The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


September 27, 2007

A good climate for alpacas

Area farms that raise these docile, friendly creatures hold open house this weekend

George and Mary Hodson are living their dream life, thanks to a Dark Shaddow that crossed their path.

The Hodsons own Grand River Alpaca Farm, 982 Mechanicsville Road, Rock Creek. The farm provides their living. George, who worked in manufacturing, left the corporate world and all its stress and politics five years ago; Mary, formerly a radiation therapist, walked away from her medical career last year.

“It was quite a career change for both of us,” says George, who is in his early 40s. “We made some good decisions, overcame the bad ones and had some luck come our way, and the business has really taken off.”

The Hodsons, who have a herd of 75 alpacas, started with just three animals and a big dream 10 years ago. They first became interested in them as a result of a newspaper article. In 1997, as they were preparing to move into their new home, they attended Fiberfest at Lake Farmpark and touched their first alpacas. They spoke with breeders, joined the Alpaca Owners and Breeders association, visited farms, attended seminars and, in March 1998, purchased their first three Huacaya alpacas – a black bred female and two young males.

There are 22 recognized natural colors of alpaca, but George and Mary decided to focus on just black and gray. That desire led them to an unproven, 14-month-old male at a farm in New York. Two other breeders were interested in the animal, as well, but the Hodsons braved a snowstorm and got first chance at buying it.

“I saw him and I knew we had something special,” George says.

The animal, Dark Shaddow, represented a new blood line and a costly investment. George says it was a great investment, however. Dark Shaddow was named 2006 Reserve Herdshire of the Year; his offspring have earned 40 champion awards.

George says the animal was just the break they needed to transform their part-time farm into a full-time operation.

Text Only
  • clara ward 1.jpg A princess with Conneaut connections

    The atmosphere in the Cafe Falillard reeked of illicit romance.

    April 1, 2012 1 Photo

  • bicent3.jpg Mr. Hulett’s invention

    When the shipping season opened at Conneaut 113 years ago this spring, there was on the ore dock a new piece of machinery that looked like something left over from “The War of the Worlds.”

    March 25, 2012 2 Photos

  • cef stones 12.jpg The McAdams mystery

    In an old section of Edgewood Cemetery, perched near the Ashtabula River Gulf, is a row of worn, simple tombstones that give no hint of the great mystery behind the deaths they represent.

    March 18, 2012 1 Photo

  • Saga of the John B. Lyon

    The hurricane that smashed into Galveston, Texas, on Sept. 8, 1900, left up to 12,000 individuals dead in its wake.

    March 11, 2012

  • Walter Main memorabilia back on display in Geneva

     When Mike Lubin first moved to Madison and saw the sign for Walter Main Road on the west side of Geneva, he thought it read “Water Main” and decided to check it out.

    February 26, 2012

  • cef orwell hosue.jpg Orwell’s man of adventure and the circus

    There must be something in the blood of Scotsmen that makes them successful as circus owners.

    February 26, 2012 1 Photo

  • sir henry 1.jpg Sir Henry’s last ride

    For more than 120 years, a white marble circus horse has stood in Windsor Township as reminder of both the glory days of mud circuses and a tragic romance.

    February 19, 2012 1 Photo

  • Main-1.jpg The Main legacy

     Despite the devastating loss in the Tyrone, Pa., train wreck of May 30, 1893, Walter L. Main quickly rebuilt his circus and kept virtually all of its engagements beyond Tyrone.

    February 12, 2012 3 Photos

  • cef Sunday main.jpg Tragedy at McCann’s Crossing

    Frank Train had grown wearly  of traveling with the Walter L. Main Monster Show, based in Geneva City and Trumbull Township.

    February 5, 2012 1 Photo

  • walter main poster.jpg Geneva’s ‘Main’ attraction

    Elephants, tigers, lions and horses.

    January 29, 2012 1 Photo

House Ads

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Andover Fire 1955
Carferry Ashtabula
AP Video