Saturday, September 29, 2012
Alpacas on the Farm
Since it's National Alpaca Farm Days this weekend - you've been waiting for it too? I know, right? - I'm off to visit a local alpaca "hobby" farm.
The main difference between a farm and a "hobby" farm is that on a hobby farm, the animals aren't paying their way - nor are they making a little extra for the farmer to live off of. They're fun, but not necessary to the financial success of the farm. Or as my country friends say - they are for city folks who like to play farmer on the weekend.
All of that aside, the owners of this farm are really getting into the spirit of boutique farming. They have a small herd of alpaca who are in excellent health, sweet demeanor and (mot importantly for my knitting habit) have the softest wool ever.
The boys were down in the lower pasture. They're not very outgoing - even towards each other. But oh so gorgeous! They were shorn this past Spring, so their fleeces are still growing in, but they should be ready for winter in a month or so.
The ladies in the upper pasture were much more friendly to humans. Curious and alert to sudden movements, but not standoffish at all.
The owner took me into the pasture so I could meet the girls up close. I got to feed them some grain (lucky day for them - extra grain!) and they came right up to my hand and ate it. After my experience with feeding carrots to the horses a few weeks ago, I was a little nervous about the alpaca, but they pick up the grain with their lips - no teeth involved. All was good and they were oh so gentle.
I thought this young lady and I made a real connection. I fed her a lot of grain, she let me pet her neck a little and give a scratch to her head. I could feel a real kinship developing.
Then she got startled by a bird screeching and spit all over me.
I think I'll stick to knitting with the alpaca yarn and leave the raising of alpacas to the farmers. It's the way to go.