The Day They Got into the Alpaca Pen

Just outside Amish country, Unity, ME
Just outside Amish country, Unity, ME

Because mud season and sugarin' time is wrapping up and spring is just beginning, I knew animals would be sheared soon. I thought it would be a good time to visit a farm. We visited Northern Solstice Alpaca Farm to see the animals just a week or so before they were sheared.

They love holding hands. They are best friends.
They love holding hands. They are best friends.

Although there is a store open all the time and you can normally take tours, this was a special annual event they held to celebrate the thick coats of the animals and give you a chance to get up close & personal with them. They had lots of activities set up for the kids, including soap felting and a scavenger hunt. Being on a Friday, it was lightly attended, so we had the full attention of all 4 or 5 ladies who were in the garage where the activities were.

At some point, someone's basket got into someone else's hands, and there was a dispute over the consumption of goldfish crumbs or raisins in the bottom of said basket before it was returned to its original owner and crying ensued before we could even hear the directions for the scavenger hunt.

At this point, most of the ladies decided that the best solution to this debacle was to distribute the prizes for the scavenger hunt immediately.

It turned out to be a very good plan. These grandmas know something I don't.

(But seriously, is it just our kids, or does everyone want to hand cute small children food, toys, stickers, prizes, everything? For example, did you know that Little Caesars has cookies? Neither did I! But I found out when I brought them in for 2 minutes to pick up a pizza one day and G wandered behind the conuter (dangerous) - she was rewarded with a flippin pack of cookies, just for being cute! Augh! Everybody quit spoiling our kids! *sigh* oh well...)

The grandmas then thought the next step to completely obliterating all thought of argument was to go see the alpacas.

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C LOVED feeding the alpacas! He could not get enough of it and went back for more hay. They even tried to climb into the hay.

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After following them around with hay and not much success, C realized the answer to getting them to eat from you is to just ignore them and walk around closely with hay. Once they think you're too cool for them, alpacas flock to you.

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Then we went inside to try soap felting.

Alpaca wool roving
Alpaca wool roving

You start with a layer of combed wool and lay it out flat.

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Then you wrap it around a bar of soap.

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Then you dunk it to get it wet and just kind of rub it around and around. Water + rubbing = felting. (If there's anything I learned from cloth diapering with wool, it's this.) Felted wool is pretty much bulletproof, so your bar of soap lasts longer. Plus, it's kind of like having a washcloth built into your soap. Wool has natural antibacterial properties as well.

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For wee ones, it might help them rub it around and around if you put it in a plastic bag for them. Just their squeezing works, too. Sometimes little ones need help.

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The completed, dried soaps at home.

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They got to play with a child sized spinning wheel as well.

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When we were done, we ate a leisurely picnic lunch. We were on no schedule. Just the rhythm of needing to eat or sleep. And as they unpacked our lunch in the long-awaited grass after such a long winter, faint airplane trails etched the sky far, far away. I'm sure they have more important places to go.

But as they pass over all this nothing, I couldn't help but think, they're passing over everything.

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