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It's All About the Fiber

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Other arcane camelid facts: Alpacas have a communal dung pile, and they like to evacuate together. That, I didn't see, but I brought a whole lot of it home on my new Keen Chamonix boots (which were a Christmas present to myself, and which I loooove. Buy a whole size up; they run small.)
But Enough! about me and my boots. As a blogger, I pride myself on my dogged focus, even in the face of withering brain cells...Click around and buy Keens if you must; I'm back to alpacas.

Alpacas hum and moan, and the males orgle (sing) when they are courting a female. There is an album called Alpacas Orgling, by L.E.O, a tribute to the Electric Light Orchestra. Pretty darn good album, but it has diddly to do with alpacas. Orgling is what horny alpacas do. Just the word makes my every cell vibrate. Orgle. I cannot wait to hear an alpaca orgle. I heard them hum and moan a little bit, Ruthie, but I want a full-Monty orgle. Guess where I'm going to be come June, when the 14 crias are born and the males will be trying to get the females interested in mating again? Yep, hangin' over the fence down at Riverboat Alpaca Ranch.Annie told me that there are now about 100,000 alpacas in the U.S. The breeders know each other, help each other, and form little coalitions to help market their fleece together. It's cool. Annie told me that there need to be 600,000 alpacas producing to supply enough fleece to have a mill run around the clock to spin their fleece into yarn. The fiber sells for $5-$8/oz. So the incentive is high to get more people into alpaca ranching. Believe me, I am thinking about it. As well as goat farming, and running a greenhouse, and writing a ridiculous Chetbook, and learning how to play the guitar. Only one of those things is likely to happen. But Enough! About Me! Fiber! It's Fiber we're talking about here!There. There's your fiber. Five to eight dollars an OUNCE. That's more expensive than dried wild mushrooms, or premium yellowfin sushituna, or almost anything else I can think of. Ann and Charlie have a cria due this summer who was sired by a stud valued at $250,000. Eek! I want to see it, and see if it looks any different from oh, say, the cria sired by the $10,000 stud. I'd have to take my electron microscope and analyze its fiber to really judge its quality.

Here's what they make out of alpaca fiber in Peru. (The hat is made from skins from an alpaca that died of natural causes). But the scarves and throws are made from sustainably-gathered fiber. This is dyed, of course; they haven't got a green alpaca yet. Annie's favorite throw, made from undyed, natural suri fleece:Her prices are amazingly low, considering the value of the fleece. This big throw was $85. Egad, I've been thinking about it ever since I saw it. I can't imagine a warmer, softer blanket. It's like cashmere. I'm tickled pink to know where to get things like this, from good people who are making a go of niche farming. It makes shopping ever so much more fun, to be able to go to an alpaca ranch to get your goodies, talk to nice folks, and listen for the orgle of a horny alpaca.


Drooling over fiber...drooling...drooling...

The *only* thing better than alpaca is quivut! Does the Science Chimp know about qiviut?

Musk ox fiber. Oh yeah. Now they are cute. And, I understand, really nice animals. But I don't think so. Ohio is quite their cup of tea. But you do get my wheels turning, Trix. The first quiviut ranch in Appalachia?

Julie, you are on a roll with these alpaca blogs! Funny as hell and just as fascinating. I really like the way you combine sustainable agriculture, local industry (or artisanry), good old fashioned community and a salacious sense of humour in your summary paragraph. Not to mention a driveby threat of a Chetbook?!

Rock on.

(BTW Chetty would look smashing in a suri shawl for those cold days in the tower.)

Alpacas are adorable! Thanks for sharing all you have learned! I am absolutely over the moon for the alpaca fiber. I have knitted with alpaca yarn and it's so yummy!

Where else can you read about the hums and moans of horny Alpacas and their communal dung piles?

How cool to raise Alpacas. They smile with their upturned lips. Sweet. Soft to touch.

You ARE the ticket, Julie Zickefoose.

Now I'm off for AI and some popcorn, too :)


Product placement on the Zick Blog? What a concept! Good for you!

I am really enjoying these alpaca posts.
Learning so much.
Wondering what on the earth orgling sounds like.
And checking out a host of links.

Thanks for the link to their website Julie. I see they've got some brown and white yarn to sell there....I'm going to check through my knitting patterns now.

Thanks for sharing this series of Alpaca stories. It sure is nice to learn more about these wonderful creatures.

Alpaca Peeple,

I am suddenly getting loads of Chinese spam, on old posts, on new posts, on all my posts. The mysterious deletions are me, trying to keep up with it. Wither and die of an infected nose hair, Chinese spammers. You need to leave this blog alone now.

There. I'm sure that will help.

You know, that alpaca stuff works...I married Geoff just for his orgling skillz.

Only on JZ would you find a referral to a CD of orgling alpacas. And only on JZ would you meet people that would actually want to buy it. I am thinking those Spanish chanting monks might get a run for their money. Sign me up - perhaps it will bring an increase of romance in my life, woolly though it may be. You never know.

Wow, who says you can't teach old dogs new tricks...every time I come here I learn something new! Maybe that Chet book could be something like "Chetty Meets The Neighbors". A whole adventure of Chet meeting the cattle over the hill, the alpaca's and the deer in the meadow. I'm in line for a copy please, and can I place an order for the Alpaca scarf here too???

The alpacas are so appealing just in pictures and words, face-to-face they must be almost irresistible. Their behavior of creating a communal dung pile is an interesting benefit, such considerate critters, they even make barn chores easy !

Incidentally, cool boots, even covered in ... well, never mind. :)

Dare you delete my posts you capitalist running dog. I will smite your blog with Chairman Mao's Little Red Book. As Confusediast say: Let he who is without sin, get a life.

You should be buying genuine Chinese Alpaca. I'll bet your cheap US raised alpaca fiber doesn't even compare to the extra strength of our high-lead-content fibers.

May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits if you delete the post of comrade La Choy.

I am posting by using the password of a recent customer of ours who just ordered a shipment of Budget Yak Food.

Swami! You kill me!

I have neighbors who have alpacas (and one llama to guard them), and a friend with award winning alpacas. They are willing to set me up with a little baby if I am interested, since nobody can afford to buy one outright. I'm trying to convince my daughter, the animal girl, to start a alpaca farm and use my land and barn.

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