Wednesday, January 2, 2013
I have to admit, I'm one of those people who can't believe it's 2013. I still remember spending the transition into the New Millenium (2000) in Telluride, CO with friends after leaving my mother farm sitting with a battery radio...for emergency purposes if the "grid went down". I'm definitely not one of the end-of-the-world Mayan Calendar/Apocalypse believers, but it was my mother, and it made me feel better. OK, don't try to justify that, it was my only solution to leaving her in charge of our small herd of 10 with the world on the brink of darkness and chaos.
There's certainly still chaos in the world and my refuge is now walking down to the barn first thing in the morning (definitely before I watch any news updates), sitting on the deck and watching moms and cria in the evening, or turning into the driveway and appreciating the physical foundation of the rural lifestyle we've created over 14 years. Sure, there are times when I wish I could pack some bags and travel like some of my other friends, or schedule haircuts, dinners, and shopping trips without regard to birthing seasons, all without extensive planning for farm sitting, cleaning, and cria/pregnant dam care. However, the sum total of those times don't even come close to the satisfaction of leading this uncommon life and the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits.
So, January we spend setting up plans for marketing, events, and breedings (though by May we will change our minds on a weekly basis!), and it reminds us of how very lucky we are to be so fully engaged in a business that makes time fly and creates memories that last a lifetime.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
I can't believe it's only March and we are cleaning out all of the straw from the barns, turning fans on, and wishing we had the lawn mowers serviced earlier! It was a remarkably mild winter, but I'm still thoroughly enjoying the fresh feel of a warm, blue sky day. Gotta love living in a place that has seasons to remind me of what each day has to offer.
Monarch's big day
Jen's favorite boy...Chieftain's Highland Monarch...is off to a super start on his show career. At Carolina he took a Blue and got a serious look for Reserve Color Champ. We were OK with that...first show, little guy, super competition. At the Best of the U.S., Jen was standing in the far corner in his class and the judge wasn't coming back for another look. I was a nervous wreck thinking he was being lost in a big class! What a relief then the judge pointed to him for first place and declared him the clear winner in his oral reasonings. We had our fingers crossed for the Championship. It was a long shot, in my estimation. Thankfully, the judge didn't think so. He didn't take much time to award Monarch the Color banner. Woo, woo! Jen had a smile from ear to ear. Monarch was unphased, other than ready to get back to the pen with his buddies before they ate all of the hay.
Check out the Herdsire Edition of Alpacas Magazine for an article on American Alpaca Textiles. We're doing a custom rug for alpaca owners from their own fleeces, have added a new alpaca/cotton collection, and working on another project to bring a new product to the gift/toy market. It's all exciting, challenging, and hard work...and we love every bit of it from the daily farm chores to shows to market innovations.
Life is good
American Alpaca Textiles
Monday, September 5, 2011
I was a teacher, so I am used to the Angst of August...when the realization that summer is coming to an end hits the panic button. What happened to July? Even without the definite deadline of "back to school", I'm feeling like I missed out on a season. Never mind that the 90 plus degree days in July had me wishing for rain, an unseasonably cool spell, or the delight in a cool crispy Fall day. I want the long evenings to enjoy and the shorts and T-shirt attire of my typical day. Give me those 80 degree days of summer when you didn't sweat unless you really were trying to. Maybe that's the problem. The summer was so hot, I spent the afternoons seeking shelter in the office or the cool basement under the pretense of "working in the store".
Cria enjoying a cool evening
Next summer we will be better equipped to handle the heat. In a stroke of genius, Jen mentioned to a client who is a heating/air conditioning guy that instead of buying a male he was interested in, we would be willing to trade him for a ductless air conditioner for the living room/dining room. Creativity reigns at Highland! When we have the coldest summer in history next year, please don't cast the blame on us. We held out for as long as we could!
Crown's newest cria crop
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
The nursery pasture has come alive with 14 new additions who remind us that each day is meant for having fun, exploring new adventures (rabbits are the best!), and a mom's love is the most important thing in the world. With everything from white to black, these cria represent a good cross section of our breeding program in both color and quality. Crown Prince continues to consistnetly put out offspring in gray and black, Enzo has surprised us once again with a bay black male out of a dark fawn dam, and Chieftain has produced what could quite possibly the best cria...ever! We sheared everyone on the 12th...thank goodness before this REALLY hot spell, and now the big wait to see how that fiber grows back. We might be a bit premature, but I'm hoping the first show in North Carolina isn't on the same weekend as our Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival.
Crown's Highland (Lone) Ranger
These pictures are compliments of Chris Leonard during out June Open Farm Day.
Crown's Peruvian Cheechako
Two of Santana's final cria
No, that's not a baby bird!
Heir to the throne: Chieftain's Monarch
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I flew into Denver yesterday (May 17) for a quick visit with a college friend who lives in Denver before Wini and I set up for the American Alpaca Textiles vendor booth. I'm hoping the show goes well and everyone still feels comfortable coming to the show even with the recent outbreak of equine herpes in Colorado.
The UPS truck finally came at 5:30pm with the four boxes I shipped off last Friday...that relieved a lot of worry. A display booth is very hard to set up without any display materials!! I'm very excited about the display and the national debut of our alpaca/merino upholstery fabric. We've been working on this project for over two years and we finally have most of the pieces in place with a designer/weaver, a mill that will produce the yarn, and a great sampling of several different designs.
I'll take pictures and post some later this week.