The Best Alpaca Sock

The Best Alpaca Sock. Start with Alpaca and there you have an incredible fiber than is unbeatable, I’ll tell you why. Alpaca fiber is incredibly fine, 25% finer than wool and 8X stronger, making alpaca socks lighter, warmer, stronger, and more comfortable. It is soft to the skin, a fiber that naturally wicks away moisture taking your sweat off your foot, keeping you comfortable on a warm day or insulated on a cold one. Alpaca vs Wool. Why do other socks stink after wearing? Because wool, cotton and other fibers absorb moisture and hold it next to the skin, yuck! They irritate your skin and smell after wear. Wool also contains Lanolin which has a smell all its own, also many folks find lanolin on their allergen list. Alpaca is Hypoallergenic, has excellent insulation properties, is a natural, sustainable, green fiber being shorn each year. An excellent choice for the environment, plus your performance and comfort needs. Alpaca socks are machine washable! Yes, you can even hand wash, or rinse them in the stream and hang dry while on an outdoor adventure. Should I buy 100% Alpaca Sock? Blends are better. Here’s why: you need performance and durability in a sock that fits your foot, plus washes a multitude of times. What are the best other fibers to blend with the alpaca to create the best performing sock? Well that depends on end use. Dress Sock, Hiker Sock, Ski Sock, Diabetic Sock, Casual Sock, etc. Lycra and…

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Alpaca Fiber Characteristics

Alpaca fiber is a natural renewable fiber with a wide range of applications. It is classified as an animal protein fiber like sheep’s wool, mohair, cashmere, llama, vicuna, camel, qiviut, and yak. There are, however, special characteristics in alpaca fiber that set it apart from all the other animal protein fibers. At the microscopic level, all animal protein fiber has scales around the shaft of the individual fibers. Alpaca fiber scales are at a lower angle from the main shaft, which reduces the prickle or itchy feel often encountered with sheep wool. The individual fiber diameter of alpaca ranges from 15 – 36 microns depending on the grade of fiber. When properly sorted, alpaca can feel softer than other animal protein fibers of the same grade because of the uniformity of micron and the lower scale structure. Alpaca is a single coated animal, and the fiber generally does not have to be dehaired like cashmere, llama, camel, qiviut, and yak. This leads to greater yields of fiber after processing. Alpaca fiber comes in two types, huacaya and suri. There are differences in the two: huacaya fiber has crimpy waves and grows in bundles, while suri fiber is straight and grows in locks. Huacaya reflects light as brightness, suri reflects light as luster. Alpacas come in over 16 different natural earth tone colors, and can be blended into even more! Even with all those color choices available, alpaca is easily dyed to wonderfully beautiful colors from pale pastels on white or…

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How do I get Started owning Alpacas?

How do you get started with your Alpaca Business? What if you don’t have land? What if you need to get your land ready? So you have contemplated owning Alpacas, and need land or need to get your land ready, what can you do to get started with your alpacas? You can agist with us! What does agisting mean and what is your first step? Contact us and let’s talk about what your goals are with your alpacas. What do you see yourself doing with them? Luxury fiber animals to process your own yarn? Do you want to resell your product? Do you want to expand your herd with having breeding animals? Do you plan to show your alpacas? Just think about it and if you aren’t sure we would love to chat with you and help you plan what is right for you. Back to agisting- that means you purchase your alpacas and they stay on the ranch. Agisting on our ranch means we take care of your new alpacas as if they were our own, feeding them, husbandry and care, including breeding them if you desire. The benefits to agisting is that you can begin to own alpacas while learning about them, being mentored by us, visiting (anytime you wish) our working ranch, and at the same time you are building your business, acquiring your land, or making it ready for your herd. We have found this accommodation to work very well for you as the new…

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Farm to Table Event

Sentinel Ranch hosted our first Farm to Table Dinner featuring local ingredients! We had 36 guests and were able to honor a group of Georgics (caring for the land and it’s production) Students who completed a year of study and projects. The students had a chance to share some of what they learned and the specific projects they raised or grew. We had indoor and outdoor gardens, composting, raising animals and worms. We support these hard working students and the principals they learned! So why do we love Farm to Table? We believe in locally sourced products, including our food. On our own Ranch we are striving to process as much of our alpaca fiber locally as possible. Each year we add new fiber products. Alpacas are shorn by Nathaniel each June, then the fiber is milled locally into products sold right on our ranch. At the Farm to Table Dinner we enjoyed locally produced food, and our guests were able to see the alpacas whose fiber was milled into items like scarves, roving, yarn, rugs and make purchases of these wonderful items. We enjoyed our guests, everyone had such a great evening! Donna King of Cama Beach Cafe really out did herself with the menu, it was absolutely scrumptious! Check out the mouthwatering menu: Hors d’oeuvres Asparagus Tart On puff pastry with gruyere cheese, shallots and fresh garden herbs. Bacon Wrapped Baby Potatoes Tiny new potatoes – wrapped in bacon and roasted,…

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Knitting on the Sound

We were asked to participate in a great event put on by Mary Lovejoy. Mary brought a group of knitters together for Knit Yoga on Cama Beach. The scenery was fantastic, friends were close, Yoga brought serenity, and lunch was divine! Donna King participated and made us all a sumptuous lunch. I felt spoiled! What did Sentinel Ranch do? We brought the yarn! So much fun talking with new and experienced knitters and we enjoyed providing our beautiful local alpaca yarns. Lindsey (who is the owner of Stilly River Yarns) made a gorgeous cowl and is a fantastic teacher! We are looking forward to working with Lindsey, Mary and Donna in future events! [foogallery id=”732″]…

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Boutique Remodel Complete!

Autumn of 2015 we began a remodel on the Monitor Barn, as a new location for the Alpaca Boutique! Remember the trailer from the previous year? It’s gone to a new home- hooray! The whole family worked the autumn months changing a storage space into a lovely ranch store! Renee cleaned, nailed, and grandpa even taught her how to wire the outlets! Grant got to try the nail gun, mostly enjoying carrying a hammer, measuring tape and checking out the tools. Stuart and Bryant did some serious work, especially in the effort of the beautiful tongue and groove pine for the ceiling with dad and grandpa. I spent most of the week days for weeks and weeks till my belly got too big with Vincent and I had to hang up my overalls and watch the boys finish the work. We are pleased to say we officially opened in November 2015! We love our new space and so does the community. Featuring products made from OUR OWN fiber! We also have included products from Peru that benefits the families ranching alpacas there. We also participated in a co-op that processed fiber from our herd and others across the USA right here in the states for lovely products made in the USA. Come and see the Boutique with new products arriving constantly, seasonal updates as well! We also have small bags of grain for purchase so you can enjoy an incredible pasture petting and feeding experience! Take a selfie shot…

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Showstring!!

In the next week we are planning on listing all of our showstring for the 2014 fall shows, and 2015 spring shows. Watch for the listing to include: Sire, Dam, Color, Sex, and Price! Yes we will list all of them for sale, so when you see the one you just need to have, contact us to work out the details! I am very excited to walk into the catch pen and analyze all of our juveniles and yearlings! They are always so cute, we want to take them all, but we are going to be selective about the very best animals that will make the show cut! We are going to employ some experts to advise us on the best choices, so come back to look at what you will be up against at show, unless you decide to buy one of these beauties in time for show!! The photo shot was a great fun day where we invited family members to come over and see some of the latest cria from this summer! It was fun to watch the guys wrangle their chosen cria and bring it up to the scale for weigh in! Do you see that huge grey male in the photo? Gandalf is going to be a large male- weighing in at 60 lbs at two months old, and already mounting the females! Look out showring!…

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Cesarean Section!?!

I know you’ve had a Dam like this- 364 days– where’s that cria?! I have a wonderful white Dam I just love, and of course was waiting on one of the most expensive breedings of the previous year- sound familiar? Well I had my eye on this gal for weeks, and finally at 362 days she starts acting like labor-YAHOO!! Some moaning and standing and siting. This goes on for and hour and then I check under the tail- ah geee, not much dilation going on for a Dam in labor! Soon my girl quits moaning and goes into her normal routine, and I think ‘I suppose there is always tomorrow’, as I trudge up the house. Next day she acts completely normal- not a sign of impending delivery! Here we are morning of day 364. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing! RATS! Usually I feel confident of checking the pasture for laboring Dams until 2pm, then I wait till evening. Today I go out at 3pm and guess what, yes, that’s right my gal is moaning again! It’s about time! Under the tail check reveals very little dilation so I run to the medical supplies and use an essential oil on the cervix that is supposed to help dilate, and massage it in every twenty minutes for an hour. Very little change and I can only get three fingers in, and now my Dam has been really trying to push for an hour! Its time to rush off to the vet…

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Cria crop summer

Summer is always enjoyable on the ranch especially when those greatly anticipated and well planned cria start to hit the ground! The weather has been exceptionally fine on our ranch this summer, lots of sun and alpacas of all ages enjoying vitamin D naps! Isn’t it funny to pass by an alpaca deep in sleep- I’ve got some that snore! We have been blessed with 3 males and 4 females so far! Only one Dam delivered early, one on time, the rest quite late! Best moments of the day: Cria play and pronking! [foogallery id=”759″]…

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