Rosehaven Alpacas is a story about how we started a new adventure for us. The story continues….
Rob and I work in the crazy and exciting world of New York City and Los Angeles. 16 years ago we decided to get a weekend place somewhere in the Mountains. Looking for over 2 years we finally found a place in Callicoon, New York. We have 40 acres and are nestled between the river town of Callicoon and the little vibrant hamlet of Jeffersonville, in an area known as the Beechwoods directly across from the first hole of the Villa Roma Resort As much as we love our jobs in the City once experiencing the calmer gentler atmosphere of country living, (or perhaps revisiting our childhoods) we wanted to spend more time at the farm. We started looking for something that would allow us to make a living in the country. We looked at restaurants, stores, apartment buildings, anything that could give us a living. Not once did we think about livestock. We have a few horses but they are really more pets than a business.
One day Rob was driving back from Jeffersonville and saw a moving cloud on the roadway in front of him. As he slowly approached, he was surrounded by strange long necked, alien creatures all staring at him, making weird low noises. He helped the escaped creatures and their human friends back into the pastures. He came home laughing and telling me about these funny looking but fascinating creatures he had “bumped into”. We had seen a few signs in our area for an alpaca farm but really never paid attention to it. Well you know how that goes, once you hear about something new, it seems every corner you turn and every place you see, the subject pops up. That was the case for us and “alpacas”.
We started researching on the web and found interesting information. We really got hooked by an online auction – I saw an alpaca I fell head over heels for from Chase Tavern and knew I was in big trouble! Rob knew it too. Then we started to go to a few farms. We really didn’t go to that many when we knew we were ready. We started at Brookhollow Alpacas and Hilltop Alpacas, however, the story took a slight detour at that point. In a strange series of events – it turned out that my lawyer, who I dealt with on a daily basis owned alpacas! Amazing!! So our first purchases came from that farm and we have all stayed good friends (Riverside Alpacas).
Right from the beginning Rob and I have been drawn to grey and black alpacas. So of course our first purchase was a light fawn and a deep dark brown! Go figure!! LOL!
Now, we still have a dilemma because we still work in the city and our house in Callicoon is just too far to commute. So where do the alpacas go and how do they thrive? We looked into agisting, but our business plan was to grow the herd quickly over the first 5 years, so that really didn’t work for us. Rob’s father offered a better plan. He has had animals all his life, notably horses and goats. He lived in a lovely location between Sugarloaf Village and Warwick, New York. So the alpacas stayed with Rupert and Roberta Baron as the herd grew. It’s literally half way between our one house and the other. They, along with Rob’s sister Lysa took care of the alpacas on a daily basis. The herd grew till they were busting out the sides of the place, and we knew we had to move them. We ended up agisting some of our herd at another place too – that’s how much the herd had grown. It was time for the move to Callicoon. Rob worked very hard retrofitting our old barn on the property for the girls, and in our north fields we outfitted that for the males. All that fencing! Wow!! but finally it was done and with the help of our herd manager Jerry Murphy, the alpacas have all come home to Callicoon. Life is peaceful up there, especially at night in the paddock outside the barn, with alpacas cushing, and the full moon beating down on the farm. very peaceful.
Sadly in 2012 Jerry Murphy had to retire. Jerry was excellent and was a good friend of ours before – and still remains good friends. Very hard to replace him but we are very lucky and very happy to welcome Jair Trujillo who has been working with alpacas since 1992. Jair formerlly worked with The Double E Alpaca Farm owned by the Boyds. They have since stopped breeding Alpacas, and Jair had already been sheering with us for a number of years and knew our farm well, which made bringing him on board an easy decision.
We’ve had a great time meeting and knowing alpaca people. We have become part of the “Agistor Sisters” and now have a bunch of farms on our farm. Two farms are from Long Island, one how lives in an apartment in Queens, her sister who lives in NJ and an honorary “member” who has her own farm in Rockland County. We email together, we learn together, we agist together, travel to shows and most important laugh together! The last of the Agistors moved out in 2012, like little birds being fledged and moving out on their own! Except for Judy – she still has her apartment and 2 cats in Forest Hills Queens. Her girls will stay with us!
We are happy to say that we took over the alpaca festival at Bethel Woods this year. With the Double E getting out of the alpaca business we are very happy that Bethel chose us to continue the 15 year tradition of keeping the Harvest Festival kick off with the alpaca festival. Very exciting for us! Look for us on the Labor Day weekends!
We invite you to come and visit us at the Callicoon Farm and see all the alpacas. Come and meet them in the scenic Beachwoods valley as the alpacas cush on their hill and watch over the golfers as they tee up on the first hole of the Villa Roma Golf course. Life is grand.
Michele & Rob