Tuesday, November 24, 2020

2020 has been a DOOZY so far!

2020 has really been a doozy, hasn’t it. I am not going to wade into the political quagmire in this blog because it would make my head hurt.

As I write this blog this morning, I find myself waking up in the live quarters of our big horse trailer. It is pretty darn comfortable, so not to bad. Seems that I may have some kind of allergy to something in my house and every morning I wake up the an allergy head ache. The bright side of this is that I get to figure out what is bothering me. The down side is I get to figure out what is bothering me. I need to get busy because I can’t sleep in this trailer forever.

It is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and I find myself contemplating about all of my blessings. I feel hopeful, happy and content in spite of this crazy year. Since I last wrote we have had some big challenges.

Looking back on this year a bit, the pandemic dominates the landscape. Closing down the country, the rise and fall of infection rates, the ever decreasing mortality rate. Having my hubby work from home and feeling blessed that he retained his employment. All of my family has actually retained their livelihoods which is a miracle all by itself. The opening and closing of schools and communities and now the development of a new vaccine in record time because of an unconventional President that pulled down barriers, eliminated red tape and paved the way for it's creation. I feel extremely blessed that my family has not been affected by this unpredictable virus and that all of us are safe and sound.

We also had a crazy wind storm on Sept 8th, my 60th Birthday, that destroyed a lot of trees around the farm. The upside to this is that I didn't even notice my birthday. 60 can be a hard one for some people and I think I might have struggled with it had we not had the crazy wind storm. These trees are 100' tall so you can imagine the mess. One huge tree that had a 3’ trunk and was 100’ feet tall broke in half about 20’ from the ground and literally smashed our baby barn. The baby barn is a 40’ x 60’ metal agricultural building. All of my best females were locked in that barn including a 3 day old cria. They were locked in for the night to keep them safe, sooooo having a huge tree land on it is not optimal. The amazing miracle was that not one alpaca was harmed. I did have to pick some glass out of some fleeces, but that was it. How they all escaped injury is nothing short of a miracle. I bet all of my fleeces will show a big stress line this year. We are now in the process of replacing the barn as I write. We are moving alpacas around the farm, trying to find homes for them while the reconstruction gets underway. Luckily we added wind and hail damage to our insurance LAST YEAR so the barn is covered. If you are wondering about insuring your outbuildings I would say that yes you definitely should.

I have also struggled with a couple of friendships and made some new ones and am forever grateful for the relationships that have lasted for years and years and years. Family and true friends are the things that make up the true blessings in life. I am thankful for this farm and my home, for my family and relationships, for my challenges and lessons and for my health. Being THANKFUL AND GRATEFUL are the things that make everything survivable. I am thankful for my Heavenly Father and role that he plays in my life. Until next time I hope you remember to give thanks for each and every day. #givethanks

Friday, March 20, 2020

The bright side of running an alpaca farm in the middle of a Pandemic

Jack Jack, says hello!

Jack Jack, says hello!

Wednesday March 18, 2020 we started our day by feeling a 5.7 magnitude earth quake. Seriously? As if we don't have enough to deal with. Today also marks one month since the W.H.O. declared Covid 19 a pandemic.

So how does that impact our small farm business? For one thing all farm visits have been halted until further notice. No farm visits equals, no visitors, no sales in the store. That is a big kick in the teeth.

On the bright side the farm and it's daily activities seem to flow along with a comforting rhythm.
Animals still need to be cared for. They still need to be fed and watered, the pens still need to be cleaned, sick animals still need to be treated. This has a grounding affect in the midst of chaos.

Another bright fact is that alpacas make your heart feel better. They are so happy and peaceful that it is hard to stay stressed when you are around them. This lovely life we have chosen has been such a true blessing in our lives. Be well my friends, stay safe.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Being Middle Minded

This blog has nothing to do with farming, but everything to do with the reality of where I find myself in society. I am a moderate. I believe in the good of all human beings. It seems that in the extremes is where the true injustice seems to occur.

Certain people call me political names designed to humiliate me or try to make me feel ignorant.

Ive never seen myself as far left or far right, I think extremes fail us all.
*I think there are more people out there just like me, than I know.
I believe that equity is very important for everyone.
I believe America was filled with people who believe that Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness is a God given blessing.
I thought the Golden Rule was actually mainstream.

Recently I took an inventory of my positions, screening for the extremism to the Left or the Right.
So here it is.

I believe in full rights for all people, ALL PEOPLE.
I believe we should protect the planet, using common sense and GOOD BALANCED science.
I believe all religions are equally valid, and we must respect everyone and there personal beliefs.
I believe the world is bigger than just this country.
I believe for us to be able to help the world we must have our own house in order first. Just like when you are on a plane and the attendant tells you to put your oxygen mask on first, so that you are able to help those around you.
I believe to be “pro-life,” means to treasure all of it.
I believe no race is superior.
I believe we are all part of and interlocking community.
I believe people and places are made better by being unique.
I believe people shouldn’t be forced to abide by anyone else’s religion.
I believe all human beings have Value.
I believe to be a citizen of this country is a blessing and comes with certain privileges that are worth working for.
I believe generosity is greater than greed, compassion better than contempt, and kindness is better than cruelty.
I believe there is enough in this world for everyone: enough food, enough money, enough room, enough care—if we unleash our creativity and unclench our fists.

If you are not Left enough or Right enough you are somehow evil. This goes against everything that makes me, me.
I grew up being taught that love, kindness and compassion are just part of being a decent human.
I grew up believing that loving my neighbor as myself, meant that I actually worked for their welfare as much as my own. That I helped them to be able to care for themselves and not be dependent on others for their happiness or health, unless they were truly handicapped and dependent on others.
I was taught that caring for the least in the world, was the measure of my devotion to God. Caring does not mean making them helpless or dependent.
I thought that inalienable rights of other people were supposed to be a priority as a decent participant in the world.

I don’t think I’m alone in the middle, but sometimes it feel as though I am.

*In fact, I’m pretty sure that most people reside here in this place alongside me: the desire for compassion and diversity and equality and justice; that these things aren’t fringe ideologies or extremist positions—but simply the best way to be human.

I think most people want more Love, and Compassion.

*I think the vast middle is exhausted by the cruelty of these days.

*That these aspirations seem bad to some people, is probably an alarm that they’ve moved so far into the extremes of their fortified ideological bunkers and been so poisoned by the propaganda, that normal now seems excessive, that equality now seems oppressive, that goodness feels reckless.

Maybe the problem is that the Left thinks people on the right are so filled with fear for those who are different, so conditioned to be at war with the world, so indoctrinated into a mythical white nationalistic religion of malice—. And the right thinks the Left is out to destroy every blessing of the constitution, and the ability to be self determining. To be forced to think or believe a certain way. To have no respect for the sanctity of human life. Granted both extremes are scary and unwilling to find the place where we all have common ground.

I am pretty sure that I don’t represent the “radical Left,” or the radical Right. I represent the vast, compassionate, humane Middle; where people are not threatened by someone else’s presence, who do not see another person’s gain as their loss, who believe in religious freedom for everyone is important. Who believe that if any extreme religion or ideology harms the people who feel differently. This has no place in American society.

I suppose humanity feels radical and scary to inhumane, rigid people.

I for one will stay right where I am in the Humane Middle.

* - means I have taken that quote from someone else, because I couldn’t say it better.

Thursday, December 12, 2019


You know that period of time when you are waking up in the morning and you drift in and out of awareness? This morning my mind was stuck thinking about the word ACCEPTANCE.

I decided that this word is the most dangerous and dividing word I know. Why?

At first blanch one thinks, what a lovely and inclusive word, but then the reality of the word flows in.

The lovely side of this word is;
-I love and accept you for who and what you are.
-I accept and respect our differences.
-We accept each other’s love and company.
-I accept the reality of who I am.
-I accept your gift, kindness, love, appreciation, you get what I mean...

The dangerous side of this word is;
-You must accept our differences and let me have my way.
-You accept my __________ or you are a bad person.
-You must accept my beliefs and abandon your own.
-You must accept my reasearch and if you don’t you are stupid.
-You have to accept every detail of my private life and if you don’t you are evil or stupid or whatever degrading word that is assigned to you. SEE WHAT I MEAN?

My personal belief goes something like this;
I accept and know who you are, I may agree or disagree with you, but respect your right to be who you are and believe what your heart dictates. My job is not to force you to accept anything. My job is to love you for who you are.

That said if what you are or what you think harms others or is dangerous to you or the people around you. I accept the responsibility to do what I need to too protect others.

I think the biggest mistake in the world today is this notion that you are dumb if you don’t accept my conclusions. Or you are evil for not accepting my beliefs.

People have forgotten about finding common ground. People having abandoned the concept taught in civics class. I am showing my age since civics is not taught any more.

I find it very sad that our world is a very divided place. I am sad that the word acceptance is so loaded and can be so negative.

I think I will focus on the positive things that I associate with this word and I will accept the positive, constructive side of the word. I will focus on the good in each of us. We all have good and we all have bad no matter who you are.

Be positive people, respect and accept that we are all different and most important know that in my house you can be who you are and that I will love you.

I will now dismount my soap box. ??

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

2019 is coming to an end.

2019 is coming to an end. I had a 5 big things I wanted to try to improve about my self last year.
Here they are;
My big 5 that I need to work on!

1. There are things I do too much. This stems from being insecure I think.
2. I sometimes come off as an insensitive know it all in a moment of try to help someone.
3. I can be super pushy and don’t really consider what other people have to tell me.
4. Too many excuses.
5. I have a hard time seeing past my own problems and looking at the big picture around me.

So how have I done?

1. I have really tried to listen more and speak less. I think I have improved somewhat. I conciencously tell myself to back off, listen, let them finish. Sometimes I am pretty good. Sometimes I honestly suck. I commit to keep trying!

2. A year ago it was pointed out to me that I come off as a know it all. This is a hard one. I am a person that is opinionated. Big suprise??. I am a compulsive studier, I love learning and researching. When if find out great information I want to share it. What I have learned is that if I give people a chance in a conversation or in a class the thing I wanted to say usually comes up eventually. Then I can simply agree. The patience of this excersize is where I struggle. I mean I really struggle. Again sometimes I am great and sometimes I suck. I will keep trying.

3. This ties in with number 2 in someways. I really try to listen better. I have found out that my brain spins really fast with information and you know what, it is hard to listen when your thoughts are loud. I have to push my thoughts down and really focus, FOcus, FOCUS! It is hard but I am improving. So I will keep working on this one.

4. I have learned that in many cases, it really doesn’t matter what my reasoning is behind it. I am one of those people that REALLY wants you to know why I did something. But you know what it does not matter many times. In a way this has been an amazing and freeing realization. If I screw up I try to own it, learn from it and move on. Learning from the missteps is valuable, moving along little doggie is also important.

5. I have learned that there is a certain sanity in stepping back and viewing our problems from a far perspective. Hold your hand right in front of your nose, do you see it clearly? Now look at it at arms length. Do you see your entire hand? Yup that is how I now deal with pain or difficult problems, from arms length. It doesn’t seem so impossible with bit of perspective.

In conclusion this has been a really great year. I know who I can count on. I know who my real friends are. I know who I can live without. I know I can work through issues that affected me in the past. All in all I am so thankful for my blessings. I am thankful for my faith and my relationship with my Father in Heaven. I am thankful for my amazing partner and husband. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for tender mercies and for challenges that make me better.

Cheers to 2019 and to what lays in front of me next year.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019



Let’s talk dehairing. Let’s explore all sides of this process. There are many different trains of thought on dehairing. So I think it would be beneficial to hear from YOU on both sides and talk about, what people think, what people have experienced and why people think what they do.

Some questions I would like to explore are;
Does dehairing work on alpaca?
When is dehairing needed?
When is dehairing NOT needed?
What are some of the pros and cons of dehairing?
If you dehair, why?
If you do not dehair, why?

This is something that I have been very interested in for a long time. When I first entered the alpaca world, I took a course with the Certified Sorters. This was a training process that taught us to grade fiber in Grades 1-6, according to micron ranges, taking into account the presence of Primary and Secondary fibers. Fleeces with a lot of Primary fibers were deemed “Hairy” and went to the rug pile. Dehairing was not considered an option at the time because of Ian Watts Histogram work. I was always kind of uncomfortable with putting so many fairly nice blankets into the rug pile.

Recently I have taken a course through, Sorting, Classing, Grading (SCG). This is a collaboration of several experts in the field. This grading system DOES take into account dehairing as a value added option that brings value of fleeces that would otherwise be deemed “HAIRY” and sent to the rug pile. I like this train of thought because it brings value to many alpacas across the country that would otherwise produce lots and lots of rug yarn. And it makes alpaca fiber farming a more sustainable option.

This next part is what I have come to believe through my own study. This is my personal opinion, take or leave it but let’s talk.

My current belief on this matter is as follows. This is over simplified so please think in broad terms and bear with me. I did not want to write a novel.

1. Not all alpaca fleeces need to be dehaired. If your fleeces are uniform, dehairing may not be needed. Uniformity to me, means that the fibers across the blanket are relatively close in size. If your fleeces are grades 1 with stronger fibers being grade 2, you may not benefit from dehairing.
2. If you have a nice fleece that has strong primaries present, dehairing may be a good option for you. For example a Grade 3 fleece with a bunch of Grade 5 primaries. Dehairing can turn a lower quality fleece into something desirable. IMHO and from personal experience.
3. If your fleece has a bit too much veg in it. You may benefit from dehairing.
4. Dehairing can bring value to fleeces and alpacas that would otherwise have little value.
5. Dehairing strengthens the sustainability of alpaca in a natural fiber producing environment.

Your feedback and opinions are encouraged and appreciated.

Friday, February 1, 2019

What is this hen thinking?

So 2 weeks ago, my husband called me to the barn to see what he had found. It was a hen that had hatched out 3 chicks.

IT’S JANUARY! What is this hen thinking? We are in Utah and we are experiencing single digits for Pete’s shake. Well we decided to see what would happen.

We set up an infrared heat source with a thermastat in the corner of one of the horse stalls set water under the heater and food near by. AMAZINGLY hen and chicks are doing great. I guess this must mean that spring is just around the corner, right?

Well my brain thinks that spring is around the corner. I am obsessing about all the things I need to do as spring approaches. I must say I am really excited about this year. I think it is going to be a fun one. ??

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The poop stops here...

While cleaning the nursery this morning I spied with my little eye some runny poop spots. None of the crias will claim it. I wandered around for quite a while and can find no evidence of who is the owner.

No mess on anyone’s legs, no mess under anyone’s tail, nothing to give me a hint to who the little plops belong too.

Now what? I guess I become a super duper poop detective. Not my idea of fun! With 12 little crias running around there are lots and lots of suspects.

Do I have a game plan? No not really.

I could glove up and investigate each little suspect, up close and personal......not fun for anyone.
I could lock each cria up with its mom, one at a time and see what drops.
I could go out before dawn and turn the lights on and then try to watch each paca poo.
Hmmmm I guess the poop stops here...... Stay tuned I give you the scoop on the poop.......

Friday, January 11, 2019

AND THEN............

As I worked through my chores this morning it dawned on me that there is no end to the AND THENS. I love Alpaca farming, caring for my flock and doing farm chores. Being outside working is my happy place, but the AND THENS can get out of control sometimes.

My day usually goes something like this;
First, at dawn I start by letting the moms and crias out of the barn, where they have been safely tucked away for the night.
AND THEN, I clean and tidy up the baby barns, as I call it. This is where the nursing moms and their crias live who are on special diets.......
AND THEN, I fill the water buckets.......
AND THEN, I check the hay and put out pellets for the mommas and babies........
AND THEN, I check on and feed the grandmas. These are the really old girls that need special care. These are the old girls that struggle living in the larger female herds..........
AND THEN, I check on and feed my old men. Wolfden Wolfheart who is 18 and gets to wander the farm and his buddy CoCo a 25 year old llama that we adopted when his mom had to go to additives living. These 2 old friends are darling, but struggle to deal with the younger males.........
AND THEN, I let Stella out of her night time kennel. Stella is my LSGD that won’t stay home at night, so she gets to sleep in the straw stall. But it’s okay because Greta and Diesel have the night shift handled..............
AND THEN, I clean the 6 stall barn where our open girls live..........
AND THEN, I fill the feeders in this barn, fill the water and put out the pellets. All the while looking at each animal to make sure they are okay and happy.

AND THEN, I have the boy barn, the dogs, the horses, the laying hens AND THEN, AND THEN, AND THEN!

You get the idea, a farm can fill your day, because no matter how much you get done there are always the AND THENS.............. I guess life is the same way isn’t it....

That is why we need to look at our lives from the outside........in, or from an earthly perspective to a heavenly one.

We can fill up our lives up with so many busy, good things, that we forget the really important, essential ones...........

Keep your eye on the prize, enjoy your life, but don’t forget the important essential things for all the AND THENS.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Why Alpacas?

People ask me all time, Why Alpacas? I always think in the back of my mind, Why Not?
I thrive on working with animals, I thrive on working outdoors on the farm.
And you have to admit they are UNIQUE, curious, darling, funny, gentle, MAGICAL, SPIRITUAL, challenging and rewarding.

When I stand in the middle of my farm with visitors I tell them to listen. Listen to the silence or sometimes the sweet humming sound they make. I tell them to feel the atmosphere that permeates the farm. Sometimes I tell them to notice the smell or the lack there of, as far as livestock goes alpacas don’t have an overpowering nasty smell.

Have you ever noticed that it is hard to stay upset or sad around these wonderful, intuitive creatures. When I have been sad or devistated about something in my life, I can go out and sit quietly in one of the alpaca pens and before you know it a soft nose will brush my cheek or a tiny cria will start nibbling on the hem of my coat.

Sometimes it can be heartbreaking when you loose one but for the most part it is a wonderful life style.

I have had to learn many new things and make hard decisions owning alpacas. Many vets are not super knowledgeable about them, they are just different enough that you need to Empower yourself and learn everything you can. But even with all the challenges they are worth every minute of your time.

So honestly, Why Alpacas? I say Why Not??