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That Time We Almost Bought An Alpaca Farm

by | Apr 19, 2016 | Decorating Inspiration, My Books, My Life

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That Time We Almost Bought An Alpaca FarmModern Farmhouse – John Marshall Custom Homes via Hooked on Houses

So, there’s something I haven’t told you. We almost bought an alpaca farm. You might think this is something that happened, like, way, way in the past, but it actually was only about a year and a half ago. I didn’t tell you because I had just written a book about all the times I moved to my dream house (Love the Home You Have). I just felt like it was way too ironic and awkward that I would be considering buying an alpaca farm. 

But it is true, before we even considered a move to Seattle to live near our family, we considered an entirely different life. A life on an alpaca farm.

Our goal at that time was more family togetherness and in the process, we dreamed some pretty big dreams. We dreamed about ways we could expand what we do as a family and somehow, the idea of a bigger property seemed like a reasonable idea at the time.

When an alpaca farm came up for sale, we went to look at it. We fell head over heels in love with it … the farmhouse, the circular driveway, the big studio, the amazing barn, the rentable apartment, the property and the way the buildings were set up and … the alpaca.  We visualized our future there, living off the land, planning events and church gatherings and weddings in the barn and hosting craft days in our own studio.

We pictured how cute those alpaca would be running up to greet us when we would return home. That’s what they did when we came to check out the farm, they ran along the fence to greet us! It was so charming. They must have known we would be suckers for that.

That Time We Almost Bought An Alpaca Farm

We were really serious about the farm. We couldn’t get it out of our heads. We dreamed of ways to decorate the house and imagined waking up every morning to make a farmhouse breakfast. We dreamed of looking out the window to see our doodles Jack and Lily frolicking through the fields with the alpaca. We dreamed of having chickens. We thought of great ways to use the property and figured out how it might impact the things we already do in positive ways. It was a dream in so many practical ways, as well as impractical ways.

It was a big vision, I’ll admit, but our entire family got on board with it. It wasn’t just me dreaming big this time :). The property was a dream. The potential was exciting. But fortunately, before we went off the deep end and bought an alpaca farm, we all came to our senses.

Not that the property or the dream weren’t worthy of considering, they were! We just had to stop and re-define what and where our true priorities were for that season of our life. My natural inclination when I have a big dream is to just be brave and to jump off the deep end to see what happens. And doing that is a good thing, as long as you’ve carefully considered what you are doing to make sure it aligns with your goals and you are ready to take the plunge.

As dreamy as that property was, we had to be honest with ourselves about what we could handle and what we actually needed in our life. We weren’t the right people to take it on, nor was it the right season even if we wanted to. We wanted to simplify life to have more time for our family, not complicate it.

As idyllic as it sounded to frolic around on a farm with chickens and alpaca, we had to get real with ourselves. We aren’t farmers. We aren’t big property people. We don’t need more to manage, even if we would laugh all day long just knowing we owned alpaca.

Turns out, we loved the idea of the alpaca farm more than we would have loved the work involved.

We could have become farmers if we put our mind to it and felt it was the right timing, but did we want to go through the learning process, time and expense that would be necessary to succeed at farm life?

That Time We Almost Bought An Alpaca Farm

We decided we really weren’t prepared to add alpaca to our life. We needed to pare down and focus our energy on less things, not more things.

As a big dreamer, I always have more ideas in my head than time or money to do them. In fact, I have always have more grand ideas of what to do with my time than is humanly possible to squeeze into a day! Being a dreamer gets me in over my head if I’m not careful. I can get easily swept away with the romance or the vision or the potential of anything and lose sight of what is more important to me.

To experience peace in my life and my home, I have to continually pare down, refocus and simplify everything we do to what is really essential if I want to succeed at what matters to me. I can’t do it all. I can’t keep it all. I have to be intentional.

If I don’t take the time to be more purposeful in what I do and what I invite into my life, I’ll be ALL OVER THE PLACE. Like, literally I could have set myself up to be wearing overalls, FEEDING baby alpaca, PLANTING wheat fields or DRIVING TRACTORS or whatever we would have to do to live off the land while trying to still keep up with everything else we already had going on. It could be a dreamy life, but it just wasn’t the right dreamy life for us at that time.

I just got sidetracked from my real goals for a minute.

I’m definitely getting better about reining myself in so I can focus my attention on the dreams and house and people and pets we want to commit to. Simplifying means letting go of all the extra stuff (even if it is good stuff like an alpaca!) that will just weigh us down and distract us from our our real goals.

Sometimes simplifying means I have to let go of the dream of owning an alpaca farm.

Sometimes I just have to let go of the clutter in my closet.

But saying no to one thing I really don’t need (even if I love it!) means I have room in my home and life for something that matters so much more to me, and that makes letting go worth it.

If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of my new book, Make Room for What You Love, word on the street is that Amazon already released it two weeks before the launch date ( and maybe even Barnes & Noble!)! In it I’m sharing the little ways I’ve learned to simplify my life and home and pare down to what really matters. Enjoy!


  1. valentina

    Oh… I Know what you felt… My father has just asked me if I would like to get a house..a Big house… In the country. That would be is a wonderful lovely house in the green, in a wonderful countryside…ssssoooo adorable. dream is to become a movie director and to do that I will need to move to UK or America.. And so, the wonderful house would just slow my dreams. You know what I mean. It would be Great, but now I want to spread my wings and fly. So I think I know what you mean when you say that even when something is truly beautiful it may not be the right time for it! A kiss and a big hug!

  2. Ellen Cole

    Amen to all of that! This behavior is something I’m working toward as well. I long for doing less, having more down time, having more peace…but sometimes (often?) finding myself getting swept up in “wow…wouldn’t it be cool if…” or “SURE! We can take on this new project that will require a huge time commitment!”

    Thank you for this reminder…your new book is sitting in front of me (if I can only find the time to read it!).


  3. Joanne Taggart

    What a great story! I have way too many ideas floating around in my head too. Goodness, it can make me dizzy. At times, I think I could be close to hyperventilating! And like you, I have to stop myself and be more concentrated and purposeful. I remind myself there is a wide land of creative possibilities out there for me and to be patient. Somehow that is getting easier as I get older. Wisdom, oh wisdom, some only comes with age. If I could have possessed it a younger age! LOL! Thanks for the happy smile on my face this Tuesday!

  4. Tracie

    I’m so glad other people dream like us! I grew up on a farm, doing daily animal chores and helping with field work, and I couldn’t wait to move to the Big City. There I met my husband who continually dreams of buying (gasp) a farm or an orchard. Yikes! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve looked at a piece of property and dreamed!

  5. Cheryl

    Loved your honest perspective on life! How often something looks good, even as if God is in it, but we must pull back and consider it in the light of our life priorities and stage of life priorities. I’m thankful God led you where you are and to do the book we will all enjoy!

  6. Yvonne

    That is me. When I get a ‘vision’ I end up ALL OVER THE PLACE. My husband then gently pulls me back down to earth..hehhehe.

  7. Patricia

    The alpaca farm is more fun as a dream than the reality of shoveling alpaca poop (great fertilizer), taking care of sick animals and helping birthing mothers. You need a vet on speed dial and a whole lot of energy. It’s the right direction for the right person. True wisdom is knowing what is truly you and how to want to live and what isn’t.
    I have a friend who has moved several times in the last ten years to her “dream home” until it isn’t (after reality of living two hours from the nearest grocery or hardware store, let alone Starbucks finally dawns on her).

    • valentina

      This made me think about “The horse whisperer” movie… When Annie says she wants to stay in Montana with Tom… In the farm. And I always wondered: “What if she had stayed? Wouldn’t she got crazy in the end, being so far from her New York style life?” … :)

  8. Shannon

    Such a timely post for me. Moved across the country two years ago and ended up in a part of the country that allowed me to dream big. A three story, 5 bed, 5 bath kinda big! I am exhausted trying to keep it clean, my husband is tired of mowing the lawn, and I am tired of having no family time. Thinking of downsizing to a three bed, three bath, 2500 sq ft townhouse with our three kids. Am I crazy or smart? I haven’t decided yet!

  9. Donna @ Modern on Monticello

    Love reading some of your stories. They are always entertaining and often inspiring, and funny. I too would love the dream of a Alpaca farm, but not the work. You probably made the best decision in the end for the family.

  10. Ann

    Great story. I live in Anniston, AL between Birmingham and Atlanta. An article was just in our newpaper about Alpacas and being trimmed. The farm was having their herd trimmed for the summer…gets pretty hot down here. It was very interesting and I had no idea where the farm was located. While driving to pick up y grandson from day care, I saw the farm. It’s right in our community, Saks. I never knew what that was up until I read the article. They are beautiful animals.

  11. Romeogirl

    Wow- I think you are my cosmic sister! Same drams and same reigning in issues! Love dreaming big!

  12. Gerri

    Loved your honesty – Everything starts with a dream… No matter how old you get – you’ll still want to do the impossible – just be sure you surround yourself with others who have a heavy dose of reality to ask the hard questions… that doesn’t mean you’ll always give in to their reality – But a wise person will listen and consider before making a life decision…

    Nothing is 100%

  13. Penny Birch-Williams

    I imagine a big house on property where I could have horses, my lifelong dream. But then I think about how much work that would be, now in my 50’s, with an art business too. Some dreams just aren’t the right fit. BTW…you are REINING in a horse to stop it…. you are REIGNING only if you are a Queen (in more than your own mind, anyway!)

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Ha yep! Late night typing and no editor means funny typos! Fixed it, thanks! :)

    • Carolyn

      Well, I don’t know, she seems pretty queenly to me!

  14. Barb

    I know you made the right decision but imagine the material you’d have gotten for the blog! You’d probably have kept us all in stitches, And I’d love to see Jack and Lily herding those alpacas!

  15. Heather Beato

    Kind of glad you mentioned the early release…when it showed up on my doorstep from Amazon the other day, I thought I’d lost my mind! “This book isn’t even out yet!”…or is it? LOL :)

  16. Andrea

    what a great post…..I know that I can relate to this! I am curious…… what does one do with alpaca? I have heard of alpacas….but don’t know why one would have a farm of them!!!!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      You shear their wool? fleece? hair? and make cozy (and expensive!) things with it like socks, hats, blankets, sweaters, etc. They actually had a shop right there at the farm to sell items made from the alpaca!

  17. Toni Clough

    We did the alpaca farm and the whole farm thing. We still have the farm, but the alpacas live on another farm in the local area. They were fun and the kids really enjoyed them. Me, I had my fill of being there from conception to birth of baby alpacas to cleaning up their poop. The poop pickup was the worst. They were fun, but I like watching garlic, lavender, walnuts and hay grow. We have cattle on the farm, but they belong to another rancher who keeps our fields groomed. Maybe someday, we will have cattle of our own, but for now the plants are just fine. Good choice on your part! Good luck with all you do.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      I’m with you, plants are so fun! :) Sounds like I made the right choice on the alpacas.

  18. Carol Landeis

    Melissa ~
    I had a good chuckle about the alpaca farm. Give me a lovely farmhouse and a serene setting and I probably would jump in and be way over my head. Nevertheless it is fun to dream. I just received a copy of your new book and can HARDLY wait to dive in. I am a fan and appreciate your inspiration, your honesty, and your love of family and the things in life that are most important.

  19. Rebecca Turner

    That was funny! Maybe I’m a dreamer too…when I was a little girl we took a Sunday drive to the country, and stopped at an old abandoned farmhouse that sat in the middle of a flower field. (Weeds!) The scene suited my romantic nature and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since. As an adult, I’ve been hoping all along that some day I could have the dream. But it’s not very practical…and I’m a practical girl, married to a city boy. An acquaintance of mine in my water class told me that she’d sold her country property and moved into a retirement village, (in a house similar to mine) and she said that I was crazy to even think of taking on the work of a country property at my age (mid-fifties). Since I feel like the Tin-man a good bit of the time, (arthritis) I know she’s right, but it’s hard to give up on the dream. Maybe I can at least move to a small town when my husband retires? …because the city that I live in has quadrupled in size in my lifetime, and it feels claustrophobic. (Like an ant pile that someone kicked!) That’s probably why I dream of the flower field! In the meantime, I’m trying to be content. I learned that from your first book. Now I’m going to rush right out and get your new book!

  20. Kathy

    OMG! Melissa, you have just outlined my dream come true. A farmhouse, a barn, Alpacas!!!!! (Love Alpacas. So sweet and funny and friendly. Their little faces are adorable) Thankfully, common sense prevails and I realize how much work it would be. At 64, my farm dream would be impossible as I know the work that goes into keeping it running. I used to have horses, and the vet and food bill alone is prohibitive.
    Love your books, your rooms and your posts; I always look forward to seeing them in my email.
    But maybe, just a little barn and one little Alpaca?

      • Kathy

        I wonder if I could keep an Alpaca in my 2 bedroom condo? Perhaps with Alpaca diapers? I wonder if Depends makes a size for Alpacas? Hmmmmm…..

  21. fionasmosaic

    It just kills me that you are so far away my friend!!! I am so the same way……the idea queen, the planner, the creative force to be reckoned with. Then I have to take a deep breath and pray, focus on the priorities, and add the ideas to a list for if and when I can work them in. If I had my way I would be running a few head of cattle, raising pigs and goats, yes some alpacas, harvesting hazelnuts, and planting lavender fields and trying to buy out some of my neighbors. In addition to everything else. LOLOL I loved this story, and if you need a dose of country, just come hang out with me. Sending you a hug my urban farmer friend!!!!

  22. Jennifer

    Thank you for this! My own should-we-buy-a-big-property thoughts resurfaced recently when I saw some land for sale in a wonderful spot. But really, we’re in our dream house, where God for sure guided us to come, and we have four very young children. We need more time, not another huge project. Not another move. We needed to look again at what is really important. Perfect timing on this, for me, thanks!

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