Monday, October 03, 2005

Interestingly enough, there doesn't seem to be a poultry barn like at Topsfield. We're both big bird fans, so this was a slight disappointment. There were plenty of quadrupeds, however, to engage us.

Three years ago, the only South American domesticated beast around was an agitated llama who did not like Hal at all. (Hal was taller, so there was a weird dominance thing going on.) As a result, the only pictures from that adventure were of this angry beast being held in a half nelson.

This year, the alpacas seemed to take the Big E by storm. Smaller than llamas, with sweet dispositions and a wonderful soft hair, they apparently make a great low-maintenance (though costly) animal to breed and keep if you're a 'gentleman farmer.' Hal really went to town on these guys:

To me, they looked a bit like a cross between a camel and a standard poodle. Heck, they were even shorn like poodles:

Alpaca fleece is some of the softest I've ever felt; softer even than some cashmeres. It's pretty pricey, though, otherwise I'd probably work with it exclusively. Luckily (for my bank account), there was no fleece or yarn for sale from any of the individual breeders. I did, however, get a bunch of business cards from local farms. Would be nice to treat myself to a bit of roving or even a couple skeins at some point.


Nick said...

My sister Janet has a friend who owns an alpaca farm in California. Their fur is INCREDIBLY soft... and is quite desirable. I was amazed when I first petted one.

Be said...

It's amazing. The only time I ever knit a sweater for a boyfriend was years back. I splurged on this gorgeous lopi-weight (thick) alpaca yarn dyed deep eggplant. The knitting experience had to be one of the most sensual in my life, and ended up prolonging it to the point where I'd broke up with the guy, but still had the sweater. Ended up giving it as a going-away present to a South American girlfriend who moved to Germany.

About the only thing I can think of that's softer than this yarn (Inca Alpaca I think it's called?) is Morehouse Merino.