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BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR

Posted by Bernie Rothrock on

I didn't realize that the path upon which I found myself after my retirement would lead me to where I am today. I was more of the journey rather than the destination type guy. I was also more likely to be associated with manure than with entrepreneur. But, even though I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't read it myself, last week it was brought to my attention that I had become an entrepreneur. But with that awesome accomplishment comes the responsibility to continue providing the world with the warmth and comfort that can only be achieved through alpaca socks. So I will continue to rake and scoop all the poop they can deliver, to feed and water them regardless of the weather, and to hold that tail up if it helps in the procreation of the species.  Thanks to Shopify for giving me the tools to take alpaca socks into cyberspace, sharing that hug and especially thanks to Shopify storyteller, Dayna Winter, for bringing the Maximus and Penelope story to the world.

You can read Shopify's blog on Maximus & Penelope here.

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MAX & PEN'S FIBER TESTING LAB

Posted by Bernie Rothrock on

Before we send our fiber to the mill to be woven into socks, it is subjected to extreme elements that can only be produced in our fiber testing lab- Northeast Missouri. Temperatures here can range from below zero to triple digits, testing the insulating quality of the alpacas' medullated fibers. The hollow centers of their fiber insulate so effectively that at 0 degrees actual temperature your foot has the feeling of a 50 degree environment. 

Northeast Missouri's average rainfall of 39 inches tests the water resistance of alpaca fiber. It is a common sight to see the herd out in the pasture during those all-day rains only to be completely dry the next day. This quality can be appreciated when you wear the socks during periods of heavy activity and your feet remain dry. It also will become apparent when your take the socks out of the washer to find that they are almost dry. This allows you to air dry them improving their longevity.

The most unique quality of alpaca fiber put to the test is what we consider to be "teflon"tivity . During those periods of rainy weather our pastures become quite muddy and alpacas are not allergic to mud, in fact they like it. They will literally lay in the mud until all that beautiful fiber becomes filthy. Give them a couple of dry days and they'll look like they came back from the dry cleaners- spotless. Like teflon, nothing sticks to their fiber, including odors. This you will discover when you put the socks to your own test of extremes. It is not uncommon, nor is it gross, to wear alpacas socks for several days without laundering. 

The most impressive quality of alpaca socks can only be measured by putting them on your own feet. This of course is the comfort they afford. You will be amazed at how soft and warm they are and you will understand why it is said of these socks, "Once you wear alpaca you'll never go backta" anything else.

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SUNSET AT STARLIGHT

Posted by Bernie Rothrock on

The Indian Summer we have been enjoying here in Northeast Missouri has seemingly come to an end. Colder temperatures have ushered in the first snowfall of the year and it's beginning to look a lot like winter. As the air turns colder, the nights become crisper and the sunsets become more spectacular. Another harbinger of winter, the alpacas spending the majority of their time out in the pastures.
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WE'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE

Posted by Bernie Rothrock on

This weekend I took a trip to Wellington, Kansas to pick-up these six girls. Their owners were dealing with health issues and were looking for a forever home for them, so Max and Pen have adopted them. They are very sweet, which is fitting as they are the Sweet Grass Ranch girls. And they seem to be proof of the old adage about the grass being greener because, so far, they have not ventured into the barn very often, choosing instead to graze in their new (to them) pasture. Welcome to Starlight Alpaca Ranch girls and to the Maximus and Penelope herd.
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Spring Has Sprung

Posted by Bernie Rothrock on

It is as inevitable as the greening of the grass, the blossoming of the fruit trees, and the warming of the days. Yes spring has arrived at Starlight Alpaca Ranch, but more importantly shearing time has also arrived.  Maximus, Penelope and the rest of the alpacas are enjoying their days outside grazing on new shoots of grass, but unbeknownst to them the dirty deed is fixing to be done. In about two weeks the herd will be subjected to an alpaca’s worst nightmare, being shorn. It doesn’t hurt, contrary to what they will tell you during the deed, but for their safety they are tied around the ankles and stretched out on the floor. Taking away an alpaca’s main defense, the ability to run, renders them helpless and some will whine and cry while others will spit, and/or shit and/or pee to insure you are fully aware of their anxiety. Five minutes later they are shorn, feeling the breeze, and back to what they do best- growing fiber.
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