Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Alpaca shearing

The past two weeks have been really busy, and I didn't get a chance to post. Sunday the 10th was just a fantastic day for my husband and I: we went Alpaca shearing. Well the actual shearing was done by a professional (I wouldn't trust my clumsy husband with a sharp razor around those sweet animals), who did a great job shearing and teaching us all sorts of things about the alpacas. He was a very interesting man, who had an interesting life, but managed to keep a certain balance between a career in finances and consulting, and shearing and owning a sheep farm.

The alpacas each have their own character, and each one reacted differently to the shearing process. Some were absolutely petrified and froze, others fought with all they had, others became a nervous wreck and started barfing, as other angrier would start spitting at anybody who dared come close to them. For the nervous, the timid, the angry, there was this wonderful lady that would calm them down, massaging their neck, talking to them and reassuring them, putting a towel over their head so they wouldn't see what was happening and freak out. My husband and I called her "The Alpaca Whisperer".

There were quite a few volunteers (at least five of them teachers), and everybody was full of enthusiasm. There were both knitters (or crocheters) and non-knitters, a weaver, and some alpaca owners. Everybody pitched in and completed the tasks assigned with equal effort and enthusiasm. My husband and I got to clean the alpacas, and we couldn't believe what a messy little alpaca California Girl was (more on that shortly). I also got to sort the fleece (so amazingly soft), trim the hair on their paws and head (some pretty funky but stylish alpacas run around Brantford now), and herd them as well. My husband specialized in leg-holding for a while, after helping me clean California Girl for half an hour. As you can see (click on the pic to enlarge), she had hay, dried grass, and mud all over herself. She must have had quite a party earlier that week. To add to that, after we finished cleaning her, we took a break and had lunch, and came back to .... California Girl rolling in the hay again. What could we do but laugh.

Despite being messy, California Girl's fleece has an amazing texture, and variety of colour. I just can't wait to see the finish product! And speaking of finished product.... here's the CG herself after a little trim. She was actually pretty good on the table for a first timer. She put up a respectable fight (afterall, one must at least pretend not to like it, but it must be quite a relief to get rid of that heavy coat), but then quickly relaxed in the gentle arms of the Alpaca Whisperer.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


I got tagged by KB, for this one...

Here are the rules:Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog.

1. I had my first Chihuahua when I was fourteen. She was the same colours as Sophie. I called her Ozzy after Ozzy Osbourne (dating myself here). She was a great dog, and I taught her many stupid tricks, like to bark at the moon. She died two days after turning sixteen.

2. I only have one ovary. About eight years ago I had this mysterious pain in my abdomen, and after multiple laparoscopies to remove any possible endometriosis, my gynecologist suggest the removal of the ovary. At that time, I just couldn't cope with the pain, and multiple failed treatments, so I agreed, but unfortunately the pain came back again. One day, I was chatting with a friend on Yahoo, and he said my symptoms sounded a bit like when he had a hernia and I should get checked. That's what the pain was: a hernia in my appendectomy scar!

3. My sister and I are dreaming about having our own sheep farm (or any other animal that produces yarn), or a yarn shop, or both. We've promised each other that if one of us wins big at lottery, that's our first expense. I think that the yarn store is more practical, as we can travel to find new yarn for the business.

4. I absolutely LOVE lilacs. Unfortunately, living in a condo doesn't allow for a backyard where I may plant to my heart's content. However, I have found a dwarf variety of lilac that can grow in pots, and my tree is now blooming for the third year.

5. When I was about eight, our house got hit by lightning. That was a very scary experience for the whole family. To this day, I still hate thunder storms, but I have learned to enjoy their beauty.

6. This is my 105th post, and my bloganniversary was in March but I forgot about it.

7. I shop and knit for Christmas all year long. I try to have my shopping all done by October, because I hate busy malls. I try to knit gifts for as many family and friends as possible, even if it's a quick knit. People usually seem to appreciate the hand-made gifts more, and I like making them feel special.