What Do You Do With Alpacas???
One of the first questions visitors to our farm ask is "What do you do with alpacas?" Well, we don't eat them, we surely don't milk them (although I've tried a time or two!) and we can't ride them because of their size. So, the answer is that we use their fiber! Their "wool" is not really wool, but is considered fiber and we use it for all sorts of things. The leg and belly fiber is used for rugs, blankets, or composting, the neck fiber can be used to make yarn, but it is primarily the blanket that we get our best yarn and roving from. Knitters, spinners, weavers, and felters are discovering the wonderful properties of alpaca fiber and each time they come to our store, we ask that they send a picture of their project so we can post it on our site. So.... enjoy the beautiful creations by some very talented people using our alpaca fiber!
Alpacas at the Library
Jefferson and Macchiato visited the Ruth Camp Campbell Library in Franklin, VA on Saturday.
Mrs. Lauren Lombard, the librarian, invited us for Science Saturday to give a hands on program about alpacas and their fleece. This was the second year we've done this and it was a great success with over 60 people showing up.
Of course, Jefferson and Macchiato were a great hit and the children were able to pet them as well as do a wonderful craft prepared by Mrs. Lombard. Everyone had a wonderful time and hopefully learned a little bit about alpacas and what they give us.
Christmas Open House '09
This year was a bit soggy and while the weathermen called for a wintry mix, we still had a good turnout for our open house. This year we were not able to have a hay ride, but we did have our new and improved store open with lots of alpaca apparel and unique items. Kids enjoyed face painting, crafts, and feeding the little alpacas, while adults listened to music, shopped and sipped hot cocoa. Thanks to everyone who came out!
Christmas Open House '08
We had a wonderful turnout for our first Christmas Open House. About 100 people showed up and enjoyed live music, a live nativity, hay rides and hot chocolate. We hope you will join us next year
for Christmas in alpaca country!
Everyone sang carols and enjoyed the hayride
Mia, our friend's Yorkie and Jefferson weren't Friends from church presented the true
sure of each other! story of Christmas
VAOBA Expo 2008
This year we took 5 alpacas with us to the VAOBA Expo in Lexington, Virginia. We had a wonderful
time in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, and we came back with 8 ribbons both for halter
classes and the fleece spin off. It was very exciting.
Chris & Azriel Mom Bennett & Dolly
Katie and Jefferson made their costume debut as pirates this year. Katie and Grandma Bennett
made the costumes and Jefferson was a real sport - wearing the plumed hat without so much as a shake of his head. We put it on him for the first time 15 minutes before the class! He earned
himself some extra grain.
Katie did a great job with her story and had a lot of fun with the other kids there. She's already
planning next year's costume and we are looking forward to another successful show.
Katie & Jefferson as pirates - ARRGH!!!
Shearing Day 2008
This year Shearing Day was scheduled for Tuesday, April 15th. We decided to keep it open to the public and were pleased to have 60-70 guests even though it was a weekday. This year, we
hosted four other farms from Smithfield, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Eure, NC.
Jamie Jones and his assistant, Matt sheared 63 alpacas in 7 hours!
We had volunteers from all over, including Pennsylvania and New York.
We would not have had such a successful and safe day if it weren't for all our volunteers.
A huge thank you to them.
If you didn't make it this year, we hope you will try to attend next year!
Shearer Jamie Jones and his assistant Matt
Seminars with Dr. Steve Hull
In March, we hosted two seminars put on by Steve Hull, Ph.D. of Timberlake Farms, Inc.
Steve is involved in all aspects of the Alpaca Industry including AOBA, ARI, and AFCNA. He is an international speaker and operates his farm with his business partner Tom Cameron, DVM.
The seminars were a huge success and everyone involved had excellent things to stay about
Steve and his information. We all learned so much and we have already begun to implement
many new things on our farm that will take us a step ahead.
All participants received two bound farm manuals, and the benefit of being able to consult Steve
at any time. On Sunday, we all got the chance to use the ultrasound machine, learn how to
do blood draws, glucometer readings, and body scoring.
It was a fabulous weekend - one of the first of many educational experiences that we
hope to host here. Check back frequently to see what new seminars will be coming!
SP Morton Elementary School, Franklin, VA
12/11/07 and 3/11/08
We had the tremendous privilege of being invited to share our alpacas with some
first graders at S.P. Morton Elementary School in Franklin, VA. Chris and her dad,
Guy Bennett, took two alpacas, visuals, and a hands on activity to show the children.
Chris taught them about where alpacas originated, several of their characteristics,
and for what they are raised. The children were wonderful listeners and asked many
good questions. The students were also able to make their own mini alpacas
out of card stock and real alpaca fiber, but the biggest hit was getting to pet and hug
Jefferson and Macchiato. It was a fabulous day, and we will be returning to the school in March.
2007 VAOBA Expo
We had a great time at the show - especially the costume part. Chris's mom, Louise
Bennett, made the costumes for Jefferson and Macchiato without a pattern!
Everyone loved them and the judge said Mom deserved the blue ribbon. We had
two wonderful little girls show the alpacas too, and they did a super job.
We enjoyed ourselves and came away with several ribbons as well.
Macchiato as a dragon, with his princess
Jefferson as Elvis, and a "50's" girl
Farm Work Day - October 6, 2007
Thank you to all the volunteers who helped us on Work Day - we
accomplished so much!!
Click on the newspapers to read the articles about Shearing Day
Our First Annual Shearing Day was a Huge Success!
We were blessed with a wonderful day. Twenty-six alpacas were shorn by Jamie Jones and his assistant, Cody, over a period of 4 hours. Over a hundred and twenty-five visitors attended and were able to observe the shearing, watch demonstrations of spinning and weaving, snack on popcorn and cookies, and purchase alpaca related items.
We were thrilled to have Woodland Trail Farm and Alpacas of Courthouse Pastures join us for this day.
Check out the article about our Open House in the Daily Press of Newport News.
Preparing an alpaca for shearing.
Bags and bags of wonderful fiber!
Rosemary Gadsby, spinner from Boykins and
Bob Hecker, weaver from Newport News, demonstrated
their fiber arts.
Al Dillon from Alpacas of Courthouse Pastures tells guests
about alpacas and their fiber.
Check out the articles about us in the
Tidewater News - March 31, 2007 and
the Smithfield Times - April 11, 2007!
Click on the newspaper to read the article
Shearing Day 2007
We are holding our first annual Shearing Day Open House
Saturday, April 14
Two other local farms, Woodland Trail Farm and Courthouse Pastures, will
be joining us with several of their alpacas.
The morning will be filled with shearing, spinning and weaving
demonstrations, and alpaca items offered for sale.
Come stop by for a fun, free, and educational morning!
We were happy to visit the story time children at the Carrollton Library
this month. The children loved the alpacas and they had wonderful questions about all
kinds of alpaca related things. It was a great way for the kids to learn and to get
their hands on some real alpacas!
Health days typically occur every six weeks.
Please call if you'd like to be a part of this - it's a great way to
learn "hands on".
Welcome Our Newest Girls!
We are thrilled to announce the purchase of 4 new girls and 2 crias. Their bloodlines include
Accoyo Elite, Dom Lucilio, Snowmass Golden Heritage and Patagonia's Yukon and we
are thrilled to be able to add them to the impressive lines we already have. Come and
see (and touch) them for yourself!
Cherry Pie and Macchiato Madison and Jefferson
We were pleased to host a homeschool field trip in October. The children received a short
presentation introducing alpacas, and then were able to get some real "hands on" experience.
They all enjoyed petting Hudson, as well as some of our new babies. They left with bags full of goodies and faces full of smiles!
We were a part of Windsor's Farmer's Market this summer. We brought a couple alpacas,
as well as some of our yarn and raw fiber. Everyone loved coming over to see
our "exotic" animals and we enjoyed sharing our knowledge of alpacas with them!
We'll be back in 2007!
Shearing Day was a huge success. We transported everyone to Richmond, where an
experienced shearer gave them a nice cool cut. The boys seemed a little less confident
without their fiber, but they will be much happier when the temperatures rise!
Cornerstone Farm Alpacas, LLC ~Daren & Chris Wingard~(757)-651-6335