2009-05-04

What did you do the past weekend?

Yesterday (Sunday) was National Alpaca Day. Recently I started reading up on alpacas and the more I read, the more fascinated I am with these animals. They are beautiful, gentle and oh so cute (well I think so anyway) and I have to say that right now my dream is to get a block of land and go into small-scale alpaca farming. Certainly it seems very manageable, they are low-maintenance animals and you can start small and the end result currently is that these fluffy animals are not bred for their meat, so Fluffy and Princess and all the other ones you get used to don't end up on somebody's plate. Alpacas are used for breeding and for their fleece / wool which people then use to make the most beautiful warm garments.

So we decided to visit two farms about an hour away from us. The scenery was beautiful and and so peaceful. And as I looked at all the green hills around us, I couldn't help thinking how often people say "when you move countries, the grass isn't always greener on the other side", but looking at those green hills - I'd have to say that I think we found when we moved from South Africa the grass really was greener on this side, and I'm not surprised with all the rain we often get.

At the first farm I had a nice long chat with Chuck from Kaipara Pines Alpacas. (Thank you Chuck with all your patience with me and all my questions). They have been doing this for 5 years and they have a really nice selection of alpacas. I have to say I really like the colourful ones best at this point in time and he mentioned that their black and grey ones are their most popular ones.

In the one smaller pen where they had 2 females with their babies on display (a baby alpaca is called a cria) there was a white one that's 2 months old and a black one that's 4 months old. They took the black one (Bianca said his name was Prince) out of the pen and we could touch him. He was so soft and fluffy and Bianca says he was her favourite. They make the cutest humming sound (not sure if that is an adequate description or not).

They also had some really nice products on display for sale.

We then went to the second farm - Waitakare Alpacas. When we got there we had a great photo opportunity that we simply could not miss.

We didn't get to see how they shear an alpaca, but we managed to see a demonstration of carding the fleece with a machine. This is where they prepare the fleece for spinning into yarn or for felting depending on the quality.

We also got to see a very quick felting demonstration and the lady demonstrated how you could make a scarf and they have the most beautiful ones for sale in their shop along with a range of other products. So I'll have to try this out at some point in time.

We were also able to feed some of the alpacas and initially I thought Bianca would be too scared, but she had the best time ever feeding them.

Caitlyn tried it once, but didn't want to try again and so we didn't get a photo. She had a great time running around though.

The girls had such a great time and loved sharing hugs

On the way back Bianca kept making a humming sound ("hmmmm, hmmmm, hmmmmm") and pretending that she was an alpaca. And apart from Caitlyn getting car sick and getting sick all over herself, I have to say that it was a great day for us to have this outing!

3 comments:

sharonvw said...

Wow, its so beautiful out there. And you're right, they are VERY cute and cuddly looking. Sounds like you all had a great day!

superrelish said...

Glad to see you all had a great adventure. You are right, sometimes the grass IS greener, especially in NZ. I remember the depth of the different greens everywhere. I miss the green, Aussie green is washed out and faded to grey or yellow.

kathyf@stanberry.com said...

Thank you so much for sharing not only your alpaca journey but that of Bianca. I just found your blog and really enjoyed it. We raise alpacas in Texas....thanks for your blog.