Doesn’t she seem to be asking “Whatcha doing?” Well, what we were recently doing was … we were staying at a Harvest Hosts site called Misty Acres Alpaca Farm and this is where we met this young alpaca and over 120 of her closest friends.
Before I tell you about this “Little Piece of Heaven” let me tell you a little about the Harvest Host program. Harvest Hosts is a North American (U.S. & Canada) network that you can join that has over 500 hosts which are located at wineries, museums/attractions, farms, and agri-tourist sites that invite self-contained RVs to come and experience their sites overnight for free. It’s great fun and if you regularly follow our blog you know we have stayed in an apple orchard (Sleeping with the Chickens) in Idaho, at a Dinosaur Museum (Four Quick Stops) in Utah, and at another alpaca farm (Four Quick Stops) in Colorado. We always get excited when we know we have a Harvest Hosts coming up because we get to connect with the people (and sometimes with the animals) at a host site.
Well, this overnight stop was all about the alpacas. Curious, intelligent, cautious, and funny are just a few words I would use to describe the approximately 1oo alpacas and 24 crias (newborns) at Misty Acres Alpaca Farm. If you have ever had the opportunity to visit with alpacas you know they are so funny. They all seem to be watching you but if you pretend not to notice, they will get closer and closer, because they are so curious about what you are doing … But I am getting ahead of myself, let me back up to the beginning of our visit, and walk you through it, so you will know why I called it “A Little Piece of Heaven.”
When you want to stay overnight at a Harvest Hosts site, you always give them a call 24 hours in advance to make sure that they have room for you or that it’s a good time for you to visit…So we picked up the phone and spoke to one of the owners, Charlie “Red” Laliberte, and he was so welcoming that we knew it was going to be a special overnight stop. He told us to “choose any spot you like,” “you won’t be in our way,” and thanked us for coming.
When we arrived the owners (“Red” and Connie Laliberte) were not there but we had no trouble setting up on this beautiful and serene 20 acre farm. It is so picturesque with the farmhouse on a hill overlooking the farm down below. We chose to park our RV beside the field with baby crias and the nursing mothers. As we arrived they were so curious about us that they ran to the fence to meet us – what a wonderful welcome. It was so much fun to watch these animals run, play, and suddenly cock their heads to one side because something got their attention, and then take off.
Later, Connie came down to greet us and welcome us to the farm and to see if there was anything we needed. She talked to us about the farm and we could tell she was very proud of their alpacas and farm. She also told us to be on the lookout for a juvenile eagle that would often come and spend hours on a nearby fence post and pointed out his nest in a nearby tall pine tree. We kept a lookout but didn’t get to see him but we could hear his constant screeching. (I wonder what he was trying to tell us?) You just never know what all you will hear, see, and get to do on a Harvest Hosts stop.
The next morning, as we visited with Red, he told us about the economics and practical side of having an alpaca farm and a farm/on-line store with high quality Maine-raised alpaca products. He went on to tell us about how they plan the farm’s reproduction/breeding program for elite fleece, color and work hard to develop first class alpacas through animal genetics with exceptional animal backgrounds. How they plan and plan but that sometimes mother nature will still surprise them with the color and fiber of an animal. He also was throwing out numbers about how much hay was required in a year, cost per year to run the farm, and various other economic factors for the farm and his retail store, a true businessman … But through it all, you could tell it’s not just a business for them, but is more like a calling.
You see, Red says they find it relaxing and rewarding to watch and interact with the alpacas. He told us about each of his animal’s personality and its relationship to them and how sad it is when any of his animals leave the farm. You can tell, they are very attached to their alpacas and their way of life.
Misty Acres Alpaca Farm is one of those magical places and I don’t know if it because it is run by such wonderful people or because the animals touch your heart, but I would guess it is a little of both. If you get a chance, do yourself a favor and join Harvest Hosts, so you can visit Misty Acres Alpaca Farm or others like it. You will be glad you did because you will come away with the same peace and contentment we do. We are always trying to figure out where we want to live when we stop RVing and now I wonder if we should become alpaca farmers and get our own little piece of heaven.
Did you know? Alpacas have an eleven and a half month gestation period.