Laurie Weed and her alpacas welcomed visitors during the National Alpaca Farm Days hosted at Northern Sky Alpacas on September 28 and 29. Photo by Ruth Hanson
by Ruth Hanson
It was a sunny fall Sunday afternoon in September when the road leading north of Dodge Center was busy with cars headed for the Northern Sky Alpacas open house.
"Oh, they are so cute," Laurie Weed, who owns the business with her husband Tom, said, referring to her alpacas. "And they are super easy keepers."
The couple bought their place in the country from Ray and Sandy Spaulding just over a year ago. They have 30 alpacas and she said they pretty much break even raising them.
"We sell alpacas and alpaca products," she said. "We are interested in selling them in order to help grow herds all over the United States."
She opened the gate in the barn and gently knelt beside several of the animals.
"We love the lifestyle out here," she said. "Some families were here yesterday in spite of the intermittent rain, but they are back today. To me it is critical to create an environment where people feel welcome."
She explained that many of the alpacas come from Bolivia and Peru, their native countries.
"A shearer comes once a year to shear the alpacas and we send the yarn to a coop," she said. "There the yarn is made into scarves and other things."
Their shop is open by calling 507-374-2490. It has an inviting mixture of mittens, scarves, hats, sweaters and lots and lots of socks. There is also a wide variety of yarn for sale.
Laurie explained that she has three jobs. She works full-time as a solutions consultant for Print Audit. She is the president of a non-profit board for sales and marketing. And she is the treasurer of Upper Midwest Alpacas.
She was wearing a beautiful light brown alpaca sweater as she showed the visitors around.
"What is the difference between an alpaca and a llama?" she said, in answer to a man's question as they looked at one of the biggest animals. "Two hundred pounds and the banana ears."
They shared laughter.
The Weeds have three grown daughters - Katie, who lives in the Twin Cities; Melissa, who lives in Brainerd with her husband Tyler and son Wyatt; and Amy, who lives in California.
Not far away on the grounds Trevor Gustafson was spinning - making hand-spun yarn out of wool. The yarn he was making would be made into hats, sweaters, scarves and mittens, he explained, and sold in Cannon Falls, Decorah, Rochester and online at
Other local artisans and demonstrations by 4-H were a part of the event. Triton eighth grade students served lunch to raise funds for their trip to Washington D.C.
Learn more about Northern Sky Alpacas at www.NorthernSkyAlpacas.com.