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Goodbye to alpaca sex for another year, prepping for the fall shows, and CCNF Chronicles’ 500th post!

A visual representation of some of the stages of blogging writer’s block…

And just like that, the birthing and breeding season came to an end here on October 1st!  Though there are still a few females here for outside breedings that the fellas of the CCNF Stud Barn will have to work on, as the person in charge of managing the breeding operations here, it does feel slightly odd on October 11th not to be loading up the trailer with Herdsires for the short daily drive up the hill to the CCNF Arena where our female herd resides. Not to say that I couldn’t get used to this! Anyway, as I wrote about in the previous post, our birthing season isn’t getting any smaller just more condensed from mid May through mid September, with an eye towards making that end-date mid August by the time 2019 roles around. As it is, there are as of this writing 80+ potential pregnancies expected for next spring and summer, so there will be no discernible drop-off in our production numbers (might even by a slight up-tick depending on how the fates play it) next year. We shall see.

Show prep is in full swing with Jen and Kim busily training 12 new recruits to the fall show string. Our fall shows, the NEAOBA Fall Spectacular and the Empire Extravaganza are, for the third year running, both taking place in Syracuse, NY from 10/20 through 10/22. For those that have never been to an alpaca show but are interested in seeing what all the hubbub is about, I highly recommend you pay the show venue (the NY State Fairgrounds) a visit. The shows in Syracuse are big enough for folks to get a feel for things, yet small enough not to feel intimidating to the uninitiated.

It’s funny but after 20 years of doing this, one of the most enjoyable aspects of breeding alpacas is continually seeing the latest incarnations of familial lines that we have worked with for well over a decade now come out with us as members of our show team. We have always told people that one of our most basic breeding strategies here is that we figure out what works genetically through trial and error (lots of error!), and then find ways to either repeat those breeding matches that worked or riff off of them.  If we are doing our job right — and there is a decent body of evidence that points to us doing at least something right — then we also get to see incremental improvement with each subsequent generation. Onward we go…

As the title above alluded to, this is indeed also the 500th post ever here on CCNFChronicles.com. At the time of it’s “birth,” the blog was taking the place of a quarterly hard-copy newsletter (which was in turn first produced in 2000, if memory serves) of the same name that we used to send out to 3 to 5 thousand people, depending on the year. Quite apart from the obvious expense and headaches of creating, printing, and mailing such a thing (true story: I once almost threw the automatic tabbing machine I used off of our porch, I was so furious with its seeming love of jamming), the beauty of Cas-Cad-Nac Farm Chronicles in its online iteration has been its extreme flexibility. Granted I haven’t been nearly as loquacious over the past several years as I was in say 2010-2014 — I had some stuff to get off my chest, I guess — but the point is that the blog has given us the ability to the communicate with the outside world in a variety of new ways and has dove-tailed very nicely with the rise of social media as a communication/marketing tool. When we first bought the property here in our home state that would shortly thereafter become Cas-Cad-Nac Farm, people (but not many) were still talking about this exciting new thing called “the world wide web,” so it’s safe to say that the business world has evolved in almost unrecognizable fashion since that December of 1995. For those of you that have stuck with us/me (and for better or for worse, it has been 99% yours truly), I thank you for your readership, encouragement, gentle critiques, and patience. It hasn’t always been particularly deep (feeling empathy for gelded alpaca males while whining about recovery from a vasectomy or stop-motion hamster videos shot by our kid both come to mind) but for the most part it has been fun, hopefully informative, and undoubtedly cathartic for its primary author. Though time will, as ever, be the final judge of this blog’s relative value, it is all still there — whether flattering or not — to be read if one feels the desire to do so, sort of a journal of this farm and family’s last 7+ years. That strikes me as equally cool and frightening at the same time. In any case, we’re not done yet: see you soon!

Follow me on Twitter @CCNFalpacas

2 comments to Goodbye to alpaca sex for another year, prepping for the fall shows, and CCNF Chronicles’ 500th post!

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