Blue Moon Alpaca Farm


Being the avid knitter and yarn collector that I am, I was thrilled to discover that there is an alpaca farm only a few miles away from where I live. I’ve always wanted to own a few alpacas and spin my own yarn; and, by always I mean for like the last year. I was dying to go check out Blue Moon Ranch and get the low down on alpaca raising, shearing and yarn spinning.

When we arrived we were greeted by the owner of the ranch, Linda Gardner who ushered us right into the fields so we could say hello to her beloved alpaca herd. Linda has 64 alpacas on her ranch and knows the names of each and every one. She adores them and they clearly adore her. The friendliest of her herd is a black beauty named Scarlet O’Hara, who will even let you take a selfie with her!

Selfie with Scarlet!
Selfie with Scarlet!

I had a million questions for Linda who was incredibly patient and answered them all. She told me the most important thing about Alpacas is that they are herd animals. If you decide you want to try your hand at raising them you need at least two and preferably four to keep them happy and comfortable. Surprisingly a small herd of four really only needs about one acre of land to graze on. That is if you don’t plan to breed them. If you do want to breed you need enough land to keep the males separate from the females. Lady alpacas have no heat cycle and are induced ovulaters. Meaning the act of mating is what causes their egg to release. So if you’ve got a bunch of horny males wandering about your herd they can impregnate your females pretty much any time they want. Hence, the need to keep the males separate because, lets face it, when is any male not horny?

Am I always in the mood? Yes. Do I consider it an issue? No.
Am I always in the mood? Yes. Do I consider it an issue? No.

If you’re simply planning to raise alpacas for fiber, as I would be doing, it’s a relatively simple task. Just 2-4 alpacas, an acre of land and hay for feeding. Linda says she has her babies sheared only once a year. She’s able to get 5 pounds of fiber from each animal and that does not include fleece from their bellies, legs or head. Linda brings in a company called Biosecure Alpaca Shearing to do all the hard work of removing the fleece from the herd. Linda tells me the company was started by a young man who’s mother taught him to shear her sheep due to a lack of professionals who could help her. Now because of his years of experience, Linda claims his company and crew are the best at gently and carefully shearing her beloved herd. The ten crews of four travel across the country shearing alpacas. You need only call and get yourself on their schedule to ensure your herd will be taken care of. Once the shearing is complete the fleece needs to be hand washed and dried. At that point it becomes roving, or the beginnings of the yarn one would knit with.

The beautiful silky fleece before it's sheared.
The beautiful silky fleece before it's sheared.
Sheared fleece before it's been hand washed and dried.
Sheared fleece before it's been hand washed and dried.

Once you have your roving it needs to be dyed, though I’m sure you could leave it au natural if you wanted. Again, Linda seeks outside help for the dying process. She feels strongly about supporting local businesses by hiring out for things she doesn’t feel she has the time or energy to do herself. Something I whole heartedly support as well. The mordent from natural dyes can be toxic so Linda uses a company that dyes with acid which is actually vinegar. Her yarns end up absolutely beautiful in an array of delicious colors.

I love the way this dyed roving looks bit like a caramel dessert.
I love the way this dyed roving looks bit like a caramel dessert.

Once the roving has been dyed it then needs to be spun. Without spinning it, the fiber easily pulls apart and has no strength to it. Linda says spinning the yarn on her numerous wheels is how she spends her evenings. I have to say it looked quite meditative and relaxing. I’m kinda dying to try it.

The roving now needs to be spun.
The roving now needs to be spun.
Linda used this small hand held spinner to show us how quickly the roving turns into a usable yarn.
Linda used this small hand held spinner to show us how quickly the roving turns into a usable yarn.
Linda using one of her many wheels to spin.
Linda using one of her many wheels to spin.
The finished product!
The finished product!

Linda sells her yarn from an adorable shed on her property. I have always dreamed of having a yarn shop, and this time I truly mean “always!” Linda’s little yarn haven really inspired me, though I’m sure it takes a lot more work and effort to supply and run than I’m imagining. I could have spent hours in there just watching her spin yarn and admiring her wares. She even sells homemade soaps. It’s the perfect cozy little yarn shop dedicated to her love and care for her alpacas.

Linda's yarn shop.
Linda's yarn shop.
Her grandchildren call her YaYa, hence the name of the shop. I couldn't love it more!
Her grandchildren call her YaYa, hence the name of the shop. I couldn't love it more!
Handcrafted soaps.
Handcrafted soaps.
Many of the yarns are named after the alpaca the fleece came from.
Many of the yarns are named after the alpaca the fleece came from.
The alpacas are never far from mind on Blue Moon Ranch.
The alpacas are never far from mind on Blue Moon Ranch.
I just had to buy this learn to spin kit! I'll let you know how it goes.
I just had to buy this learn to spin kit! I'll let you know how it goes.
Photo bombed by an alpaca.
Photo bombed by an alpaca.
These guys aren't shy!
These guys aren't shy!

I’m so grateful to Linda for her time and allowing us to check out her incredibly wonderful alpaca farm. Who knows, maybe this time next year I’ll have a mini heard of my own! Fingers crossed!

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  • Fiona saiter

    Wow, the alpacas are so cute! Loved all the pictures and details, it makes me want to go visit an alpaca farm. The yarn is beautiful. I hope you get your alpaca mini heard soon: )

    October 3, 2016 at 2:55 am Reply
  • Linsay

    You should have a yarn shop in Wasilla, Alaska and let me run it for you 🙂 I have already dreamed of having one too but the funds just aren’t there for me!

    October 3, 2016 at 3:28 am Reply
  • Lynda Chamblin

    Love your detailed blog on your vist to the Blue Moon Ranch. Such great info on the Alpaca’s. That is the cutest little shop ever! I want to start knitting in my free time again. Love you and your blogs. Thanks for sharing.

    October 3, 2016 at 3:42 am Reply
  • Nina snyan

    Family portrait 🙂

    October 3, 2016 at 5:55 am Reply
  • Erin

    FYI-spinning gets as addictive as knitting…

    October 3, 2016 at 6:16 am Reply
  • Sallie Newhook

    My mother owns an Alpaca farm in NJ. They are cute little animals. She has about 40 right now. I have a scraf made from crea fiber and its soooo soft. Glad you had a great experience!

    October 3, 2016 at 11:32 am Reply
  • MaryEllen

    I adore alpacas! My family teases me about my obsession. I will be anxiously awaiting your spinning report!

    October 3, 2016 at 12:38 pm Reply
  • Caroline

    I am absolutely fond of the last alpaca picture : what an amazing haircut!
    I would Love to visite this farm but I am a bit too far (i’m french)… Seemed to be a great experience, Thank you for sharing it with us.

    October 3, 2016 at 12:46 pm Reply
  • MicheleC.

    Oh how adorable! I need t get back into knitting!

    October 3, 2016 at 1:15 pm Reply


    October 3, 2016 at 1:19 pm Reply
  • Kay

    Please do keep us posted on your learning to spin. This is a delightful read.

    October 3, 2016 at 1:45 pm Reply
  • Patricia

    Katherine, I really enjoyed reading this blog. It makes me feel like I have really met you! You are a wonderful actress, but the main reason I started reading is because of our common love of knitting, and really, all things yarn. I’m glad you got the learn to spin kit. I took a class a few years back and was hooked immediately. I now have several drop spindles and a wheel, and have even taught a couple of my grandchildren who were interested. So I just wanted to encourage you that you CAN do it. I’m excited for you and can’t wait to see your results!

    October 3, 2016 at 2:41 pm Reply
  • Lonita Bennett

    These alpacas are so cute!!! Really gets me revved up for knitting today!!!

    October 3, 2016 at 3:10 pm Reply
  • Jackie Roisler

    Thank you for sharing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your words. Hope all works out and those adorable creatures live under your name.

    October 3, 2016 at 3:18 pm Reply
  • Judy Kiesling

    My vet raises alpacas. They have 36. His wife does all of this. So interesting to watch the process. Thanks for sharing and good luck with a few or a herd!!!

    October 3, 2016 at 6:21 pm Reply
  • Donna

    Thank You for sharing. I enjoying seeing all your projects.

    October 3, 2016 at 7:50 pm Reply
  • Suzie Radtke

    So excited that you have discovered the wonderful world of alpacas! Utah has many wonderful alpacas and farms. Welcome to the family, from my farm to yours! ❤️ Uinta Alpacas

    October 3, 2016 at 7:54 pm Reply
  • Jewel M

    I knit and this makes me want to take up spinning too! Awesome that the farm is not far from where you live. Just joined your blog and I’m loving it already! 🙂

    October 4, 2016 at 1:33 am Reply
  • Beth

    My mom lives next to an alpaca farm! Love them! They are too cute!

    October 4, 2016 at 4:24 am Reply
  • Gina Ortiz

    Such beautiful pictures!!! I wish i had the time and energy to create such a haven! I hope you really go for it! Hugs!

    October 4, 2016 at 8:19 am Reply
  • Jennie Lee Halfhill

    We live on 6 acres, if we were going to plan on staying & NOT selling & moving I would so Love to start my own Herd, how Amazing Katherine, you Inspire me!!! These animals are so wonderful! I pray that more high profile people with adopt within our states, like Sandra Bullock, we have so many babies & children right here in our own back yards that need Lovimg warm families like yours & Sandra’s

    October 4, 2016 at 12:34 pm Reply
  • Stephanie

    I’d love to know what you’re knitting for baby! I’m almost 19 weeks pregnant with a little girl and need some knitting inspiration. 🙂

    October 4, 2016 at 3:27 pm Reply
  • Annika

    God I adore alpacas! I would so much love to some of my own. We have a herd in our village and they are sooo cute!! Please let us know when you get these cuties! 🙂

    October 5, 2016 at 8:57 am Reply
  • Nan

    This was so interesting!

    October 10, 2016 at 12:17 am Reply
  • Katie

    I had a herd of 12….They are by far the easiest livestock to raise, and mine loved my kids. Buy a few, see how you like them. You won’t regret it!

    October 10, 2016 at 11:25 pm Reply
  • Nikki

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m new to Utah and thanks to your blog, I was able to go to Blue Moon last week. Linda is so easy to talk to, I picked up some great finds in her shop. The beautiful country views were a bonus. Keep sharing your awesome Utah finds! Especially if you know of any awesome book clubs or knitting/crafting gals gathering! 🙂

    October 11, 2016 at 3:17 am Reply
  • Stephanie

    Oh my goodness! I might have just squealed out in delight as soon as I started reading this latest post. 🙂 How cute was that little yarn shop?!!?? And the Alpacas! Oh my goodness. Thank you so much for sharing!

    October 15, 2016 at 6:39 pm Reply
  • Donna

    Did any of them spit in you?

    October 22, 2016 at 12:48 pm Reply
  • ToniD

    I love to knit with alpaca yarn. They are the cutest little buggers ever! Thanks for the tour!

    October 23, 2016 at 1:21 am Reply
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