What a year 2020 has been!
In the middle of a pandemic, we’ve been fortunate to continue to grow with the unbelievable support of our clients, friends, and family. We’ve readjusted how we do some things, added some new things, and decided to put some things on hold. Through it all, our customers have supported us and encouraged us. We can’t thank you enough.
For a brief recap:
January 2020– a new year begins, and we are soo excited to see what it will hold. The herd is happy and healthy, resting during the winter in preparation for the Spring.
COVID: we were forced to shut down during our peak visitor season, but we found another way to interact with our friends- online!! We hosted tours via Zoom, jumped on Tik Tok and hosted a few FaceBook live videos. Once we were able to reopen, tours were understandably slow.
Not Your Average Farm Tour: David had the idea of a “farm crawl” type experience for years. In the wake of Covid, his idea came to life. With 865 Axe Throwing and The Winery at Seven Springs Farm, we began hosting a progressive farm tour. We were featured in news media and what was supposed to be a one time event has grown into a featured monthly event for all three participating farms This tour is perfect for a date day, girl’s (or guy’s) day out, birthdays, etc! For one price visitors are able to visit all three venues via a one day passport. Tours are by reservation only, limited in number, with limited participants. We’ve taken the winter off to sort through all of the suggestions we were given to see how we can make it even more fun. We will start back up in March 2021, so keep an eye out for news about Not Your Average Farm Tour.
Shearing!: We harvested a record amount of fleece from our herd this year. Not only did we have an unbelievable amount of fiber, but the quality was amazing. Shearing was completely different this year, as we weren’t able to have any outside helpers due to Covid concerns. It was just the shearing team and our farm handling it all, and we did an amazing job working with the increased number of animals and fiber! That harvest is now being processed into yarn to make even more one of a kind items for you!
Charlemagne: In May of 2020 we said goodbye to one of our original herdsires, Kid Charlemagne. Letting him go was one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do thus far as farmers. We know the cycles of life are a part of what we do, but it is never easy to say goodbye, especially to an animal that holds a piece of your heart.
Ali comes home!: If you’ve followed us for any amount of time, you know about Ali the Alpaca. For those of you that are new I’ll recap briefly. One of our friends in NC had an alpaca trying to give birth with no success. They drove the alpaca mom over the mountains of NC and TN in a rainstorm in the dark of night. They did not expect the unborn cria to survive, so the dam’s survival was the focus. They arrived at the University of Tennessee vet hospital after hours with a dire emergency. They were not given much hope for a live cria, and severe concern for the dam’s health. A live cria was born, but she was in such dire shape she was not expected to survive. She couldn’t stand, couldn’t lift her head, and couldn’t nurse. She was a mess, but she had a will to live. She fought to survive her birth trauma, and she continued to fight against the odds. Her owner’s at Happy Tails Alpaca Farm decided to name her Ali (after the boxer) and fight alongside her. With UT’s support ( after some convincing) Christine was allowed to treat Ali while she was in alpaca intensive care. Ali continued to progress, but still needed support. UT, with the owner’s consent and support, released Ali to Rocking Chair Farm to continue her treatment. We treated her around the clock for a week. At the end of the week , we notified her owner’s she was clear to return home. They met us at UT for Ali’s final check up to see if she was truly ready to return home. UT’s vets proclaimed her ready to go and after lots of pictures and exclamations of astonishment, she and her mom made the trip back to NC. Fast forward 3 years- Ali has retired from showing, and is pursuing a career as a model. She participates in weddings, photo shoots, promposals, etc. She has a date with suitor, and is carrying a cria. She takes time off to care for her growing baby without working. During this time, her owners decide to retire and offer Ali to us if would would like her. We jumped at the chance to bring this little girl home! She is due to deliver a highly anticipated cria in Spring 2021, and is currently settling into life here. Her story was also featured in Alpacas Magazine Winter 2020 edition
National Alpaca Farm Days: We did not participate in one of our favorite events this year. We could not in good conscience hold this event with Covid numbers increasing. We were expecting over 1000 visitors this year and we could not find a way to ensure social distancing, hand washing, masks, etc, so we made the decision to not participate. We are hoping 2021 will allow us to once again host this event.
A new baby!: October gave us a new cria, In the Nick of Time. Nick (as he is known on the farm) is out of Roxanne and sired by Kid Charlemagne. His conception and arrival were truly in the nick of time. His dam had a stillborn cria the previous year that she grieved for a long time. Her sadness was heartbreaking. We would normally give a dam time to grieve and physically recover before rebreeding, but Roxanne wouldn’t have it. She wanted another baby and she wanted one right NOW. She would only accept Charlemagne as a suitor. In her way, Roxanne must have known what we did not-We would lose Charlemagne in May. Nick’s arrival was medicine for his dam’s heart as well as ours. He is the final son of Kid Charlemagne , and is Roxanne’s pride and joy. We think he’s pretty awesome as well.
Christmas Photo Shoot!: We partnered with Nothing Rhymes with Orange to bring another one of a kind event to the farm- Family Christmas pictures! We’ve known Kira, with Nothing Rhymes with Orange, for years. She’s super talented in everything from photography, videography, modeling, etc. She has an unbelievable eye for the shot, and she works so well with the animals. She offered a limited number of mini sessions and SOLD OUT almost immediately. During the shoot, she was able to capture some gorgeous pictures for the folks that participated. The animals seemed to have just as much fun as the participants! Because of Kira’s rapport with the animals, and respect for their health and well being, we have decided to offer her the EXCLUSIVE use of the farm for photography purposes. All requests for photography sessions on the farm are now booked through Nothing Rhymes with Orange.
Holiday time on the Farm!– We hosted our last Not Your Average Farm Tour on the last weekend in November as a way for people to avoid the chaos of Black Friday shopping. The groups were a little smaller, but we had so much fun with them! Holiday shopping kicked off and lots of folks came out to support our little farm. Christmas Eve gave us over 4″ of snow in a freak December snow storm. On Christmas day, we know lots of folks who opened up some alpaca awesome gifts!
Post Holidays: Never ones to slow down, we added 5 alpacas to our farm the week following Christmas. After a gorgeous drive to Georgia, we took possession of 5 female suris! Raritan, LaVelle, Livonia (Livvy), Meg, and Tish. To say we are thrilled with these ladies would be an understatement. We are over the moon with their addition and what they will bring to the farm.
Being a small business owner is hard in normal times and being a farmer adds another layer of difficulty. Trying to do both in the middle of a pandemic sometimes felt insurmountable, but your support has both humbled and amazed us. We are truly amazed at the people that are placed in our lives. We could not do what we do without your support. We are looking forward to 2021 and what it will bring.