Monday, November 5, 2012

Field Trip to the Farm!

Instead of meeting at Dolci like we normally do, a couple weekends ago we met at Thistle Creek Alpaca Farm in East Aurora for a tour. The owners, Jeanne and Brad, talked to us about how they got into alpacas, the progress they've made in the last several years, the struggles and benefits of raising alpacas and all about the fiber! We love the fiber! We got to head out to the barn and meet their over 30 alpacas, many of them rescues: They all have names and seem to know them. Thunder is the cutie with the hay on his face. Duncan is the adorable teddy bear faced boy next to him. Jedi is the tall grey suri with the long, lovely locks in the last picture. I bought some of her roving to spin from their store, along with some hand dyed batts blended with local kid mohair. We learned a lot about the different alpaca breeds, about their habits and personalities and their care. We laughed as they spit at each other while fighting over hay, yet how unnerved they were to have people around them. Apparently alpaca only spit when they feel threatened, unlike llama, who just like to spit. We marveled at all the gorgeous colours they come in and giggled as the girls flirted with the boys who are kept in a separate pen (for their own safety, it seems!) Did you know the gestational period for an alpaca is 11 months and 2 weeks? Makes 9 months seem like a cake walk, doesn't it? After petting the barn cat and letting the alpaca nibble our fingers, we headed back to the store to shop. I'm always supporting and promoting local fiber producers and this is no different. Jeanne and Brad have a great selection of alpaca products from their own alpacas and from around the world; sweaters and hand knit toys, ornaments, felted alpaca dolls, furry teddy bears and warm hiking socks. They also have hand knit items made by friends and family using their own mill spun yarns and hand dyed yarns and batts. If you're looking for unique and meaningful gifts for the holidays or need to add some alpaca to your stash, I recommend giving them a call and stopping by. They are usually home on weekends and would love to show you around. Their website is currently under construction, but they can be reached at 716.725.8238 or you can find them on Facebook. (Check out the photo of their beautiful grey huacaya that just placed at a recent show! She's gorgeous!) If you can't make it out before the holiday season, mark your calendar for 2013 National Alpaca Days, the 28th and 29th of September. They have an open house with demonstrations, food (this year they had a winery!) and all sorts of fun things to see and do! You don't want to miss it! Happy Crafting!! SereKnitty

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