Thursday, October 25, 2012

Four Years

I realized earlier this week that right about now, four years ago, my life would begin undergoing a significant transformation.

Four years ago I was in the process of being outsourced.  As in, my job would be the same, my desk would be the same, but I would cease being an employee and begin being an outsourced serviced provider.

I was starting to realize that with this new outsourced situation there was no professional reason to stay in New Mexico.  The job I had did not require me to physically be in the office, most of the time.  So Hubba and I realized that we could think seriously about moving back to Colorado.  Something we had talked about doing "someday" for many, many years.

Certainly there were lots of personal reasons to stay, but we were no longer tied to a location because of the jobs we had.  Hubba had become location independent several years earlier and I was soon to be as well.

The outsourcing was official on Halloween, President Obama was elected a few days later then Hubba and I took what turned out to be the last vacation we would have... at least so far.

A couple of weeks after that was Thanksgiving and the time that we officially made our decision to return to Colorado.

We went through all of the steps to ensure our house was ready to go on the market by spring.  It sold rather quickly.

In the meantime I was layed off.  A couple of job changes later and I have now been with my current company and client for 3 1/2 years.  I have spent a lot of time on the road for them, but not much this year.  Which has been really nice.

Day job stuff aside, the reason we came back to Colorado is that we love it here, one of the best veterinary schools in the country is here, the training opportunities for Hubba are extensive and we have family and friends nearby.

For the farm, the first step was to find it.  Then to get the alpacas here. Then to actually raise, birth and breed alpacas as the farmer, not the agistor (boarder) and to get our guardian dogs in place.  The next step now is start bringing in some income.

Right around this time, four years ago, when we were embarking upon our path back to Colorado, the economy was in a bad state.  A lot of people blame it on the current President, but jobs were already difficult to find (I had been looking),  housing prices had already dropped (people said we were crazy to sell at that time) and since alpacas are really a luxury item, their price was down as well.

We have not tried to sell any alpacas, but we have not bought any since then either.  We have been focused on growing our herd slowly and organically.  With the blessing of our 3 girls this year, I feel that starting in mid-2014 we will be able to offer more than just males for sale.  Hopefully by then the price of and demand for alpacas will have recovered somewhat.

I think that once we are able to start selling our livestock, we will be able to fund some of the infrastructure improvements that are required in order for us to grow at a faster rate.

Also in early 2014 we expect to have our first litter of Tibetan Mastiff puppies available for sale.

I have been working on my shearing skills.  I have a small group of regular clients.  While I haven't been actively marketing my shearing services, I did gain a few clients last spring and am hopeful that I will gain a few more this spring.  I have also made some contacts so I am now able to refer clients to other qualified shearers if I am unable to meet their needs.

Over much of this year we have been working on an upgrade to our website.  It really is "this" close to being ready.  I can hardly wait to share it. :-)

The next task, I think, is to prepare our fiber.  It's one thing that I have a lot of but all of it is still raw and not yet ready for sale.  I have a relatively local mill that I'm anxious to try... and with my not travelling as much, I might actually be able to fill orders when they come in.

It's been a long and expensive road so far.  We have a ways to go before the farm is supporting us.  But we have learned a lot, invested a lot and each year we get a little closer to living our dream full-time.

10 comments:

oak haven alpacas said...

Isn't it neat to look at how far a farm has come? Some things change but some things stay the same.


Cara

Chez said...

What an inspiring story. I hope your business is a success.

MarmePurl said...

Admiration.
Inspiration.
Gratitude for sharing the story.

Kathryn Ray said...

:-)

Voie de Vie said...

It's all a process and a journey. It's great to have the ability to make the choices you want (and I'm not suggesting that everything is free choice, but ... ). Just keep going, and have some fun along the way. :)

Kathryn Ray said...

@VdV - you are correct, it is great to be able to make the choices that we want. We spent a long time figuring out if this is truly what we wanted to do. As a result, all of the decisions we make are in support of this dream.

A lot of people don't understand it. Either because our dream is not their dream, or because they are too afraid to follow their own dream.

Heather Woollove said...

Thanks for sharing your story. It's exciting to be part of your adventure...even peripherally/virtually through your blog and our friendship! XXO-

Kerri said...

Thanks for sharing about your farm journey. Such an interesting story. Looking forward to reading more, thanks.

Natalie said...

I think it is amazing that you have gotten this far along so far. Our dream is growing in baby steps, but it is actually finally started. And just so you know, you can count me as one of your first customers when you do reach that goal of processing your fiber. I think your alpacas are just absolutely gorgeous and I just know they must be happy with you. Keep living the dream!

AC said...

I am so freaking excited for you! Just reading that got me a little teary. And a tiny bit jealous, I'm not going to lie, because I think we share similar dreams and you're totally going for it. I might need to pick your brain at some point... ;)