Winter blahs and other ramblings. . .

Massachusetts has been spared major snowfall this winter. I do realize we have a few weeks left before spring … but snowfall now usually melts quickly. In past years we have had to shovel paths for alpacas to move about so that chore was not necessary (so far) nor was it missed.

Winter months are not pleasant for any farmer. Waste disposal comes to a ‘frozen’ standstill. Any icy precipitation thaws and turns to pure mud. Yes, mud. Not just a mud puddle … mud as far as you can see. And frozen waste mixes with mud to form sludge. It is not pretty.

Our farm is open to the public on Sunday afternoons and I cringe as I see visitors exit their vehicle wearing regular shoes. I tend to apologize for mother nature’s mess but it is a FARM! I’ll admit, I also apologize to visitors for alpacas sneezing on them, knocking cameras out of their hands, alpacas peeing close to the fence, alpaca females practicing dominance (they oggle like males too!) and I apologize for bird poop. It’s a FARM!!

So, although a bitter, snowy winter has eluded us, it’s mud season from now until May. Feel free to visit us but wear boots and it’s a farm … I’m sorry. : )

Supporting Made In The USA!

We support American farmers. Whether they have large or small farms, they have drive and put forth great effort with blood, sweat and tears.

We are fortunate to work with the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool (NEAFP) in Fall River. Approximately 4,500 farms across the US contribute to this ‘pool’ and utilize the NEAFP services so there are many farms selling amazing Made In The USA products.

Recently, several customers have stated that they purchased a certain hat or sock from an alpaca farm and the product wasn’t the quality expected. Other customers state they found a similar,less expensive product at another farm. More often than not, these products are Peruvian made. I must interject that there are Peruvian products that are substantial quality, however, we support Made In The USA!!!

In the mid ’80’s when the import of Peruvian alpacas was halted, American farmers worked tirelessly to create American herds with amazing wool. Today the American alpaca industry is booming. We are booming with PRIDE!! The products created through NEAFP (based in Fall River, MA) are made with USA alpaca fiber using USA fiber mills keeping jobs and the fiber industry alive in the USA!

So the next time you are purchasing warm, wooly alpaca fiber products, feel free to ask…”Was this proudly made in the USA?” At Kave Rock Farm, the answer is always YES!!!!

Crias

This is the first time we have had multiple crias at the same time. And… it’s amazing! The interaction between the three of them is comical. They take turns leading the race and jumping on one another. J J is the oldest and he prefers to play with Xena most of the time. He bites her and gets her to play ‘tag’ with him. Dollie, the youngest, is a bit more reserved and doesn’t stray far from her mama. She will sneak up on the other two, jump on one of them then run away. Watching baby animals play seems to lift daily stress away and is sure to bring you a laugh out loud moment.(Photos: Dollie, JJ, Xena)

Waiting for crias. . .

We are a society that hates to wait. So … waiting for alpacas to be born is like watching grass grow. The gestation of an alpaca is 11 1/2 months. 350 days to be exact!! Some alpacas can go 365-370 days. Tick…tock… Waiting!!

Here’s some fun facts:
A baby alpaca is called a CRIA. (Cree-ya)
Most ruminants (animals with multiple stomachs) deliver their babies in the early morning.
The average cria weighs 15-16 pounds at birth but a healthy birth weight can range from 12-22 lbs.
Alpacas birth one cria (although there are a few reports of twins)
The cria is typically up walking and nursing in an hour or two.
Crias have difficulty regulating body temperature when first born so they are monitored in warm weather (we keep them out of the hot sun) and they wear coats in cold weather.

So the next time you’re waiting in line at the grocery store or bank, just be glad you’re not waiting for a cria to be born!

Memorial Day . . .

Memorial Day has always been special since (in my mind) summer is just around the corner.  We can’t forget the true meaning of the day and how so many men and women have given their lives for our freedom.

This weekend at Kave Rock Farm we will be tilling alpaca ‘beans’ into our gardens.  We call the manure beans because it resembles coffee beans.  It is quite amazing that animals weighing 150 pounds ‘poop’ like bunny rabbits.  Alpaca manure is a ‘cold’ manure and can be placed into gardens without being composted first.   We have have used fresh and dried beans in our gardens with positive results. Dried beans are great for houseplants too.   Our manure has been analyzed at UMASS Amherst and proves to be rich in nitrogen (which is essential for leaf and stem growth.)   Additionally, alpaca beans contain phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and sodium.  They are also high in potassium (which helps plants resist disease).  Best of all … alpaca manure is odor free!!!

The farm is open on Sundays from 12-4.  Visitors are welcome to bring a bucket to fill with beans or purchase a bag of dried beans.  (Prices range from $5-$15 approximately)

 

 

Spring . . . but will it ever stop snowing?

Spring on a farm means rains and MUD.  March brought us snow and MUD.

Our event schedule has slowed down since people no longer want to think about warm wool products.  We do have patrons who purchase our socks year round since they have great moisture wick qualities. Our Home Store is open most Sundays from 12-4.  You can also schedule a visit just to see the alpacas.  There’s no cost to visit and we enjoy telling people about these unique animals.  Each of our animals has a name and a personality.  Some are outgoing and love people.  Some are shy yet curious.

We have 2 males for sale.  They are 3 years old and I hope they will be sold together since they have never been apart.  Jett, is solid black and a bit shy.  Howie is white and has incredible fiber.  Both are on the smaller size for males.  We will deliver them within a reasonable distance.

At the end of April our alpacas are being shorn so if you want to see them full and fluffy visit before the 28th.  If you do visit this month, you probably should wear boots!

Fall fun …

As Fall creeps in and we say goodbye to summer, the activity here at Kave Rock Farm increases.

Saturdays are spent at events …Fall festivals and Farmer’s Markets.  We bring a few alpacas with us when we can.  We love to educate people and show them where their products originate.  Alpacas are unique creatures and each one has a different personality.  Although they look cute and cuddly, many alpacas do not like to be touched.  You can sometimes stroke their neck .  We try to bring ‘friendlier’ alpacas when we attend events.

The farm is open to the public most Sundays from 12 – 4 PM.  You can visit the animals and purchase alpaca fiber products.  To date we have twenty alpacas.  There’s a cria due at the end of October and we will be sure to post photos.

Whether you visit us at one of the events or stop by the farm, we welcome your visit!!!

Fall Fun

The Fall season is a busy one here at Kave Rock.  We pack up a few alpacas each Saturday and attend a local Harvest Festival or Farmer’s Market (check our EVENTS page for listings).  The weather is cooler and people begin to have a greater interest in our cold weather items.  This year we have two new products.  We carry headbands for those who prefer to cover just their ears rather than wear a hat. They come in gray, brown or fawn and have different patterns.   In addition, we now carry Wrist Warmers.  There is a cable pattern as well as a pointelle style. Both are light weight yet incredibly warm.  If you have not worn any of our alpaca products, you are in for a treat.  They are warm and durable.  Alpaca fiber has no lanolin and does not ‘itch’ like sheep wool. All our socks can be machine washed and dried.  Most of all …MADE IN THE USA!!!  Our Home Store has gotten a facelift and beginning October 9, we will be open each Sunday from 1-4 PM.  Stop by to see the alpacas and check out The STORE!

30th Birthday Party

There was a man,
His name was Dan,
A concert with Phish,
Was his girlfriend’s wish,
He added alpacas to play
On her special birthday!!

Happy Birthday, Taylor!!!

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