Welcome to the Maple Leaf Alpaca Farm ~ our virtual farm . . . for now. We are just beginning our journey into the world of Alpaca ownership. Although with three dogs and three parrots, we definitely believe we are their guardians more than their owners. On some days it feels like we are owned by them!
Alpacas have been on my radar for some time now having seen a picture on the internet, and exclaiming, “how cute is that!!” It has been within the last month or so that the desire has taken root and sprouted research, research, research. I’ve logged many hours on the internet reading everything I can find on the subject. I’ve bought several books (okay, I’ll admit it, I’m a book-a-holic!) on Alpaca care and am like a sponge taking everything in. Having absorbed as much information as I can possibly squeeze in, I decided it was time to actually visit some Alpaca breeders/owners and their herds. What joy!
The first farm we visited was Token Creek Alpacas. The owner, Elden Harms, was very gracious in answering our questions and showing us around. We arrived on Herd Health Day and Elden was kind enough to allow us to help him out with giving shots to the “boys”. Elden is an encyclopedia of information and generously shared his knowledge and expertise with us. One valuable lesson I learned . . . a must have is warm boots! Hours later, saturated with information, we left happy and exhausted!
Our second farm visit was to Dougherty Creek Farm Alpacas. We were greeted by Kim Tollers who graciously showed us around her beautiful farm. We met “the girls” first and I was giddy handing out carrots to an eager and accepting group of ladies. We also met Hans, the Pyrenees, who diligently guards “his” herd. We then walked over to another pasture where we were introduced to the “boys” and their guard dog, Angelo, a Maremma. We were joined later by Linda Oliver, who along with Kim, graciously shared information and advice on Alpacas. We were asked inside and offered a cup of coffee – even I indulged in the brew to warm up, loaded with milk and sugar of course – not being a coffee drinker, but appreciative for the warmth! We left Dougherty Creek with the sun shining down and with a feeling of anticipation for what’s to come. I left my heart behind with a girl named, “Olivia”.
On the way home from Dougherty Creek, Brian suggested that I should consider trading my harp lessons for spinning lessons. When I told him that wheels can be quite expensive, he hardly blinked an eye, and went on to say how much more useful that would be in our ventures. Smiling inwardly, I silently agreed. “HE’S SO ON BOARD!”
There are two types of Alpacas – Huacaya (wah-kye-ya) and Suri (sir-ee). We’ve decided on Huacaya’s – with their teddy bear-like fleece and faces they’re pretty hard to resist.
We have two more farm visits lined up for the next couple of weekends. One is very close to home and I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to board (agisting in the Alpaca world) my Alpacas there. We’ve decided to start with three females and the plan is to use/sell the fiber and breed. We’ve also decided to keep our first cria (baby Alpaca). I’m also looking forward to having “therapy” Alpacas. Being an energy healer (i.e. Reiki and other healing modalities) I am always looking for ways to help others, and I can’t think of anything better than teaming up with an Alpaca to provide a service which I know will be healing physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
We’re planning on attending the Wisconsin Alpaca & Fiber Show in West Bend on April 25 & 26, 2015. I’m looking forward to seeing the Halter and Fleece Shows and learning a lot in the free seminars. I might even take in a class!
So for now we’re positioning ourselves to buy a farm and begin this new phase in our lives. We’re taking it slowly (well, trying too!), learning as much as we can and enjoying ourselves. Meeting new people, attending and participating in events, and growing a relationship with these amazing animals as well as with other Alpaca owners. Although this is going to be our “business” we want to be able to find joy in every day – grateful for the opportunity to pursue something we love – being out in nature, being with animals and farming.
Brian and I are looking into the future and visualizing what we want our “retirement” to look like. We have decided to fulfill our dream of owning a farm and have set our course to that end. It may take us two or three years to get into position, but we are determined and know that it will happen. It feels good to know that we have goals and are looking forward to something that we can enjoy together, as a team.
Living Alpaca Loca,