Alpaca absurdity

Photo courtesy of Nate Austin
Milky (short for Milky Way) is a very curious alpaca who loves interacting with people and being fed.

The Ever After Alpaca Farm in Fauquier County, Virginia is open for visitors to book an appointment where anyone can go to see alpacas, chickens, horses, goats, and even bunnies.

The alpaca farm was founded by Joshua Dixon and Heidi Dallman. Dixon started out solely as a musician, playing instruments like the ukulele, banjo, and guitar, and teaching classes ranging from all fields of mastery. Dallman on the other hand works with special needs children. Drawing inspiration from their special needs daughter, who has a profound love for all animals, they decided to do something together that they both loved. Eventually, they ended up with a farm containing a wide variety of animals, as well as a gift shop where they make alpaca products from scratch. The cost for a tour is $16 per person, and the farm is currently on its fourth season of administering tours.

“[My favorite memory from the farm was] doing push ups with the goats on my back. Everyone was watching me all impressed because I got an extra thirty pounds on my back,” said Caleb Kermon.

Kermon has been to the alpaca farm only once before, and has had a blast with the goats in particular. There are goats in a fenced off area near the horses, where the does (mother goats) and the kids (baby goats) are kept. The owners open the gate ever so slightly so the guests can sneak in to make sure no goats escape and cause havoc. Once inside, you can pet the goats and even get down on your knees with your back flat and wait for a baby goat to jump up on your back. There is even a miniature trampoline in the middle of the enclosure where the goats can jump and play around.

“What are the chances you go up to someone and say, ‘Have you ever been to an alpaca farm?’ Chances are that they have not gone so it was just something new to experience which makes it even more exciting,” said Kermon.

Many high school students are not even aware of this amazing opportunity to have a great time hanging out with interesting animals. It is truly a very memorable experience and all that visit will be sure to remember their trips for the rest of their lives.
“Of course, it was a great experience. I’ve been there twice, and I would definitely go again. The owners are very nice. They sell little trinkets in the gift shop. So yeah, it’s nice publicity for them,” stated freshman Connor Matthews.
Dixon and Dallman even have a small gift shop that visitors can go to after their tours and shop for alpaca related products. They have various clothing items, blankets, toys, keychains, all made out of alpaca fur. If you are looking for a gift for a birthday, graduation, anniversary, etc., these are the perfect gifts to give.
“I can have a difficult and stressful day, but being able to go out and sit with the alpacas in their quiet and serene world is amazing,” said Dallman.
There’s a very relaxing aspect to owning alpacas and other animals, and once you get used to the whole process, there’s a certain level of peacefulness that they create.
“We have no plans at the moment to stop doing tours. If we ever did decide to leave this adventure behind, ideally we would love for someone to come in who loves alpacas and take over right where we left off,” notes Dallman.
They are dedicated to their craft and truly love what they do. Dallman and Dixon do not plan on slowing down any time soon. Their official public tour season is from April 15 to November 15, but they also host tours during the winter when the farm is closed. However, if nice weather is coming up, Dallman will post the day before to spread the word, seeing if anybody wants to come visit.
“We are very hands-on owners and we do all the work ourselves, and trust me it is a lot of work.” states Dallman.
There are several difficult factors that come with owning an alpaca farm, such as feeding and when an animal passes away.
Dallman and Dixon do the work on their farm all by themselves, even though they are busy enough giving tours and making souvenirs for the guests. They feed, and groom the animals, along with keeping the farm clean for everyone living and visiting there.
“Our goal is to ensure people learn at least one new thing about alpacas and that they have a nice memory to look back on, and some really great pictures with alpacas,” said Dallman.
The overall goal for the tours is to give visitors the best time possible while making sure everybody is being respectful and kind to each other and the animals. There are many opportunities for wonderful pictures throughout the tour, which allow for great memories to be kept.