The last, but certainly not the least, stop on our farm tour Saturday was the Amazing Graze Alpaca. I really appreciated the easy to see signage (see above picture). For the other farms our heads were craning, eyes straining trying to find the 911 numbers on their driveways. Not only was the giant alpacca easy to see, it was adorable. Finding their farm was a breeze.
We pulled into the farm and part of a field had been sectioned off for parking. It was really well thought out, as we were soon to discover, and also really thoughtfully planned out. The kids by this point knew the drill, and were excited to see what this farm held in store. The four big kids catapulted out of the van (you may notice that I said "big kids" because we gained an extra "big kid" for the trip, Grace's friend Taylor. The other part of that was that Elly had jumped ship at Harders Heritage Farm. We met up with my parents there, and she decided that she was going home with Nana and Popa. She made a significant stink, and I gave in. Not my best parenting, but honestly, my best sanity tool.)
We walked up the driveway to discover children's activities, chalkboard with magnets, alpaca colouring pages, and toys. As we made our way a little farther, there was a pen containing two young Alpacas, and their human, I mean owner. Riley and Rowan quickly made their way over, pressing their faces against the green metal fence, craning their heads to get a better look, and their arms stretched beyond stretching to try to touch these wonderfully exotic looking animals. Grace and Taylor were apparently too cool, to make it so obvious. They casually walked over, touched the alpacas, quickly became bored and asked if they could look around. Grace and Taylor both rode horses, and I guess that since you cannot ride an alpaca (or really should not ride alpacas, I am sure some idiots have tried), they were not so interested. The complete opposite was true for Riley and too a slightly lesser extent Rowan. Riley just stood at the pen, patiently waiting for one of the alpacas to grace her with it's presence. I really got a lot of pleasure watching her. She was so patient, I don't think that I have ever seen her so patient. Her face just shone when she finally made contact, she had earned the right to have contact, I guess. I think that Steven (the farms co-owner) took pity on Rowan and brought one of them over for Rowan to touch. I am quite certain that if we had not forced Riley and Rowan to come home with us, they may well still be standing at that pen at the Martin's house trying to make friends with the alpacca.
While Riley stayed at the pen, Christopher and Rowan and I walked to look out in the field at the rest of the herd (I'm not sure if you call alpaca a herd, or a head, or what you call a group of them). They truly are funny looking creatures. They look like a child's stuffed toy come to life. They even sound like stuffed toys. You know the baby toys that have that squeeker in them kind of a noise.
We stood watching these strange and exotic animals for a while. The weather was still beautiful, and it just felt peaceful standing there. I kept expecting to hear the pan flute somewhere in the background. The kind that you hear in some of the South American like they play in Peru (not that I've ever been there to experience, I just have a very rich imagination).
After we had watched the alpaca in the field, we went to explore the building that had been set up nicely. I should add that we had to tear Riley away from the pen before we went to explore. They had really done a lovely job creating a mini store out of what I assume is normally their garage.
There were a lot of really beautiful knitted items for sale. There were also skeins of alpaca yarn for sale. I was amazed how soft that the knitted items were. I think that I expected them to have that prick of wool, but they most certainly did not. The kids really appreciated being able to see and touch the fleece that had been sheered from an alpaca.
The other really neat thing to see was a spinning demonstration. It was really amazing to watch the big puffs of fleece in the basket thin in the skilled woman's hands transformed though nimble fingers and the spinning wheel into yarn. I could easily have watched her for hours.
My Mom and Dad had visited the farm before us, and Mom excitedly told me that she was going to take spinning lessons. Learning how to spin is on Mom's bucket list. I guess that I should expect lots of knitted alpaca items for Christmas.
We had a really lovely visit at Amazing Graze Alpacas. Thank you for hosting us Steven and Marj Martin. Thank you Steven for answering all of my alpaca questions (even the stupid ones), and for introducing Riley to her new love... alpaca.
If you would like some more information about Amazing Graze Alpacas please visit their website.