Shalimar Alpacas is situated 40 miles west of The George Washington Bridge in Warwick, New York, about an hour from New York City. Although we are very close to Manhattan, the clean, crisp breezes of the higher altitude provide a more comfortable climate in the summer. Shalimar's 5.6 acres are bordered by an apple orchard on one side and a Christmas tree farm on the other. It is a quiet, beautiful setting conveniently located near the town of Warwick, a lovely village which is full of restaurants, shops and art galleries.
Our house sits at the heart of our farm with two barns on either side of the backyard. The main barn, finished in August 2011 houses the females, is 36'x40', with a large open space, a work area, and hay storage. Four pastures surround it. The other, smaller barn houses the males. The Shalimar farm shop and weaving studio is between the main barn and the house. We find living in the middle of those lovely creatures a joy.
Patricia cares for the alpacas during the week and Olivier helps her on the weekends.
Life on the Farm
Life is beautiful! It is very relaxing to watch the alpacas; to see them running and hopping before sunset, lying under the sun in the afternoon or simply grazing throughout the day. The most common question from people interested in alpacas is; "How long does it take, per day, to take care of them?" The answer is (with 28 alpacas on the farm) less than an hour in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. That includes grain feeding, filling all the pens with enough hay for the day and cleaning up the poop. Once a month, we diligently inspect each of the alpacas and take care of deworming and nail trimming... We really enjoy being with our cuties during this time. In reality, we spend the most time just watching them." One important part of being a shepherd", says Mike Safley (who not only is a famous breeder and international judge but also a great writer about alpacas)," is to observe them as a herd as well as individuals. You recognize their physical features as well as their personalities and can detect problems just by observing their behavior."
When Patricia finishes tending to the alpacas, she goes to her studio/shop where she weaves and creates unique articles of clothing using the exquisitely soft alpaca yarn. Patricia studied textile design in Columbia and later in Mexico. A skilled weaver for more than 20 years in South America, Switzerland, France, and the United States, she is already producing and selling highly sophisticated alpaca fiber fashions. After creating her works of art, she still has time to take care of two dogs, two cats and the full two-legged herd, our family!