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Fancy Gap Apple Festival

Join us tomorrow at the Fancy Gap Apple Festival at Milepost 199.5, just 4.5 miles from the farm at Highway 52.  There will be music at the picking porch, craft vendors, and of course lots of apples from 10am-5pm.

The farm will be open our regular hours this weekend, Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 1-5pm.

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Alpaca Boys Move to Their New Home

Two more of our sweet alpaca boys moved to a new farm on Wednesday.  Ten Ten Ten (known as Thirty around here), a beautiful junior herdsire from our Sunrise Surprise and a 5 time Color Champion sire, and Trixter, a fun loving gelding, will be joining the farm of Pat and Felice.  They will share the farm with a white alpaca named Shaggy and several other types of animals.

As always, we will miss the boys, but know they will enjoy their new farm and be well loved.  We still have some great pet/fiber alpaca boys for sale at our special two boys for $750 (more details here).  For those looking for breeding males and females, we have some wonderful boys and girls on sale now as well.  Check out our listings to see which alpaca would be right for you, and then give us a call or email to set up a time to come meet them in person.

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Hillsville Flea Market

When we began our alpaca farm in 2006 and opened our store, people started telling us that we should participate in the annual Labor Day flea market in Hillsville.  We couldn’t imagine that our alpaca socks, sweaters and yarns would fit in with what we envisioned a flea market to be, but they assured us, “it’s not a typical flea market”.  Trusting our new neighbors we signed up and set up a booth in the VFW area of the flea market.  We’re they ever right.  We fit right in at the Hillsville Flea Market, which has everything you can imagine and many things you couldn’t have.  Over half a million people each year come to Hillsville, Virginia to shop for antiques, furniture, guns, toys, and now alpaca products.

Hillsville Flea Market

We invite you to visit our booth at the VFW.  We set up each year in spaces 503-505, row 4 (from the main snack bar, we are on the row directly in front of the women’s restroom).  This year we have some great discounts on alpaca yarns and alpaca socks as well a selection of our alpaca clothing from hats and gloves to sweaters and coats.  We also have several alpaca blankets to choose from, and lots of alpaca plush toys.

The flea market is open this weekend, Sept 2-5, Friday-Sunday from 8am-6pm and Monday 8am-4pm.  Parking is easily accessible from Highway 52 in the VFW parking lot next to Victory Way Baptist Church.  To avoid traffic, we recommend coming in from exit 8 (Fancy Gap) off I-77.  Exit 14 (Hillsville) gets pretty crowded.

Hope to see you there!

The farm will be open our regular hours Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm & Sunday 1-5pm, so be sure to stop by to see the alpacas while you are up this way.

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New Hay

Fresh Hay in the Barn

The end of August always means hay delivery time.  Second cuttings of the hay fields are going on, weather permitting, all around us.  We’ve gotten two deliveries of hay so far, and will be getting some more to last us through the winter and on until next August.

Gabriel and mom Francesca enjoying a new bale of hay.

Alpacas are very efficient eaters, needing to eat only about 1-2% of their body weight per day.  Since alpacas weigh on average about 150 pounds full grown, that is only 3 pounds or less a day of grass, hay and grain.  Even in winter a sqare bale of hay a day can feed a pasture of about 14 alpacas.

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Mac and Noonie Move to Their New Home

Mac & Noonie at Their New Home

Today, two of our sweet geldings moved to their new home.  Sensational Mahogany, “Mac”, and Cinnamon’s High Noon, “Noonie”, have been favorite members of our farm, but are now going to become part of a new family.  Debbie Simmons and her family are looking forward to having these lovely boys as pets and to allow her grandkids to grow up around these sweet alpacas.

We always miss our alpacas when they move on to new farms, but we are glad to see them go to a farm where they will be loved as much as they were here.

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Alpaca Farming with our New Tractor

Can you have an alpaca farm without owning a tractor? Yes, you can. We have grown our herd of alpacas from 17 to 51 over the past six years with no tractor. We have had a lovely little riding lawn mower that we called a tractor (to increase its confidence) who has done hauling and bush hogging in addition to its normal grass cutting duties. It has done remarkably well over the years no matter what we asked of it, but we finally reached the point where the work load was getting too much for us and our little “tractor” to keep up with.

Sharla, Mike, Fancy Girl, Linda, David, and Bonnie with the new tractor

This week we purchased a new Kubota tractor with a scoop in the front and a rotary cutter for cutting our pastures and brushy areas. Already we are amazed at the time it has saved us. It will allow us to keep up with cutting weeds that sprout up in the pasture as well as have time to work on clearing some of our 27 acres that is still overgrown.  And that scoop has already come in handy with turning the paca poop compost and other jobs around the farm.  The whole family loves the new tractors, even the alpacas who are quite curious about this big new orange pasture mate.

So, can you have an alpaca farm without owning a tractor?  Yes, but it is a whole lot easier with one.

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Alpaca Crias Playing

Coriander, (moms Spice and Fran), May, Milton, Gabriel, Becket

One of the most fun things about alpaca farming is watching our new batch of crias each year.  This year, Peaceful Heart Alpacas had five beautiful alpaca crias born in May and June.  They are all getting big now and more and more independent from their moms.  In the mornings we often let the mamas and crias out on to the parking area around the store to keep the grass trimmed.  The crias all have a great time running around and playing as their moms eat.

Becket & the 2011 crias greeting our 2010 girls

Alpaca crias love to play. The little girls particularly like to run, but the boys love to wrestle.  I put a new video up on our Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/Peaceful.Heart.Alpacas.  (You don’t have to be a member or even sign-in to Facebook to see it.)  The video is about 1 minute and 40 seconds long and shows Milton (white) and Gabriel (fawn) wrestling. After a little while, Milton’s little brother Becket comes up to join in, but Milton lets him know quickly that he is not invited. Becket soon gets over his disappointment and starts playing with a weed he finds. I just enjoy spending time watching the crias play.

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Knitting with Alpaca – Classes this week

We have two fun classes coming up this week.

On Friday, July 29, from 10am-12pm we are having one of our quick and easy knitting loom classes.  Come and join us to learn to create an alpaca scarf using a knitting loom.  No experience or fiber art skills necessary.  For more information, click here.

Saturday we will be working on the second square of the Great American Afghan.  Pictured here is the first square we worked on, knit by Carol Dixon with one of our alpaca yarns.  We will be starting on a new square this Saturday from 1-5pm, so feel free to join us even if you didn’t participate in the first class.  This knitting class is an intermediate level class and we will be focusing on learning to cable knit and read patterns and charts.  We had a great time in our first session.  We hope you can join us on Saturday.  For more information, click here.

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Fun with Felt – Fiber Art Classes with Alpaca

Our Fun with Felt series starts this Saturday. We have three great classes scheduled this weekend, and invite you to join us for one or more. Last year we offered the same classes and had so much fun, that some of the participants are returning to take the classes again.

On Saturday, July 23 from 8:30-12, we will be wet felting purses. That afternoon, from 1-4pm we will be felting scarves. For those staying for both classes, lunch will be provided between the classes at no additional charge.

Sunday, July 24, we will spend the day wet felting incredible, one-of-a-kind hats. The class will be from 8am-5pm. Lunch will be provided.

Join us for these great opportunities to learn and create with alpaca fiber, wool, warm water and soap. No fiber art experience is required, and no knitting is involved. You can register online, by phone, or at the farm.

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Great American Aran Afghan

July 16 class

We had a great first class for the Great American Aran Afghan on Saturday, July 16. Everyone had a good time learning new stitches and how to read patterns and charts. It was a challenging first square, but everyone completed the first round of the pattern before the end of the class and was beginning to see how lovely the square will be.

We will be working on a different square on Saturday, July 30 from 1-5pm. We invite all knitters to join us for this fun class. You should know the basics of knitting (knit, purl, cast-on) to participate. Contact us if you’d like to sign-up.

July 30 Class

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