Monday, April 20, 2009

Just Some Alpacas

I felt that I needed some pictures of the alpacas in full fleece because we will be shearing in less than a month and they look incredibly goofy after that. You will see....
Below on the left is Golden Opportuniy (1 1/2 years) and on the right, NSS Mira (10 months). Mira hasn't been shorn before so her fleece will be true "baby alpaca". It is about 5 or 6 inches long. Oppy's is denser with lots of crimp, about 4 inches long, and will probably be easier to spin. This will be her second shear.

And here is our 7 month old Astra (Snickers) → He's the recently weaned 4-H project. I'm making no predictions on his fleece other than it's long, fine, and crimpy. He's not pure white, more a light fawn with some darker fawn spots. He's a dirt magnet and I'm not looking forward to picking the VM (vegetable matter) out of his fleece before processing it.

On the left below is NSS Lyra, born last June with her mom, Celeste who is 4 years old. Celeste was our first "born on the farm" female so although she is a little goofy, she's very special. She loves wintergreen LifeSaver mints. When she hears the paper rustle, she comes running. Her fleece won Grand Champion OverAll in the MIAF Spin Off Contest two years ago.
An Alpaca Spin Off competition is when you submit 2 ounces of an alpaca's fiber to be judged. The fleece is first evaluated by several categories, then evaluated again as it is spun, and finally, the yarn itself is evaluated. I have been a Spin Off judge for a couple of shows in Louisiana and here in Michigan. Although it is challenging, it's a great learning experience to handle and spin almost 100 different samples of fleece.

Then, of course, here's JR ↓ He weighed in last Friday at 51 pounds, a gain of 3 pounds that week. I had cut out his noon feeding and if he gains well this week, will cut back to just an evening feeding. WhoooHooo, has been a long 7 months. I took his turtle neck off and his fleece was a mess this morning. He was out in the rain at some time and must have rolled in hay chaff, so now he looks like the rest of the babies.....a fleece cleaning nightmare.

I will try to get some more "full fleece" pictures up before shear day, Thursday afternoon, May 7th.