Monday, April 30, 2012

Harvest time

When you think of harvest, it's usually a late summer to fall activity but for alpaca farmers, we harvest our 'produce' in the spring before the summer heat.
This past weekend I was participating in a two day course on skirting and preparing alpaca fleece...perfect timing to ensure that all the information I acquired was still fresh in my mind. But since this course was hands-on, I've spend two full days on my feet skirting and preparing fleece, drove home last night (a 4.5 hr drive) and got things ready for this morning. Doing all this while our kitchen is torn apart because of renovations happening in there!
My feet and knees are killing me but my heart is so happy.

Today was our havest exciting day for us newbies in the alpaca farming world!

We got a few friends together along with a professionnal shearer and started bright and early this morning.
One by one, the alpacas were brought in.

 Once they were let out, they kept sniffing each other as if to say: Hey, who are you?
In this picture, you can see Ginger sniffing Coco who is sniffing Aurelia, who is sniffing Ginger!

Without their fleece, their coat is like velvet.

Look at baby tiny now.

 And Coco sporting her summer look!

Now the challenge of the day was to shear our llama, Frankie.
Frankie is a huge llama and he's not wimpy by any means.
Llamas are usually sheared every second year.
The shearer told us he would shear him on the ground...that's right...lie Frankie down and shear him!
Hubby was a little skeptical but Tom (the shearer) guided the crew step by step to get Frankie down safely.

Frankie cooperated quite well. But mind you, I was not the one on the ground holding him!
So one side was done.

Then he was flipped over to shear the other side. The towel was put on his head at one point to make him feel a little calmer.

And look at him now!

 Doesn't he look years younger?

And now, look at what is waiting for my attention.
I'll be preparing this fiber to send it to the mill for processing very soon.

All in all, a wonderful day's work.
Now how about someone to rub my feet and make my dinner? Any volunteers?


  1. much drama. We who just buy the fleece can't appreciate how much work goes into it.

  2. Wow...I was surprised that Frankie was sheared on the ground. He looks fantastic though! As do the alpacas. Don't the young ones look especially different without their fleece?
    Congratulations on your first harvest!