Q: "Have I told you the alpacas make me happy?"
A: "Only five times a day."

Zorro's birth with cat on hand The proprietor of Barnstorm Farm, Shirley Swanson, grew up in the Skagit Valley on land farmed by her grandfather, a Swedish immigrant. She pushed a cart to deliver milk in cans, raised raspberries with her five siblings and — the ultimate for any farm girl — got to go to the feed store in the pickup truck.

Teaching comes naturally

Shirley has retired from teaching fourth graders but continues to work as a family counselor. She has an MA in pyschology from Antioch University. She applies those skills to her chickens and alpacas, and gets soothing pleasure in return. Barnstorm Farm started with two pregnant females in 2005. The beautiful offspring that followed show the steadiness of Shirley’s touch.

Back to the feed store in style

Shirley reached nirvana in 2007 when she purchased the best $4,000 pickup truck she's ever owned.