Alpaca Friends, web sites, Sheep and Wool, Squirrels Must Die
I've said it before, but it bears repeating. I love all the friends that I have made in the alpaca business and how they continue to check in to let me know how all my furry babies are doing in their current homes. Photo above is from an e-mail from Endless Mountains Alpacas
in Northern PA.
The subject line of the e-mail was "Hi Mom!"
That choked me up a little.
It went on to say that my boy, Valentino
is doing fine and staying warm up there. Thanks Judy! Val is the daddy of the little girl whose photo I use at the top of this blog. You can see the resemblance.
It's kind of an ESP thing on Judy's part because I have been thinking of Val a lot this week. I have been doing a re-Knit of a sweater I made out of his fleece a few years ago. I have worn it for years but it never fit exactly the way I wanted it to so I frogged it (rip it rip it - lame knitter's joke) and started re-knitting it, throwing in a little hand spun blue merino for color. Here are the first couple of inches:
This week turned out to be like "old home week."
Also had a dinner invitation to come see some of my former babies in person from Susan at Apple Valley Alpacas
If you have seen our DVD
, Susan and her husband Larry are guest stars in the movie.
My pals at Wildwood Alpacas
checked in with their report about my girls, Pinka and Glad and their boys. My favorite part of that e-mail is where Sue says about Glad, "I put out an additional "secret bowl" for her on the other side of the barn. It's our little game to allow her to eat her full in peace without all the pushy girls around."
That's the great thing about small alpaca farms, you can fuss over the eating habits of each one of your furry people. Some of us just need the secret bowl to feel secure in getting our share without panicking or choking!
Some furry persons who do NOT need extra help getting their share of food from me are the evil squirrel people. Our squirrels usually content themselves with eating what the birds drop and hanging upside down on the suet container, chomping away UNLESS it snows and then they get crazy and just knock the bird feeders onto the ground and plunder the entire contents. Here is one of my feeders already knocked down with the useless, squirrel-loving dog eying it confusedly.
But, no, the vile little squirrel did not stop there. I soon caught him just as he was about to make a jump for the larger feeder. Bark you dumb dog! That's your job!
This week is also WEBSITE WEEK! I worked on Amanda's website www.AlpacaLove.com
last week and am almost done with her massive update. For those of you who don't know her, Amanda used to be the farm manager at Lanark Farm in Charlottesville, Virginia. She knows ALL about alpaca care and breeding, so go ahead and click on her link and bother HER with any alpaca questions you may have. But, Shhhhh! don't tell her that I told you that.
Then I checked in on my newest webmaster protege, Tara at Yellow Rose of Virginia Alpaca Farm. Tara bought my guy, Campion. I was thrilled to see how great her website looks now, and she did it herself with just a little bullying from me. Great job Tara! Go check it out: Tara's Website
But!!! Drum Roll Please! The biggest news of the week is that I got the PACKAGE yesterday.
Each year I eagerly, breathlessly wait for the package
from one of my friends from the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival
Committee. I can barely stand to wait this long to see what classes will be offered in knitting and spinning, what the cover art contest winning entry looks like (that is what you see on the catalog, mugs, T-shirts, etc.), what vendors will be at the Festival, what the showcase event is, etc. etc. After I calm down, I take the contents of the package and use them to build this year's MD Sheep and Wool Festival website.
If you are wondering what that has to do with alpacas then you just don't get it. Alpacas are fleece producing animals
and the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is the largest fleece event there is. It is the Holy Mecca of all U.S. hand spinners, knitters, felters, weavers and other fiber artists. There is nothing you can't find there from all types of wool to alpaca, to 5 kinds of silk to Yak, Quiviet, Mohair, Cashmere, Cashgora, Eco-spun (re-cycled soda pop bottle fiber) and Ingeo (fiber chemically extracted from corn) Plus, you can buy any spinning, knitting or weaving equipment no matter how exotic. I am very, very honored to be their webmaster.
The cover art winning entry for the Festival is never announced to the public until AFTER it is revealed to the Festival Committee members. I love it! but, if I showed it to you here, I would have to kill you. That wouldn't be nice so you will have to wait. (evil laughter)
One of our festival committee members and a great spinner and educator died this past year of pancreatic cancer. Her name was Jane Hyland. she had a lot of jobs on the committee but most people remember her as the Sheep to Shawl contest auctioneer. I just happened to take a photo of her last year at the festival, walking along with her husband in a state of post-fleece shopping bliss. Of course I had no idea that she'd soon be sick, so it was just dumb luck on my part but, I am very happy to have taken that photo now. This year's catalog has a nice dedication to Jane's memory. If you have never been part of something like the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival Committee where the work is a labor of true love and the people feel like your own family (or possibly better in some cases), I highly recommend it.
Here's looking at you Jane.
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