A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

February 5, 2018

Who Doesn’t Love Open Farm Day?

2.10.18Flyer FINAL

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May 2, 2016

Visit the Alpacas after their Makeover!

IMG_20160409_141656799Humans aren’t the only ones who like to strut new styles in Spring! Our Alpaca herd gets their own ‘makeovers’ in Spring when we shear their winter coats!

Come to our next Open Farm Day on Saturday, May 14 to see our newly shorn alpacas, tour the farm and learn how we use the soft fleece and fibers from the alpacas.  Visit us sometime between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to learn about, see and touch the alpacas!

After your pasture tour, step into our Farm store where you will find an incredible selection of alpaca yarn products. Although OFD is after Mother’s Day, ask mom to join you as we are sure you will find a ‘little something’ to brighten your mom’s day, or maybe a soon-to-be graduate, or a blushing June bride. Alpaca yarns are hypo-allergenic, as soft as cashmere and incredibly warm. You can never go wrong when you give a gift made from alpaca yarns.

Or, we can provide a very unique gift! While you are visiting, sign up for our Adopt-a-Paca! Program. Choose which alpaca you would like to sponsor – or give as a gift! In addition to receiving a glossy photo of your special alpaca, you will also receive a certificate of sponsorship of your very own alpaca.

If you have been here before – we welcome you back! Every Open Farm Day provides for a different experience.  Bring your Mom, a friend, your spouse, even your cousins and grandma! There is something for everyone at Windrush Alpaca Open Farm Day

We have ample free parking, it’s free admission for everyone, and we even offer cold refreshments to our visitors. Windrush Alpacas farm is located us 1-1/4 miles south of Brady on CRM. Watch our Facebook page for updates http://www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas.

For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at www.windrushalpacas.com, shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/ , or sign up for our newsletter at http://eepurl.com/xhiwn! Learn more about our Adopt-a-Program here http://www.windrushalpacas.com/pages/2087/adopt-a-paca .

 

October 1, 2012

Windrush Alpacas Farm Day Tours!

Join us at Windrush Alpacas in Clovis, NM on Saturday, October 13th for an experience like no other and learn about our new Adopt-a-Paca Program!

What’s so different and exciting about alpacas? You’ll just have to come out and see, won’t you? You’re sure to have a good time meeting our herd, watching them play, getting some ‘paca love, and learning really cool facts and trivia that you probably don’t already know.

After a fun day like this, you might just want an alpaca of your own… and we’ve got that covered, too! We’re rolling out our new Adopt-a-Paca Program that will give you the opportunity to sponsor an alpaca — which will give you some special privileges! Plus, you’ll have an opportunity to win some cool prizes! Neat!

Our Farm Store will be open as well, featuring products made from our alpaca’s fiber, crafting items, souvenirs, and so much more. Since the weather is starting to cool down, now’s the time to stock up on super warm and soft alpaca fleece garments. Plus, we got in a new shipment of Pacabuddies!

What better way to spend the day with your whole family, learning, growing, and having fun!

We can’t wait to see you on Saturday, October 13th, 2012 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. As usual, we always offer free admission, free parking and free refreshments.

For more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at http://www.windrushalpacas.com. Also, you can Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas and shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/.

April 3, 2009

North To Colorado

 

This morning I will be headed north to La Veta, Colorado.  There I will spend the weekend with Judy and Will Sims-Barlow of Spanish Peaks Alpacas and receive lessons from Judy in how to make an alpaca felt hat and a silk and alpaca felt scarf.

 

Judy is extremely talented with her felting, I saw some of her hats a couple of years ago when I delivered one of our girls to their farm for a breeding to one of their males.  The hats Judy makes are beautiful with such a lovely smooth finish.

 

Ever since I saw Judy’s hats I have been asking her to show me how to felt alpaca, and now we finally have a weekend when we are both available!

 

I am taking two fleeces with me – Chamberino’s (a dark brown/maroon fleece) and Ma Cushla’s (a pretty medium silver grey) plus some fawn roving from one of our boys, Homer, and some white roving that is a combination of several white fleeces from the herd.

 

When Judy sent me information on the type of fleeces to use for felting she mentioned that the micron count of the fleece for the hats should be around 27 micron.  That made me happy as we still have Chamberino’s blanket fleece from 2008 and dear Chamberino is a consistent 30 microns across his fleece.  For an alpaca 30 microns is not a desirable figure.

 

Chamberino’s fleece still spins up to a soft yarn and has a lovely handle to the yarn partly due to the consistency of his fleece.  It will be great to have something different to use that fleece for and I am looking forward to seeing the end product.

 

While I am away learning how to felt alpaca, Ric will be home looking after the herd.  We don’t have any cria due yet and all that needs to be done is routine chores so it shouldn’t be too much for Ric to handle – except of course for the 75 mph wind gusts we are expected to get in Clovis on Saturday which might just make chores a little bit challenging.

 

Rosemary

October 16, 2008

I’m Off The Farm For One Day ……..

Victorian Glow - Pasture Queen

Victorian Glow - Pasture Queen

And a new cria arrives!  Victorian Glow (who belongs to Bob and Regina Dart of Llano Soleado Alpacas) decided to keep Ric entertained by delivering a beautiful dark brown female cria at 2:30 pm.  The delivery went well and the cria seems to be strong and healthy. 

 

Glow is an older female and a solid producer of beautiful crias.  She has had several male crias in the past so for Bob and Regina to get a female cria from her is exciting.  To me Glow is a very true to type alpaca with a compact body, great bone density and of course super soft fleece.   Glow is also a “pasture queen” ruling the pasture in her own quiet but very definite way.  The other girls know not to mess with Glow.

 

By the time I came home from the Crafters Mall it was too dark to take a picture of the new arrival.  Bob and Regina had come over to visit their new girl and had fitted her out in a cria coat to keep her warm during the chilly night.  Let’s hope the other crias leave her out of their “Remove The Cria Coat” game which they still are having fun playing.  The temperature was a little cool last night (46 degrees) but today it is supposed to get up in the 70’s which will be nice weather for the new cria to check out her new world.  It is also good weather for cria deliveries so who knows we may get another new arrival.

 

Meanwhile while Ric was delivering crias my day at the Crafters Mall was a quiet one, which allowed me to learn the ropes and get acquainted with the various booths in the store.  I was also pleased to discover that we have already sold some product from our booth, which is promising.   I am assured by the other vendors at the store that as the holidays get closer the pace will pick up at the Crafters Mall, so I had better brace myself for busier times on my next volunteer day in November.  By then hopefully all the new crias will have arrived – only five more to go!

 

Rosemary

October 15, 2008

A Different Days Work

 

Today is my first time volunteering at The Crafters Mall in Clovis where we now have a booth selling our end product.  One of the conditions of having a booth at The Crafters Mall is that each vendor has to volunteer one day a month to work at the store.

 

It will be a different day dealing with people instead of alpacas.  I am sure it will be a nice change in many ways (out of the rain and mud for a start!), but I know I will miss my fleeced friends who usually occupy most of my day.

 

Of course I will be packing a knitting project in case of slow times at the store.  I am not sure if knitting will be permitted while “on the job” so as to say, but if it is I will be prepared.  If not there is always lunchtime to fit in a row or two.

 

It will be a nice chance to meet some other crafters and also to meet potential customers; with the holiday season rapidly approaching I am sure there are some people already working on their holiday gift shopping.

 

At home, Ric will be minding the farm including the remaining girls who are due to have their crias.  The very wet weather has meant that the girls are still hanging onto their crias, but the forecast is for the weather to start to warm up a little as we reach the weekend.  So there is a chance that one or more of the girls will start to go into labor.

 

The three crias that are already with us have finally learnt that when it is cold and rainy a cria coat is a cozy thing to wear.  The last few days have been exceptionally wet and yesterday was not only wet but also cold and windy.  When it comes to the evening cria races however, Dutchesses boy still thinks that tugging the coats off the two girls is a lot of fun – boys will be boys!

 

By the time I get home in the evening all the chores will have been done, so maybe I will take the chance to catch up on some paperwork, or work on the website.  Not before I’ve paid a visit to the pasture though to say hello to the herd.

 

Rosemary

October 1, 2008

Taking Stock

Having lost our downtown end product outlet earlier in the year (the store owner retired) we have been looking into other options for us to get our alpaca products into a local retail location.  After looking at several options we have decided to try a booth at Main Street Crafters Mall, which is in the downtown area of Clovis.

 

There has been a lot of effort to promote and improve the area of downtown Clovis.   To me it has a lot of character ranging from the brick road to some beautiful architectural features on the buildings.  The Clovis MainStreet Program has been busy planning and securing funding for various projects.   The Chamber of Commerce has now opened a Norman and Vi Petty Rock and Roll museum in the downtown area and various events are scheduled in the downtown area throughout the year.

 

So today, following chores and with cria births permitting, we will be spending our time setting up our booth and making it as eye catching as possible.   I am challenged when it comes to artistic layout but am improving over the years, Ric has a better eye for display than I do so he will be putting his creative touch to our display.

 

The Main Street Crafters Mall consists of a collection of booths stocked by local artists and crafters.  There are a wide variety of products to choose from and it is a good place for gift shopping.  Having been open several years it is well known locally and usually gets a good flow of visitors throughout the week and weekend.

 

A crafters mall (or similar idea) can be a good place for alpaca breeders to place product, it allows you to get exposure for your product and your farm (don’t forget to include alpaca pictures and perhaps some rack cards or postcards about your farm in your display) while not tying you down to being at a store every day.    Some alpaca breeders I know have also sold product at Farmer’s Markets which can be another good avenue for end product sales (especially if you are willing to sit and spin, knit, weave or crochet which will get people’s attention).

 

To prepare for the set up of our booth we have inventoried our entire end product on hand and have had to re-label everything to comply with the requirements of the store.  It has taken a little time but it is a good opportunity to remind yourself what you do have on hand and maybe adjust pricing of various items depending on current markets and how long you have had that particular item in your inventory.

 

We are still planning on having a small online store on our website, and will offer products for sale at our Open Farm Days, but we like the idea that our local customers will now have easier access to our product on a day to day basis.  With Christmas rapidly approaching we are hoping that sales will still be good despite the current economical crisis in the US.

 

By the end of today our booth should be pretty much set up, I am sure we will need to come up with some additional signage, but we should have enough supplies and product on hand to make a nice display to start with.  Some of our marketing pieces will need to be changed to advertise the new location of our products –to ensure that as many people as possible know how to get their hands on our lovely alpaca goods.  Here’s hoping for some healthy alpaca product sales!

 

Rosemary

 

 

September 15, 2008

It’s Back! The Second National Alpaca Farm Days Is Almost Here

2008 National Alpaca Farm Days Poster

2008 National Alpaca Farm Days Poster

For the second year the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA) has coordinated National Alpaca Farm Days in order to increase the public’s awareness of alpacas.  For alpaca owners, alpaca lovers and those who have yet to meet an alpaca National Alpaca Farm Day’s provides an easy opportunity to find an alpaca farm or ranch to visit.

 

The date for this year’s event is September 27 and 28 and once again the National Alpaca Farm Days web site has been set up, complete with interactive map to help people find the nearest participating farm or ranch.    Once you get to the National Alpaca Farm Days web site at www.nationalalpacafarmdays.com just click on the “Find a Farm Near You” tab on the left hand side of the screen and the interactive map will appear, complete with search fields for you to enter.  You can enter just the state you wish to visit, the town you live in or even a specific farm name if there is a particular farm you wish to visit.  Do note that the interactive map comes up as a pop-up screen so if you have a pop-up blocker installed on your computer you will need to temporarily disable it.

 

Windrush Alpacas will again be taking part in National Alpaca Farm Days and will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 27.  We will have free refreshments, tours of the farm, educational presentations on alpacas, alpaca products and of course plenty of opportunity to meet an alpaca.  I can’t say for sure that we will have any new crias by then, but you never know!

 

So mark your calendars and come and visit us on September 27, we will look forward to seeing you then!

 

Rosemary

August 6, 2008

Marketing Our Wares

 

Yesterday was spent visiting local stores to try and gauge their interest in carrying some of our products.  Until this spring we had a booth at a store in downtown Clovis, NM that carried all sorts of unique gifts and products.  Sadly for us the owner decided that she needed to do something different in life and closed the store down, taking away our outlet for local product sales.  As the holiday season is rapidly approaching (I know, it’s only August but before we know it the holiday shopping season will be upon us) we want to get our products into the stores to increase people’s awareness of them.

 

In the past we tried running a small store at the farm, but with two of us and close to 60 alpacas at any given time it becomes quite a juggling act.  Retail customers often don’t understand that you are in the middle of chores and not really attired for selling fine alpaca products, after all they don’t encounter that situation in most stores they visit.  So the farm store is now only open during events such as our Open Farm Days.  That works for helping deal with the workflow at home but does not provide our retail customers with easy, convenient access to our products.  Hence our current expedition to find another local store or two where we can place our products in addition to our online store which is still in the works.

 

Funnily enough when we first started to raise alpacas I never envisioned having to deal with retail sales of product.  I knew the alpacas would need tending to, I knew that there would be bookkeeping and other paperwork to do and I knew that there would be a need to do marketing, but the penny didn’t quite drop that I would need to retail our products.

 

Not long after we purchased our first alpacas I started to realize that it would be beneficial to us to be able to sell products made from alpaca fleece.  It’s not an obligatory part of alpaca ownership by any means, but it does bring additional income to the business and tends to be a more steady flow than the sales of the alpacas themselves.

 

Our journey into the world of alpaca end product sales has been an interesting one.  We now have a better understanding of why it takes so long to have product made from our own fleece (an average of seven months turn around time), we have a better understanding of what grades of fleece are best for which products, we have a better understanding of production costs, and we have a better understanding that end product retail sales are a whole business and education in themselves! 

 

At the end of the day we know we don’t want to become a full time retail product operation, our love is managing an alpaca herd and selling alpacas, but the hands on education we have received while learning how to sell alpaca end product has given us a greater understanding of where we need to be headed with our breeding goals and along the way our end product sales (even with our novice understanding of retail) have proved profitable.  Additionally our experience in retailing alpaca product has helped us to understand how important it is that the alpaca industry focus on further development of the fiber side of the business.

 

Personally I feel that the alpaca industry is at an exciting time in it’s development, the market for North American alpaca products is most definitely there, the challenge now is to continue to build interest in North American alpaca products and bring those products to the consumer at price that is acceptable to them while still putting profit into the alpaca breeders business.  With the development of fiber cooperatives and joint end product ventures the ability to meet that challenge is within our grasp.  How exciting to know that the fleece from our herd could one day, in the near future, be in a product in a major department store or in a piece of couture clothing.

 

While marketing our product locally is only a small piece of the puzzle, it is a piece all the same.  The customers who purchase our products often tell their friends and relatives how much they enjoy them, or send our products to friends and relatives as gifts.  Slowly but surely the word spreads and the demand grows.

 

So albeit that at the start of our alpaca business I never envisioned that retail product sales would be something I would be dealing with, here I am today doing just that.  Meeting interesting people, learning from the information they are willing to share with me, and doing my little bit to promote alpacas. 

 

Rosemary

April 14, 2008

Time to Get Busy

 

Having arrived in England it’s time to get busy with preparing my mother for her move on Thursday.  There is a lot to do!  Yesterday was spent trying to assess what is going to go to the new flat, what is going to be given away or donated to charity and what is going to be disposed of.  We made some progress but there seems to be an endless amount of things to go through.

 

My trip over to England went smoothly even though my first flight was delayed by 30 minutes.  I always allow a lot of connection time between my flights when flying overseas as it seems that the airlines love to land you in one terminal and then challenge you to get to the terminal furthest away collecting your luggage and clearing customs on the way.  I would rather spend a few hours sitting in the airport than doing the airport dash!  I was a little disappointed that in my hurry to leave the house and get to the airport I forgot to grab my alpaca energy mat, the flight just was not the same without it.

 

My friend Linda was at the airport to meet me and drive me to my mothers, the journey on the M25 to Heathrow is a little better than the journey to Gatwick, but the M25 still had an enormous amount of traffic on it, especially compared to the traffic we get in Clovis, New Mexico.  Linda and I took the opportunity to stop and have a cup of coffee together, catching up on our latest news including hearing about Linda’s recent radio interview on Three Counties Radio, a local radio station.

 

Back at home Ric has been busy too, doing some substitute teaching and keeping up with chores.   The visiting girls were ready for behaviour testing following their breedings.  Celeste was pretty definite that she did not want to see any male alpacas, but Marti and Cariad were a little less certain.  With Marti being a maiden she may be confused about the signals her body is sending her, it is not unusual for a maiden alpaca to be a little difficult to read when it comes to behaviour testing.  Cariad though has been bred before, so her behaviour might be telling us that she has ovulated but has not conceived a pregnancy.  The next behaviour test will give us a better idea of which girls could be pregnant and which will need rebreeding.

 

The next few days are going to be very busy here in England, the removal van is booked for April 17th and once everything earmarked for the new flat has been moved we will have to finish clearing out whatever has been left at the old house, but once the job is done it will be a good feeling.

 

Ric has told me that he has a blog entry to upload in the next day or two, so hopefully I will get a chance to talk him through the new control panel on WordPress that was installed just a few days before I left for England.  The new control panel is, to me, less simple to follow and it might take Ric a few attempts to get his blog entry loaded.  So keep checking back to see if Ric is successful in loading his blog entry and what he has to tell us about “A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas” during my absence.

 

Rosemary

 

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