Happy 3rd Anniversary Lucky Us Farm! 3 Years ago today Kevin and I closed the deal on this awesome property and opened the next chapter of our lives. It's interesting to go back and read my anniversary blogs from Year #1 and Year #2. At first I thought that there wouldn't be too much to write about Year #3...we've settled into our groove and it's starting to feel like we are balancing out the high's and low's, which doesn't make for exciting story telling. But, when I actually reflect on the highlights of our year, I realize just how much we've accomplished in the past year, how many new friends we've met, how many 'old friends' we continue to appreciate, and how much we still dare to dream.
Our 'Farm Team' remains tried and true...my people that I can always count on to lend support in any way. (Amy, Joyce, Connie). We have also recently welcomed new faces to the 'usual suspects' on the farm, who I hope will stick around for many years to come. My 'Wednesday Llama Crew' (Joyce, Ally, Hannah, and Mary) help with the animals including 'herd health', training and walking the llamas. Wednesdays are now my play day when I can look forward to two of my favorite things: laughing with my friends and working with my herd. We also hired a highschooler, Skyler, who comes two days a week to sweep the barn and scoop poop and I didn't realize how incredibly helpful that would be, thus freeing me up to do other chores.
Highlights from the past year: Kevin's and my trip (along with 7 other friends and family members) to Peru in September 2019 was one of those 'trips of a lifetime'. Hiking over the Andes Mountains with the indigenous llama breeders, having llamas carry our gear, and surviving the rigors of such an extreme culture, climate, and altitude was truly life changing. After our return, it was an honor to give 3 presentations on the farm to share my experience, the breathtaking photos, and to raise money for the Llama Pack Project, who we partnered with in Peru.
Conswala and I became a registered 'Therapy Animal Team' through Pet Partners after a year of training by visiting schools, homes, businesses, and medical facilities. We started to visit a local senior center weekly to cheer up the residents when darn Covid put a pause on that fun. Conswala also showed up on all of the local TV stations and newspapers, making her second run for the Cadbury Bunny Contest. Unfortunately we came up short once again, but had a lot of fun in the process and gained a tremendous amount of love and support from her social media followers.
Sadly we had to say good bye to two of our senior furry friends, Rocket and Hudson. I am so grateful that they got to live out their senior years on the farm, and they are greatly missed.
I took the plunge and decided to take my photography skills to the next level by making a serious camera upgrade and taking online photography and editing lessons. I still have so much to learn, but am so pleased that I can offer my own photo shoots on the farm. This opens a whole new door for both me and our guests, as I can practice and improve on something that I love to do while providing quality photos that capture the farm magic. My goal is to continue to really hone this skill and to become the best farm photographer that I can possibly be.
Kevin is always working on farm upgrades and improvements. Some of the biggest this year include a complete Gift Shop remodel, a large landscaping project in the front of the house, and new fencing around the side pasture and barn areas. We finally feel like we are gaining ground vs. spinning wheels and it is starting to feel like we are making it our own farm with our own touches.
We added a new addition to the herd with an adorable one year old llama, Jacqueline. She is Eleanor's half sister, and it is really fun to raise and train three 'yearlings', with Rosalynn rounding out the trio. We also bred two of our alpacas, so we anxiously await the birth of two healthy colorful female cria (babies) next June. (we would be happy to settle for 2 healthy cria!).
Around the world, Covid brought schedules and plans to a screeching halt. I was disappointed to have to cancel anticipated appointments and activities, yet I used the opportunity to slow down, reevaluate and press the 'Reset' button. I was able to become much more intentional with my schedule and focus more on 1:1 Private Farm visits vs. big group events. Don't get me wrong, the Open Farm Days and the Birthday Parties are a ton of fun, but for me they can be a bit stressful as there is so much to prepare and so many things to consider. I have discovered that I most enjoy spending quality time with our visitors as I get to know them, and they get a much more personal experience enjoying the farm and the animals. So although it results in less availability, it helps me to provide a really positive farm experience that creates memories for both our visitors and for me.
So reflecting back on our 3rd year on the farm, I feel like we are on the right track! I am so grateful for the people that have come out to the farm to see what we are all about. I am so grateful for the followers that we have on social media. It's amazing how the love and support, the laughter and the tears actually translate loud and clear over the web. I am so grateful for our friends, family and helpers who so generously volunteer their time to support this crazy and wonderful ever-developing vision of ours. And I can't wait to see what updates I have to share one year from today! Thanks for sticking with us...the best is yet to come!