Now, where did I leave that?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ode to Joy

Saturday was a Raising Alpacas 101 course at Spruce Ridge Farm in Chatham.  The drive there itself was worth the price of the was a glory-ous perfect and perfectly Fall day, so beautiful and exquisite it literally brought tears to my eyes from the sheer joy and beauty.  The air was so clear it would have shattered if dropped.  Country roads were lined with golden leaves, and the colors, while perhaps dialed down a bit because of the stresses of the Summer, still glowed richly in the early morning sun.  Three+ inches of rain last week washed everything clean, and revived what is still growing.  I truly felt blessed, and wanted to skip the class, kidnap Linda from work and just ride through the day.  But off to the class I went...Steve McCarthy did a marvelous, honest, detailed class, not wasting a minute.  He shared his passion with our little class of three, but didn't sugarcoat anything, for which I'm deeply grateful.  We learned everything from the history of alpacas to parasites that infect them, to lessons in fiber, to how to trim alpaca toenails.  We learned that dogs and alpacas are a bad mix.  We toured the immaculate farm, and got lessons in the practicalities of creating shelter and fencing for alpacas.  We met Emma from a distance--and congratulations! Steve emailed us yesterday that Emma's newest cria--a girl--was born at 10am--as well as a few others up close.  I would have loved to come home and entitle my blog post I Hugged An Alpaca Today, but it turns out alpacas are shyer than I'd thought, and while they may look cuddly and huggable, many aren't even fond of being petted, let alone hugged.  And we were provided with a delicious lunch to accompany the heaping plates of food for thought (trust me, I brought home plates of the latter!)
I went wanting, among other things, the physical and financial realities, and the course generously and in detail gave us those. Very sadly, raising a herd of alpacas appears to not be in our future.Their lifespan is too long for us to want to start at our ages; the financial realities--the financial outcomes--are far less than we'd hoped....meaning we'd be adding more work to full schedules, not exchanging one type of work for another; Yeti wouldn't have 'a job'; she'd have one more 'no' in her life. We haven't ruled out raising a couple as fiber animals, and plan to keep considering it...and in fact, I think I hope we really do make that choice. But the idea of turning the property into pasture and raising alpacas in volume isn't going to happen. Our own decisions aside, if anyone is ever even thinking about such a thing, I can't sing Spruce Ridge's or Steve McCarthy's praises enough....
Today is Monday....and while the weekend blew by faster than October leaves in a stiff wind, I'm giddy.  I'll work today through Thursday, and then I'm off from work for 10 days!!!!!  Time off in October--can anything be sweeter?

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