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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Alpacas & Anniversary

Some folks, such as friends and family who live in more populated areas, tell us we lead “an exciting life.”  We think they’re saying that tongue in cheek or could it be they envy us?
YES, weekend events are different in rural areas. WHERE else could we celebrate a bridge anniversary one day and visit an alpaca farm — all in two days ?
Are we having fun yet? Actually, yes.
Take Sunday, when we visited one of Virginia’s 108 registered alpaca breeders, By the Bay Alpacas farm (Pungoteague, VA) which held an open house.IMG_2922 This event was for National Alpaca Farm Days held annually on the last weekend in Sept when alpaca farms across the U.S. invite visitors. The event is sponsored by the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association — and it’s FREE.
The farm is about a 20-minute drive from our home along back roads; even without much fall color here, it was a beautiful fall afternoon to be out. Lots of other folks though so too as there was a small crowd visiting with us.alpaca collage2
The farm is owned and operated by Tara and Andrew who said the gentle nature of alpacas IMG_2924and the fact that they are easier to raise than most other livestock attracted them. Alpacas are suited for small or semi-rural farming and require little land for their upkeep. From 4 to 8 alpacas can be raised on an acre of pasture and because of their padded feet are easy on the land. Their diet consists of grass and leafy hay . They do not needIMG_2936 fancy barns, are rarely sick, and don’t challenge fences. The fencing at the farm we visited was mainly to keep other animals out. An added benefit is the mild climate provided on the Virginia Eastern Shore.
We met Nandua, Sam and Bristol, a 2-year old male  (top left) who has won several national championships in halter and fleece classes.alpacas collage1
Alpacas are native to the South American altiplano, the high plain including parts of Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. They were domesticated from vicuñas thousands of years ago by the native Quechua population; their fiber was prized by the Incan rulers. Alpacas were first exported from South America to the U.S. for farming use in 1984. In 1998, the Alpaca Registry Inc. (ARI) voted to close the ARI registry to further imports. All ARI-registered alpacas descend from stock registered prior to the closure.IMG_2914
They are fiber-producing animals that annually can produce 5 to 10 lbs. of fiber which is removed by shearing; the alpacas are unharmed by this process. After minor preparation, the alpaca fiber is ready to be spun into soft, warm yarn or to be used in other fiber crafts such as felting — this hat was spun from alpaca fiber and worn by a willing model (guess who).
On Saturday we celebrated an anniversary, not just ANY one, but the 50th anniversary celebration for the Assateague Bridge that links Chincoteague, VA to IMG_5370
Assateague Island, which is also home to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). The celebration, Bridging the Past and the Future, was sponsored by the Chincoteague Kiwanis Club to commemorate the original 1962 bridge opening. The concrete bridge shown here replaced that structure, a used bridge purchased from NJ, delivered section by section and installed across the channel. It was replaced because it had started to deteriorate. The celebration began with a short parade across the bridge . . .
bridge annivThen talks by local officials followed by a ceremonial ribbon cutting. The gentleman in the center below is our neighbor, George, who is the sole surviving member of the original bridge authority.
anniv guests
IMG_5429Festivities went into full gear at the NWR and included special displays, activities for kids of all ages, hot dogs and ice cream, also FREE and Grenville really likes hot dogs (just ask him).anniv eventsanniv events2That’s HOW we spent an exciting weekend — and YOU ?

15 comments:

Grenville T. Boyd said...

HEY!!!!!!! I thought you said they were 'long neck cows'. Just the right size for our yard!!!!!!!

Grenville

Sandra said...

important comments first. I LOVE hotdogs toooo. and that collage of those wonderful alpacas made me smile and i am still smiling and i am jealous of some of the things you do.

Daisy said...

Neat pictures! I think it would be a lot of fun to see the alpacas. Sounds like an interesting weekend! :)

Country Gal said...

Wonderful photos. Looks like fun was had by all ! We have quite a few alpaca farms around our area as well . Still cant get used to seeing them in the corals though when we drive by I guess I am to used to seeing the tradition farm animals lol ! Have a great day !

Lois Evensen said...

Yes, you DO have an exciting life. I just love alpaca yarn. I love to knit with it. I've made three alpaca sweaters for my daughter and she is thrilled with them.

DeniseinVA said...

That was a wonderful weekend and I had fun looking at all the photos. Those alpacas are so cute!

Montanagirl said...

Great post - Have never seen an Alpaca in person.

Leonora said...

It looks like you enjoyed a nice weekend! I think baby Alpacas are the cutest things.
"Exciting" is in the eyes of the beholder : )

Pat transplanted to MN said...

Oh yes, we in the Mayberry's of the country get our entertainment in very different ways, but it is very enjoyable. Trips tothe metro areas of the country leave me shuddering and wondering how I lived like that for so long. Just into it and kept on going. I enjoyed looking at the alpacas. When we lived in northern CA, there were several similars to these and one of the women ranchers harvested and used some of the alpaca wool to make gorgeous scarves. I bought one for Mom and when she passed I brought it home with me, I still have it. Just like cows and other animals though, they do smell in their activities. Busy here again, but home for some time now, fighting off a cold bug. See you online. I really liked Grenville's :You can't go home again...

Rebecca said...

I love the idea of having alpacas and chickens and lots of things. Lee wants to downsize the animals and I really don't want to arrange pet sitting for the barn! So we will enjoy them from afar, like you.

thecottagebythecranelakeolof1 said...

I don't think we have any alpacas in this area, it's either cattle or horses here. I doubt that it would be any nice cloth from either of them :-) :-) :-) Perhaps from the Highland cattle of course but who would dare take their fur away from them :-) :-) :-)

Have a great day!
Christer.

NCmountainwoman said...

Great post. Free hot dogs? And free ice cream? What a special treat!

Eggs In My Pocket said...

Such pretty creatures! Free hot dogs............yum!

Anvilcloud said...

I saw an alpaca yesterday although I feel a little sheepish to admit it.

Cicero Sings said...

Those of our friends that still live in the city can't fathom the life of we country folk. What do we DO all day? I don't know but the days sure fill up and life is full and peaceful and just great. We can't understand them living in the hubbub of the city!!!!

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