The only thing that's truly been accomplished during that time was growing the dog business, for which I'm very grateful. My house is more a mess than ever, the guys have been taking care of the farm, and my spinning wheel was gathering dust.
In addition to that, our application for an agricultural land use exemption, which would have reduced our property taxes, was denied. Although this wasn't the main reason we keep alpacas, it's a huge cost saver at tax time. Texas doesn't have a state income tax. They get homeowners instead with a huge property tax, compounded by the city and local school system. The denial of the ag exemption was pretty discouraging and we were ready to disperse most of the herd to save money.
In a last ditch effort, we went through the appeal process in front of a local review board. We presented our case and to our surprise, we won! We are the only property on our road to have an ag exemption.
Along with that good news, I've found a wonderful person to help out around the office and farm. The combination of these 2 things has really energized me to start focusing on the potential of the farm business. We are moving fleece through the process of cleaning, carding and preparing for either spinning or making other products for sale. I've re-opened the Etsy shop and have alpaca items for sale here at the office when visitors come for tours. Here are just a few of the things we've been working on:
|Roving for spinning or felting|
|Nesting fleece for birds|