Saturday, January 31, 2009

An Experiment of Sorts

I'm often asked 'What do you do with alpaca fleece?' There are a myriad of things that could be done with it. For me in particular I've entered some into competitions and I have a closet full of fleece waiting to be sorted and put towards various end products. I thought I would try something a little different with some of my fleece.

One of my alpacas, Autumm, has very pretty colored fleece. When it comes off of her it's in various shades of brown. However, because Autumm is older, her fleece is coarse and short. It's too short to be spun into yarn or used to make rugs. But it is still good for felting and can even be used as stuffing or quilt batting.

So I took Autumm's coarse, short fleece and rinsed it to get as much of the dirt out as possible. This was a little daunting to me because if you agitate the fleece it turns into felt. I've posted it for sale on my Alpacanation site, Craiglist, Missouri Wools Yahoo Group, and Local Harvest. I would have done eBay but to be honest, the fees aren't worth it in this case as I don't expect to make a fortune off this left over fleece. I just want to get the most out of every bit of fiber I can and get the fleece out my closet - Shearing Day 2009 is in April and I'll have 6 more fleeces!

Will it sell? I don't know. But at least I'm trying something a little different to see if I get different results.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Alpaca Academy

The Alpaca Registry has just launched a new website called Alpaca Academy. It has a lot of basic information about owning alpacas on it. I really wish this site would have been around when I wrote my business plan a couple of years ago! Even though I've owned alpacas for nearly 3 years now, there's still a lot to learn and I'm excited to have all of this information in one, easily accessible place.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Socks and Bears now available at my Alpacanation store

Mens and Ladies ribbed socks as well as 5 and 9 inch bears are now available at my Alpacanation store.
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Halter Training, Griffin's perspective

Photos by Ellen Disseler

MOPACA Seminar, February 7 - 8, St. Louis, MO

MOPACA Winter Meeting & Seminar
February 7-8, 2009

Saturday: 9:00 A.M. – 5 P.M.
MOPACA Presents:
Ellie Winslow**
Marketing in a Difficult Economy:
How to Jump Start your Business

12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.

5:30 P.M. - 7 P.M.
Meet and Greet: Appetizers and Cash Bar
Sunday: 9:00 A.M. – 3 P.M.

MOPACA Presents
Jess Bowers**
The Straight Poop about Parasite Testing
How to do your own fecal exams, lecture and lab

12:00 P.M. – 1:00 P.M.

**See descriptions of seminars and bio’s on speakers at MOPACA.ORG**
St. Louis Marriott West Hotel
St. Louis County, Missouri
MOPACA members: $40
Nonmembers: $80

To register click HERE

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Some Photos

Griffin, 3 months old

Morrighan, 6 weeks old with dam, Liberty

Morrighan hiding behind mom

Just a few pics from today's visit. Morrighan's fleece is coming in nicely. It's crimpy and uniform. Griffin had his second lesson on the halter. He did pretty well. He bucked and jumped around a bit and one point he even threw himself down on the ground. Then he became interested in walking with me once he realized the halter wasn't going to hurt him. His fleece is getting longer and is starting to get a bit of crimp to it.

We also practiced with Marie & Ulysses for the upcoming show in March. We just walked them around and then stood in one place for awhile. Then we walked some more. They did great!
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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Morrighan's webpage is finished

Finally, Morrighan's webpage is up and running on Alpacanation. Now all the alpacas are listed and have been updated. Once the listing is created it's not that hard to maintain but it does take some work to get the initial page set up. Having an Alpacanation account is pretty much a 'must-have' for alpaca owners. I'm not sure if a lot of people sell their animals on there or not, but it's a good way to look at an owner's herd and bloodlines as well as check pricing for your area of the country.

I'm very excited about Morrighan and can't wait for her to get older so I can take her to shows. Both of her parents have very uniform fleece and I'm expecting hers to be the same.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Win a Peek

This is a nifty device that lets you check and send emails. That's all it does and I'm sure that for some that's really all they need especially if they're on the go a lot.

Anyway if you'd like to win a Peek, head on over the's blog and enter the contest.

Here are the directions:

Win a Peek at! Participating in the Peek giveaway is as easy as creating a blog entry that links to the giveaway and to For more information, see the official giveaway blog entry: Win a Peek!


As an alpaca owner I've had some fun 'first' experiences. My first alpaca, first shearing first cria. I've even sold some raw fleece, socks and teddy bears. But, today I made my first alpaca sale! I finally feel like a 'real' alpaca breeder and business owner.

Big River Alpacas and Blue Feather Farm have decided to co - purchase Mariposa's Birch Ulysses. He'll be spending six months at Big River Alpacas, which is where he's boarded and six months a year at Blue Feather Farm in Sullivan, Missouri.

Ulysses sweet demeanor and gentle spirit has made him a favorite with a lot of visitors to the farm. With his new owners he'll get his pick of the ladies from two different herds. They're even planning on taking him to the same show in March (MOPACA) that I wanted to take him to. In fact, I'll be transporting him there. So while he's no longer part of Mariposa's herd, I still get to keep tabs on how he's doing which I'm thankful for - I was worried that my first few alpaca sales would be total strangers. I realize that they're livestock and that this is first and foremost a business and I will be likely selling my animals to people I don't know. But, I also put a lot of myself into these animals - figuring out the breedings, analyzing fleece, halter training, etc. So, I'm glad not only to make this very first sale, but to make it to experienced alpaca owners I know and respect.
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Monday, January 05, 2009

Teddy Bears Added to Farm Store Website

These fluffy adorable 9 inch bears are now on the Farm Store website. They're made from 100% alpaca. Some smaller bears and stuffed alpacas are coming as soon as I can get them photographed and uploaded.

In other news Griffin is keeping everyone quite entertained at the farm. Saturday they put a bred female in with the moms and babies. Griffin thought that she was for him and began orgling (this is the noise that male alpacas make when they're interested in a female) and tried to go after her. She spit all over him! He's only 2 1/2 months old but apparently he thinks he's a herdsire already.

Also, Griffin had his first halter lesson on Sunday and did very well.
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Saturday, January 03, 2009

Griffin's webpage is finished.

The crias are growing and doing well. Even though it's cold there's still plenty to take care of with my alpaca business. It's time to renew memberships to various organizations, get the crias registered, and update the website.

I've finally gotten Griffin's website done.

Next I need to do Morrighan's and get some items added to the store.

There's always something to do!