Wednesday, December 1, 2010

SBVF Hosting Open Farms

First off, Summer Brook Valley Farm wishes every happy holidays and a successful 4th quarter!

This past weekend, we hosted the first of what will be many open farms.  It was a great success, with large turnouts despite disagreeable weather, and the cria really stole the spotlight!  Summer Brook Chocolat, offspring of our former Reserve Champion Arabella, was particularly adept in showcasing her soft brown fleece.  Her friendly disposition was also a welcome treat to the many visitors.

The whole weekend was a lot of fun!

We will be holding more open farms, with spinning demonstrations and farm store offerings, every weekend through December 19th.

Be sure to stop by and enjoy our animals! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Santa's Reindeer - 2011 Edition

Car manufacturers can't improve previous models like we can.  With the help of Summer Brook Valley Farm, Santa's reindeer received new upgrades for the 2011 editions, this time with denser fleeces, cute tufted ears, and yes...custom antlers that were tested in the wind-tunnel and demonstrated reduced drag and better slipstream.

Ok, so we might be going overboard here, but we DID introduce some new reindeer!

We were happy to bring early Christmas cheer by showcasing three of our animals--Estevan, Estella, and the cria Luna--at the South Church fair in downtown Middletown.  Our animals were a hit!  Every person, from fair-goers to passerby, stopped to admire the "reindeer".  The alpacas handled their jobs well, allowing the visitors to pet them and take photographs.  Luna especially really made it happen by presenting the perfect photo opportunity by cushing herself right in front of Santa's sleigh.


Farm Updates:

-SBVF returned last weekend from the Maryland Alpaca Classic in Westminster, MD.  We came home with more ribbons, as Estevan took second place and Estella third in their respective halter classes
-OPEN FARM EVENTS are coming soon!  Nov 26, 27, and 28 will feature our Holiday Open House at Summer Brook Valley Farm Alpacas - Please join us and come view our beautiful alpacas, llamas, and baby doll sheep, as well as see our wide assortment of alpaca products in our farm store!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Next on the Agenda: Maryland Alpaca Classic!

The trailer has been prepped, the alpacas given their vitamins, the humans their coffee...

The next show is upon us: the Maryland Alpaca Classic, held in Westminster, MD (Nov. 13th and 14th)!  We are very excited to show again our two boys who were featured in the Green Mountain Spectacular back in mid-October....and, of course, our beautiful girl Summer Brook Estella.

Estella, who took home Reserve Champion in her class at the aforementioned Green Mountain Spectacular, has shaken off her initial stage fright in Vermont.  She seems eager for more!  And we are proud to show the quality of this beautiful, dark brown yearling.

Wishing all the best for Matteo, Estevan, and Estella at the Maryland Alpaca Classic!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

When Westies Come to the Rescue!

So this morning, we had a VERY surprising development.  Just as we opened our front door to walk the dogs, Jack--our small West Highland White Terrier--immediately tore down the walk and ran to the back yard.  And when we caught up to him.....we found all the girls and cria were loose, grazing in the yard by our house!

One of them had pushed through some temporary fencing and the rest of the girl alpacas quickly followed.  Fortunately, Jack did all the work for us!  This little guy--easily 150 lb lighter than all the alpacas--chased the girls back into the fencing.  All.  By.  Himself!

Way to go Jack!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Farm Update: Back from the Show!

The trailer is unloaded, the animals shuffled back into the herd, and the time for some post-show rest is here!

Last weekend, Oct. 16th and 17th, Summer Brook Valley Farm attended the Green Mountain Spectacular in Essex Junction, Vermont.  Just east of Burlington and tucked amongst the beautiful Vermont mountains, the show featured over 20 new alpaca farms!  It also marks the first of our show series for the Fall '10/Spring '11 period.  It was a wonderful time!

Even more wonderful was seeing one our yearlings, Summer Brook Estella, take home a blue ribbon in her halter class AND Reserve Champion for the browns!  She is a dark-brown offspring of Astarte and Molokai. Though at first a bit nervous, Estella quickly got into the show routine and really strutted her stuff in front of the judges.

We are very proud of her!

Estella and the other two animals we took, Matteo and Estevan, will quickly get another show opportunity, as we'll be packing up the truck and loading the trailer in about a month for the Maryland Classic.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Summer Brook Valley Farm Hosts Young Adults

Five young adults with special needs from northern Connecticut visited Summer Brook Valley Farm on Friday, September 17, 2010.  Their teacher wanted them to see alpacas and llamas up close because she loves them herself. During their visit, they met one-month-old Chocolat; three-year-old Dante; Thunder, the llama; and Cocoa, the babydoll lamb. Chocolat displayed remarkable calmness when being removed from her mother and while being touched by so many strangers. All the visitors were delighted while experiencing the softness of alpacas, and the calm and friendly nature of all the animals.  One student loved being kissed by Thunder and Dante. They all said that they looked forward to coming back for another visit.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Our Llamas

We have two beautiful llamas - Gumby and Thunder.  They are majestic looking with sweet temperaments. We bought these two boys as guards for our alpacas because our farm borders the forest on two sides.  They are there to scare away the coyotes, wild dogs, and anything else that might be lurking around. Gumby is on the "boys" side, while Thunder is with the girls.  I call Thunder "Mama Thunder" because he is always so protective of the mother alpacas and their crias. Whenever anyone goes down to the barn, Thunder is the first one out, checking on who it is.  If we are doing shots or cutting nails, he is always looking over our shoulders, making sure we are not hurting his "babies".  Some days you can find him cushed in the field surrounded by the cria who are about six weeks old, named Chrissy, Luna, Chocolat, and Midnight Star. In July, before these cria were born, it was time to wean the boys born last year. They were a year old and needed to leave their moms who were about to give birth.  When we put the yearling boys over on the boy's side of the barn, Thunder paced back and forth along the fence line.  Gumby was nearby and it appeared that Thunder was giving him strict orders to take good care of "his" boys. Well, Gumby took his strict orders about his new charges very seriously.  Every time the two yearlings wanted to go outside and play in the field, Gumby would run after them and herd them right back into the barn! This went on for over a week.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Babies Stealing Milk

We had four crias this summer - two whites, one brown, and one black. The mothers of the two white crias are also white, named Honey Crystal and Aurora.  Honey Crystal's baby is named after my sister - Christina, and Aurora's baby is named Luna. One day Honey and Aurora were standing side by side eating grain when I looked down and noticed that Christina (I call her Chrissy) was nursing from the wrong mom! At about the same time, Luna noticed that something was wrong too.  She walked over to Honey and sniffed her to verify that Honey was not her mother.  She then walked back over to Aurora, her mother, with Chrissy nursing below.  Suddenly, Luna jumped up on top of Chrissy's back to make her stop nursing from her mom.  All this time, Aurora is unaware of what is going on. Chrissy backed off from nursing from Luna's mom and went back to her own mom, Honey.  As soon as Luna walked away, Chrissy went right back to Aurora to steal a few more sips.  Chrissy went back and forth a few times between nursing from her own mom and nursing Aurora before Aurora realized what was happening. Aurora snorted loudly at Chrissy, and I supposed she was giving Chrissy a good talking to about stealing milk!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Late Summer to Fall

We love this time of year.  The females have all delivered their babies safely.  The mothers are fine and the babies (called crias) are healthy and growing every day.  We start planning what Fall alpaca shows we want to go to and start training the yearlings for the show ring. They sometimes balk at being put in halters and led around, but soon grow used to it. We also have fun deciding who to mate to whom, in hopes of improving our overall herd. Almost all the hay is in and it feels good to have a barn full of sweet-smelling hay.