alpacas and angoras - living grass mowers

Back in January on a cloudy, blustery day, we sat around the kitchen table after morning chores were done, plotting out plans for infrastructure, new offerings, special event days and discount packages for the upcoming year after surviving the fall and holiday season of 2022 local community events, school field trips and getting orders shipped to our customers wanting more alpaca socks or gifts for their family & friends.

We made plans, checklists and notes…

Then we buckled down to the work of building, enhancing, engaging, communicating and finding places in the schedule in between visitors to get it all done….

Fall time? Already??

As the reservation requests slowed down a bit and yellow school busses were seen more often than combines or tractors pulling mowers/balers behind them on our country roads…we came up for air and thought…

Has it really been a year since we reported in to our virtual visitors who aren’t yet able to visit us in person????

How did we miss doing that?

We got busy in the doing, engaging, educating, connecting in person and forgot to report in to those who have yet to ‘visit us here’ in person!

We love sharing with others –

But yes, here we are, late turning in our “What We Did over (Spring Break, Summer vacation & Back to School)” reports.

Spring Arrived..

First time guests during school Spring Breaks, repeat visitors just needing to ‘get out to the open skies’ for a weekend as nicer weather arrived, or looking for something to do during a day off from school competed with delays and reschedules due to cold weather and spring snow storms and now what do we do nearby that is fun?

The late hard frosts broke many a gardner’s heart in our area this year, including ours on some fronts…

New connections were made, traveling visitors through our area in need of a place to stay when vehicle breakdowns, closed roads and storms further east, meant changing their itinerary – and quick!

All while coordinating and planning our annual shearing day for us and other alpaca farmers nearby, to share the work load and enjoy food, fun and swapping stories or sharing wisdom after spa day for the alpacas was done.

And Then Summertime Arrived

Visitor traffic grew mightily this year, same day requests more frequent as more folks learn about our little slice of heaven that grows in popularity to visit, garden harvest greater than last year to preserve….

Day trips to haul home new equipment or load the trailer in the morning to take alpacas to a community event and get back in time for scheduled tour, a visit from the farrier who worked us into his busy schedule and evening chores…

And then came the rains….slow moving and heavy clouds delivered moisture hard and fast … sometimes via hard pellets as water moved between layers of hot and cold before arriving to us, and othertimes as if our usually brilliant blue skies were trying to be Seven Falls natural water park instead.

Were they trying make up for the past 10 years of local drought times all at once? We did wonder about it, ourselves.

Our area blessed by Rain and Green this summer

Dependent upon who we talked to in our area and asked,

“When was the last time it was still this green in August, here?”

We heard different answers; pretty much dependent upon the age of the person, the time spent in the area and their occupation…

Memories shared with us by locals ranging from 1962 up through 2013.

Despite the flash floods that tore through many pasture creeks that haven’t had much water coursing through the sand bed for years now, country roads, bridges and culverts stressed beyond strength and needing repair (oh! the challenges of restoring infrastructure quickly – many thanks for our local County Department of Transportation Crews for their hard and dedicated work to restore local routes!), the delayed harvesting of crops and waiting for the perfect dew point moment to bale hay previously cut and curing in furrows in the fields?

There is a collective sigh of relief among the people who live in our area, work the land and the livestock that grazes in wide-open spaces over the arrival of summer rains, once more.

Challenges here at Our Red Barn Ranch?

With this much green growing across the ranch this year?

We confess, it’s been a tad more intense getting the herd rotated from one pasture to another (in between visitors leaving/arriving), without lots of moseying and grazing while we watch the road to open the gate for next scheduled tour and attempt get our herd moved from one space to another without causing a traffic jam on our driveway.

And now? We are busy trying to figure out space for winter hay storage, indoor seating for guests to eat their picnic lunch or birthday treats if the weather isn’t nice enough for their planned event to eat outside at picnic areas, while visiting us AND try to find space to set up for on site Fleece to Fiber full process classes for more than just small groups at one time during the year.

But we’ve heard your feedback to us – and now? We have a reputation to live up to –

“There’s always something new to experience at Our Red Barn Ranch”

Thank you all for your support, feedback and online reviews you took the time to post, this past year.

YOU are part of the whole that makes our work enjoyable, possible and increases the time we have on the ranch to build out all we wish to share with others that isn’t easily transported to bring the whole show to a venue near you…

New & Coming Soon!

This year we have come across some great finds to expand the experience of visitors to our ranch. New additions are now on our place, awaiting restoration before ready to hook up behind one of our wonderful horses.

We wondered whether we should post the news until our new additions were restored and ready for horse powered rides – but we decided to give you a sneak peek of works in progress because so many of our visitors (and repeat visitors!) get just as excited as we do over new projects in process.

Some of our fave feedback from visitors this year:

  • Being a part of the first field trip for a 2 1/2 year old who called Chris “Old MacDonald” his entire visit
  • “We turned in for the night after watching the two livestock guardians dogs up by the driveway gate, laying down, paws crossed, intent on the perimeter. We woke up next morning and there they were, still. They ‘stood guard’ over the ranch and our family, all night! Their pose while doing their job? Reminded me of the Sphinx guardians of Egyptian temples from long ago.”
  • The Harvest Host visitors who called to reschedule or asked if they could extend their stay by a day during vehicle repairs. Thank you for asking when the unexpecteed happened. We’re so happy we were able to take one ‘stress’ off your plate, when travel plans went awry!
  • “Great place to visit – once you spend time with Chris & Christiann? You learn about all the other things to see close by! Great for day trip of fun, just passin’ through – lots to see and do! Can’t wait to visit this area again!”
  • “I got myself some diabetic alpaca socks! How cool is that?”
  • The guest who brought their bicycle and spent hours touring the country back roads around our place. Left in the early morning and arrived back to rest at our place. It was so wonderful to know he had plenty of space to ride without worrying about rush hour traffic, exhaust fumes or large trucks blowing by him at commercial highway speeds…
  • “I really appreciate the safe space to stay while traveling alone. I slept so well and the views were breathtaking.”
  • The photographers, artists, poets and writers who feel inspired to ‘create’ their unique works, after visiting our place.

Stay Tuned…

We will have more offerings online soon –

  • Alpaca or Horse birthday parties (no themed paper & ballon sets here, unless you bring them – We provide safe interaction with live animals to make your birthday an event to remember!)
  • Hands on Horse grooming, saddling up & riding
  • Hands on Alpaca grooming, haltering and working with in the ring for show or running the obstacle course with
  • Professional photography options available in our beautiful landscape with or without animals in the shot.

Discount bundles & ideas for a one-day trip, a weekend visit to our area or a place to get out of town/away from work, for just a bit, without breaking into the savings, retirement or education accounts to fund your get away…

New options to stay a night or three with us, even if you don’t have your own RV…

Until next we meet?

Take care and we hope to see you in person soon!