After our happy beginnings in Grass Valley, CA and successfully breeding, brokering and growing at a steady rate, we decided to move our alpaca ranch to Nevada, choosing Yerington as our new rural home. Yerington is about an hour and a half from either Lake Tahoe to the west or Reno to the North. At 4500′ elevation is is an ag valley fed by two rivers carrying the runoff from the grand High Sierra Mountains. The rural atmosphere and wide open spaces are wonderful for alpacas, owners and visitors alike. We are enjoying our ranch in Yerington and continue with the activities we have practiced since our beginnings almost 20 years ago…..brokering, breeding, and loving these incredible animals. If you wish to visit us, please contact us for more information and a map: alpacamine.com/contact/
photo by J. Smith
Our Story: The Gold Rush Begins…
In the mid-80s, Sands saw television coverage of the first alpacas imported to the U.S. and was so intrigued with the wonderful nature of these “cuddly” creatures and the financial rewards of breeding them, she walked into the office of her then boss and said “let’s quit our jobs and raise alpacas.” The reply was “so what’s an alpaca?” Over ten years later, her dream reached fruition.
Typical of those attracted to alpaca ranching, Paul and Sands were looking for a change of lifestyle…a simpler way of life. We knew we would love to own a few acres, but what would we do if we moved somewhere with some acreage, other than raise some of our own vegetables and fruits? It was then that the perfect picture of a gorgeous, fuzzy animal returned to Sands’ memory and the answer was…”we’ll raise alpacas!”
Our alpaca ranch is getting real!
We decided on Grass Valley due to its proximity to major population areas, seasonal tourist population, and its green rolling hills with oaks and pine along the ridgelines. We also began visiting as many alpaca ranch properties as possible. As most “wanabe alpaca owners” relate, we were very impressed with the professionalism, friendliness and underlying sense of financial adventure of the alpaca owners we contacted.
We moved into our modest 2-bedroom, 2 bath home on a 5-acre parcel in late July, 1998 and ideas and methods for growth came fast and furious in this new fuzzy world. We quickly expanded our operation to include agisting (boarding), brokering, and breeding alpacas. It was our hope to be able to live off the income from the alpacas in about 4 or 5 years. That goal was achieved much more rapidly than we had dared hope. We have never regretted our decision to change our lifestyle and work focus.
Why did we choose ” Alpaca Mining Company” as our alpaca ranch name? Others looked for gold in the ground in the West and have for many, many years. We hoped to start a new trend by “mining” for alpacas…hence, the “discovery” of our first “Nugget!” (The name for the first cria born at the ranch). Eureka! The Gold Rush Begins!
And so it began….the story continues…in Yerington!
AMC FEATURED FIBER ARTIST – EVE BJARNSON
Meet Eve Bjarnson, From Sheep to Shawl, a wonderful fiber artist who has over time purchased many bags of alpaca fiber from Us. Eve lives in Tonopah, NV and you can contact her on facebook at From Sheep to Shawl. Beyond being very talented with fleece, she is simply a wonderful person with high levels of enthusiasm and energy. We have chosen Eve as our “Featured Fiber Artist” as she is so devoted to Alpaca fiber and creating unique items. Please know all questions and purchases should be made directly through Eve on facebook.
Including in Eve’s repertoire of creativity are these Parisienne Mitts. For the work involved…Eve does all the processing, spinning, knitting, everything is hand ceated…she will make memories for you to enjoy and cherish for years to come.
Classical black for evening and vampire hunting, white for evening, fall or winter wedding, and the Multi Parisienne for anytime fun! $50 pair
AMC – YERINGTON STORY CONTINUES…
Yerington can be very cold, no doubt, but the winters have been bearable and our neighbors and the community are warm and receptive. We are blessed with exceptionally beautiful sunrises and sunsets and if you’re on facebook you can view some photos on the Sands Bellizzi page. While our focus has changed over the passing years, boarding and supplying livestock information regarding alpaca husbandry and care remain a mainstay and a pleasure.
Would you like us to keep you updated? We will add you to our email list. Just drop us a note on the Contact Us page.
We are convinced alpacas remain a solid tangible and healthy asset for your portfolio.
Please come by and enjoy the alpacas with us… just give us a call. We will put the coffeepot on.
Alpaca Mining Company
17 N. Willhoyt Lane, Yerington, NV 89447
We’ve Been Featured In: CNN USA and CNN Headline News Aug. 3-5. Countryside Magazine, American Small Farms Magazine, Hobby Farms Magazine, Fortune Small Business online Magazine (FSB.com), Alpacas Magazine, American Livestock Magazine, House of Business Magazine, The New York Times. www.2young2retire.com, www.planet-pets.com, www.suite101.com, www.careerjournal.com (Wall Street Journal), FineLiving Channel, Radical Sabbatical Show, carried by DirecTV on Channel 232, Times Warner Cable and various other cable channels throughout the nation – look for our Show #206….www.fineliving.com for schedule. KCRA Channel 3 Evening News, UPN, Channel 31 News, and in the Tracy Press and Lodi Chronicle. December, 2007, issue of Fortune Small Business Magazine (online, too) by writer Phaedra Hise.