It's true vacation time: road trip, family time, a rented house on a lake, kayaking, and best of all, a field trip to a working alpaca farm. This morning we visited the Blue Bell Farm Alpacas in Grantville, MD. (www.bluebellfarmalpacas.com)
We got to feed the female alpacas grain out of our hand. They let us go into the barn and onto the pasture with the animals.
The gentlemen alpacas were a little more rowdy.
Look at those teeth. Perfect for fighting.
The poor little 7 month old black alpaca at the bottom of this heap was recently introduced to the male pen and is being dominated. If he were to fight back and spit a little, the others would start leaving him alone. Hopefully he will figure that one out soon.
Of course we had to take advantage of the gift shop to purchase prepared fleece for spinning. This is the most high quality fleece off of an alpaca named April Snow.
And then some finished yarn for some hand warmers or mitts. This yarn was made with fleece from an alpaca named Smokey.
You can see Smokey, the only gray alpaca on this 45 animal farm, in the middle of this picture, chewing some hay. His exquisite gray coloring did not come out well on this photo, but he has won awards for the quality of his fleece. Unfortunately, he had a heart murmur and was gelded as to not pass on his line of genes. However, he would have been a champion breeder for fleece animals had he been more healthy. I can't wait to knit up some wrist warmers with the yarn from his fleece!