BLAIRSVILLE, Ga: Born in part out of a desire to return to small-town living, Lasso the Moon Alpaca Farm became a sustainably driven business for the husband and wife owners. The farm is open year-round and offers free tours to the public. They are currently in the midst of the Ninth Thanksgiving on the farm and are taking reservations for the Eleventh Annual Alpaca Holiday tours.
Owner and artist Holly leads small groups around the farm three times a day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The hour-long tour teaches visitors about the alpaca, including origins, husbandry, and fur uses.
The animals must be shorn once a year because their fur grows perpetually, and if the fur coat isn’t collected, they could die from heatstroke. Lasso the Moon shears its alpacas every May. An alpaca’s first shearing produces the finest hair that it will ever produce.
“They are visibly happy afterward,” Holly stated about the alpacas after shearing day.
Farmers can make use of low-quality furs, such as turning it into mulch. Those walking around the farm will see fur blanketing the base of fruit trees.
The very-much hands-on, interactive environment makes the farm great for children and a good learning opportunity for them. All visitors can feed and pet the alpacas, just don’t pat the animals on their head or face and don’t stand behind the animal then touch their rear-ends. First, alpacas interpret pats to their heads as aggressive. Second, no one should ever stand directly behind any livestock then pet their backside if they don’t want to be kicked potentially.
The alpacas are very curious and inspect everyone who enters their paddock, probably because they hope their guests are hiding food. They’ll quickly nibble pellets out of a person’s hand.
However, alpacas aren’t the only animals located on Lasso the Moon. Anyone who visits will see chickens, ducks, cats, and dogs running freely around the farm. Some of the domesticated animals will gladly climb in vehicles to hang out with guests. The dogs are there to protect the alpacas, which are natural prey animals.
Tours aren’t the only option for those interested in spending some time at the farm. Holly holds several fiber art classes. Attendees can choose to make a silk patchwork Nuno felted alpaca scarf, silk dyed scarf, Nuno felted poncho with matching wristlets, necklace and earrings, or a needle felted animal/item. Those interested can sign-up online. The classes include a farm to table lunch, and all materials are provided.
A little backstory
18 years ago, Holly’s husband built the barn that now serves as her base of operation as it were. The bottom contains stalls and their “homemade stantion, scale, feed bins, sink and cabinet space for paperwork and storage of sterile items.”
Upstairs is Holly’s studio for glass bead making, fiber art education, bird nest ball making, and gallery. It also features all the awards earned from showing their alpacas.
Holly explained she always wanted to return to a small town farm life after growing up on one. When they bought the farm, her husband told her she could raise whatever she wanted, but it had to be a business.
At first, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to raise until reading an article about alpacas, and Holly instantly knew that she wanted to start an alpaca farm.
“So, we started going to farms and shows, and we literally just fell in love with them and decided this is what we wanted to do,” Holly said. “As an artist with an art degree, it really appealed to me that you could do so much with them and not kill them to do it.”
Anyone interested in learning more about Lasso the Moon or sign up for a class, visit their website. The Alpaca holiday tours run from December 26 to 29 at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., and 1 p.m. Please make an appointment or call before visiting the farm.