Who would have thought that these furry creatures could make such changes in one’s life. Back in September, Cindy and I went to Martha’s Vineyard to celebrate our anniversary. It was a nice trip and Cindy had asked me if there was anything particular over there I would be interested in seeing. Well, most of the island is interesting. It has many lighthouses, beaches, and shops. After a while though, the shops all begin to seem the same. I noted that there was an alpaca farm on the island and thougth it would be interesting to visit. I love animals and grew up helping out on a dairy farm. We did have plans to raise chickens on PineCroft at some point, but I was holding off until I could make them a good solid coop and a large run to protect them from hawks. We had also bandied about getting goats to clear the back area so we could expand. The added benefit of them clearing the brush is that goat meat or chevon is in high demand. There is also a demand for goat cheese and milk. All of that was put on hold thanks to our furry little friends.
Initially, we thought about just rearranging PineCroft to accomodate alpacas. We were even going to take a section in the front to create a paddock in the front yard to hold some and then two other paddocks in the back. As with everything else, we set out to learn as much as we could before actually going forward with anything. One of the first things we learned is that alpacas are social animals. Due to this, you should start with a minimum of two, preferably three. They say three, because if you have to take one to the vet, you don’t want to leave the one alone. It is traumatic for them. Okay, so we start with three, we can do that here. Yes, but then to make it economically feasible, you really need more. Of course, if they are mated and have crias, then you need even more room and have to separate the dam and cria from the others for a bit. Before you knew it, PineCroft was insufficient. So the search began……
Before I continue on, I just want to say that I am going to miss PineCroft. My wife chuckles when I call it that. I just thought it was a nice touch. We have pine woodland behind us and a croft is a small farm. Coincidently it is also my last name, how fitting. I had all ready made a lot of changes and had a great success with the raised beds this year. The new owners should have an abundant supply of strawberries from the two raised beds set aside for that. The peach trees had a few peaches this year and with a little care should have a decent crop next year. Sad that I will not get any of the paw paws. I have three of those planted. They are said to have flesh that tastes like a banana custard. I had added a couple of nectarines to the cherries, apples, pears, plums, peaches, and paw paws this year. They should start yielding in about two years. The plums and pears may start next year. The cherries had some small cherries on one tree this year, but hopefully will have good flowering next year. A little pruning, and whomever has the property will be awash in fruit. Of course, we did work on the house too. It was all electric so we added a pellet stove to heat so that we didn’t rely on the baseboard. We had an electrical audit and the attic has a special foil/foam insulation that is supposed to keep things cooler in summer and warmer in winter. We added a solar attic fan to help exhaust the really hot air in the summer. We had Dryzone come in and waterproof the basement. We put in new cellar windows that are more energy efficient. We changed out the old electric water heater for a hybrid. We have a triple sump with battery backup, but frankly, the basement has been dry as a bone since Dryzone came through. We had plans to expand the living room and add a farmer’s porch but all that was put on hold. We had to have more land for the grand design of an alpaca farm, so the search was on.
The primary focus of our search was land. The first place we looked only had about .2 acres more than what we had. The land was all flat though, which helped. The house was okay and had a great master bedroom, but the rest was not really to our liking. The land was really not enough, so on we went. Eventually we stumbled upon a nice piece with about 8.1 acres. We visited the property and the house was to our liking. Bonus, it had a farmer’s porch and a ramp. It also had a two stall garage so the bike won’t have to suffer the inclement weather anymore. The land is what got us. A large swatch had all ready been cleared, it just needs some cleanup as there is glass and other debris, but plenty of room to grow out as the need arises. There was also some peaches and other trees planted around the property and a section of blueberries. These all needed a little TLC and would be in good shape. So we put in an offer. After some back and forths, it was finally accepted. That is another story in itself. I am not one for all this high finance stuff, but found myself knee deep in it. I went with the home inspector and he kept saying that he isn’t supposed to say how nice things are but is there to point out the shortfalls. Yet, he kept saying it. Oh there are a few things that need to be taken care of, but like he said, outside of the one thing, most are cosmetic. So hopefully the P&S will be signed today. We hope to close by the 28th of November. And so a new adventure will begin.
Cindy has been going to seminars to learn as much as she can so we are prepared. I bought the guide that one of the owners suggested that he called the Bible of Alpaca raising. It better be at $135! It is what we needed though. We want to know as much as we can. So once we are in there, we will have to start building fences and of course, a barn raising. Hmmm, sounds like a reason to have one of those famous Croft parties. Maybe do an old fashioned barn raising with big picnic tables and checkered table clothes, fried chicken and potato salad. Get enough people and the barn could go up fast. I will probably have to get some ATVs to get around. There are all ready two rough roads built along the property lines. Of course, with all that hard work, having that farmer’s porch to set on will be real nice.
And so ends the adventures at PineCroft and the new adventures begin at Rock Village Alpaca Farm. Wish us luck!
My heart to your heart, one heart, one spirit.
Congratulations, Ed! Good luck on the journey. I look forward to learning more about it.