About Disappearing Creek
Nestled in Eatonville right off the highway, leading to Mt. Rainer, a small creek runs for miles and then abruptly disappears into the ground. Several alpacas stand at the creek, lapping up the cool mountain water. Beyond the alpacas, stand four proud ranchers, Ernie and Juanita Kirschnick and Dean and Stephanie Schlegel.
Disappearing Creek Alpacas of Eatonville, Washington began as a tiny seed for us. From an initial comment from Dennis Mullen, a co-worker, to an article in the newspaper featuring De La Patagonia Alpaca Ranch, these mysterious and strange animals peaked our interest, and so our quest for more information began.
We, like many people considering a new business, spent a lot of time studying and learning, talking and visiting. We researched, learned about alpacas, went to countless small alpaca farms and seminars, and then found a mentor – Juanita DeSisto of Three Boys’ Alpacas -to guide us along the way. After many evening discussions around the dinner table, we decided to go for it – to begin our own alpaca way of life.
As we defined our goals, and prepared our land for these wonderful animals, we found ourselves creating a lifestyle that was very different from our corporate past. Our dinner time conversations now revolve around our animals instead of corporate politics, and farm goals instead of annual salary reviews.
We searched across a wide variety of farms when contemplating our first animal purchases. We began our herd with three bred females. We ended up finding our first three females at three different farms. We chose two Huacayas, and one Suri and have been growing our herd ever since.
Raising and breeding healthy, high quality alpacas is our first and foremost goal. We look for animals with excellent confirmation, good dispositions, excellent fiber color and quality. We also strive to help people new to the industry, and to help small farms get started in setting up their own alpaca business. We love to share our experiences and want to help and support those new to alpacas.
Alpaca ranching has truly become a family affair for us. Beginning with a unique relationship – Stephanie and Juanita are sisters and best friends, and our husbands and our four children are close too, always there supporting each other. We were all very active in the early stages of preparing our farm, and now are more involved than ever in the day to day operations.
Creating our own alpaca farm has been one of the most rewarding decisions we have ever made, and has changed our lives and our family. We highly recommend the alpaca way of life!