What I want to know is, have you ever seen anything as adorable as an alpaca?
And did you know that Oregon has its very own Premiere Alpaca Destination?
It is located just a few miles from our Other House.
Don't panic, it's just me trying out suitable names for Vista House. I still haven't found the moniker that screams "Pick me! Pick me!"
Whenever people come to visit and drive the back way from Sisters, I tell them to be sure to visit the alpaca farm. So far, Bethany is the only one who has complied.
Alpacas were first raised by the Incas for their fleece, which was reserved exclusively for the nobility.
Crescent Moon Ranch is a breeding farm and has about 500 alpacas. They birth about a baby a day. A good sire will set you back $25,000 or more. The owners are crazy people who work long days, every day of the year. The wife will give you a little tour if you happen to see her. She knows every alpaca by name.
Alpacas were first brought into the US in 1984 and now number around 20,000.
I want to take this baby home. When Jeff and I were young and optimistic, we dreamed of owning ten acres in the country and an alpaca or two were on the required list of resident livestock. Nowadays, we realise how lazy we are and how it would never have worked, but it was nice to dream.
Alpaca fleece is warmer and softer than sheep's wool and lacks lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic. The fleece is also flame-resistant and water-resistant, as well as moisture-wicking. It comes in 16 official tones, which can be mixed together to create even more hues, thus minimizing the need for dyes.
I love the crimpy woolly coat. It reminds me of my Uncle Eddy's hair.
There are two kinds of alpaca. The suri has long fibre that forms silky dreadlocks. The huacaya has a woolly, dense, crimped fleece. About 90% of North American alpacas are huacayas.
I believe this is called a "snaggle-tooth".
Alpacas and llamas can be cross-bred. Their offspring are called huarizo and are prized for their longer fleece.
The farm is immaculate and I marvel at the energy of the owners, who are at least our age and perhaps older.
Just like me.
They hum when they are curious, content, worried, bored, fearful, distressed, or cautious.
Just like me.
No wonder I feel such an affinity for them.
Alpaca meat is considered a delicacy in some countries.
I will try to forget that tidbit of information, and I think you should too.