It all started when…
I was crocheting a baby blanket during pregnancy with my oldest child. Looking for the perfect yarn, I stumbled upon alpaca. Such a dreamy softness that my child deserved.
As the years drew by, with little time to crochet, I didn’t think much about alpaca and yarns. My career took me into Montessori education where I became an elementary Montessori teacher. True to form, I began teaching my students how to knit and crochet. Annually, I would take the students to an area alpaca ranch to learn and interact with these gentle creatures. We would follow this trip with our area Yolo Wool Mill where students learned all that it takes to make yarn. Montessori education emphasizes the need of community and to honor all the people that participate in the production of the goods in our daily lives. Following alpacas on a ranch, fiber through the mill, and connected to the yarn we use in our hand work in school. I worked to build appreciation for all who give their gifts to place goods before us.
I thought my dream was to build a Montessori school that worked an alpaca ranch. I thought alpacas were the perfect creature and there is a viable business for working hands to create. But I didn’t have the energy to start this perfect school.
At a local farmers market, someone brought alpacas looking to set up a cooperative just on the edge of town. I thought I’d work with them and learn from them, but didn’t want to buy in quite yet. I helped with shearing and found the folks that sheared to be great fun and could use extra hands.
That is the ends chapter 1—-
I learned a lot, shearing. I spent every weekend throughout the spring helping out. I heard every story Bruce Nelson (Ahhh Sweet Alpacas) had to tell and we shared a good number of laughs.
His advice, since I just wanted the fiber, was to buy the color I loved—because I’ll get a lot of it!
Mothers Day approached, and my dear husband enabled the fall. Senator Maddy became my first alpaca.
Ownership was fabulous. I found myself in a longer commute as I lived in Davis, worked in Sacramento, and “stopped for a visit” on my way home in Vacaville.
Then one day, I looked. I found that the value of our home in Davis would buy us a little lot of land in the country.
By September, we had closed on a property and were moving in!
The new beginning, 2013
Integrity Alpacas & Fiber began with Senator Maddy and three additional females from the herd at Ahh Sweet Alpacas. Our ranches are a near 6 miles apart. Since this time, Ahh Sweet Alpacas and Integrity Alpacas & Fiber have worked hand in hand to build our alpaca presence. My herd of 4 were all bred when I brought them home and we were happy!
Then I absorbed the herd from Good Vibes Alpacas and suddenly had 12 girls— and two males!! that was too fast! Again, we settled in.
I did all the things a new alpaca owner does. Volunteered for too many tasks and found myself running the California Classic Round Up alpaca show for a few years, and serving two terms on the Calpaca board.
At Present, 2019
In this experience, I have grown clarity in what kind of business I want to build. Several years later, with mostly male cria— 8 in a row! I have about 25 alpacas. Some have move into new homes, and some will never leave.
The rest of this website represents the business that I am building with great joy. I am focuses and working to make it happen!
Goal 1: Become a certified Master Sorter, Grader, Classer.
I chose to pursue this certification process as I thoroughly believe that the future of our alpaca business relies on the increased demand for alpaca fiber in the commercial textile industry. Located in California, maintaining a large fiber herd is far from economical. Therefore, my actionable goal was to become a Master sorter. I now contribute to increasing alpaca fiber in the textile industry through my work in preparing alpaca fiber for commercial sale and processing.