That's Right, Only $45US! Do It This Summer!*
("Make sure to get my good side." This is Miss Katie, Isabel's mom; all pics enlarge.)
Folks, is there a more wonderful way to spend an afternoon in 90º-plus temperature, than to visit an Alpaca farm? Of course not, if you're an avid hand spinner. But I'll admit though, I was a bit concerned about the temperament of the creatures I wanted to meet––Alpacas can take weather extremes (such as in their native environment), but will suffer heat stress in high humidity; shearing them isn't enough. Barbara Nuessle (one of the farm's owners) informed me there were six fans in the barn, and the flock were getting hosed down twice a day. Now that's cool (excuse the pun), but I'd heard about folks who had been spit on by an aggravated camelid. Nevertheless, my appetence for their fabulous fleece, fueled by my New York sense of time (if I don't get there today, when is it gonna happen?) took hold of me, so that was that.
The cab driver asked, "what do they do there? I've heard of Bay Springs, but I don't know what they do."
"It's a farm. They raise alpacas. I'm buying fleece to spin."
I assume he decided not to take this further. I didn't either but, I did wonder how often the owners were asked the same question. I mean, think about it––no one asks this question about a horse farm, and you can spin horsehair. Yeah, I know what the reference is, and no, you can't ride an alpaca, but still…!
I knew of Bay Springs Alpaca Farm from previous visits to the cape, although it's usually during the week, when it's closed to the public. This year, following my recent creative iteration as a spinner/knitter, I saw the very nice fleece on their website, with the magic words––during the week by appointment only. One email led to another, and––awrighty now––you're reading about it.
I was happily greeted by Barbara and Warren Nuessle, then Barbara led me through their beautiful home to the shop in the rear. I tell ya', this store is an alpaca lover's dream––it oozes softness. Beginning with the impeccably made clothing, gifts, accessories, and blankets, locally produced, and from Peru, the quality is excellent; combined with the friendly prices, this a frugally fabulous shopping experience.
(Yarn so beautiful, you'll want to display rather than knit them.)
Fondling the different yarns, made me heady with the inspiration of what my spinning efforts could achieve, so I became even more solicitous about having this fleece. When Barbara opened the bags of it (8 oz. each), I was shook with the kind of rush I imagine that gamblers feel, when the flood of quarters from a slot machine is cascading into their bucket.
Altogether I purchased 32 oz., which I didn't feel was nowhere near enough, as I wanted the whole lot! (this is not greed. If you stuck your hand in any of those bags, trust me, you'd understand). But common sense ruled––or to be truthful, I was comforted by the fact that more could be ordered through their website.
Meeting The Family
(Increase the fleece! Clockwise, from left: Cerise, Miss Katie, and Geraldine; not shown is Florence, a true black fleece).
One of the many joys spinning gives me, is a closer connection to the animal. When buying brand name yarn, you buy the manufacturer. That's all good, but how cool is it to meet your yarn resource up close and personal? I believe this bond guides my spinning method and eventual choice of end use, so I it was only natural to meet and learn firsthand about the sires and dams enhancing my personal luxury.
Okay folks, it's late––my eyes are closing. Tomorrow you'll meet the family, including a 'lil cutie-pie whose fleece I can't wait to spin, when she gets clipped!