Thursday, December 1, 2011

Warm and fuzzy, if you can dodge the spit

(Part 2 of Wherefore art thou, Whimsy? Part one here.)
It is good for the soul to seek out beings of an opposite disposition. It will keep the sediments of sameness from clouding your judgment. If you find a commonality between you, you have made your piece of the universe seamless.

Alpacas and I could not be more different, apart from the tendency toward curly locks. They congregate, I separate. They are curious and trusting, I am jaded and not easily swayed by a baby carrot. They tread lightly on their softly padded feet; I pound the ballroom floor on my callouses. I only hope it did their gentle souls as much good to be around me as it did me. We have whimsy in common, I think.
Alpaca with Ruff by Beaumont Studio.
She blogs at
Either the arsenic in my apple juice is firing up my synapses or I am channeling the noble wisdom of alpacas.

At any rate, the hubs and I had entertained notions of retiring on acreage with alpacas some year. As I am wont to do, I sought to test the firmness of this mattress of dreams. So our caper in the Whimsymobile was navigated partly by caprice and partly by my Practical Inner Child Who Grew Up to be a Pro Fact-Checker.
Scrollwork Photography

The mistress of the alpaca concubinage summoned the males: "Boyzzzzz!" In a few minutes we were, as my sister likes to put it, "drowning in cuteness." I resisted the urge to cup each face in both hands and buss the nose. You could bury both hands in that coat and not see them for days. And those eyes! Puppy eyes have nothing on them.
Gang of Alpacas by jilliBird on etsy. See more of her work at Jillian's website

Five fun facts
Scrollwork Photography

  • It takes 11 1/2 months to make a baby alpaca. Imagine being hormonal for that long. It's a good thing alpacas hum. Omm...

  • Almost every alpaca is registered like a car, using a blood sample as its "license plate." Makes me glad the Department of Motor Vehicles doesn't require my blood every time I buy a car.
  • Alpacas go to the bathroom together. If one goes to the poop pile, the rest get in line. I'm more impressed by the fact that they get in line. Where I grew up, humans didn't get in line to board public transportation; we elbowed everybody out of the way as best we could. Also, it might be hard to keep regular office hours when one gets the urge. But they're pack animals, not corporate critters. A rare case in which those two classifications do not overlap.
  • There are two kinds of alpaca, based on the coat: Dolce & Gabana and Goodwill thrift. Just kidding. The Huacaya ("wha-KAI-uh") have curly, fluffy fiber. The Suri ("SIR-ree") have long Rastafarian locks. Ya man.
  • They have no hooves and no upper teeth, which make them kinder on the soil and grass. But perhaps not so good as paid endorsers for toothpaste.
Bonus trivia

Q. What are alpacas doing when they are having an evening pronk?
A. Bouncing about like reindeer. Not what it sounded like, eh?

*These facts were from the kind folks at Silver Thunder Alpacas (which I have only visited online but where I have also felt welcomed.)

Sugar Maple by Michelle's Fiber Art on etsy
Alpaca fiber is touted to be warmer, stronger, softer, lighter than wool, and not itchy. It can be dyed just about any color. Possibly the only thing it cannot do is be spun into gold.

Our thanks to Lilly of the Valley Alpacas

The hubs was quite taken by a particularly affectionate one until the ranch mistress warned, "That one spits." This was taken the split-second before the hubs clamped his jaws shut and backed away.

Animals that spit: archer fish, spitting cobras, horny toads, llamas...and some alpacas. You wouldn't suspect that an animal giving off such a docile vibe would have it in him. Good on them for not being doormats. Maybe we have something in common after all.
How to guarantee that the alpaca you bring home does not spit
If you were an alpaca, would you be the spitting kind? Would you give up your upper teeth in exchange for those liquid pools they have for eyes? And are you now or have you ever been the kind to go to the ladies' room the instant one of your girlfriends heads that way?