program we explain how we breed for all colors, but given we have some greys, we get greys (we love the greys, but I also love black and dark brown and J would say fawn is one of his favorites too). We have been fighting this notion that we have a "Grey Program".

Well, I'm done fighting it.

This past weekend we got lots of feedback on our grey program. Many people, ones from big farms in the industry, commented on the incredible quality of our grey girls. Some remembered our grey boy who wasn't even at this auction!

Here we are sitting on this grey fame that we didn't even ask for. We wanted to be known for great alpacas, we never sought out grey as our speciality. But here it is.

The weekend was very emotional. There were highs and lows. In the end, neither of our grey girls sold. On our ride home we decided that instead of being in such a rush to sell off our incredible greys, we should breed these incredible girls and create the next generation of grey!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Auction Day!!

Today we are in Ohio to attend the Peruvian Classic Sale. We brought our best two girls to put in this auction ~ our own Smokey's Twilight and Enlightenment's Rocky Rose.

This is the second alpaca auction we have ever attended. We sold two girls in the last auction we were a part of, and we hope to do the same today. If you are looking for a quality grey girl, you don't even have to come to Ohio to bid, you can do so over the Live Auction on the internet.

lot #6 and #31 ~ those are my beautiful girls!!

Lot #6 Smokey's Twilight ~ a beautiful dark silver grey yearling:

Lot #31 Enlightenment's Rocky Rose ~ an incredible rose grey yearling:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


our farm dog, Spot:

don't let his sweet puppy dog eyes trick you. Yeah, he's sweet, but he also takes his job as alpaca guardian very serious.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


We live in an oak forest. Unfortunately, oak leaves typically turn brown, then linger on the trees until the snow starts to fly. Oak leaves typically don't have the beautiful vibrant colors. This year though, our fall has been warm, and the leaves have extraordinary colors. I love seeing the colorful alpacas roaming in the colorful landscape:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

three babies

Just as J envisioned, now we have three 2011 cria: Thunder, Dutch and Maggie. This means there are three cria to run around and pronk together. And, three is the perfect number to fill a pen at the alpaca shows next spring.




I'm excited to see cria in a variety of colors. Dutch is fawn, Maggie is brown, and Thunder is rose grey. I hope this makes shows a little bit less hectic. Our biggest issue will be that Challenger will show as a yearling rose grey male and Thunder will show as a juvenile rose grey male, which means at each show Thunder will show in the class just before Challenger. But they will be our only two greys and they are both boys (unlike last year when we had three greys, one boy and two girls - it was crazy to get them all in the ring at the right time).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hanging on

Sometime we live life. We are the driving force of what we do. Other times it feels like life is living us. Right now I feel as if I'm along for the ride. Since the kids began school this fall, they are busy with many things. I have been trying to keep up with exercise, by running several miles each week. I've been averaging 12 to 17 miles each week. Both J and I have have full time jobs, and we have an alpaca farm. That's quite a bit.

Some people ask me how we do it all. The truth is that work and kids and the farm is the norm for us. We've been doing this for four years now and we have a good routine. We have a good balance that works out well for us.

The part that I have struggled with is how to work in fiber arts. I've had this vision of spinning yarn so that I can knit myself an alpaca vest. I admit, I have only spun about 2 ounces in one strand of yarn so far. It's been very slow going. At this rate it won't be done until sometime in 2020. I've been exhausted by the time I sit down in the evenings. I haven't even considered getting out my spinning wheel.

I do think when the cold weather sets in I will spend less time outside and more time inside. On cold winter days I love to sit and spin yarn in front of a toasty warm fire. It's only the matter of weeks before those days are here again. My goal will be to have that alpaca vest done by spring show season.
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