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.

 

 

 
 

All of our Farm Videos in one Place!

I was just going through our Vimeo account and it is hard to believe that we have uploaded 45 videos of our farm in the last year and a half. We have had such a tremendous response to them, and it really helps us showcase our farm to people across the globe. The best part about it is that it is a lot easier than you could ever imagine.

 

Believe me, I am not the most technically savy person in the house hold, yet capturing, editing, uploading, and sharing these videos is do-able by even me. I also have to give a lot of credit to Vimeo.com - their quality cannot be beat and the community is very helpful and friendly. YouTube.com might have a lot of eyeballs, but I have always believed in Quality over Quantity, and the immaturity that runs rampant through their comments are a huge turn off.

Below are all of our videos, catch up on all the ones you missed!

 

 

 
 

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

 

 
 

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!

 

 

 
 

Burrrr! Just when you thought Spring was Here

We were spoiled with a beautiful weekend and silly us, we expected it to stay like that! For a second there, I forgot we live in New England. As the saying goes, "If you don't like the Weather, just wait a minute." Unfortunately that holds true the other way around, if you are enjoying the Weather, know that it can vanish in just a minute.

After looking at the U.S. forecast it looks like a lot of you are getting Rain Today, whenever it is gloomy around here I always watch some of our Farm Videos from Summer to cheer me up - here is a small collection of our Hummingbird Videos we shot last year - can't wait until they come back!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

You can also see our Videos in High Definition here - http://www.vimeo.com/goldentouch/videos

 
 

Introducing our two new Jr. Herdsires!

 


We are very excited to announce the addition of two brand new Jr. Herdsires to our alpaca herd, Black Tiger, and Asteroid's Kryptonite. We can't wait to get their genetics into our herd, stay tuned for more updates.

 

Here is the story of our trip:

 

Right after the holidays we made a trip to Ohio.  Before Thanksgiving I had purchased a young male alpaca with the hopes of adding him to our herd sire row.  I am always on the look out for up and coming males that can add to my breeding program and when I saw Asteroid's Kryptonite listing from Starling Farm, he immediately caught my eye.  After looking at his fiber samples, and pedigree I made the decision to purchase him.

We planned our trip right after Christmas as our window of opportunity to travel was very limited. Chris has a very aggressive travel schedule and we are also expecting our first grand daughter the beginning of February. With our fingers crossed we decided to leave on Dec. 27, 08.  I have to say we couldn't of picked a better weekend weather wise, it was clear and mild.  It was almost hard to believe that the week prior, New York and Ohio had a snow storm each that dropped 12 inches.  Fate was on our side! 

On the way we also made a stop at Spirit Wind Alpaca Farm and had a wonderful visit with Karen and Jerry.  If time had not been pressing us I could of stayed for hours talking alpacas and fiber. We finished the rest of our journey that day arriving in Ohio at 7:00 pm and the temperature was 67 degrees (unheard of for the time of year).
 
The plan was to pick up Kryptonite at 8:00 the following morning. We were also transporting another alpaca "Just Sam" for Cyndee Thompson in New Hampshire. Just prior to arriving at the farm my nerves started racing and I began questioning my decision. I asked myself, Were my expectations too high? and Was I going to be disappointed? Having never seen the animal first hand, there is always that gut feeling that you missed something in the photos and fiber samples. It would have been very disappointing to travel all that distance to be let down, but I have to say all those questions quickly disappeared the minute I laid eyes on him.  It was love at first sight and he was more than I expected him to be.  It was so great to meet his owner in person, Jackie Kraft.  We had talked so many times through email or on the phone and now I had the opportunity to meet her in person and put a face with the name and voice.

We loaded  up the "boys" and had a brief visit before packing up ourselves and heading back towards home. We had one more stop to make and that was at Humalot Alpaca Farm. Brenda and Jim were only an hour away from Jackie Craft and I didn't want to miss the chance to meet them and some of their alpacas.  I had called her the day before and told her we would be in the area and if possible to stop in.  Being a holiday weekend you just never know what peoples plans are.  They warmly welcomed us with a tour of their farm and alpacas, finished off with a great cup of coffee.  We enjoyed our visit so much and their alpacas we bought one more. Humalot Black Tiger.  Tiger is just over a year old,  is true black, with a fine, yet dense beautifully crimped fiber which is very hard to find in black so I'm happy to add him to our herd sire lineup. In this one trip across half the country and back we managed to add some great genetics to our existing herd and are excited about future breedings.

The trip was so much fun but a little too rushed for my liking. We left here on my birthday, Sat. morning at 4:30am,  stopped at three alpaca farms, spanning over 1400 miles and still managed to arrive at our farm by 10pm Sunday. Birthday's don't get much better than that!!!  I wonder how I can top it next year.

 
 

We have a new Grand Daughter!

 

 

After the year we had in 2008, as a family, as an Alpaca Farmer, as a business owner, and as a Mom, a Wife, now a Grandmother, and a person, I didn't think 2009 could get any more wild but then you take something like the miracle of birth and your heart skips a beat. 

My oldest daughter gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on Wednesday 1/21/09 at 5:49 A.M., weighing 6lbs 5oz and measuring 20 inches. Kelly and Matt named her Erin Florence and every time I set my eyes on her I am just completely awestruck. No matter how much you think you are ready for something like this, it always catches you off guard. 

We are all so excited, and can't wait for them to settle in with their new bundle of joy, there is nothing quite like having a little one running around the farm, and we couldn't be more excited for it. 

 
 

Bird Watching on this Rainy Day!

Here is a quick video we shot with our new HD Camera, the Canon HV30. We couldn't be happier with it! Tons of different birds in this one, including our Wild Turkeys!

 

 


Bird Watching on this Rainy Day from goldentouchfarm on Vimeo.

 

If any of you ever have any questions regarding how you can start utilizing online video (particularly HD) to help market and promote your farm, do not hesitate to leave a comment or email us. We are more than willing to help anyone out!

 
 
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