My trip was great. I did a lot of driving, but at the end of it, I got to see my dear friend Jennifer and experience part of her new life as a herd manager for an alpaca farm.
Alpacas and Llamas are all part of the Camel family. They have cute faces and soft fur and will spit if threatened or scared. They are beautiful, curious, social and timid creatures – skittish when confronted with a person, animal or situation in which they are unfamiliar.
They are not big animals; in fact once shorn, they look very spindly and cute, and you say to yourself, “There’s not much of you under all that fur, is there?
Stated simply, I fell in love with them.
First we visited the farm where my friend works. The animals had been shorn the week prior, so I met them as funny-looking, short-haired, long-necked critters. Actually, I think they are cute when shorn because it’s easier to see their precious faces. I learned that when a farm sees potential in an animal to be a show animal, they will leave the head unshorn, which makes them look like a lollipop; a big, round, fluffy head on a long, skinny neck!
The next day we drove to Nebraska for the Alpaca show. Little did I know that I was driving into a storm system that was producing blizzard conditions where we were going! I fought the wind and freezing rain the entire way. In fact, the gale-force wind blew a Speed Limit sign onto the interstate! I was driving along and all of a sudden, the car in front of me swerved and there was the sign – with me barreling towards it. I looked left – I looked right – there was nowhere for me to go, so I slowed as much as I could without getting rear-ended and told Jennifer, “Hold on! We’re going over it!” Yes – I had to run over the speed limit sign, posts and all. I pulled over and we felt for deflating tires. The car was fine. I was not. That little experience shook me up a bit. After that we called 911 and reported the downed sign. It was only a matter of time before someone got hurt.
The show itself was interesting and COLD! Because alpaca fur is very dense and hot, they have to show the animals during the early spring and late fall, while it’s still cool. Every farm also brings fans to blow air into the alpaca pens to keep them cool. There were hundreds of industrial fans blowing 45 to 50-degree air around. Despite dressing in layers, I was freezing!
What a perfect excuse to buy this gorgeous red alpaca cape and matching hat! …and gloves and a blanket and socks and another hat. I really was cold!
My friend’s farm ended going home with three 1st-Place wins, a 2nd-Place win and two 4th-Place wins. Not bad for a farm that’s only been in operation since October of last year! Here are some more photos for you to oooh and ahhh over:
I had a great time and look forward to going back!