Classes, Workshops, and Events
Osage River Alpacas
Osage River Alpacas offers breeding, agisting, and limited transportation services to our fellow Midwest alpaca owners.
Our Alpaca Story
Business is good and time is flying by. We sold a few alpacas in 2017, and expanded our herd in 2018. We bought 5 quality registered white alpacas from Whirlwind Ranch. I love white alpacas because their fleece can be dyed into beautiful vibrant colors. Later in the year we expanded our herd again from a farm that was retiring from the business. These alpacas are not registered, but will make fine fleece. There are 4 beautiful brown females and one gorgeous tuxedo grey male. We also had 1 cria born in 2017 and one in 2018. We did breedings again in both spring and fall of 2018. I hope to have a few new crias arriving throughout 2019. Fleeces To Pieces is also growing. The yarn room is full and I have another order of Osage River Alpaca yarn coming from the mill in early March. There are many handmade apparel pieces as well as apparel and home décor from Andean Art, Latin Collection, Classic Alpaca, and others. Our robust agenda of classes and workshops continues to expand to meet the demand in the area. And don’t forget Sit & Knit every Thursday. Enjoy the fellowship and creativity with your peers.
Finally, Audrey is retired, everyone is in Missouri, and our focus is now on the farm and fiber business. In May we purchased a commercial location in Camdenton and opened a new yarn store called Fleeces To Pieces on July 25, 2016. We are very excited about building our business to include not only retail of fiber products from our animals, but also other retail alpaca products and a variety of quality yarns.
The saga continues! It is now 2015. Rich has retired to become a full-time farmer! He and the “critters” have moved to our Missouri farm, the Illinois farm has been sold, and Audrey commutes between Illinois and Missouri until her retirement. No set date yet, but the itch is getting stronger. The situation is not optimal, but we are making it work. We love the farm, we love the animals, and we love the lifestyle. Just a few more steps until happily ever after!
We agisted for the first year as we searched for a small farm midway between our current locations. We found a small farm in Mt. Pulaski, Illinois. We are finally all together, learning as we go. We continue to prepare the farm in Missouri that is much larger and will allow us to grow our herd and expand our services. Our Mt. Pulaski, IL farm will be our temporary home as we finish our careers, hone our new farming skills, and grow our herd. Originally, our intention was to start small and grow the herd once we move to Missouri. Our first purchase was a male that I found online. Some alpaca owners we knew were visiting the area where this fella lived, and they checked him out for us. Satisfied that he was a good investment, we took the leap. We found our female in a similar fashion and picked the two of them up in December 2010. Mid-year 2011, we bought a few more, and then the babies started to arrive! So much for starting small! Life has been full of adjustments, and we are very happy with our new lifestyle.
Everyone always seems to ask, what made you decide to get into alpaca farming. The only good answer I seem to be able to come up with is: They did! Love at first sight! Rich and I met in 2002, well into our careers. We had both been married previously and had three children each, five of them still in school. Unfortunately, our jobs were in Illinois cities about 75 miles apart! They say love has no boundaries. That must be true because when we married in 2007 we decided to continue to maintain 2 households until all the kids were in college, which finally happened in 2011! We both love the country, but never really had any farming background. We found a farm in Missouri that we purchased with plans to retire there. It is close to Osage River and thought that this would be a wonderful place for our kids to “come home to”. The property has rolling hills, woods, pasture, and barns. However, the only animals we had were dogs. As we explored what we wanted to do in our retirement years, we somehow stumbled onto these beautiful, gentle, loving animals. Alpacas. We fell in love! We researched their care, visited farms, attended seminars, and finally went for it. In October 2010, we became the proud owners of our very first alpaca! Oops! A couple of problems with this scenario:
- We aren’t retired yet!
- We are a state away from our farm!
- We live in separate cities!