A love as warm as an Alpaca’s fleece

Only about 15 minutes away from Waynesburg University’s campus live 15 soft, fluffy animals.

Lippencott Alpacas is a farm located at 265 Meadowbrook Road, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania.

The owners, Lena and Philip Galing, live in Lena’s family home on the farm. The farm has been in Lena’s family for four generations since the 1870’s.

It was a sheep and cattle farm, but after punching in the numbers, the Galings realized it would cost too much of their time to make enough hay to feed all of the cows.

Because of this, they decided they needed to do something else with the farm.

No one in the Greene County area had alpacas when they decided to get them in 2005.

“It was new,” Philip Galing said. “It was different. Not everybody was doing it.”

They acquired their alpacas from two farms in northern Pennsylvania. Their farm started with only three adult females and two baby females.

The numbers increased since then and reached a peak of 36 alpacas. Currently, there are 15.

Lena’s favorite part of her job is seeing the faces of her alpacas.

“It’s not a job if you love it.” Lena Galing said.

Philip Galing’s favorite part of his job is when the hay equipment is put away for the season.

The Galings enjoy providing an educational aspect to their tours. When they first started, people would always say, “Look at the llamas.” but now, people say, “Look at the alpacas.”

According to the director of Greene County Tourist Promotion Agency, JoAnne Marshall, the Galings are “passionate and they embrace educating locals and visitors about alpacas.”

Tours are offered for an admission fee per person. The farm does not have specific hours. Visitors can schedule tours in advance or show up unannounced. However, the Galings prefer receiving a phone call with notice before guests show up.

Andrew Kasper, a junior nursing major at the university, visited the farm for the first time in the fall of 2020 with three friends.

“It was a very personal tour of the farm,” Kasper said. “We got to walk the alpacas.”

In the last full weekend of September, admission is free on Saturday and Sunday for the open house. This includes hayrides, a scavenger hunt, and other activities for families to enjoy.

Kasper attended the open house in the fall of 2022.

“It was super laid back, but super fun,” Kasper said.

According to Lena Galing, alpaca fleece is used to make various items like yarn, socks, sweaters, jackets, rugs, dryer balls and boot inserts.

Fleece can vary in quality from alpaca to alpaca, so it is important to determine how coarse the fiber is.

One way to accomplish this is by looking at the back of the alpaca, or the blanket, by spreading the fleece apart and seeing how far away the dirt is from the alpaca’s skin.

Lena Galing takes alpacas to shows that judge their fiber for fineness, density and consistency. This means that the fiber is very thin and close together throughout the entire blanket of the alpaca.

“You can earn ribbons and even a banner from that,” Lena Galing said.

According to Lena Galing, there are 22 natural colors of alpacas ranging from various shades of white, beige, brown, grey, and black. At Lippencott Alpacas, most of the alpacas are white, but they appear beige because of the dirt that is in their fleece.

There are other farms in Greene County, but they have different animals to explore and observe.

“You’re not seeing the same animal over and over again,” Marshall said. “If you want to, you can kiss an alpaca if they let you near them, and you can touch their fiber.”

To schedule a tour of Lippencott Alpacas, call (724) 852-4084 or email lenagaling@windstream.net. Visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LippencottAlpacas/ to find more information.

“It’s one of those things that I could do over and over again and it would still be just as exciting as the first time,” Kasper said.