Into the paddock
I’m a city chick. Okay, more like a chook. A little long in tooth, if chooks had teeth. A tad round around the middle, less productive perhaps than in past days; prone to a little feather ruffling. I was born and brought up urban – suburban, not like in the singer Keith who ironically , hailing from Caboolture way, and with his long hunklanky locks and wistful country lyrics, doesn’t really gel with the whole urbanity caper at all.
It was more a ballet shoe than gumboot childhood for me. Sure, I had some comprehension that orange juice originated from trees not bottles, that northern nsw cows had a blissful existence – my father had some reincarnation wish to come back as one …..and that we were all part of the lucky country crowded precariously on some poor old exhausted sheep’s back. But between the cracks in the concrete footpaths that surrounded my world, existed little patches of ruralism, and as I got wider, and more comfortable in my being, so did they.
At first it was just a humble crusade toward backyard bliss. The chook pen, the various attempts at veggies and herbs. I turned our place into a veritable possums paradise.
And then, …. daaaduuuuum 🥁…..to mark my half century with the stamp of his little hairy foot as a glorious exclamation mark, my renaissance into the wonderful world of ruralite bliss was official . I became the proud owner of a couple of hundred shaggy , dusty pounds of alpaca- ness
Some fun alpaca facts…. you know you want them
❗️alpacas are ancient : they were domesticated by the Incas more than 6000 years ago
❗️they come in two styles- crimpy/woolly teddy bear style (huacaya) – like Nero and the silky dreadlock varieties ( Suri) and 22 colours with shades ranging from white to light rose grey to a dark fawn. No lanolin means easier processing although they are very keen on the old dust bath.
Picture: Aaron Logan/Flickr
❗️you can mix and match them! Alpacas have no qualms about a little inter-species hanky panky with their larger camelids cousins the Llamas. Dim the lights, a little mood music and voila! huarizo babies, much prized for their longer fleece.
❗️your alpaca will not spontaneously combust (relief …. that would be alarming for all parties) Their fleece is flame resistant….and water resistant, so they don’t need you to run out with little raincoats in inclement weather either.
❗️alpacas can hum! When they’re curious or content, worried or bored, they strike up a little tune. An alarmed alpaca shares his feelings with the crowd with a sharp staccato bray and all his mates join in, a bit like an old fashioned telephone line. And a male alpaca has a special treat for his lady friend in the form of a deep throaty ‘orgle’….guaranteed to make her go weak at her little hairy knees.
❗️alpacas do Spit! ……we all have our character flaws, but generally only at each other.
And finally, saving the best for last…..
❗️alpacas have communal bathrooms. And yep, the girls all head off together. If one goes, they all go! Very cute……I guess.
So there…….great fleece : it’s been described as stronger than mohair, finer than cashmere, smoother than silk, softer than cotton, warmer than goose-down and better breathing than thermal knits……..
And a personality too.
Gotta love an alpaca. Thinking about a pattern. …….