Alpaca!

10/06/2010

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The setting:  for Labor Day weekend, (I know, a million years ago), my husband and I went to visit his parents in New Hampshire on Little Sunapee Lake.  Little Sunapee Lake is right next to Pleasant Lake, and the aptly named Pleasant Lake is very nice to drive around.  While driving, we noticed a little sign for Skyeview Alpacas.  With an eye toward maybe getting some fiber and ogling some alpaca, we set up a time to stop by with the owner Sue King. 
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  When we got there, she let us right into the pen and handed food pellets all around.  We stood in the pen with the young males, who for the most part were still a little shy.  They had just had their haircuts in March, so they weren’t as bushy as a lot of alpaca are in photos, but they were super cute, and their lack of hair allowed us to really appreciate how silly their necks are.  Once they figured out we had food, there were a few smart guys who became friendlier.  Sue said each season she names the newborns in a particular rubric.  The season all these fellows had been born, it was Musicals.  We learned that our particular new best buddies were Oklahoma and Brigadoon.  I can’t remember who as whom now, so I’m not going to try to identify the photos.  Needless to say, you can imagine how charming it all was to have a bunch of sweet soft animals with silly names eating out of your hand.  
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  Sue also had angora bunnies.  She said that was how she started.  First she got the bunnies, then she started spinning, then she got the alpaca.  She took one of the bunnies out of his cage and let me pet him, but I didn’t get any photos of their accommodations because bunny hutches aren't actually the most gorgeous places, espcially when the residents shed really long hair that gets all over everything.  I can, however, easily imagine a pleasant world in which I had an angora bunny that I brushed every day and followed while it hopped around the yard.  (More easily, anyway, than a world where my two alpaca pull me to work in a little wagon.  I would never imagine anything of the kind, how could you think such a thing?)  Thebunnies are big and silly and very soft.  I’ve always been a little skeptical of rabbits because they don’t make any noise, but I think, if it was a “working” rabbit, it would be a nice pet.
After the animal tour, Sue showed us into her home where she has a little store set up, selling lovely sweaters and blankets and yarns, all alpaca.  It was very pleasant just to go around touching everything.  My in-laws bought quite a bit, and we got the yarn for that baby hat from a few posts back.  In the end, Sue threw in a full unwashed fleece that is a very pretty medium reddish brown color.  I don’t have a photo right now, but it is a little dirty looking still, so maybe that is for the best.  Once I get my act together and process it, I’ll take plenty of photos. 
UPDATE: I forgot the mention the most facinating thing that Sue told us, which is, that after being domesticated for 4,000 years, alpaca don't have top front teeth anymore!  They just don't need it, I guess, which made feeding them from our hands a lot less scary because there was no chance of getting bitten!