From The Bean Pile...

I thought about blogging and realized I probably wouldn't be diligent enough to be entertaining so this is intended to be a place for you to learn a bit more about us, to offer some general info about alpacas, some humour about farm life and to debunk some of the myths surrounding these fascinating animals. Articles will be added as they are conceived with a timeline that may or may not exceed the gestation period of your average alpaca - so far we've had pregnancies that went from 335 to 370 days - in other words, I'll write them when the urge strikes. If you'd like more specific industry information you can give us a call or check out Alpaca Canada, CLAA or Alpaca Ontario for loads of detailed information.  

On Breeding Decisions

Published in Camelid Quarterly September 2012

We all have plans and dreams when we start this alpaca life. We make our best choices, educate ourselves, trust in fate, hope for the best, roll the dice, work really hard and oftentimes it works out. Sometimes it's a complete disaster. Sometimes it's just okay and sometimes it's totally awesome.

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On Showing

Published in Camelid Quarterly Magazine March 2012

Normally I try to avoid potentially controversial topics like shows but I thought this might be fun. I like going to shows because it gives me a chance to reconnect with people that I rarely get to see in person. It also gives me a chance to get my hands on some wonderful alpacas, to continue my education and to have my animals assessed by people who are supposed to be better at this than I; after all, they get paid to do that job.

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On Brotherly Love

Published in Camelid Quarterly Magazine December 2011

I was going to write about shows and showmanship but started to get a little ranty so I stepped away from the keyboard in favour of shoveling some beans. Maybe I'll take a run at the joys of showing another day. Instead I'll talk about boys.

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On Communication

Published in Camelid Quarterly Magazine September 2011

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant."

This quote sums up many things in my life beautifully – my marriage, my kids, my alpacas, my life – somedays I'm sure I'm speaking in tongues; somedays I'm just talking to myself. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am occasionally misunderstood.

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Finding the "Fun" In Fundamentals

Published in Camelid Quarterly Magazine March 2011 

Big secret here, you can't tell anyone...I am not a naturally gleeful person. I don't have one of those sunny, everything-is-wonderful personalities. I worry about a lot of things and I don't make friends easily. I have a wicked bad sense of humour and I'm a bit of a cynic. alpacas don't care.

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What's in Your Pockets?

Published in Camelid Quarterly Magazine September 2010

This is kind of a fashion article or maybe I'm having a kind of game show flashback. Do you remember Let's Make a Deal when Monty Hall used to offer big bucks to whoever had some obscure item in their pocket or purse?

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On Being Green

published  CQ Magazine June 2010

Being perceived as being "green" is a big deal today. Hundred mile diets, organic anything, buying locally, energy credits and environmental footprints are hot topics and even the big box stores are getting on the bandwagon, trying to find ways to greenify their images. I think we're all more conscious of how what we do impacts on our environment, but I also think it's debatable just how "green" farming can be.

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On Anthropomorphism

Published in Camelid Quarterly  March 2010

As alpaca owners and breeders we are frequently accused of attributing human traits to our animals. I'm guilty of it, maybe you are too. I'll go you one better, mine talk. Well, I speak the words but the sentiment is all theirs and sometimes some of mine say bad words, especially the girls.

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Notes on Beans - Part 2

If you own alpacas a collection of manure is inevitable. Everyone says alpacas are easy to pick up after because they poop in one spot and it's true, sort of. Their poop is right there, and there, and oh, over there, just waiting for you.

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Notes on Beans - Part 1

Published in Camelid Quarterly

Do you ever stop and think about just how much time we spend looking at poop? I thought when my kids got past a certain age I'd lose the obsessive poop observation practices I'd developed as a parental unit but I bought alpacas and lo and behold I have a new use for that skill!

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From the Bean Pile - On Starting Rookies

Published in Camelid Quarterly June 2009

 One of the most dangerous phrases I have ever been known to use is, "How hard can it be?" In our household this statement is a proven precursor to disaster or, at the very least, hilarious chaos.

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On Alpaca Fashion

Published Camelid Quarterly Magazine March 2009

No heels, no panty hose, no 'spiritwear.' Pure bliss!

I bet that caught your attention didn't it? I also bet you're thinking I'm going to tell you about the beautiful clothes that are being made from the glorious fibre that our critters produce – well I'm not.

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On Spit Checks

Published in Camelid Quarterly Magazine December 2008

Personally I love spit checks. I think they're reasonably accurate, especially when used with proven animals. They also definitely have the potential to become a highly amusing event.

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