Friday, December 10, 2010

Alpaca Art at Addies

I've had several nice opportunities to sell my alpaca products lately, but wanted to give a bit more detail about what we're up to tomorrow, Saturday, December 11th. It's a busy time and I know that lots of you have wanted to shop with us but other chances didn't work out for you. We had considered having a small barn open house, but thought it might be more convenient if we set up on the deck at nearby Addie's Creekside Cafe in Millville from 11-2 (rain or shine, it should be dry enough and people can go inside to get warm or purchase lunch, a hot chocolate or coffee). A lot of people have been asking me what I'm bringing, prices, etc., so here's the plan!I've got several colorful felted birdhouses ready to go. Most are $22 and a few larger ones are $30 or $35. I'm getting a great response to these and have sold quite a few already (also have some pre-orders I plan to ship next week) and am making them as fast as I can to supply my own needs as well as the galleries where I sell.

I have a pretty limited supply of alpaca socks. I've only got about 10 pairs and they're a variety of women's or up to size 10 men's sizes, all are $20 each. I can order more on request and have them by the end of next week if you let me know.Alpaca felted soaps are a popular, unique gift item, and I've got several in Christmas colors and other pretty shades. They are $8, and if you'd like to order a quantity of 5 or more I can take $1 off and have them for you next week!

There will be some alpaca hats ($20-$25), scarves ($30 for commercial, $60 for handmade nuno-felted silk and alpaca), and I'm putting special pricing on our entire inventory of alpaca sweaters ($40-$100). I didn't go to Peru this fall, so I won't have the cute ornaments or some of the other items that I brought back with me last year.Handmade silk and alpaca scarf
I have some handspun, hand-dyed yarn but will also be offering some special "stash" alpaca yarn for $3-4 per skein.

Making jewelry (seen at top) has been a fun new endeavor for me this year and it's been well-received so far! Some of the jewelry incorporates felted alpaca beads but I also use swarovski crystal, sterling silver, lots of copper, roman glass, etc. Prices on jewelry ranges from $8-$20 for earrings, $30-$40 for bracelets, and $15 to $60 for necklaces.

If you plan to eat lunch at Addies, you may want to consider making a reservation at 873-0273.

So, that's the general scoop, though there are probably some things I've left out! If this goes well, I may do it again next Saturday so please do let me know if you are interested. We're open at the farm by appointment, and I can ship in time for Christmas if it's by next week (and I have time to make!!!) Thanks for all of your support and encouragement of our products, the handmade items in particular.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Art in the Barn!

I've been on a creative roll (when I can find time!), partly getting ready for my friend's upcoming event this weekend, Art in the Barn, at Alpacas at Booker's Corner in Paris, KY and partly just the holiday rush in general. You can see some of the things I've been busy making on my other blog.A friend suggested that I might attempt to make felted bird houses, so today I finally had a go at it. What a fun project! I was pretty pleased with how my first attempts turned out.
I'm learning more and more that using the correct type of fiber for the project makes a big difference. I wanted to use a fiber that would shrink considerably into a thick and water-repellent fabric, so I chose C-1 wool (a pretty generic and somewhat coarse fiber) from New England Felting Supply. I also used some softer wool roving from my friend Dianne for the inside of one of the houses, and will probably try some alpaca along with the C-1 wool next.
These are $22 each, and I hope to have some more made in other sizes by the weekend (They are about 6-7 inches tall by about 5 inches wide). I am experimenting with the best way to hang them, and will probably felt a hanging cord onto the next ones. If you are interested in purchase, drop me a line and we can arrange payment by PayPal or credit card.

On another note, I've had people asking about our cria Forrest Gump (who couldn't stand at birth and walked with a big limp for a while). He's doing GREAT and I plan to put a video up of him later in the week.... and by the way we are thinking of naming his buddy Bubba!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Going home...

BJ in 2002
The matriarch and oldest member of our herd, 3Peruvian Betty Jane, passed on to greener pastures last night. She had been with us longer than any other animal on the farm, since we purchased her at the 2000 "Sale of the Century", the first private alpaca sale ever held (it was a glitzy affair, held at a hotel/casino in Atlantic City, sponsored by WoodsEdge Wools Farm).

Betty Jane was a unique "harlequin" grey with stunning coverage, fineness, and a special presence and dignity about her. She appeared almost fawn when her fleece was grown out, but was a solid silver underneath with spots only on her face. She was our most expensive purchase to date, and we were very excited to add her to our then-growing herd. (We also purchased 5Peruvian Aymara in that auction, she's our second-oldest girl and one of our most outstanding producers).
BJ and her multi-champion son, SSF Peruvian Seabiscuit
Betty Jane never gave us the unusual greys we coveted, though we did have several nice crias from her before infertility issues turned her into a non-breeder. We didn't mind keeping her around, as she was a good sentry and herd leader (sometimes too smart for her own good), and her fleece stayed fine and soft with a very low CV throughout her lifetime.

Like most direct imports, she never came to fully trust humans but instead of being nasty, she mostly just objected with high screams and an angry expression when getting shots or her nails trimmed. She's the only alpaca that I knew to have no birthdate listed on her ARI papers, though her prior owner had listed her birth year as 1993 based on import records, so she was at least nearly 18.BJ and another favorite, Machuca, also now passed
We sold a single female to a new breeder this summer and we gave them Betty Jane as a companion. When I visited their farm recently, I was shocked to see how much weight she had lost and it was as if her age had suddenly caught up with her. We agreed to bring her back here so that she could winter over in a tight barn with a coat on if necessary and be pampered with good hay, and we would give them a different female instead.

Before I could do that, I got a call the other day from her new owners that Betty Jane was down in the field (though they were able to get her up again), and I went to pick her up yesterday. She walked willingly but feebily to the trailer, as if she knew she was going home. When we got here, she pranced into the barn and immediately began chomping hay. Later she was having trouble getting up, and she passed quietly during the night.

I was only a little sad about this, as I know that she had a much better life and death than many or even most animals and even people will have. If she had stayed in the high mountains of Peru, she would have likely been slaughtered at an early age and eaten, partly due to the realities of the culture and farming economy and the need for protein in a place where few food animals thrive. If she were human, she may have been poked with needles and hooked to machines so that her life could have been lingered a little longer, possibly prolonging suffering and inducing fear and a lack of control. Instead, she died peacefully at "home" after a long and productive life where her essence and contributions were appreciated. RIP, Betty Jane.
Sahara Rose
P.S. We have a great-granddaughter of Betty in our herd, CH Peruvian Sahara Rose. She is the same color and also has exquisite fiber and a sweet but vocal disposition.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall Fun on the Farm

The past month has been filled with volunteering at the World Equestrian Games, a trip to Michigan for a felting class, home schooling, trail riding, cria births, crafting, international travel for Paul, the Kentucky Classic Show, and.... isn't that enough????!
We ended the month with a llama trek on a gorgeous fall afternoon. Pat and her little friends Austin and Alyssa loved strolling on our leaf-covered trails with a llama at each side.
The kids enjoyed helping with bottle-feeding our sweet cria, Cherry Bomb.
Any fears that surfaced early in the visit were definitely gone by the end after several llama kisses were dispensed by Phoenix, and our trekkers discovered how sweet and manageable the llamas are!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Making Stuff!

Alpaca fiber beads, ancient Roman carved glass, copper

Working with alpaca fiber is my passion (okay, one of quite a few!) and I've been really busy making things to sell at upcoming events such as the Midway Fall Festival (September 18th and 19th) and Agritourism Day at Life Adventure Center (September 25th). We'll have a booth set up with animals and alpaca products at both of these events, and hope to see you there!Set of felted pillows

Here are some recent projects, I'm especially enjoying making felted pillows and jewelry, as well as dyeing roving for use in felted shawls and scarves!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Alpacas being auctioned at Kentucky Horse Park!

This Saturday is the annual Hats off for Horses Day at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, but horses won't be the only ones shining! We'll be in attendance with two alpacas as part of the Silent Auction at the Rood and Riddle Grand Prix, to benefit the Kentucky Equine Humane Center.
If you've never been to the Kentucky Horse Park, here's your one day of the year to go for FREE and experience all that our beautiful horse park has to offer. The Grand Prix jumping competition will be held starting at 7 PM in the new, air-conditioned Indoor Arena (same venue where next Spring's Kentucky Classic Alpaca Show will be held!), but there are fun happenings going on all day.

We really had a hard time trying to decide which animals to select for the honor of raising money for this cause. We decided to let the buyer decide, and we will be offering a selection of two from a group of 14 animals identified. These include pregnant production females, herdsire-quality males, show animals, and fiber/companion alpacas. In order to ensure that these animals go to a worthy home, these conditions apply:

The purchase price will include an educational visit to our farm in Woodford County, during which we will provide information on the care of alpacas, facility setup, scope of the industry, and introduction to alpaca fiber and its uses. The winning bidders may choose two from a pool of 14 alpacas, males and females, which have been pre-selected by us, and we will advise them on which animals will best fit their goals. There are no warranties expressed or implied, other than that the alpacas are healthy at the time of purchase. The two that we bring to the event will be part of the selection.

The sale is contingent on the buyers showing that they are able to provide an adequate facility for the animals which includes a fenced area with grass, shade, water, shelter, and protection from dogs and predators and that they will be committed to providing appropriate food, worming, and annual shearing of the alpacas. We will provide up to 21 days of free board for the alpacas. A boarding fee of $3.00 per day per alpaca will be charged if the animals are left over 21 days, and the buyer will be responsible for any veterinary bills after the time of purchase. Delivery to the buyer’s farm may be arranged with appropriate fees.

Here are some of the animals we have pre-selected for donation (click to biggify), but remember that the buyer may CHOOSE! Please feel free to call us with ANY questions you may have before the auction. We will be at the horse park in a shady outside area near the Indoor Arena's Exposition Hall starting at 4:00, with two alpacas to represent the donation. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Crias 'Round the Clock

We had two gorgeous crias born on the morning of July 4th, and YES, one is a girl! (The other is true black and gorgeous, so we're happy with him, too). Both crias are sired by our Snowmass Nova's Private Reserve. Thanks to reader suggestions from Facebook and Twitter-@locolindy, we are naming the male Revere and the female is Cherry Bomb.We already knew to anticipate trouble with Cherry Bomb, as her 15-year-old mother, Aymara, had damage to her udder years ago (probably from mastitis), and has only one teat out of four that is able to produce milk. We have managed with her crias in the past by initially milking out Aymara, supplementing the cria through bottle or tube feeding, and having a barren dam, "Nanny" help with providing a little bit of extra milk.Revere, though he looked as strong as could be, just couldn't figure out how to find his very willing mother's milk bar. Fortunately the dam, Na Tay, has easily let us milk her out to feed the cria and couldn't be sweeter about it. Why he just couldn't get it at first we don't know, but it could be due to prenatal stress from the awful heat wave we've had recently. We tube-fed both crias with colostrum and plasma in the first few hours, and both of their IGG's are acceptable, so they've gotten off to a good start.Sounds easy enough, right? Actually to do this correctly we've been feeding them every 3 hours around the clock... not real conducive to sleep. My husband is a saint when it comes to this, and the kids are learning to help as well. You may have heard the Hallelujah Chorus when Revere finally latched on to his dam last evening and won't be requiring supplementation any longer!Cherry Bomb is another story, and we may have a full-time bottle cria on our hands this time. Nanny isn't as interested as in the past, and Aymara isn't doing a lot to encourage her to find the one milk-producing teat. Bummer..... but we'll keep trying! Fortunately, Cherry is a strong and beautiful cria with amazing fleece like her full sister, Rachel Alexandra (blue ribbon winner in her only show so far, seen below). Aymara has produced other outstanding offspring, such as SSF Peruvian Pablo, so hopefully all the trouble is worth it!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summer Splendor

Despite June's extreme heat, it has been a lovely summer so far with lots of good things happening around the farm. One of the best things is that we've been making lots of time to go trail riding- you can read about one of our recent extreme adventures here. This past week, I was lucky to get to join my friends Marti, MB, and Martha for a lovely day of riding at Taylorsville Lake. It was a great ride except when two of our horses decided that the jet skis on the lake sounded like a swarm of horse flies, and got all loosey-goosey excited for a bit!We had three llama treks this week! First were two women from Lexington, Barbara and Stephanie. They felt like my own old friends, very sweet ladies, and it was cool that our two barn cats decided to join us for the entire hike- ironic since Barbara is a huge cat lover who has rescued over 30 felines herself!Next we had Steve, Lee and Ethan. They were looking for something different to do outdoors to get away from the TV and video games... fancy that, teenagers who like those things?! They discovered that they like llamas, too (or at least they seemed to enjoy them!)
Lastly we had 3 llovely llama lladies (Mary, Helen and Bernice) that came today. They also seemed to really enjoy the farm and animals. They met our newest cria, Mirian's lambs, and these two little alpaca guys, Mousse and Precious (you can read about when they were born here).I love how the llamas are so patient with people of all ages, and they seem to naturally adjust their pace to the speed of whomever is leading them. Llama LLife is GOOD!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fiber Friday

Three class participants with nearly-finished hats
Last week I got a good fiber fix, with this commission felting project completed and two hat felting classes!Despite one particular fleece giving us fits (it was slow to felt, and Kay, above, was ready to turn her hat into a place mat at one point!), everyone had great success with their hats, once again. Everyone stopped to see our newborn cria on their way out. Yes, another boy, but a lovely one at that.
I look forward to scheduling more classes in late summer, or if two or more people want to get together and request a class before then, I'm happy to do it! In the meantime, trail riding is beckoning and I'm having trouble finding more studio time. Here are a few nearly-finished projects that I made during classes....

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fiber Friday

I've been squeezing in miscellaneous projects as I can, and am ready to deliver some new spring/summer nuno felted scarves back to Damselfly Gallery in Midway and Truly Bluegrass in Versailles.I was requested to make this hat in solid brown (same size and style) for a Truly Bluegrass customer, so I'm gladly working on that! I have two upcoming hat felting classes scheduled for next week, so if you're interested in those check them out on the calendar, as I still have some spaces.
This little bird (I got the kit from Alicia Paulson) watches over my felting, and I think she looks really cute paired with the needle-felted nest that my internet friend Chrissie gave to me. I wonder when those eggs are going to hatch?

Sunday, May 30, 2010

More Trekking, Sales!

It's already been a great weekend, with two groups of people coming for llama trekking and the sale of one of our outstanding young alpaca junior herdsires. My friend Kaylen (from Sheffield Alpacas) and her family came out today to check out some young breeding prospects, and selected SSF Peruvian Mystery (Accoyo America Sinbad x AF Maisy). He is displaying fantastic potential with an extremely dense and well-organized fleece, and should contribute great fleece genetics to their herd!
We had two llama treks this weekend, and both went well! Saturday's trek was a birthday surpise, and I think everyone had a nice time.
Mirian's friend was helping, and she spotted a snake on the trail, the first she had ever seen! It was a colorful (and harmless!) milk snake and it allowed us plenty of time for a good look before I used a stick to gently move it out of the way. (I originally identified it as a king snake, but realized my mistake when I looked it up!)
Our group today had two young children amongst the 6 in their group. It was the first time our llamas have been around small kids, and they were somewhat fascinated by the "little two-leggeds" and did great with them!Keeping with the reptile theme, we did encounter a box turtle today, which fascinated the kids!
Enjoy the photos from our hike(s). We feel very blessed to be able to share our farm and special animals with so many awesome people! We're looking forward to a great day of rest and play tomorrow, and hope all of you have a wonderful holiday, too!