Long time best friends Jeanie Zirrolli and Clare Rocheford decided to move south in 2006 to start a life together on Walkapaca Farm. At first the farm was just for the women's horses, but alpacas, pigs, chickens, cats and dogs soon joined.
"We were at an auction, not planning to buy," Rocheford said. "But Jeanie's hand went up and we came home with our first alpaca."
Rocheford works as a computer programmer from the farm and Zirrolli is a retired nurse who tends to the alpacas full time. In the spring, the alpacas are shorn. The hair is sent to a co-op and at the end of the summer, they have scarves, socks and sweaters to sell for profit.
Nestled at the edge of the Uwharries National Forest, Walkapaca Farm is 27 acres of pasture and forest. Zirrolli and Rocheford designed their main house and barn. "It's my dream house and my dream barn," Zirrolli said. "And it was meant to be. We were meant to meet each other … and have this life down here on this wonderful farm."