Pleasant Journey Alpacas

Premier Genetics in Southwest Colorado

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Who's your Daddy or Why we changed our Tag line

Annual's Bea-2 Bomber

Annual's Bea-2 Bomber

After 9 years in the Alpaca business we have changed our business tag line to read: "Premier Genetics in Southwest Colorado". It has always been our goal to improve our herd and add genetics that would accomplish that goal.
This year we were proud to add Annual's Bea-2 Bomber to our Herdsire row co-owned with our wonderful partners (Willow Wind Farm, Gray Alpaca Company, Las Flores del Altiplano).
We will also see our first offspring in 2016 from PJA Golden Victory's Kiowa (fawn) and Paragon's Silver Storm (Silver Grey).
Annual's Chrome Finish (Silver Grey) has started his breeding career this summer as well (co-owned with Gray Alpaca Company).
Our 2016 cria crop has the Premier Genetics that we strive for!
1) PJA Sonic's Sweet Reflection (A Paca Fun's Trifecta x A Paca Fun's SuperSonic)
2) PJA SuperSonic's X-1 (A Paca Fun's Colette x A Paca Fun's SuperSonic)
3) PJA Princess Lily (Chase Tavern's Beautifully Stated x FIA Excello's Rocky Bay)
4) PJA Bomber's Ricochet (CCR's BonBon x Annual's Bea-2 Bomber)
5) PJA Tia Maria (Crescent Moon's Tia x NeverSummer's Manchester)
6) PJA Manchester's Revolver (Annual's Fiona x NeverSummer's Manchester)
7) PJA Levideon (PJA Tiffany Ice x Greener Pasture's Leviticus)
8) PJA Kiowa's Raider (Proud Mary of RR x PJA Golden Victory's Kiowa)

Needless to say we are excited about these cria and what their future will bring.
Now how do we top this?
Come and see us at Pleasant Journey Alpacas.

Annual's Chrome Finish

Annual's Chrome Finish

Neversummer's Manchester (and his cave)

Neversummer's Manchester (and his cave)


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Alpaca Seasons

GreyHawk- Reserve Color Champ

GreyHawk- Reserve Color Champ

While the average person thinks of seasons changing being spring to summer and winter to fall, the typical alpaca rancher tends to think of seasons much differently. At Pleasant Journey Alpacas we think of show season, shearing season, cria season and breeding season. A lot of us who are active in all of these aspects on the ranch do this same thing.

Show season is a fun time of the year. It is the time to showcase your ranch, breeding program and to interact with fellow breeders. For us, this runs from October to May with a few breaks during the winter. While show season is work with the travel, loading and unloading, it is rewarding with the benefits of ribbons and accolades to your program. Disappointing at times, yes, but it also makes you open your eyes and not to be "barn blind" with your own alpacas. Great time to see what other ranches are doing, how their programs work and look to see what to strive for. Time to meet other breeders and become more involved with the alpaca breeders across the country.

Shearing season is the time for harvest. This is when you look at your alpacas in a totally different way. Yes, they are funny looking for a few days after shearing with the long skinny necks, legs and bodies but you sure can see their conformation. Sometimes we forget what our alpacas actually look like. This is a great time to really assess the crias. For instance, we have been told at shows that a cria has front legs that look angular when in actuality is was the way the fleece was growing on legs that made them look that way. Once that fleece comes down you see the legs at front and back. You see the straight backs and great conformation. Yes, you also see the flaws which brings you to the reality too. Shearing and having your fleece harvest in front of you is the best way to evaluate your fleeces. Take a good solid look at them on the skirting table, check the uniformity, check the length, check the brightness and all aspects that make a beautiful fleece. Send the histograms for statistics to see what improvements might need to be made. Then, decide what to do with these lovely fleeces. Yarn, roving, batts, sell the fleece- the choices are endless.

Cria season is such a fun time of year! No kidding to anyone, it can also be stressful and heartbreaking too but most of the time it is filled with total joy. Watching the incredible births and how quickly the moms and crias bond. See the little ones stumble and tumble while getting their legs under them is absolute fascination. Watching the new cria find that milk bar for the first time is when one can breath a sigh of relief. No one needs a television when you have a pen full of crias running and learning to pronk. That is entertainment beyond belief! It is funny how we will check the fleece everyday to see how it looks! Did our chosen breeding for a certain dam create what we hoped and planned for? Sometimes we know right away, sometimes we don't.

Breeding season kind of overlaps with cria season as we usually rebreed the dam right away. Lists are created all year with the thoughts of who will get the nod to breed to a certain dam. Although there are times that we wait for the cria from a dam/herdsire combination before we make a full determination on the next breeding. If it is what we planned for, time to rebreed same combination! Some dams are slated to go off the ranch for breedings to a herdsire who brings characteristics that we want to bring into our program and who we feel will be a great fit to our dam. Improving quality is what it is all about!

Whatever the season- alpaca ranching is awesome! Laughter, tears, joy and yes, hard work all year but so awesome! Embrace these incredible animals that God put on this earth!
Miss Marnie- spring 2015

Miss Marnie- spring 2015


Monday, January 5, 2015

Looking back and Looking forward

Amber Spice- Jan 2015

Amber Spice- Jan 2015

Ah, 2015! A whole new year is upon us! Time to look back and reflect on the past year and to look forward to this new and exciting year in front of us.

2014 was one of the most exciting years for the births of new crias. We highly anticipated offspring from our herdsire, NeverSummer's Manchester and we were not at all disappointed! He gave us five gorgeous females (and also one more female and 2 males for our customers). In addition to these beauties, we got two wonderful males sired by incredible herdsires to round out the "cria crop".

Show season was good for us and was highlighted by capturing a "Reserve Color Championship" for PJA Altitude's GreyHawk. Many of our show string brought home 1st and 2nd place ribbons to show off to the rest of the herd at the ranch.

New customers were acquired in 2014 and this also means new friends. We sold a couple of our lovely females and breedings to our herd sires to compliment their current herd. New friends were met at shows in the year, several from acquaintances through FaceBook.

We acquired a few new alpacas this year to bring more awesome bloodlines to our herd. In addition to this, we created great partnerships with other alpaca owners. Of course, we look forward to showing some of these new alpacas at shows and offspring they will give us.

We reached out to new product customers this year by doing the LaPlata County Fair, being at our local Tractor Supply and hosting our 2nd National Alpaca Farm Days in September. Our three weekend Holiday Open House was quite a hit as well. This is the year that we noticed several repeat customers which means we are doing our job well with the alpaca products and the hospitality at the ranch.

Kids at the ranch were incredible this year. Durango Day Camp kids visited three times and each time they brought laughter and carrots! Special visitors also included special needs kids from area schools. It was great to see their eyes light up when introduced to the alpacas and when they got the chance to feed them.

So, what will 2015 bring? While none of us can tell the future, we can dream and hope! Goals include thinking of new ways to make this business better in 2015 through more sales of alpacas and breedings. We hope to work with new breeders and assist in setting up ranches with them as well as providing alpacas for sale to them to start or compliment their herd.

Driving more business to the ranch store is another key for the year. This will be the year for us to branch out to different venues off the ranch to introduce ourselves to the community. Expanding product line and creating more wonderful products is on the list. More hans spinning, crocheting, felting and peg loom projects are on the horizon.

Of course, show season will be fun and interesting! The chance to show some of our Manchester crias will be a highlight! Shows are such a wonderful way to meet people and stay in touch with old friends along with admiring beautiful alpacas from other ranches.

And lest we forget…..crias for 2015! It will be a busy cria season! Fingers crossed for uneventful births and beautiful crias!

Stay in touch with us through the year to see what is happening, new and exciting. One thing we know for certain is that nothing is certain! Happy 2015 to all!
Winter Serenity

Winter Serenity

Happy new Customer! Bye Truffles!

Happy new Customer! Bye Truffles!

Hand Spun Yarn

Hand Spun Yarn

Reserve Color Champ!

Reserve Color Champ!


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sliding into winter!

Amber Spice

Amber Spice

Once again, where does the time go?? Seasons change so rapidly! One minute we are starting summer and birthing season and the next thing we know birthing season is over and winter is closing in upon us.

Pleasant Journey Alpacas had a wonderful cria season this year with 6 females and 2 males arriving at the ranch. All wonderfully healthy and beautiful. We were very excited this season as 5 of the crias were sired by our own NeverSummer's Manchester. And they are awesome! Already thinking of who the females can be bred to in a couple of years. Yes, bet lots of you do that too! Our herdsire Alpine's Volt also showed us what he can throw with the arrival of High Voltage (dam is none other than our CCR's BonBon).

Of course along with birthing season comes breeding season. After seeing the Manchester offspring hit the ground we repeated some of those breedings. Guess we got breeding fever though as we expect 15 new cria next year with a variety of sires. Stay tuned for summer 2015 cria season updates! There were lots of visiting girls this year as well for breedings to Manchester, Altitude and Volt.

We attended two alpaca shows this fall as well. One in Iowa and one in our home state of Colorado. We had good success at both but one of our happiest moments was receiving 1st in class and Reserve Color Champion for PJA Altitude's GreyHawk (CMRG) at the American Alpaca Showcase in Iowa. Additionally, one of our customers took a 1st place ribbon for yearling dark brown males with their male Zeus of SaTeen at FallFest in CO. We are proud as Zeus is an Adonnis' Altitude NS son and was born on our ranch. Love watching him grow up and do well for a customer.

Now, on to the holiday season with Pleasant Journey Alpacas Holiday Open House! We are expanding our hours this year to include all 3 weekends in December before Christmas! Hope for great attendance to meet alpacas and shop for great alpaca gifts!

Happy Holidays to all!

Marnie and dam Mary

Marnie and dam Mary

High Voltage

High Voltage

Rhapsody

Rhapsody

GreyHawk- RC 2014

GreyHawk- RC 2014


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summertime fun!

Marnie at 3 weeks!

Marnie at 3 weeks!

It is the last day of July already and as always we wonder where the summer is flying off to! It will be fall before we know it. So far only one of our 8 cria has arrived but she is a beauty. Finally the first offspring from our herdsire NeverSummer's Manchester. She is all we hoped for and is quite the little girl. Strong and big, showing awesome fleece. Starting life at a wonderful 19.4# she grew to 30# in 3 weeks. But oh, she wants a playmate so badly! Meet PJA Manchester's Marnie!

Yes, we are on cria watch. At this writing, we have 2 overdue females and another due mid August. And they are all just taking their dear sweet time! Big Bellies abound at Pleasant Journey Alpacas!

Summer activities at Pleasant Journey Alpacas have included some wonderful ranch tours and awesome visitors. People from all across the country visit the Durango, CO area and they come visit the ranch and meet the alpacas. Currently we are gearing up to have a vendor booth at the LaPlata County Fair in Durango. Should be a fun 5 days and hopefully we will reach out to many people including some who want to get into the alpaca business!

Enjoy the rest of the summer and keep an eye on our blogs and pages for more news from Pleasant Journey Alpacas!
Big bellies abound!

Big bellies abound!


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Springing into summer!

PJA Secret Sophia

PJA Secret Sophia

Whew, time flies by so fast! We have just completed our show season until this coming fall. It has been a whirlwind with lots of traveling. Shows attended this year were National Western Stock Show in Denver, CO; SWRAS in Cottonwood, AZ; TxOLAN in Hamilton, TX; AOA Nationals in Harrisburg, PA; MOPACA in Kansas City, MO and GWAS in Denver, CO. There was even a quick flight to attend the Futurity as well to go to the auction and see friends. We did well this show season with great placing in all shows. PJA Altitude's GreyHawk even earned a Color Champion banner at the National Western Stock Show. He did the happy dance and did we!!

We are now getting ready for shearing! What a day this will be with all 40 of our own alpacas plus our boarding alpacas and more to come for the day! All in all we will be shearing more than 75 alpacas. Sore muscles to arrive later that evening! Of course, then the fun of looking at the luscious fleeces and deciding who will be shown in fleece shows, who will be offered for sale and who will be processed for our own use. Cannot wait to get hands into the fleeces!

Summer in Durango, CO area is filled with tourists and we plan to get lots of them to visit our ranch this summer. This is a chance for people to do something different with their time here in this beautiful area and visit our ranch and shop the ranch store.

This summer is also our first year to be involved in Harvest Host, the unique RVing experience. People that belong to Harvest Hosts as campers are able to come spend a night or two at our ranch free of charge. They get to meet the alpacas, shop the ranch store and be as involved as they want to be. We offer a great place to camp right by the barn and alpaca pens. In fact, we have already hosted our first visitors the first week of May!

Of course, cria season is creeping up on us soon with our first cria of 2014 due to hit the ground at the end of June. It is always an exciting time but this year is especially so as we will welcome several cria sired by NeverSummer's Manchester. The anticipation of what the herdsire will throw is overwhelming and we cannot wait!

Pleasant Journey Alpacas wishes everyone a wonderful summer!
Alexis and Truffles

Alexis and Truffles


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Special Visitors!

What a smile!

What a smile!

On March 12, 2014 we were pleased to host a tour group of special needs children from our local Durango, CO area. There were two groups of 6 children per group (along with their 4 adult supervisors) and they were on a field trip to area ranches to learn about jobs on these ranches. We gave them the task of feeding some grain to the alpacas and they were having a ball! They loved meeting the alpacas, especially the crias. Talk about some smiles! They also loved the llamas, Belle and Lobo!

The highlight of the whole morning was seeing one little boy's face light up when he was handed a stuffed alpaca to feel! Priceless!

We hope these children will hold this day in their memories and maybe ask for their parents to return for another visit!
Fun kids!

Fun kids!

More kids meeting the alpacas!

More kids meeting the alpacas!

Grain time!

Grain time!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Handspun Yarn!

Yarn of Altitude by Paula Seay

Yarn of Altitude by Paula Seay

I, Susan, have recently embarked on the journey of learning to hand spin! What an awesome feeling to be able to transform raw fleece into yarn. As this point, I have only spun and plied one skein but it is incredible and leaves me yearning for more time in my day to add this to my list of "things to do today". I belong to a wonderful group called "Wild and Wooly Spinners of the West" in Durango, CO. They are such a fun group of gals and are so encouraging to a new spinners. They remind me that it takes time and to relax and have fun. My first skein is not the best but I will keep it as a reminder as my skills improve. "Art Yarn" is what we all call it.

One of my spinner friends, Paul Seay, spun a gorgeous skein of yarn from roving made from the fleece of our herdsire, Adonnis' altitude NS. What a luscious rose grey skein of yarn! Again, more inspiration for me! I, too, want to spin his fleece and others in our herd and make these wonderful creations!

It all comes with time and practice and hopefully one of my blogs in the near future will show a skien of yarn that I personally spun of Altitude!
BEAUTIFUL!

BEAUTIFUL!

First Skein

First Skein "art yarn"- Jan 2014


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

First year on the ranch! What a year!

More babies arriving! CJ and Sophia

More babies arriving! CJ and Sophia

Ok, we are late at getting this blog put up as we have surpassed our 1 year anniversary on the ranch by a couple of months but it is the thought that counts! What a year it has been! Up and downs, tears and laughter but this is the place we are hanging our hats forever!

We got through each season as it came. We moved into our house Sept 8, 2012 so we got to enjoy the beautiful colors of Colorado autumn. Then Old Man Winter decided to visit. Since we had been out of the "winter" for 18 years, getting through our first winter was interesting but we took it day by day. There were beautiful sights to behold with the snows on the LaPlata mountains before us. Yes, there were a few days when we wondered what the heck we had done by moving back to snow country. Shoveling snow, plowing snow, dealing with melting snow, frozen water pipes, etc but before we knew it, spring arrived and quickly turned into summer. They say that time goes faster when you get older and this is so very true. Time flies by on us and another month has passed before we know it.

Summer brought the joy of cria season and what a season it was! Thankfully we had a wonderful and "uneventful" cria season and were blessed with wonderful moms and beautiful crias. Eleven cria were born on our ranch this summer (9 of them ours and 2 are agisting alpacas). Along with the elven born here, were two more born on other ranches. So, our herd increased in size by quite a bit this summer.

This new cria crop is amazing! 7 males and 4 females and all are already exhibiting wonderful fleece and conformation. Even though most people wish for females, we are actually very happy that a couple of the crias are males this year. Future herdsires in the making of colors we did not already have. All is good!

We had a good year by selling a two of our females and three of our males. Of course, the head count did not reduce as we also added a few alpacas this summer. Oh well!

We welcomed to our ranch a new herdsire (co-owned with Navajo Lake Alpacas). Alpine's Volt is a wonderful silver grey Orlando Cloud grandson and will be a great addition to our herdsire line up. NeverSummer's Manchester (our dark brown Aussie .38 Special son) began his breeding career for us this summer and of course Adonnis' Altitude continues to shine for us on stud row. There is a secret we are keeping right now about an addition to our herd so keep in touch with us for "breaking news"!

Our summer was also filled with ranch visits by locals and tourists to the Durango CO area. An ad placed in a high end tourist magazine and rack cards in the visitor center were just the ticket to have people learn about Pleasant Journey Alpacas and schedule visits.

The first fiber class was held in August as well. Wonderful friend and fiber artist Lois Burbach of Navajo Lake Alpacas gave a 2 day class to 5 "crazy ladies". We learned how to make felted hats and nuno felted scarves and had a wonderful and fun filled 2 days. Tons of laughter all weekend!

Pleasant Journey Alpacas held our first National Alpaca Farm Days in September. We were thrilled with the turn out of visitors. Fortunately two local Durango, CO newspapers were gracious to come and do articles on the ranch and printed the articles right before farm days. This was wonderful exposure for us and brought visitors to tour the ranch and shop our ranch store. People were so excited to meet alpacas, learn about alpacas and be offered a chance to come back to visit again.

Now as winter is fast approaching and the holidays are upon us, we are holding our 1st Holiday Open House. November 30 and December 1 are the dates for the open house and again, ranch tours and store shopping are offered to all!

Thank you to all who have followed our journey over the years and we hope you will continue to follow the path with us as life takes us down this wonderful road! Happy Holidays to all! God Bless!
Antero- our first cria born on ranch!

Antero- our first cria born on ranch!

Freedom- cria # 2- AWESOME!

Freedom- cria # 2- AWESOME!

Showing off our projects!

Showing off our projects!

Asha and Alexis in early snow

Asha and Alexis in early snow


Monday, July 15, 2013

Summertime and the living is GREAT!

buddies- Freedom and Antero

buddies- Freedom and Antero

Wow, we did not realize that so much time has passed since our last blog. We are in our 4th season since moving here to the ranch. We moved up Sept 8th, 2012 so we got through a fall, winter and spring and we are now into summer. Each season has brought new experiences and yes, some trials and tribulations but we have forged ahead. Winter brought the snows and experiencing winter for the first time in 18 years. We would not let a frozen water pipe pr flooded barn keep us down!

Summer is exciting for Pleasant Journey Alpacas as we are having our first cria born on the ranch. June 18th saw the arrival of Matrix Principe's Antero and RRoyal American Freedom arrived on the scene at 9AM on June 30th. These two boys arrived on the footsteps of Golden Victory's Kiowa born in WA. At this writing, we are 3 for 3 on boys. Okay though as they are very nice males! We are patiently waiting on two more cria to be born and then we have a break until Sept/Oct when we will be very busy. 6 cria of our own set to arrive in the fall plus two of our agisting females. Let's hope for lots of girls and uneventful births.

Springtime was busy with show season. GWAS and Nationals two weeks later kept us on the road a lot. Thank goodness for good friends to put us and our alpacas up and great ranch sitters! Nationals auction tempted us with the 1/2 interest purchase of a new silver grey female. We did not stop there as we are adding a couple of silver grey males to our line up as well. Look for info coming to an email near you!

Breeding season is now ready to begin and we have some awesome males that are more than ready to entertain our females. Adonnis' Altitude NS is looking forward to dates lined up for him and to put more awesome cria on the ground. NeverSummer's Manchester is finally getting his shot at breeding this summer and 2014 is already much anticipated to see his offspring. Pleasant Journey Alpacas would also love to see your females at our ranch for breedings. Our males are top quality and ready to rock!

With all of our new cria arriving we need to make room so we are offering some great sales deals on some of our herd. It is time to part with some of our original foundation females. They are wonderful producing girls but it is time to find them new homes. We also have deals on young males who just will not fit into our breeding program. Check out our sales list and let us know how we can work with you on alpacas for your herd.

Time goes so fast that fall and winter will be upon us again before we know it. However, we look forward to National Alpaca Farm Days 2013. This will be the first year we have been able to participate in this event and it should be a ton of fun!

Thank you for taking time to read our blogs and checking in to see what is happening with Pleasant Journey Alpacas!
Kiowa- born 6/11/13

Kiowa- born 6/11/13

Antero- born 6/18/13

Antero- born 6/18/13

Freedom- born 6/30/13

Freedom- born 6/30/13