Blue Moon Ranch alpacas welcome spring with an open barn day
Open Barn Day
1-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 25
Blue Moon Alpaca Ranch, 3535 S. 1000 East, Woodland
$4 in advance; $5 at the gate
Visitors of the Blue Moon Ranch’s spring open barn day on Saturday will see a herd of alpacas in their full pre-shearing fluffiness, says ranch owner Linda Gardner.
“People will get a chance to see them before they get naked,” Gardner said.
The event will run from 1-4 p.m., Saturday, May 25, 3535 South 1000 East, in Woodland. Tickets are $4 in advance and $5 at the gate. Advance tickets can be purchased by visiting bluemoonranch.net.
This is the first time the ranch is selling tickets to the event, Gardner said.
“These events have been getting very popular over the years, and it’s been getting hard to find parking,” she said. “So we decided to do a teeny bit of crowd control, thus the tickets. We want to make this enjoyable for people so they don’t have to park a mile away.”
Marked paths will give visitors a close view of the herd, and volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions
There are 44 alpacas in this season’s herd, according to the ranch owner.
“That’s a good number for us, because they eat the grass on the pastures,” she said. “That way I don’t have to feed them a lot of supplemental hay.”
Of the 44 alpacas, four are pregnant, and their offspring, called crias, are due in August, according to the ranch owner.
“The babies will come a little late this year, but the alpacas are pretty agreeable,” Gardner said.
animals appear to sense what people feel, she said.
“When we lost Abby, our oldest guardian dog, last week, I was just in a funk,” Gardner said. “So I sat out in the pasture, and the alpacas just sat with me. They were really sensitive that I wasn’t happy that day.”
The pregnant alpacas all have white fleece, she said.
“Last year all the babies were dark in color, so I wanted to get some white ones so we can do some fleece dying this year,” she said.
While Gardner’s alpacas are a big draw, Ya-Ya’s Yarn Barn, the ranch’s home goods store, will be open for business.
The shop, named by Gardner’s grandson who called her “Ya-Ya,” will feature homemade soaps and yarn spun from Blue Moon Ranch alpaca fleece, as well as ceramic mugs and yarn bowls by Oakley-based Chikamu arts, a mother and daughter pair.
Other items include photos of alpacas taken by Gardner.
“I began taking photos of alpacas because I love taking pictures of what I love,” she said.
Some of the photos are set in wooden frames that were handmade by Gardner, and other photos have been stretched onto a canvas, she said.
“I love to play with Photoshop, and I do import clouds for the photos, “ she said. “One of the photos started out with a female alpaca in the snow, and I added elements to it.”
Gardner edits the photos at night.
“I do that rather than watch TV like normal people,” she said laughing.
The ranch owner will also sell hats handmade by the Connor Hat company.
“What do these hats have to do with alpaca yarn,” Gardner said with another laugh. “Nothing.
“One of the reasons why I decided to sell the hats is sometimes during a tour, I will set my hat down and someone will pick it up and ask how much it is.”
Gardner came across Connor Hats online.
“Their whole warehouse is powered by solar energy,” she said. “While some hats are made from wool, they are some they make are from recycled plastic water bottles. So I felt really felt good about selling these hats.”
Gardner enjoys her open barn days, which she also hosts in autumn and winter.
“This is a beautiful place, and people have been coming here for a lot of years,” she said. “I think people are ready to get out and do something after a long winter, and it’s fun to show what alpacas look like in full fleece.”
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