Alpaca adventure

Yesterday I took the girls and went on a little field trip to Funny River Ranch, which is about two hours north of where we live. It was incredible.
We were met by the three ranch dogs and the owner as we drove up the long gravel driveway. Diana introduced herself and her three oldest daughters arrived on the scene to whisk the girls away and show them around.
We got a tour of the alpaca facilities.

This is the female and baby pen. The alpacas are divided into three pens: females and babies, adolescent males, and adult breeding males.

Here are the teenage boys, chaperoned by the older gelding male, Eli, in the caramel coat front and center. Poor fellow, he gets the job of babysitting and teaching manners to the young males every year.
The adolescents are the most sociable. The girls spent a good deal of time in the pen with them.

S got alpaca kisses,
while her sister made new friends (food always helps with new acquaintences.)

Eli was especially friendly, and very curious about my camera. (Don’t you just love the eyelashes?)

So, aside from an enjoyable and educational way to spend a Saturday afternoon, what was the purpose of this trip?
Fiber, duh. Not for purely selfish purposes either. You may remember I am participating in a roving swap? Well, my pal is a fan of alpaca, and I figured what better way to spoil someone than to send them some fiber fresh from the farm!
The dark chocolate brown is from a sweet lady named Clover, the champagne colored wool from another female named Chilli B., and the raw fiber is from none other than Eli “the babysitter.” The unprocessed fiber smells like the farm, like critter and hay – I really like it, and I’m going to try to spin from the lock. (I didn’t say ALL the fiber I bought was for my swap pal!)

In other swap news, the yarn for my International Scarf Exchange pal’s project arrived yesterday.
I finally settled on some yarn from Beaverslide Dry Goods, in a colorway called “Mountain Bluebird,” and I’ll be durned if it’s not just as pretty and soft as everyone was saying. I started working it up into an Irish Hiking scarf, and so far it’s looking good. I really hope my pal likes it. I purused her blog and found a photo of her modeling a sweater; she has brilliantly blue eyes, and I hope the scarf will compliment them.

Of course, I’ve second-guessed my yarn and pattern choices at least ten times so far. What if the blue is too bright for her taste? What if she would rather have a lace pattern? If so this yarn would never do… Should I knit a more complex pattern? On and on, I could drive myself crazy and frog dozens of times. But I’m standing steadfast. This is gorgeous yarn, and a little brightness in the winter is a welcome thing. A fancier pattern would frustrate me after two feet of scarf, always having to refer to a chart – I picked Irish Hiking Scarf for its simplicity and ability to showcase a beautifully simple yarn. My pal will like it, I feel certain.
I have a feeling that most of the scarf exchangers feel similarly to me. If a yarn or pattern isn’t exactly what I would’ve picked for myself, well, someone took the time to think of me and spend weeks on a project for me, and if I wanted something of my picking I would’ve knit it myself.

This afternoon we went ice skating at the local rink (indoor, it’s not that cold here yet!) with the local Girl Scout troops. None of us have ever been before (that one time when I was 8 doesn’t count in my book – I had a whole different center of balance then.) The girls were really brave, both got right out there and, with a little help from some older girls, got a good start at learning. I was a little more hesitant. But after a little watching, and some walking on the ice in my shoes (holding a girl up by each hand) I got a pair of skates and gave it a try. At first my heart was racing and I was shaky and quite frightened. But I got over it quickly, and guess what? I can skate! I didn’t fall, and learned to go, stop, and turn, all at a decent speed. Before we were out the door, both girls wanted to know when we could go again…

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4 thoughts on “Alpaca adventure

  1. Ohhhh, how neat that you got to visit with my friend Diane and the alpacas! I love your photos, too, just precious! Congratulations on your newly acquired fiber ;)Cary from Michigan

  2. Great Blog! I found your site through Fig & Plum’s Zimmermania blog. I am especially intriged about this Alpaca farm. I live in Fairbanks, AK and my husband and I were planning on taking a weekend in Homer sometime in October… Soldotna is on the way. Is there a knit group in your hometown? We are just starting something more formal up in Fairbanks and I would like to hear about any groups that you have in your area.Sarah

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