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March 7, 2011
It may seem strange how much of our news page ends up being dedicated to the changing seasons. Those of you who are already in this business will understand what a major role the seasons and the weather play in our lives! Those of you contemplating or planning on getting into alpacas need to know this. The strong connection to the land and all of nature that alpacas bring is one of the major attributes of having them in our lives. The pace of our lives has changed. We have become more aware of the natural rythms that are all around us, and things that we never noticed in "busier" lives gain great importance. When I walk down to the barn at night, I find myself giving thanks for this connection that was so absent in my "former life!" I have seen more beauty, experienced more peace, walked in greater awe, than ever before. The animals themselves are entrancing....what they bring to us is truly a blessing!
Our last cria was born in November of 2008. I had bred Jennabelle to Duke and they produced a beautiful little true-black male. If I had had any doubts about my decision to stop breeding, his birth settled them in my mind. With the age of 70 fast approaching, there was no way that I was going to be able to recover from six years of male births and only one female! I named him RCF Just Before Dawn to express my hope of a new life birthing for me.
Jennabelle is certainly expressing life as my girls now know it. Mine is considerably busier, as I have taken up gardening with great gusto. I am raising almost all of the vegetables and most of the fruit that we eat. With the alpacas providing plenty of manure and trashed hay, doing it organically is quite practical. So now, instead of contributing babies to the farm, they are providing us with good compost and plenty of fiber. I truly cannot imagine life without alpacas in it.
We are on the cusp of spring with the days growing longer and milder. This used to be the time that my thoughts turned to new crias. I miss the little guys, but my sense of renewal now comes from our garden. Spring still means planning for shearing and what to do with the fiber. Late trips to the barn are more fun as the weather moderates, and I enjoy a last visit with the alpacas that settles us all for the night. Yes, indeed, it is still grand to be an alpaca owner!
From David & Linda Grubb of Wolf Hills Alpacas
"We first met Jo at an ABC Buyer’s clinic in August of 2002. Right away, we bonded with Jo, because we were impressed with both her sincerity and genuine love of her alpacas. When it was time to choose a breeder to buy our alpacas, the choice was evident, as Jo showed that she not only was highly knowledgeable, but also provided invaluable information to ensure that we were prepared to care for our investment. Since our purchase, she has always been there for us, at our beck and call, with both day-to-day care information, as well as over the phone hand-holding through difficult births. Jo is the greatest, and we will always be appreciative of her honest and straightforward support."
From Marty & Harry Leist of Mountain Meadows Alpaca Farm
"Being new in the alpaca business, my husband and I chose to buy our first animals from Jo Overbey of Rock Chimney Farm Alpacas because she was willing and able to meet our needs. She freely shared her considerable knowledge, made honest suggestions and was supportive in every aspect of the business. We were especially impressed that she knew her animals so well and that she obviously enjoyed caring for them. Since that initial sale, she has continued to coach us, generously referred us to other farms, and been readily available to answer our questions. We feel Jo is truly our alpaca mentor."
From Jim Perry of Ambler's Alpacas
"I have sent some of my best animals to RCF for breeding. The outcome has been some of the most beautiful crias that I now own (and all girls, at that!). RCF offers a wide range of herdsire color selections. Most importantly, I am impressed with the knowledge and high quality of the health care offered by Jo."
From Lisa Olsen of Alpaca Atlantic
"I first met Jo Overbey while attending a shearing clinic, which she organized and hosted at Rock Chimney Farm. Without a doubt, the hospitality this woman extended, left me speechless - and that doesn't happen often! I left the farm, not only knowing how to shear an alpaca, but I was confident I had picked her brain to the extent that she would require recovery time. She was, and is, terrific. I would tell you about the time her referral saved the life of one of my animals - but that's another story! Jo is a woman who doesn't compromise standards or principles, and it shows in her animals - I'll always admire her for that."
We're including some links to aid you in your alpaca journey. Some are organizations, others are farms. Before you leave us though, please take a moment to bookmark our site. Check back with us from time to time, or better yet join me for a cup of coffee and we'll talk 'pacas in person!
The Alpaca Heritage Sale
An outstanding sale and educational venue put on by 15 to 20 small breeders held in different locations in the northeast every fall.
Alpaca Registry, Inc. (ARI)
ARI is a breed registry designed to house the genealogy, blood typing, and ownership records of alpacas in North America. Membership is automatic for all registered owners of alpacas. They have great resources available on their web site.
Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association (AOBA)
Marketing, information, and shows are the three terms that come to mind when contemplating AOBA. Touring farms on-line, located in their breeders directory, can keep you busy for weeks. New to the alpaca world and want an info packet? AOBA can send you one. They also sponsor regional events, maintain a great calendar of events, and have one of the most complete alpaca libraries in the industry. You don't have to own alpacas to join -- a great resource!
Mid-Atlantic Alpaca Association (MaPaca)
MaPaca is a cooperative group of alpaca breeders in the Mid-Atlantic states of
DE, MA, NJ, NY, PA, VA, and WV. They are a diverse group with both huacaya and suri herds sizes ranging from 2 to over 200 alpacas. During the spring of each year, MaPaca sponsors one of the largest alpaca shows in the United States, The Eastern Alpaca Jubilee.
The AOBA Show Division
A new division of AOBA designed to manage and govern alpaca shows.
Alpaca and Llama Show Association
The name says it all!
Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America, Inc. (AFCNA)
The mission of AFCNA is to create, promote and market alpaca products for its members because, "Life Feels Fabulous in Alpaca."
Southeastern Alpaca Association (SeAA)
The Southeastern Alpaca Association, an official affiliate of the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association, represents well over 60 alpaca farms in the states of AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC, and TN.
Alpaca Farms Worth Visiting
Dr. Jim Perry, 3341 Wahrani La, Lanexa VA 23089
Phone: (804) 966-9329
Kathy Hamblett, 17240 Andreanoff Drive, Juneau, AK 99801
Phone: (907) 523-5254
Lisa Olsen, 5378 Woodbury Highway, Manchester, TN 37355
Phone: (931) 728-6945
Mount Airy Alpaca Co.
Thomas & Kate Perez, 6202-C Woodville Rd, Mount Airy, MD 21771
Phone: (301) 609-9129
Silverstream Alpaca Stud
Kit and Sheryl Johnson, 68 Moody's Road, RD2 Kaiapoi, New Zealand
Phone: (03) 327-3020
I've got alpacas, I've got experience, I've got training, I've got knowledge, I've got opinions, I've got ideas,
I've got plans, I've got coffee, but most of all, I've always got time to share!
I can be reached by phone at (434) 332-6442
or contacted via
Look forward to hearing from you!
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