Later, 2020!

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.

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Looking for some fun this summer?

Are you tired of being cooped up? Looking for something unique and fun to do? We’ve partnered with two other local farms to bring you the Not Your Average Farm Tour!

Not Your Average Farm Tour is not a run of the mill farm tour but a unique and memorable experience like none other!  Axe throwing, alpacas and wine tasting, what more could you ask for?  Enjoy all that beautiful East Tennessee has to offer with three unique farm tours rolled into one amazing experience with a complimentary wine glass waiting for you at the end.  This is the perfect experience for date night, bachelor/bachelorette parties, friend’s day out or just a fun time.  Join us Saturday, July 25th or Sunday, July 26th and enjoy this $105 value for only $55!  Excited yet?  Give us a call at (865)745-2902 now to sign up or read on to learn more.

Your experience will include an instructional introduction followed by 30 minutes of axe throwing at 865 Axe Throwing.  Take a short 15 minute drive down the road to Rocking Chair Farm.  Here you will tour the farm, meet many different animals, and have the opportunity to interact with alpacas.  Another short 15-minute drive brings you to The Winery at Seven Springs Farm.  Enjoy a complimentary tasting which can include any 10 of our wines, ciders, juices and wine slushies.  Total drive time is under 30 minutes!  You will receive a passport at the first stop and get stamps at each venue.   Bring the completed passport to the Winery and receive a free Not Your Average Farm Tour wine glass to remind you of your experience.

Tours will begin at 10 am, 12 pm or 2 pm on Saturday, July 25th  or Sunday, July 26th and are limited to 20 people. 

Please arrive at 865 Axe Throwing 15 prior to your scheduled time and then enjoy the beautiful East Tennessee scenery traveling to the next two destinations.  Total tour time is around 2 hours.  Cut off to complete the trail is 8 pm.  Tickets are $55 and must be purchased in advance by calling (865)745-2902.  This is a rain or shine event and tickets are non-refundable unless canceled by Not Your Average Farm Tour.  You are responsible for your own transportation.  Participants must be at least 21 years of age.  Please remember to wear closed to shoes and bring a valid ID.  This is a farm and wine experience and no exceptions can be made.  Sorry, we cannot allow any pets; only verified service animals.  If you feel ill or have a temperature over 100 degrees, please stay at home.   

Meet Your Hosts!

865 Axe Throwing
5821 Babelay Road
Knoxville, TN 37924

865 Axe Throwing is located at Babelay Farms and owned/operated by Penny and Weston Babelay.  Their goal is to bring people back to the simple beauty of farm living and enjoy rustic country offering from their farm.  After visiting axe-throwing ranges, they fell in love with the sport and 865 Axe Throwing was born!  Babelay farms provides you with the first outdoor axe throwing range in East Tennessee that is welcoming, safe and fun.

Rocking Chair Farm
6913 Fair Meadow Lane
Corryton, TN 37721

Rocking Chair Farm is an alpaca farm nestled at the base of House Mountain in East TN owned and operated by David and Christine Rogers.  David and Christine are devoted to raising the finest quality alpacas, furthering the breed and they firmly believe in the magic these “critters” bring to a farm.  These “critters” have firmly established themselves not only in their hearts, but also their souls.  They love to educate their friends and neighbors about what makes these guys so magical; from the fiber they possess to their personalities.  Shop for unique gifts in their farm store or experience a day in the life of an alpaca farmer, led by the farmers themselves!  Come check them out, stay a while and learn more about their story and the story of each animal here. 

The Winery at Seven Springs Farm
1474 Highway 61 East
Maynardville, TN 37807

Visit East Tennessee’s premier wine and vineyard location, situated on historic “Thunder Road” just outside Maynardville, and a short drive from Knoxville. The Winery at Seven Springs Farm is owned/operated by Nikki Riddle and Michael Coombs and situated on a 400 acre working family farm.  Taste from a large selection of award winning wines, expertly crafted in our modern winemaking facility. Our experienced winemakers Nikki and Michael apply their knowledge to handcraft a unique selection of both dry and sweet wines that will appeal to any wine lover.  After your tasting, stay and enjoy a glass and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  The store also offers a selection of vegetables and black angus beef cuts grown on the farm. 

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Raffle Winners!

The winning numbers for the raffle held during National Alpaca Farm Days have been drawn! If you have either of the numbers listed below, please contact us via email ( rockingchairfarmalpacas@gmail.com ) to claim your prize!

The winning number for the drawing for the handmade reversible beanie is 859005

The winning number for the drawing for the pair of Altera socks is 859028

Thank you to everyone who participated in National Alpaca Farm Days with us this year! We had a great turn out for each day, as well as a fantastic inaugural concert for our Alpacaroo!Paca Ears Concert. We are already in planning mode for next year and we hope it is bigger and better than ever!

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Alpacaroo! Paca Ears Concert

We are less than a week away from our inaugural concert, featuring Travis Bigwood and the Lonesome Doves!

Gates open at 5 pm, and the music will start around 6. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and sit back and enjoy the harmonies, surrounded by a gentle herd of alpacas. A one of a kind experience, at an unforgettable location!

To purchase your tickets for this one of a kind event https://www.eventbrite.com/e/alpacaroo-paca-ears-concert-tickets-70437539577?aff=ebdshpsearchautocomplete

We will also have the Ale’ Rae Grill here from 11 am -8 pm serving up some of their delicious food and drinks! ARG chef creates comfort gastropub style food that use bold flavors from sweet, savory, spicy, tangy, salty and just good ole’ excellent taste. Check them out! https://arggourmet.com/home

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National Alpaca Farm Days

It’s that time again! One of our favorite events on the farm, National Alpaca Farm Days, is back and better than ever!

We are proud to celebrate National Alpaca Farm Days the last weekend in September. Our farm will be open from 10 am – 4 pm Saturday, September 28th and Sunday, September 29th- with tours running at the top of every hour, beginning at 11 am and ending with a 3 pm tour. The farm store will be open for shopping with a fabulous selection of items made here on the farm.
NO appointment is needed , and there is NO charge to enter.

Closed toe shoes are required! For details on parking , restrooms, outside food/ drinks, and more please visit www.rockingchairfarm.live/FaqsforyourVisit

Each year we try to add something new for our guests , and this year is no exception. We are happy to announce our inaugural Alpacaroo! Paca Ears concert, featuring Travis Bigwood and the Lonesome Doves! Tickets for this event are on sale now, and limited in quantity, so grab yours while you still can!.

To find out more please check out our event page : https://www.facebook.com/events/412270756314332/

To purchase tickets : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/alpacaroo-paca-ears-concert-tickets-70437539577

We have much more in the works, so keep watching! We look forward to seeing all of our returning friends and meeting new ones!

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National Alpaca Farm Days are back!

As we move from summer into fall, we are preparing for one of the biggest yearly farm events- National Alpaca Farm Days!

Join us the last weekend in September as alpaca farms across North America open their gates to the public.

  • Experience alpacas up-close
  • Feel the alpaca fleece
  • Tour the Farm
  • View live demonstrations
  • Learn about raising and breeding alpacas
  • Shop for alpaca products
  • Enjoy a fun filled day for the entire family

We will be open from 10 am -4 pm Saturday, September 28, and 10 am – 4 pm Sunday, September 29th. We will have tours at the top of every hour , starting at 11 am and going through 3 pm. There is no admission to this event, and appointments are not necessary. All of our regular farm rules will still apply (please see those HERE ), so please make sure you’ve checked them out before arriving.

We will have special things planned for our Farm VIPs, so keep your eyes out! If you are not a Farm VIP (and why aren’t you??), you can join our VIP group on Facebook HERE to get in on the discounts, special hours, and so much more!

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It’s so easy being GREEN

If you have followed us for any amount of time, you know GREEN is one of our farm’s “official” colors. It’s in our logo, and it is normally used in any thing we have our name on.

Why Green? Green echos our beloved mountains that surround the farm. Green reminds us of the soft green pastures our animals graze in. Green is the color of life on the farm. Green also reminds us of why we chose to raise alpacas in the first place- they are easy on the land, produce a renewable resource, and are a model of efficiency in their habits. Alpacas, for us, are the ultimate in “green” farming!

One of our goals in raising these animals was to positively impact our community, while having a minimal impact on the environment. This month we moved even farther toward that goal. As of August 9th, our farm is powered entirely by SOLAR energy. As long as the sun is out, we are producing clean, efficient power to run fans for the animals, light the barns, heat water in the winter, and so much more. We are able to store power for the evening, and we are feeding excess power back into the grid to help provide power to neighboring farms.

We’ve always said everyone on the farm has a job, and now we’ve put the sun to work as well. It really is that easy being green. What’s next? Who knows?

If you would like to see our green farm in action, schedule a visit with us HERE. If you would like more information on how we went solar, email us at rockingchairfarmalpacas@gmail.com, or give us a call at 865-548-7111, and we would be happy to give you more information.

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Feature Friday #9

We’ve been so busy here on the farm, that Feature Friday slipped right by us, so we’re extending it to Saturday!   Our feature this week is one of our cornerstone products.  Each animal here on the farm contributes fiber to our products, and we try to honor that contribution by showcasing that particular animal in their YARN!  Although it isn’t always the easiest, or most cost efficient way to have yarn produced, we choose to process most of our fiber by animal.  There is nothing like having a customer purchase a skein of yarn from their favorite animal, and then come back with their finished product to take a picture with that animal!  If you purchase a handmade item from our store, you know the story of the animal behind it, and chances are you’ve met that animal during your visit.  Each one of these items are truly one of a kind, and it all starts with the yarn.

 

We offer our yarn in 200 yard hanks of DK/Sport weight and a few in fingering weight, in both Suri and Huacaya.  We offer yarn in an array of natural colors, as well as exclusive, indie dyed semi solids, tonals, and colorways.  Our dyed yarn is for sale only on a limited basis, and in small runs, so if you see one you love grab it while it is in stock!

Great handmade items start with great yarn, great yarn comes from great fiber, and great fiber comes from happy, healthy, fabulous animals.  We are proud to be home to a herd that embodies that idea.  Stop by and pick up a skein ( or two or twelve!) of our yarn produced right here in Tennessee; meet the animal who created that gorgeous, squishy goodness, and take home a bit of alpaca magic for your self!

Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Basics, Crochet, Feature Friday, fiber, Knitting, Media, Pick TN, Products, Shop, Shop local, Shop Small, weaving, yarn | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feature Friday # 8

This week’s feature Friday is a nod to the the holiday season

Alpaca fiber filled christmas ornaments

One of our top holiday sellers are our alpaca fiber ornaments.  Each ornament is completely unique and one of a kind.  The ornaments are filled with hand dyed alpaca fiber straight from our farm  This season we are offering round ornaments and Christmas bulb shaped ornaments, in a variety of colors.  Each ornament is $5.00 and a hanger is included.

Our ornaments make the perfect gift for secret santa, co workers, friends, teachers, and so many more!  You can purchase online, in our farm store, or at one of the vendor events we will be at this holiday season.

Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Feature Friday, fiber, Media, Pick TN, Products, Shop, Shop local, Shop Small | Leave a comment

Feature Friday #7

Happy Friday,everyone!  Hopefully our US friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving, while our international friends are enjoying a peaceful Friday.

We are hosting our Annual Open Barn/Holiday Shop this entire weekend, so we’ve been out giving tours and hosting shoppers in the farm store.  While I was in the farm store I noticed one of our family’s favorite products, but until today  I never thought to showcase them because they aren’t made from alpaca. They were just so pretty with the Christmas lights reflecting in them and up against the pine walls of the store.

 

Our hand etched glassware features alpacas. We offer wine glasses in clear, and colored glass; beer steins ( with a pair of socks included for a ready made gift !) ; candle holders; and lighted glass bricks.  All are handmade right here on the farm.  Our selection is constantly changing and evolving and we are happy to do custom orders.  If you would like to purchase any of our glassware, please contact us via email for current availability and pricing, or stop by the farmstore.

Happy Friday y’all 💚

Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Feature Friday, fiber, Media, Pick TN, Products, Sale, Shop, Shop local, Shop Small | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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