Blue Moon Ranch alpacas welcome the public this weekend
What: Open Barn Days
When: 1-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday Sept. 28-29
Where: Blue Moon Ranch, 3535 S. 1000 East in Woodland
Linda Gardner says her 48 alpacas are ready to greet their fans this weekend when the Blue Moon Alpaca Ranch hosts its annual two-day Fall Open Barn Days event from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, and Sunday, Sept. 29.
Gates will be open from 1-4 p.m.
“We used to open in the morning and run the events longer, but we found many people come after lunch,” Gardner said. “So we felt the afternoon worked better.”This weekend, Blue Moon Ranch will boast four new males, called machos, who were born last month, according to Gardner.
The young ones’ names are Rocky, Remy, Roman and Ryder, she said.
Rocky’s birth nearly ended in tragedy when both he and his mother’s life were threatened, according to Gardner.
“When your vet says, ‘There is no way to save them both…’ it just, well, you know,” Gardner said.
Luckily, Rocky and his mother, Marcella, survived the ordeal.
“Rocky has a slight umbilical hernia, and, instead of surgery, I’m wrapping him with a belly band to support his stomach,” Gardner said. “For the first few days, however, I had to feed Rocky, but now, Marcella has taken over her role and is a good mother. When I look at them I am still filled with gratitude.”
Remy is the youngest and smallest, Gardner said.
“He was only 12 pounds when he was born,” she said. “That scared me, because the babies usually weigh 17 to 20 pounds when they are born. But he has big energy, and seems to be doing fine.”
Roman and Ryder didn’t have any trouble coming into the world.
“All four of these babies were fathered by an alpaca named Romulus,” Gardner said. “He really makes pretty babies.”
Individual tickets to Open Barn Days are $5, and they can be purchased by visiting the ranch’s website, bluemoonranch.net.
While tickets help Gardner and her husband Ed Heintz with crowd and parking control, the registration process also helps with communication between Gardner and Open Barn Days attendees.
“It’s nice because I get a list of emails where I can inform people who plan to come how to get around any road closures or construction,” Gardner said.
Ninety percent of ticket sales help Gardner pay for hay that the alpacas eat during the winter, she said, while she donates the rest to Tree Sisters, an international environmental organization based in London.
“My daughter introduced me to Tree Sisters,” Gardner said. “The organization is comprised of women, and they are totally focused on planting trees. That’s all they do.” I just love their focus.”
For information, about Tree Sisters, visit treesisters.org.Last month, the Blue Moon Alpaca Ranch hosted a one-day Open Barn event and raised enough money for Tree Sisters to plant 490 trees, according to Gardner.
“They mostly plant in tropical areas or places where the trees will have the most impact on the environment, and I was really pleased with that,” Gardner said. “If we sell $3,000 of stuff over this weekend, we can beat that. And I know we can do this.”
In addition to ticket sales, Gardner’s Ya-Ya’s Yarn Barn will raise money by selling merchandise during the event.
Items for sale include Gardner’s homemade soaps and photos of alpacas, as well as yarn spun from the ranch alpacas’ fleece.
“I’ve sold a few photos, so I’m trying to figure out which new ones I can use to fill the gaps on the wall,” she said.
The barn also sells yarn bowls and mugs by Chikamu Arts, a mother-and-daughter ceramics studio in Oakley.
“So we have farm-fresh yarn and farm fresh ceramics from the kiln,” Gardner said with a laugh.
Open Barn Days will also include spinning demonstrations, which has become very popular with attendees over the years.
“We’ll set the spinners up in a tent and show people how to make yarn out of alpaca fleece,” Gardner said.
There will also be six roving volunteers who will answer any questions about alpacas and assist Gardner and Heintz throughout the day.
“It takes a lot of preparation to do Open Barn Days, but it’s always fun to introduce people to our alpacas,” Gardner said.
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