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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking back...and Forward

This is a great time of year to look back on the past year and reflect on things. Let's face it, there are things that go right and things that go...well, not so right, for all of us. I choose to believe that there is a silver lining in everything and try to remember to look hard for that silver lining when things "head south". Sometimes it isn't until much later that we look at something that happened and say to ourselves "wow, good thing that happened because if it didn't I would have...or wouldn't have..." and something good eventually came out of that event.

This past year we didn't have any crias (llama babies) born here at Split Rock Ranch. The last cria born here at the ranch was Hot Shot in September 2008. We exposed several of our females to males in the Fall of 2008 but none of them took, which is probably a good thing since our winter weather started on the last day of summer this year and those babies weren't due until several weeks later. (See, there's one of those silver linings!)

This past year we sold more llamas than we ever have before. We sold two females and four males. (We sold all of the crias shown in the photo above.) One of the males was our daughter's so he doesn't even really count because he isn't even on the books here at the ranch, but that makes almost 17% of the herd sold! Our goal is to get back down to 25 llamas so we have a better chance of getting all the llamas halter trained and most of our males pack trained. It also helps cut down on the feed bill, which is a good thing in this economy.

My fiber sales were down this year compared to 2008 but with the economy the way it has been, that was really no surprise and I've heard that sales were down for most fiber artists this year. That's okay though because it has allowed me to have some down time and more time to knit, crochet and spin.

My custom orders this past year were the best I've ever had though, so that thrilled me. Again, slower sales otherwise allowed me the time to really throw all of myself into the custom orders when they came in.

We showed several llamas this year. We didn't show at all in 2008 because we needed a break after earning our Halter Champion award for Tempis Fugit in 2007 and our daughter's senior year in high school was 2007-2008 and there was so much going on.  We did extremely well at the one and only show we attended in 2009. Kemui Yama took first place Adult Medium Wool Male, Grand Champion Medium Wool Male and Reserve Grand Champion Best in Show. He had never been sheared, groomed or trailered prior to the show so we were very proud of how well he handled everything. Decorus Domina (Baby Dee) took first place Adult Medium Wool Female and Reserve Grand Champion Medium Wool Female (second only to the Grand Champion Best in Show Female). Again, Dee had never been groomed or trailered prior to the show (I sheared her as a yearling but didn't groom her out).

And, this is the perfect time of year to look forward to the new year and set goals for ourselves and our business. Personally, I don't ever make any new year's resolutions for myself but I do try to reflect and learn from the past so I can set a better course for the next year.

In 2010 I would like to spend more time working with fiber and less time at the computer. I can eat up hours sitting here blogging, surfing the web, checking my Twitter and Facebook accounts, playing on-line games, etc.

I would like to sell at least 6 llamas again this year (we already have 3 llamas on reserve for somebody so we're already half way there!)

I want to spend more time working with the llamas and training the young ones to lead well and the adults to pack. I want to choose one male llama and start training him for performance so I can enter the performance classes at the LOCC Fall Show on Labor Day weekend this year.

I want to spend more time working with my horse, Maggie Mae, and start riding her this year. Maggie is a fabulous horse and she isn't the one with issues; I am. I took a bad fall from Tango in October of 2004 and have huge confidence and fear issues I need to overcome. I may enlist the help of a trainer this year, we'll see.

So, those are my goals for 2010. I will add to them as needed and alter as I see fit, depending on how things are going.

What are your goals for 2010?


Pricilla said...

Good luck with the horse. I know how hard it is to get back on....but it will be worth it to you. The freedom of flying like the wind on the back of a horse. Oh, how I miss that.

One big goal (in all irony I mistyped that at first and it said goat *sigh*) GET IN MY HOUSE. And we are getting closer.

Happy New Year.

NICO Designs said...

I admire anyone that can keep track and analyze what they have done over the year. It looks like you have done quite a bit.
I used to think that I wanted to make a living off of the land and what I created from it. It did not take my long at A&M to figure out that I probably would not be able to do it so kudos to you and your family!!

BeadedTail said...

Sounds like 2009 was a busy year on the ranch! It's great how things worked out when they seemingly didn't go as planned. I hope you reach all your 2010 goals too!

Anonymous said...

Feels kind of strange to boil all the events of an entire year of your life in a few noteworthy paragraphs huh? Sounds like you've had a great 2009 and have a great attitude about the times that weren't so great. Good luck in 2010!

Lin said...

You really have your goals set--I'm still sort of fuzzy on that. Your llamas are beautiful, I hope you get a little one this year. That would be fun. Happy New Year to all of you at Split Rock Ranch!

Shelly said...

Sounds like, overall, 2009 was a pretty good year. Here's hoping that 2010 is even better. You can reach those goals and make some more.

I didn't even know that they had shows for llamas, but they look beautiful. I guess I normally stop and read the colorful wool posts...sorry. I resolve to read more about the llamas this year:)

I'm also resolving to lose the extra 20 I've been carrying around before it turns into 30. Less time on the computer and more time exercising. Who will still be in cyberspace? lol

Happy New Year!

Daisy said...

Maggie sure is pretty; she has a sweet face. Best wishes for a fabulous 2010!

Meghann LittleStudio said...

Congratulations on your accomplishments this year, and your positive outlook, both for the past and the future. I hope you achieve all of your goals and then some, while having fun, being healthy and learning many new and interesting things.
Meghann and Arwen the Wonder Dog

Laane said...

What an interesting look back.

Thanks for sharing.

I came here to wish you a very happy new year.
I hope some of your dreams come true.

Duni said...

Just wanted to say that I have learned so much about llamas through your blog. As an animal-lover I find this fascinating :)
I love the pictures you post and you seem such a dedicated person, that I have no doubt that 2010 will be a successfull year for you!

All the best,


trusk4u said...

Knowing that you have llamas, when I read the title of this article, the first thing that popped in my head was the 2 headed llama from "Dr. Doolittle" looking forward and back! What an amazing year you've had and I'm sure this new one will be even better! Happy 2010!

Anna said...

Dear Brenda,
I feel as if I have built a castle upon the sand, when I read your clear, concise, realistic and insightful description of your work-year.
As far as my own resolutions or planning for the coming year are concerned, I think I need to do some major cutting out of the "deadwood" of my life. There is too much that is draining energy from productive work.
Learning to blog has been an interesting experience, and through it I have met some wonderful people such as yourself. But I agree with you that the computer can steal alot of time that could be used to do real work. I need to make more and better products in which to sell in my shops. Sooner or later the economy will turn around and I would like to be ready for that.

You have my admiration that you have chosen a path that is so close to nature and the traditional way that clothing was made: by keeping animals that give wool, and then using their wool to make fiber for spinning, weaving, knitting or filting.

I can understand well that you probably put in a long day filled with many kinds of physically taxing chores. You must be very tired when it's time to put out the lights at night!

But it is also clear that you love your animals and would not have it any another way. (Maggie is beautiful!)

I wish you a healthy and happy 2010, and look forward to reading more about what you plan to do next.

Best wishes,

Hot Rocks said...

Wishing you and your Llamas a very Happy New Year! May 2010, be even better for you than 2009.

PJ said...

as i read this i thought to myself, yes, listen to what she is saying. find that silver lining and focus on that. that you so much for giving me this little "ding". wishing you and yours a very happy new year...hugz!

Ann said...

Beautiful photos and what a great recap of the year. Wishing you all the best in the New Year

RE Ausetkmt said...

Brenda may 2010 bring you everything on your list; plus more ! those lil babies are so adorable. awwwwww

DayPhoto said...

I love visiting here and seeing what all you do.

It's been really nice getting to know you and Jim.

Linda and Terry