4535 BOO BEAR LANE
SOMERSET, CA. 95684
Proprietors: Laurie and Scott Findlay
The story of this ranch’s beginning is almost as interesting as the animals themselves. It is almost as though this couple was led by the hand to a vocation that has fulfilled their life’s dream. Scott said that he had discovered alpacas years earlier when showing property to some real estate clients and driving by an established alpaca ranch. He immediately was taken by the animal’s gentle nature and calming demeanor but nothing more came of it at that time.
Laurie has always been an extremely observant, attentive and intuitive animal lover. She grew up owning and caring for her own horses since elementary school. With the goal of purchasing the property becoming a reality, Scott showed Laurie the alpaca ranch he had discovered years ago and said “what do you think?” Needless to say they were on the internet immediately learning all they could about alpacas and attending “get started” seminars. “After extensive searching along California’s Highway 49, the Gold Country Trail, we found the perfect spot in El Dorado County just below the snow line but above the fog. Surrounded by stately Ponderosa Pines and Cedar trees we found a cedar sided home with an expansive covered porch and deck on five beautiful acres within a couple miles of award winning wineries.” Scott proceeded to plan and build the barns. Laurie became her own vet. He and Laurie continue their real estate endeavors in the county as well.
What is the difference between Alpacas and Llamas? One of the first questions on this exciting interview with Laurie and Scott Findlay led to education 101 about one of the most interesting herdlines our county can boast. This couple has gone to great lengths to research and continue learning and sharing the gifts of their herd of 55— “a gentle breed from South America, with toes, not hooves. An advantage of alpaca fleece is that the animals’ fleece is hypoallergenic with no lanolin.
There are only two breeds, the Huacaya (wuh-kai-ya), which has fluffy hair and fleece for softer garments, and the Suri with long wavy hair that hangs off its body with lustrous fleece for outer garments, such as men’s suits. Alpacas are lighter in weight (e.g.150 lbs.) compared to the taller and heavier llama (up to 400 lbs.) Alpacas produce a fine fiber fleece and in a greater variety of colors compared to the llama, who is raised primarily as a pack animal or to guard alpacas, sheep or other small livestock. Alpacas are herd animals compared to the more independent llama.
Raised primarily in Chile, Peru and Boliva, Alpacas are no longer imported (1998 was the last importation), but can be exported and sold in the U.S., Europe and China.
The Findlays belong to the Alpaca Owners’ Association, Ideal Alpaca Community, and have shown their alpacas in the Portland CABA Classic, and other alpaca shows. Their farm is 100% solar, at an elevation of 3000’ (perfect for alpacas), and their stock is raised for breeding, “We are dedicated to the continual improvement in quality of both suris and huacayas by breeding only to the finest herdsires and bloodlines.” the Findlays relate. “We are located in the beautiful Sierra Foothills midway between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe. Our ranch is open to visitors at any time by appointment and we welcome you to be our guests to experience the peaceful lifestyle, clean mountain air and to drink some good local wines and talk alpaca.”