The weekend of Sept 27-28 was National Alpaca Farm Day. This day alpaca ranchers open their small farms to guests and promote their business. A couple of my new knitting friends (S and K) and I decided to go.
It was a beautiful drive and our temps were finally dipping below the 90 or 90 plus degrees each day, blue blue sky and just plain nice. We met at S’s home and I was able to meet the husband/SO of each (Hi J and J!). After hearing about these men from my friend’s blogs and conversations it was nice to put a face with the name. A stop to spend a ransom on a tank of gas, some soft drinks and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – fuel for the vehicle and the riders!
I had the google maps and sat in the backseat. I missed one turn but we were still able to find the place after a brief stop to fire up the laptop with the wireless network card (that was massively cool) to double check where we were. One of the local homeowners had emerged to see what we were doing, but after turning on lappy we were already back on the road, scouting an address to google and get directions from the new start place.
About the time we read a house number, S looked ahead and found the intersection we were looking for! Just a bit of a long way ’round.
We passed two skate parks within about 5 miles. I’m showing my age by admitting I was remembering the skating rink where I spent a lot of time in my late 20’s (medium sized small city without a lot of non-drinking things to do for singles) so I looked up the name of the park and read about a controversy – the kids are riding their skate BOARDS downtown and allegedly causing damage. City Council not pleased. This park has a web site and is very interesting – nationally known teams do demonstrations, they have a wide variety of “obstacles” or “features” or whatever they are called. Nifty.
When asked why the young people prefer riding downtown instead of at a specially built city skateboard park, the kids commented (OK, I wanted to use the word “whined”) “They make us wear HELMETS in the park.” Well, gee… I lost a young cousin in a bike accident when he fell off his bike into a wall and was killed, so all the kids in our family wear helmets when doing anything faster than foot speed.
Back to the ranch. We turned down the drive and there they were! Alpacas! Cool looking animals lounging around the pasture. They were also selling Alpaca yarn, showing some items made from the Alpaca yarn, and some of the sheared fur. Small packets of the fur were there for everyone to take one home!
Next were the women spinning the processed fiber into yarn, and there were even some knitted samples to show! Back to them in a few…
Animals – all sizes, colors, and ages from baby (crias) to moms-to-be. A couple of industrial-size fans were sitting about and some animals were lounging in front of them, enjoying the breeze. Others were sunbathing – spread out on the grass, twisting about, letting the sunshine bake into them. Some of the animals were trimmed so they had bangs hanging into their eyes and we watched them sling their head back so they could see…LOL. S & K stayed out with the animals a while longer and I headed back to SPINNING!
That is almost magic – how they can take fiber and produce yarn from it! I pulled out my travel crochet project and between watching the alpacas and the spinning I didn’t get much done. S & K returned from animal watching and sat down on the remaining chairs and pulled out their knitting. All the visitors had to walk by us on their way to see the animals.
Now I do realize not everyone grew up around crocheting or knitting or sewing like I did, but people – get a CLUE – knitting=2 pointy sticks and crochet=one hooked pen-sized tool. There were so many people asking me if I was knitting alpaca.
No, I was CROCHETING a blue-white-electric green cotton dishcloth. Sigh. I was pleasant back to the uninformed and gently explained that no, we were not part of the farm, just visitors that were offered a chance to sit and knit/crochet and whipped out our projects.
It was so nice sitting there in the breeze, and I did have fun talking to the visitors. Really.
I even got to try spinning! The wheel had some pinky purple sparkly roving that was hard to deal with, but it was FUN. I could get hooked on that… (NO – you do NOT need another hobby!!!!). Working the treadle was a challenge and I did catch on, and then you have to draft – hold one hand closer to the twisting fiber and stretch the roving out with the other, and then releasing it at the right time. Definitely challenging and something you would have to practice in order to become proficient.
I was getting hungry by then and encouraged the others that it was time to go…