Golden Touch Alpaca Farm

  (Westport, Massachusetts)
A glimpse into everyday life at our Alpaca farm
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HD Video: Grand Central Bird Station

We posted a new video last night - enjoy a few minutes of the birds playing around at the feeders!

 

 

Grand Central Bird Station from goldentouchfarm on Vimeo.

 
 

Believe in Miracles - They do happen!

Friday started off as any typical day, morning chores where done so we decided with such beautiful weather we would take the boat out and do some fishing. We had a great day on the ocean and returned home around 4:00pm.

As always when returning home from an outing the first thing I do is a check on Mothers and new cria. Upon my entrance into the barn I saw a newborn cria laying lifeless in the hay with membranes still covering his face. Immediately my heart sunk and I flew over the railing, when I touched him he was cool, not breathing and had no pulse. Mom was a first time mom and she was very distraught.

I was not hopeful at all but instincts kicked in and I cleared the membranes off his face and then swung him upside down to clear any fluid that might be in his lungs. I then began CPR and mouth to mouth. After a couple of minutes he gasped his first breath. At first I couldn't believe it but it was actually him coming to life. Not only was mom standing over my shoulder watching me but twenty other alpacas witnessed this miracle with me.

I continued working on him until his breathing was at a regular rate, dried him up and put a coat on to help get his temperature up. I put him in a stall and proceeded to focus on mom and getting her in with her new son.

With my adrenaline pumping from what just happened I looked at mom and realized not only was the placenta hanging she had a prolapsed uterus. The uterus was hanging about a foot out from her body. I got her into the stall with her new son and then ran in to call the vet. I got my vets voice mail and when he didn't call back in 10 minutes I knew I needed a back up plan so I put a call out to my secondary vet.

Thankfully I was on the phone with her in 10 minutes and she said she would come but it would take her a while so in the mean time I was to keep the uterus as clean as possible, rinse with clean water and coat it with sugar. Sugar helps shrink the size making it easier to put back. While waiting for the vet I worked at getting this new little miracle baby nursing and was successful. I am still amazed when I think how quickly he bounded back to life. Mom was very cooperative despite how uncomfortable she was. She also let me milk her to get more milk for the little guy.

When the vet arrived she too was amazed at the cria and how he had rebounded. While mom was lying down she made her first attempt at replacing the uterus without success. Mom was still contracting and would put it out as the vet was trying to get it back in. We decided to give mom a little sedation to help relax her and then make another attempt in a standing position. If that was not going to work then off to Tufts University we would have to go for surgery.

The second miracle happened when she got the uterus in and it stayed. The vet then sutured her vulva closed and she was started on antibiotics and Banamine for pain and inflammation. The next 12-24 hours were critical. I stayed in the barn for most of the night making sure the cria was nursing and that mom was not trying to expel the uterus. I am happy to say both mom and her son are doing wonderful, better than any of us expected. Mom is not totally out of the woods yet but we are all very optimistic. Her sutures will be removed tomorrow and the antibiotics will continue for the rest of the week. Providing no complications she'll be good as new. the jury is still out on the new little guys name but I promise you it will be a special one. Here is a picture of this bundle of joy.

 

 

 
 

New Alpaca Photos Up!

It has been raining non stop for 3 weeks not but today in between the passing showers we managed to snap some quick photos of the Alpaca Girls out in the field enjoying some grass. 

 

We also managed to capture our newest addition to the herd, a female cria! Name coming soon!

 

 

 
 

New HD Video: Summing up our summer so far: Cold, Wet, and Busy!

We have been tremendously busy this summer (if you can even refer to it as that) so you will have to excuse the lack of video posts. Although we haven't been posting we certainly have been capturing tons of great footage, it is just a matter of getting the time to sit down and edit them all together.

This video was taken yesterday and sums up what the first month of Summer felt like for us - Cold, Wet, and Busy just like the Hummingbirds themselves!

 

 

Hummingbird Sneak Peak - Summer '09 from goldentouchfarm on Vimeo.

 
 

N.E. Alpaca Fiber Pool in the News!

 picture from A New Fleece on Life | Herald News 

 

Recently the Herald News came out to our mill in Fall River to do a story on our Fiber Processing business, The New England Alpaca Fiber Pool (http://www.neafp.com). For those of you who do not know, along with running our Alpaca Farm, we also got involved in the commercial processing of Alpaca Fiber over 7 years ago. As new Alpaca Owners, one of the first questions we asked ourselves was "What can we do to utilize this fiber?" - We soon learned about NEAFP, which was conveniently located practically in our back yard and we became very involved in the day to day activities of commercially processing Alpaca in the United States into finished products for resale. 

Since those early days we learned a tremendous amount about running a textile business in the United States, and eventually took over the company 5 years ago. Over the last 2 years we have seen tremendous growth in how much fiber we process each year, as well as how many products are being resold by Alpaca Farms to the general public. 

Although the Economy is weak across the board right now, we couldn't be more excited about the future of our business and the U.S. Alpaca Fiber Industry as a whole. As more and more farms embrace the Fiber Side of their business, the animals and their fiber are being introduced to more and more people. Their charisma alone can win any cold heart over and we believe the entire industry is in for some amazing growth as more and more people embrace alternative investments and support local, sustainable businesses and agriculture in their communities. 

 

When you have a free moment, be sure to head over and read the complete article 

 
 

Great Video and Article on raising Alpacas!

Alpaca farm prepares for World Alpaca Conference - You can read the entire article here 
 
 

Hatching Chicks!

A few days ago the Chickens started hatching in the incubator and we now have 13 little chicks! There are some Silkies and the rest are Rhode Island Reds. We have had chickens for the last year and a half and absolutely love having Fresh Eggs each morning. Our neighbors, friends and family have also enjoyed the extras! You really can't beat the taste, I don't think we will ever go back to grocery store bought eggs. 

 
 

HD Video: Hummingbird Sneak Peak!

We hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a great Mother's Day! It was nice to finally see the sun, for the last 6 days New England has been grey and dreary, very tough on the motivation. 

The early arrival hummingbirds were happy to see the sun as well and were a bit more active on the feeders, last night after the family came over for MDay dinner we managed to capture some great footage. It is also nice to compare this time of year to later in August when the hummingbird population has quadrupled and there is a lot more competition around the feeders.

 

Here is a quick 3 min clip of some of the footage we got last night, enjoy the sneak peak!

 

NOTE: If you notice a stutter on playback, pause the video and let it buffer completely. If you have an older computer, it also helps to turn HD OFF in the top right corner.

 

 

Hummingbird Sneak Peak from goldentouchfarm on Vimeo.

 

Didn't get any Alpaca Socks for Mother's Day? Well remedy that - we are offering 20% all orders over $30 for the rest of the month of may. Use coupon code "motheralpaca" at checkout!

GoldenTouchNaturals.com - Our Farm store! 

 
 

UN's International Year of Natural Fibers 2009 Marketing Collateral

 

 

 

As you might have already known 2009 has been declared The International Year of Natural Fibers by the United Nations to help promote the production of textiles using Natural Fibers. They sent out an email blast this morning releasing all their marketing supplies ranging from the video embedded above to brochures and posters.


If you run a Natural Fiber business, farm, or run events these are great marketing collateral you can share with your community to help promote the International Year.

You can head here and download yours today! -http://www.naturalfibres2009.org/en/iynf/media.html
 
 

First Hummingbird siting of 2009!

Our first Hummingbirds of the season were spotted this morning! They are right on schedule. Last year they arrived on April 30th, and the year before that April 27th.

 

Check out this amazingly small Hummingbird Nest we found at the end of 2007. We promise to keep  you all posted with new HD Videos of our Hummers feeding! 

 
 

New HD Video: Lazy Spring Afternoon with the Alpacas

It was a gorgeous day out and the Girls and their cria were enjoying having a nice relaxing afternoon. We got some decent shots and figured it would be a good time to upload them as we haven't posted a new video in a few months.

 

Enjoy! More Videos to come!

Note: If video studders on playback, hit Pause and let the video buffer for  a while or try deactiving HD in the Top Right Corner.

 

 

 

 


Lazy Spring Afternoon from goldentouchfarm on Vimeo.
 
 

10 Entrepreneurial Concepts to Live By

While browsing the Internet this morning I stumbled across a great list that really rings true in our neck of the woods. Over the years as we have ventured into different agricultural businesses and industries, the same general ideas and attitudes are needed to succeed. I agree with all of these points so I figured it would be a great resource to pass along. 

10 Entrepreneurial Concepts to Live By
by Andrew Baron via dembot.com

1. Always work with people who are better than you. You can only do a few things really well. One of them should be understanding your weaknesses and looking for the best possible help to fill the gaps. Seek help to manage MOST of everything else it takes to run a successful business. Hire people who will do a better job than you.

2. Treat everyone with the highest regards and pay the people who work for you greater than their value. While most people do not want to be leaders, most people want to feel good about themselves and be fulfilled. If people are paid better than normal, have good benefits and get a lot of appraisal and bonuses, they will be happier in life and in return will likely be more productive too. The smallest gestures, even for a poor company such as adding a bit more onto a pay check (giving surprise bonuses), paying for a cab - paying for lunch, all go a really long way. The greatest implementation of value for people is to have positions that allow for infinite growth. Nobody that works for you should ever have a fixed ceiling of opportunity. Consider cutting back on material expenses and pay more for people. Aspire for everyone to have a greater life-style. No matter how important your business is, this is life we are talking about and it’s short. While being caught up with speed towards the future, remember others who live for the day.

3. Do everything right and fair. Make sure that you are always honorable, especially with yourself. Live up to your oral agreements. When it comes to operating your business, make sure and set it up correctly - pay every cent of tax that you legally owe. As long as you take the extra effort to do things right, you will eliminate a huge amount of stress. Even knowing yourself that you are keeping everything in order will make you feel better about yourself on a day-to-day basis. The people that work for you will also take you more seriously and also feel better themselves.

4. Learn to love consequence and happenstance. Things will happen all the time that will throw off your plans. Turn the stress around and into a challenge. Use the opportunity to think of new opportunities. Perhaps there are many new paths to take that you would like even more. Consequence is the stuff that artists dream of; It’s what creates new technologies and drives innovation.

5. Be transparent. This is almost cliche now, though this is why it is important and should not be missed: Without disregard for being humble, the more you reveal, the more people will understand where you are coming from. It’s not about blurting out some statement suddenly. It takes time to show yourself, who you really are. This motto applies to most aspects of life and business. The idea behind transparency is much more of a human personality trait. It’s for you yourself and the people that you care about; It’s for the audience that want to know when they ask; It gets to be that you no longer even think of this idea, it just becomes a part of your lifestyle. When you are fair, transparency will occur naturally because you will be proud and secure to reveal your true thinking.

6. Create a comfortable environment. A girl friend once told me about a miserable phase she went though when she and one of her girl friends were living in a basement with no windows, lots of dogs, mildew, low ceilings, old carpet, low lighting, etc. It sounded dreary to say the least. She wasn’t aware of the concept of space enough to understand that it was drastically effecting her mood. When she moved into a more comfortable apartment that was full of light and had higher ceilings, she regained her spirit. Having a great work environment is just the same. And websites are like spaces too. When you create your physical space or your space online, consider making it comfortable as possible.

7. Listen to your audience, friends and advisors. The more you can get feedback and audience participation, the more you will understand the positive and negative effects of your efforts. The more you understand the effects you are having, the more you can understand what to do in the future. If you trust yourself to filter the ideas and information that others give you, be quiet and listen more often. Allow the audience/journalists/experts in your field to describe your activity for you.

8. Have spirit and passion for what you do!

9. Time is of the essence. It starts with the age-old model of speed that can be applied to everything in life. In a war, for instance, the side that obtains the information first about where the other side is will have the advantage; The investor who knows the news first will have the stock advantage. The technologist who creates the first this-or-that will have that advantage to begin with. Speed=Potential. If you have something new, take action before it becomes old.

10. Stay in control by giving control away. The more you give up control to others, the happier everyone will be. Not only will the people who work for you be happier, it will allow you more time to focus on the things you do best.

Getting the Garden Ready

Over the weekend we spent some time getting our Vegetable and Herb garden ready for the quickly approaching growing season. The garden is roughly 45ft x 20ft, with a total area of 800 sq ft usable planting area (minusing the edging and pathways). This will be our 3rd year keeping a fairly decent sized garden, considering it is more a hobby for us than anything else and we are really excited about it.

Hopefully in the next 4 weeks we will be able to start transplanting some hardy seedlings, we will certainly keep you all posted on our little side project!

A friend of ours pointed out that there are some wonderful videos on YouTube that help explain in plain english the most important aspects of gardening, here is a great example:

 

Basic Gardening: How and Why you should all Compost - You can find a ton more videos here - http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=gardening&search=tag

 

 
 

U.S. Alpaca Fiber Industry - Ready to Pounce

Both Chris and I also run the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool - a service provider for alpaca farms across the United States to gain access to commercial sized manufacturers and maximize the value of their raw fiber by turning it into finished products for re-sale. We have been a part of the business for 7 years and officially took over 5 years ago.

Each month we post a NEAFP Note, our Newsletter, with U.S. Alpaca Industry news, specials, as well as other information and resources to help Alpaca Farms succeed.

This past month we posted a positive article about the current state of the U.S. Alpaca Fiber Industry in our current economic situaion and I wanted to pass it along to Localharvest as I believe a lot of the sentiment expressed in the article holds true for many of the Farms and Businesses in our industry.

 Here is the Article in it's entirety, provided by www.NEAFP.com:

 U.S. Alpaca Industry - Ready to Pounce

by Sean Riley - New England Alpaca Fiber Pool

 

With the current economy turned upside down, we have noticed a wave of hysteria throughout the Alpaca Industry with many breeders asking other peers in the industry how they are weathering the storm? Many are focusing on the negative news we read each day, and worrying themselves into believing that things will never get better, that this is the beginning of the end.

I understand how people can feel this way, and get their hopes down about the future but I challenge you all to focus in on the positive aspects of the current economic dilemma the world finds itself in. Sure there is a lot of uncertainty out there, but history shows that people under great pressure have great ideas, and some of the world's biggest and strongest brands were born in historic economic downturns. IBM, General Electric, Proctor and Gamble, and FedEx are all great examples of companies who were started in economic downturns and were able to not only weather the storm, but become staples in our country and across the world to this day.

While other major companies were focusing on how bad things were in their respective industries, these companies were busy dreaming up new products and solving the problems of tomorrow, which proved to be exactly what the American People were looking for and that is how they succeeded in such dire times.

The "bubble" isn't bursting, it is simply changing shape and direction and the businesses/farms that recognize this shift the fastest and execute on it are the ones that will be the most successful. I'd argue that because of this current economic situation, the U.S. Alpaca Fiber Industry is poised for tremendous growth, and here's why:

  • As more and more consumers realize the true power they have in their purchasing habits, the demand for clothing and accessories made from Natural Fibers in the United States will continue to grow. Rob Long, an alpaca owner from Missouri was recently quoted as saying that "Alpaca is Nature's Goretex." and we couldn't agree more. There are not many natural fibers available today that can go toe to toe with Alpaca, and as brand awareness for U.S. Alpaca grows, we will be busy keeping up with the demand rather than debating about a bubble.
  • Natural Resources and Labor Costs were never factored into a manufacturer's accounting balance sheet, and because of this they weren't properly figured in to the equation when figuring out a product's true cost. This caused Labor and Natural Resources across the globe to be taken advantage of. The abundance of Cheap Oil fueled clothing manufacturers to turn to synthetics, because they were cheaper and easier to produce. Now that more and more consumers are becoming conscious of the back story behind the products they purchase, more are looking for Guilt Free products that have positive stories behind them, and would rather support local businesses and purchase Made in America than a faceless corporation who exploits people and resources across the globe.
  • With current technologies, it has never been easier or cheaper to run your own grass roots marketing campaign and get your animals, brand, back story and products to the general public. People want to hear about how you fell in love with these animals and their fleece and others want to know who they are supporting when they buy from you. Small farms no longer have to depend on large organizations to help build awareness and demand for their animals and products. Blogs, Online Video, and Community Networking will go a lot further for your farm than generic commercials and magazine ads and all that is needed to succeed with these mediums is passion about what you do.

Every economy, every industry, every business will have it's Ups and Downs but instead of getting caught up in the day to day negatives, I challenge you to focus on the positive, and the massive potential that will arise in this economic shift back to the basics. When the dust settles, and the general consumer's mentality has shifted, how will you be poised to meet these new demands and succeed? The fact is, we can't change the events that are happening today, but we can certainly shape the events of tomorrow so put your energy and your resources towards making your own luck.

 

If you would like to catch up on previous NEAFP Notes or sign up to become a member of our mailing list, head to: http://www.neafp.com/neafpnotes2.php 

 
 

Video: How to Make Tea with Loose Herbs!

 

I stumbled across this video recently and I think it is wonderful! Over the last years our kids have turned us onto making tea with loose herbs and we will never go back to buying bagged tea again. It is cheaper, better tasting, and there are a ton of wonderful resources out there, especially on this site, to find great local fresh herbs.

 

Here is a video produced by Mountain Rose Herbs that will walk you through the basics of making your own Loose Herb Tea!

 

 

 
 
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