About Foggy Bottom Ranch Alpacas
The original concept for Foggy Bottom Ranch Alpacas was born during a summer vacation while inn-hopping in Vermont. I’m Tracey Upton and my partner is Kathy Parsons. Together, we built our farm from the ground up. On Day One of our Vermont trip, we visited our very first alpaca farm thinking that it would be something new and unusual. We were so interested and excited by what we saw and learned that the rest of the week was spent finding and visiting as many farms as we could. By the time we drove back home to Massachusetts, we were discussing how we could possibly raise alpacas ourselves. At that time, I was a medical secretary and Kathy was a dental lab technician.
Kathy drove as I made a list that included many of the things that had to be accomplished to get from where we were to actually becoming alpaca farmers. It was a very LONG list. Just some of the items thought of were: buy land or an existing farm, sell the house, become educated about alpacas, purchase some alpacas… We gave ourselves a pretty long timeline of about two years to get from there to here. It turned into three years to the month by the time we moved into our new home built in Landaff, New Hampshire. The three maiden alpacas we originally purchased and had bred moved into their newly built barn the following month. Kathy agreed to name Foggy Bottom Ranch Alpacas after the cattle ranch my grandfather owned and my family visited on summer vacations in Lloyd, Florida.
Finances were always extremely limited and whenever there was something we could possibly do ourselves, we did it. Some of these activities included applying sealer and insulation to the foundation walls, spreading seed on all four of the newly created pastures after adding bags and bags of lime, and Kathy doing all of the finish carpentry in the house while I painted and painted and painted. We were so fortunate in finding and hiring the very best people we had ever met to do the important jobs of clearing the trees, excavating the land, building the barn and house, and installing a solar electrical system that runs the entire farm. The great business women who guided us through the sale of our house, the purchase of the new land and the legalities of the LLC must be mentioned and thanked as well.
Often it felt as if our heads were spinning while we were learning the world of alpacas. We met wonderful people who shared so much knowledge when we visited lots of farms, attended workshops, seminars and many shows. Alpaca books and pamphlets were always everywhere. We had agreed that, according to plan, we would not buy any alpacas before the farm was almost complete. And then we met Sophie. It was love at first sight. Clark Summit’s Sophie was the first alpaca we purchased. Luckily, Sophie was bred and born at Clark Summit Alpacas in Deering, New Hampshire which was just an hour away. With infinite kindness and dedication, James and Kari Lewis took us under their wings and helped us develop into the alpaca farmers we are today. We owe them so much.
We love the daily life of alpaca farming. It has added so many unexpected positives to our lives. Our farm has evolved into a destination for friends and family. The animals are the most interesting and intelligent creatures we have ever met. Kathy and I have surprised ourselves in all that we have accomplished together. Our alpaca adventure has provided us with more great friends than we could ever imagine. And this is just the beginning…