The Story ~ About Us (Be sure to visit our Home Page, too!)
Deborah Low says, "The adventure began many years ago when I became interested in alpaca fiber to use in weavings and knitting. In 1984 I heard about the importation of alpacas and llamas to the U.S.A. and investigated. The costs were prohibitive at that time and one thing lead to another but I never forgot the feel of the marvelous fiber."
Fast forward to March 2009 and my first visit to Alpacas at Windy Hill with Cindy Harris. It was a long overdue love affair and alpacas began to change my life. Learning about them, caring for them, enjoying their company and exploring their wonderful fiber became my focus. Learning keeps things exciting. See Products page for yarn sales and custom alpaca apparel items made with the beautiful fiber.
There's nothing like hugging a cria!
What's in a name?
I'm often asked about the name of my farm. . . and what does it mean?
Here's the story:
As a life long fan of Beatrix Potter, the author and artist who created the little Peter Rabbit books, I wanted to name my farm after hers, Hilltop Farm, located in the Lake District of western England. However, that name was already claimed for an alpaca farm so I selected the name of the village her farm is in, Near Sawrey. It's a tribute to not only a wonderful childrens' book author but also to the work Beatrix did after she stopped writing little books. She was a pioneer in preserving heritage sheep breeds and protecting the countryside farmlands, helping to create The National Trust in Britain.
It's all about "crias", the spirited baby alpacas! Summer and early fall are the best time to be surrounded by these irresistable ambassadors. Their personalities vary from sassy and bold to shy and cautious. All are adorable!
"Cria races" are the best spectator sport around. It Involves lots of wobbly-legged fuzzy babies racing up and down the pastures. Watching mothers attend to their crias will melt your heart. There seems to be someone new arriving almost everyday.
There are two types of alpacas - the "woolly huacaya" and the "silky suri. Huacaya fleece is dense with a crimp and looks like teddy bear fur. Suri fleece is long, silky, and twists into locks. First imported into the United States in 1984, alpacas were a key part of the ancient Incan civilization, playing a central role in the Incan culture on the high Andean Plateau and mountains of South America. Both types of alpaca have a lifespan of about 20 years and gestation is approximately 11.5 months. Smaller than their cousins, the llamas, they generally weigh between 100 and 200 pounds, standing about 36 inches tall at the withers, and come in 20 natural colors. Shearing of the fleece is done once a year, in the spring before the summer heat. A fleece can weigh from 5 to 8 pounds and produces one of the world's finest and most luxurious natural fibers. Gentle and easy to handle, alpacas are also easy on the environment! Their feet have soft pads (like a dog's) that do not damage the land. Intelligent and curious, alpacas are herd animals who allow us humans to be part of their lives. Alpacas have a three-compartment stomach that converts grass and hay to energy very efficiently - they eat less than other farm animals. A herd will deposit feces in one or two spots in the pasture making it easy for clean-up and reducing the spread of parasites.