Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Green" Alpacas

The fifth annual Eugene Good Earth Home, Garden & Living Show has a few new stars this year: Alpacas! What better place to showcase how connected these unique livestock are to sustainable living?

Aragon Alpacas has joined with a few other local alpaca farms to form the Alpaca Breeders Connection, (ABC) and this Show is our first group outing. The response from the organizers, Berg Productions, was immediate enthusiasm. As we set up our booth and the pen for guest alpacas, other vendors came to greet us. And the public flocked to our booth non-stop, full of wonder and questions, and eager to purchase alpaca products.

Our goal is to introduce folks to the entire process of raising alpacas, harvesting and using their fleece, and creating warm, wearable art and useable objects.

Each day, two alpaca ambassadors fresh from our pastures braved the crowds of curious people. Baskets full of fleece elicited many Ooohs and Aaahs when touched. Folks gathered to see yarn being spun on a spinning wheel — an old-fashioned machine that you don't plug in!

Hand-knit or crocheted accessories, commercially made sweaters and coats, socks and gloves — all lined our booth. And there are so many earth-friendly things you can use this "wonder fleece" for:
  • line hanging baskets to keep in the soil and moisture
  • embed seeds in a roll of the fleece for planting
  • stuff a pillowcase for a cozy pet bed
  • put a bit in your shoes for warmth and comfort
  • felt it around a bar of soap for a gentle scrub
  • endless felting possibilities: hat, purse, rugs, chair seats, placemats, 3-dimensional designs
  • and of course knitting, crocheting, weaving...
Even beyond fleece, there is the final product: "alpaca gold". Since alpacas are ruminants, their manure does not have to be composted before applying to plants. Vegetables, flowers, fruit trees, vineyards — all will benefit from direct application or manure tea. We even spread it in our hay field, completing the circle of life.

We often state that alpacas come in 22 natural colors,
but all of them are "Green."

Next Saturday, January 30th, the ABC Farms (map!) will host Open Farm Day from 10-4:00. Seeing alpacas in a show setting is one thing, but seeing them in their home pastures, grazing and resting and playing, is much more fun, for both the alpacas and the people!

Thank you to all who visited us at the Eugene Home Show! We love what we do, and we love sharing that with you!

(And if you are reading this and you are nowhere near Eugene, Oregon, I invite you to find an alpaca farm near you and go for a visit. That's what we did five years ago...)


Geek Knitter said...

Oh look... the spammers found you!

I wish I could have made it to the show, it's been too long since we've seen each other!

Martha said...

Wish I could have been there! Sounds like a great opportunity for the alpaca community and your Eugene friends! Have a great Farm Day! :)

Terra said...

I love this. It leaves me feeling like I "was" there, and I'm remembering with you.