Happy Hills Alpaca Farm

  (Monroe, North Carolina)
Paca Days
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LIFE IN THE BACK LANE

                                      LIFE IN THE BACK LANE

    Living in a place where time forgot, not much to do. Watching alpaca hair grow, watching them chew their cud, all is content.  Slowness is perhapsa gift, one that is underappreciated now.  Hard for me who suffers ADHD in middle age.  No one cares if the house is clean, at least I don’t except for the occasional fits of company.  I luckily hardly ever have to cook, since that is my husband’s forte.  So I write, I spin, and I sometimes garden.  Sounds like a wonderful plan.  Occasionally I get restless.

    Just coming back from a week in Florida, I now find myself so. I enjoyed the faster life, the shops, restaurants, beaches that were once a part of my past life.  This farm is definitely not ground zero and we should be totally safe in case of a terrorist attack.  I need to stock up on food.

      Sitting on my back deck surrounded by vinca vines, impatience, pansies and dianthus, blooming and waking themselves up after a sleepy, rainy morning;  I should rejoice.  Peace, I love it and having the world in pace with a quiet day, it is something to be praised.  But oh my, the oddity of dichotomy.  Where’s the fun?    Perhaps, no definitely, I’m not looking  in the right place.  Wait, a large dragonfly type bug just buzzed past my head.  North Carolina really has magnificent bugs.  Oh yes, and we mated Ivanhoe (the black herdsire) to Natasha (a true black female) last Saturday night.  They had a good time.

They made the most gorgeous true black boy last year with a white scallop mark on his face.  I named him Moondancer, he was born on an October full moon. You could just hear Van Morrison’s wonderful song.  He’s such a cutie and a sweet boy!   Ivanhoe is such a pro.  A true herdsire.  Time to feed the herd.

          They are muddy, wet and humming now for me to get to it.  I can’t wait. The feed buckets are full of water,  I’m going to get mobbed by their graceful wet bodies and come back in muddier than a  mud puppy!  Ahhh,  life in the back lane, don’t ya just love it?

 
 

SPINNING YARNS

SPINNING YARNS

Its been a while since I blogged. About seven seasons, four baby alpacas ago and in time about a year. Real farmers just don’t have time to blog. I’d love to be on Farmville, I’d love to be on facebook. Good marketing skills but unrealistic in time for me.

Most of my time is spent scooping poo, feeding alpacas, keeping up with emails and doing other marketing programs. I also sell at the farmer’s market, network and occasionally go to alpaca shows. This is the ultimate fun, seeing all the alpacas and their two fooded owners. The last show I went to had over 600 alpacas entered. We were fortunate that we took ribbons for all our alpacas that we brought. Well, I only brought two but came back with four ribbons! How did that happen? One alpaca male, Andy, was shown twice and the other ribbon was for the dam who was barefoot and pregnant back home on the ranch. This is a greatly prized ribbon called "Produce of Dam" and is won by bringing in two of her offspring from two different sires. Sapphire, our dam, won the blue and we are so proud of her! She does make wonderful alpacas and is one of our most reliably producing females.

Her cria (baby) this year is an absolute stunner! The cutest little thing on four feet! She is a pinto that looks just like an Indian pony. We named her "Shoshone". Colors of black, white, brown and fawn mixed in pinto manner, with four little black spats on her feet. To top it off, her face is mixed with black and white into the cutest pattern. One of her eyes has black lashes and the other one has white eyelashes. Once in a great while she will give me a kiss.. This is a moment to remember in your life and is the hook that gets all alpaca owners into the business. If you haven’t been kissed by a cute little alpaca cria, you haven’t lived. To do so, you have to stay still, bend down to their eye level and whisper cute little sayings that will make the cria come up to you. When they feel safe and curious enough, the cria will slowly move toward your out- stretched face and come up and smell your nose and actually breath on you. This is how they kiss. They smell, exchange breaths with you (for some magical reason) and thus, the alpaca kiss.

Shoshone’s cute little black nose and curious, shy expression is just the greatest. It was on my bucket list :) and still is, every day. However, just like all good things; banana splits, chocolate malts and hot air balloon rides, you don’t get one every day.

So why besides cria kisses do people raise alpacas? My reason was because I am a hand spinner. A what? Yes, one of those strange people that spins yarns on a non mechanized, non electric spinning wheel. Perhaps a bit strange, but like Gandi, I feel centered when I spin. The world makes some sense to me when I spin , making a soft and luxurious yarn from my alpacas. I feel emanently productive. Imagine, taking the fleece from my beloved animals, feeling the luxurious softness, realizing that I am giving them the right nutrition because their fleece is so soft, shiny and healthy and turning it into a product that will benefit someone. Not just a benefit, but an extremely "green" and healthy product that is useful. Hypo-allergenic, soft, warm and it has anti-microbial properties. It also has a magic quality yet to be scientifically determined. The words "feel good" don’t quite describe it. Whether it’s a pair of alpaca socks or a soft, cushy alpaca afghan, the microns line up with the free radicals and create a super relaxed, tension is gone feeling. It is documented in many of my customer’s reactions. I should blog about it someday.

Yesterday I scooped up about seven bags of alpaca manure and called one of my gardener friends and said that the manure was ready. There is actually a waiting list in the spring. So her husband came over with a ""good ol boy". He had to get out of the car and see what the heck an alpaca was. After the normal, how is it related to a llama questions, I showed them my fiber studio and demonstrated spinning to them. They sat down and watched me spin for a while. All the time telling me stories of how they grew up, stories from their youth which had been some distant 65 years ago. Before we knew it, an hour had gone by. It had been fun. I got to know these men in a unique country way and we all enjoyed the time that had been well spent just spinning yarns.

Would I have ever had this experience to share memories with them otherwise? Probably not. It happened because of my alpacas and their useful by products!

 
 
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