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it all started when..................

First year

Wow it has already been one full year since we purchased this property and began our life
as farmers.  It sure has been interesting and definitely very busy. When we decided to get into this venture, we put a plan of action together, outlining how we would proceed, defining our every step, forecasting a 5 year plan….. and then we found this place and our life went into high gear! I would like to share some of those highlights with you today..

We settled into this beautiful home surrounded by its 100 + acres in July 2012. Our son Joshua, his wife Lindsay and baby Xander became part of this settlement. Together we are committed to this farming lifestyle, while still working full time at our current jobs. Shortly after our arrival, we agreed that the first order of the day was getting fire wood ready for the upcoming winter season as this home is heated by an outside wood furnace. The previous owner left us a very limited supply of wood. This highly physical chore soon became Joshua’s responsibility. Every spare moment was dedicated to skirting the area for trees that would meet our needs.  Joshua spent a good part of the summer, fall and winter at this task. Needless to say, he looks pretty fit these days.  Another area that required our immediate attention was the barn yard. We had already committed to a small herd of 5 Alpacas and we needed to get the area ready for their arrival in the fall. Ray and I (and Josh when available) started to clean & remove, repair & replace anything that needed it.  We soon realized that we needed to get ourselves a tractor, which we did. It has not stopped working since. J We finally got a couple of sections ready with fencing, feeders and buckets. The small herd arrived in October 2012, 3 girls and 2 boys. We put the boys into their pasture and put the girls in a separate pasture. Though the two areas were adjacent to each other, they were separated by a fence.  Shortly thereafter we introduced a Llama to the female group;
llama is used as a guard as they tend to fight off intruders versus fleeing (as alpacas do). So now we are entering the winter season and all is well on the home front. We take care of our small herd, deal with the mountains of snow, continue to cut and pile wood and learn a thing or two about caring for alpacas. During these few months of cold weather, Ray and I discussed our plan of action. We decided to look around and see what deals were available out there; you know, just sort of getting educated for when the time comes for us to grow a little more. Well a long story short, we ended up committing to a herd of 8 animals (4 girls, 4 boys) as well as a herd of 6 animals (4 girls, 2 boys) by the time spring came around. The first herd arrived early March and the second herd arrived the first week of May. So, here we are, a little more than ½ year into our plan of action and we own 9 pregnant females, 1 maiden, 3 yearlings (1 girl, 2 boys) and 6 boys, and let’s not forget the llama…….. 20 animals in our care!.... OK, so we are a little bit ahead of our plans, I say. Joshua tended to say something else, but I am best not to repeat it here! As I have always thought him, the best way to learn something is to ‘immerse’ yourself into it!
Well we are immersed all right!!! Now comes the real learning; shearing, drug administration, health issues, babies, social skills, does and don’ts and so on and so forth…….. So MAYBE immersing that quickly was not the best approach, but we are in it full force now as a result of this decision! No looking back from here on end………….. Marching forward and living the dream is what matters now!

Second year

Learning about ALPACA shearing, fibre sorting, fleece handling, and the entire process of turning Alpaca fleece into an saleable, high quality, unique end product! Many of these skills and knowledge are being developed through reading, participating to workshops, seminars, college
programs and hands-on activities.

Learning about GARDENING - what is our land going to grow, garden locations, water source, customer preferences, selling outlets and avenues, and so on.... being actively involded in farmers markets, discussion with local farmers, trial and error efforts and mega reading, we are moving along once step at a time to create a best of its kind, naturally grown vegetable and

Learning about chicken CARE, alpaca care, egg care, and our own care.............. how
do we make it all work together in harmony.......
family  and business discussion are the key elements to making `care`on of our priority..........

Learning to COMMUNICATE ideas, desires, preferences, etc.......... and still maintain the family unity and respect........ wriitten plans, discussing preferences, sharing ideas and listening to each other are basic skills and practices that enable us to maintain respect for each other; we are `family`first and foremost!

THIS WAS A  YEAR OF LEARNING ................ AND what wonderful lessons.......... we are all embracing this opportunity, from baby Xander chasing chickens, to Lindsay from city girl to country life, and Joshua the muscle man for the operation, and Ray & I realizing we are not as young as we once were.......... but we are all determined and therefore............. living the DREAM!

Updated December 30, 2017