The heart of White Oak Alpacas is our Victorian ranch house. It sits on a slope with a spectacular view of Mount St. Helens in Washington State. Our namesake is a magnificent, centuries old Oregon white oak tree, Quercus garryanna. There are two spacious barns adjoining lush pastures for the alpacas, our Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dog, Chet, and his barn cat buddies, Nala and Snickers.
White Oak Alpacas started many years ago with a dream of someday owning a little piece of rural land to retire on, away form the hectic rush of the city. Though many years from retirement we always had our eyes open and in 1994 opportunity and preparedness crossed when we found that perfect spot to live and ranch. It was love at first sight even through our "little bit of land" had grown to thirty acres. The challenge that soon faced us was how to afford the potential property tax consequence of owning so much land. Alpaca ranching was the answer.
Being raised in the city and naming every animal we owned, we knew we didn't want to raise anything that might be killed for its market value. So cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs were out; and we didn't know enough about horses. Besides, they are huge! As fate would have it we saw an ad about alpacas in the in-flight magazine on a trip to Seattle. It was love at first sight for Karin. Randy took a bit more convincing. Alpacas looked like a cross between a giraffe and a teddy bear. They were small enough that Karin could look them in the eye with mutual respect not intimidation. Not only were they cute but were raised for their fiber (wool) not meat. So we could name them but hug them too. A perfect match!
The next five years was work and planning to enable the transition from hectic urban life to a country life style. Randy designed the house and site plan while structuring his business in southern California for telecommuting. Karin joined the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association and started her research on care and management of the animals. Classes, study and workshops on alpaca care and training, on spinning, weaving, and knitting became her routine. Even today education is not only important but fun as she continues to expand her knowledge in all aspects of the alpaca industry, ranching, and the subtle joys of country life.
In March 1999, we moved to the country and started building our home while improving the ranch to bring our first alpacas to their new home. In May we bought our first girls, a maiden and a pregnant female. We agisted (boarded) the girls nearby until the pastures and barn ready for them. March 2001 was the dream became a reality as we brought our little herd home along with five other animals that would be agisted by us for another family. Two years later we had thirty alpacas on the ranch with eleven crias (baby alpacas) born under our care.
We invite you to come visit us and experience the peace of the country and get to know these delightful animals.