Alpaca Love.

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Today was just gorgeous – a perfect day in every way.  The sun was shining, the sky was a vibrant blue and we sure deserve it after a Summer of rained-out weekends, heat, humidity and day after day of dark and gloomy skies.  It was even chillier than yesterday, and, because it was only 49 degrees when I left the house,  I took a pair of gloves and wore a sweat suit.  I wasn’t taking any chances after freezing the entire five hours I was outside yesterday.

I spent all morning enjoying Elizabeth Park, a perfect venue to savor on a sun-soaked Sunday.  The water seems to sparkle in this picturesque park.  Shh – don’t tell anyone, but I spent three hours stalking shore birds.  They were plentiful too, from the Pekin and Mallard ducks napping or preening on various perches around the park, like old dead logs in the water, or by the water’s edge, to the Canada geese that gathered on the grounds, or went airborne as they soared high above my head.  I saw an Egret, Great Blue Heron, and another Cormorant (is this the same one, and now he is stalking me?)

It was an enjoyable morning and I took tons of photos to share in a future post, because today’s post is devoted to yesterday’s trip to the alpaca farm on Grosse Ile.

My friend Evelyn lives in Virginia and is an avid knitter.  She often goes to fiber festivals and has visited an alpaca farm and watched them being sheared; it always sounded fun, so I Googled around to find if we had any alpaca farms around here.  I was surprised to discover that one was on beautiful Grosse Ile, only 12 miles from my house.

It was an overcast day and I should have waited for a brighter day for my visit, but, I think the photos still came out clear enough and I hope you enjoy them.

One look at the alpacas will endear you to them as soon as you see their inquisitive-looking faces, huge eyes and sometimes lopsided grins.

I pulled up and got a parking space, then went straight to the left of the large barn which bears the name of the farm, Gibralter Bay Alpacas.  This sign was from one of the trailers.

sign on trailer

There were two huge, fenced-in pastures and plenty of room for me to walk along each pasture’s perimeter to check out the alpacas … or, maybe I should say they checked me out first!  I later learned this left-side pasture area was for the male alpacas only.

They were much taller than I thought they’d be and really reminded me of a camel.  The alpaca I saw at the petting farm at Heritage Park was constantly grazing so I never saw its full height.  I’ve included some pictures of them standing up.

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“Peek-a-boo, I see you” is what the first alpaca appeared to be saying just as I arrived.

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He was the first brave buddy in the bunch to investigate this tall stranger lurking by their pasture.  Though this fellow had been grazing, he came running over to the fence to greet me.  I clicked my tongue at him a few times and sweet talked him a little, but, after he determined I was a friend, not a foe, he loped back to his brethren who were grazing together.

I traveled in the grassy area along the perimeter of the pasture, and it seemed that one by one, each alpaca came over to say “Hey”, or …

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… “Wassup?”

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I tried not to take it personally after my curly-headed, fuzzy-looking friends looked me over, then after 15 seconds, they pointed their heads back to the ground and nibbled on the grass.

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whole group

I stood there clicking away with the camera, and talking to them in a soothing voice, trying to lure them to the fence, but “face time” was fleeting.  They came over when they felt like it, brushing up against the fence to scratch an itchy head, or to nibble on some flowers near my feet.

eating flowers

I had to smile at the alpaca antics sometimes, and quickly decided we humans are pretty smug about how smart we are next to the animal kingdom, but … which one of you can scratch your left ear with your left leg like this alpaca is doing here?  Hmmm?

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After spending about one-half hour at this pasture, I trekked over to the other side, past this red wagon and stump, which I thought would make an interesting picture and keep you in suspense until the next alpaca photo.

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Here was a smaller pasture and the alpacas were crowded together, most of them munching on hay.  I would later learn from my conversation with the owner, that this pasture was just for the female alpacas.  They gathered together to munch on hay, despite having plenty of room in the pasture to roam about, and they resembled a crowd on Black Friday morning.  I took a picture of the group …

the girls clustered

… but then one sweet young girl came over to the fence to greet me.

wassup far away

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This area of the fence was made differently and gave her an opportunity to poke her head between the bars, thus affording both of us an up-close view of the other.  She gave me the once-over – wow, I wondered if I passed inspection?  I know I thought she was cute as a button … but how did she perceive me?

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I watched a baby alpaca nursing, while its mom was just taking in the sights.

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The little one, who was actually almost as big as mom, was busy enjoying its “lunch”, when mom suddenly decided she was thirsty and hightailed it to the water trough, with her baby following at her heels where they sipped water together.

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I spent another half-hour roaming the outskirts of this pasture, then decided it was time to head home.  I went to the barn area to deliver my “donation” (an envelope which I entitled “Alpaca Treats” with some money enclosed).

treats envelope

I spoke with the owner, Gail, who told me all donations are used to buy food for the alpacas.  Their diet consists of hay, along with all that grass that they seemed to love so much.  The hay is infused with vitamins which accounts for their good health and luxurious wool.

And, now a little about the wool.  Those alpacas were shorn earlier in the year, with their fuzziness now concentrated around the face and the tail, and even their legs.  Gail said that all the wool from her bunch goes to a processing plant in Tennessee.  As each alpaca goes through the shearing process, its own fleece is bagged, then labelled with its name.  When the wool is processed, the skeins are returned, bearing the particular alpaca’s name.  The wool is pure with no color or dyes.  Their on-site gift store sells items that have been hand knit from the wool of the alpacas at Gibralter Bay, and knitting classes are held here as well.

Gail asked if I wanted to go into the pasture and mix and mingle with the alpacas.  “I’m sure they are tired of me, as I’ve been hanging out watching them for an hour already” is what I told her.   But, I know I would like to go back on a sunny Summer day and take more pictures, this time not through the fence, and get up close and personal with these cute and furry alpacas.

I learned a few fun facts and figures about the alpacas from Gail.  I mentioned watching the baby and its mother, and she told me that there are three baby alpacas right now and a few “juvenile boys” which are segregated from the adult alpacas.  She fondly refers to the alpacas as “the girls” and “the boys” and, when I asked how she herds them back into the barn every night, (in my mind picturing a barking Border Collie rounding them up from the pastures), Gail said she simply goes outside at 4:00 p.m. and calls “c’mon girls” or “c’mon boys”  and “time to come in” and they go directly to their stalls and enclosures inside the barn.  How’s that for obedient?  Smart too!

I left Gail and headed for home.  I had researched online about alpacas before going to the farm and read they sometimes “spit” at each other and at humans, so I guess I passed muster as no dust-ups or spit-ups occurred!

P.S. – I walked over six miles both days this weekend … another 13 miles to add to my tally, and my eyes have been slowly sinking to half-mast while compiling this post.

About lindasschaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, and this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for over three decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, although I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too.
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59 Responses to Alpaca Love.

  1. I loved your alpaca photos and interesting facts. I’ve known some women who looked just like them!!!

    I’m glad the alpaca didn’t spit on you. I was doused the other day and didn’t enjoy it. The horses in the pasture finished eating an apple apiece, and Vixen suddenly sneezed right in my face!! My glasses were visibly covered in residue of apple, and I was sticky from my head to my waist. Ugh!

    Liked by 3 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you enjoyed the photos and info Anne. I am laughing at what you said, and, yes, to the pinched and grumpy-looking-faced women … I have seen that look before too! I learned a lot about the alpacas as well. I was glad I met with their approval and didn’t get spit on, because they came right up to the fence to see me, but, like I wrote in the post and told Gail, they initially had such an interest and then went right back to eating, so perhaps I bored them? Ugh to the horse sneeze and I can imagine just how much that sneeze sprayed, given that big head and flaring nostrils – that’s terrible!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. AJ says:

    Oh they are so cute!!! That is neat that their wool is kept segregated. It would be cool to knit something with just “Harry’s” wool🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I was impressed by that as well AJ, and then even the skein comes back labelled, and I believe Gail said that the knitted garments were also tagged with the individual alpaca’s name. I thought you said you had gone to an alpaca farm and was going to mention you in this post as well, but I wasn’t sure if I confused you with someone else or not. They sure are cute!

      Liked by 2 people

      • AJ says:

        Yes I have been to an alpaca farm and I got to see them, but there was no one around to tell me about them

        Liked by 2 people

      • lindasschaub says:

        I should have mentioned you as well … I was not sure, because Evelyn has a good friend, Jean, and she is also interested in knitting and since Evelyn started grad school, she is busy on the weekend now and not going to so many fun things … she was always going to some kind of festival, whether ethnic-related food festival, fiber festival and art festivals. Sometimes she’ll say Jean has gone to a fiber fair and I had schoolwork. They are both into knitting and Evelyn is big on felting and has made some purses and bags with wool.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AJ says:

        That is very cool! There were actually two events I wanted to go to this weekend, but I had nobody to go with. I need to get better at going by myself!
        I just found some pure wool in my stash and am thinking about trying felting:)

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I know … it is a bummer sometimes. Evelyn and Jean both like knitting. Evelyn was on a real jag with the felting … she made several bags one right after the other, but she was still working then, and now she’s been going to school full time for a year now, so not as much time to enjoy knitting.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AJ says:

        Yes I never had as much time to knit when I was in school:(
        Maybe I’ll try a bag, but I only have a partial skein so it might have to be something smaller

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        I think Evelyn was going to make a laptop bag … how about an extra phone case for you – extra protection while running for your smartphone.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AJ says:

        That might be a good idea!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        She wanted to do that as she lugs the laptop to the library sometimes. But you could make it for your phone and add in some padding as well. Just enough yarn to do it I bet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • AJ says:

        I should always ask you for ideas- that’s a great one and with all the rain, I’m always looking for another layer of protection

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        Glad you like it AJ – my mom once knit me a cover for my contact lens case. It was shaped like a powder compact and had a mirror, bottle for wetting drops and two spaces to put your contacts. She measured it, made the cover and knit a “string” to run through a tunnel. I still have it as I hated to carry it around in my purse and let it get dirty.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What interesting animals! I had no idea that they came in so many colors! The black and white one reminded me of my cat Chloe (sadly, gone). Your pictures got me to thinking… I wonder why Mother Nature “paints” some of her animals in multiple colors (dogs and cats, for instance), while others (most?), she uses the same/similar color pallet? Maybe Gail would know…

    I’m so glad that they decided that you were friendly and that they didn’t need to spit on you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lindasschaub says:

      I thought they were interesting too Janis and I liked watching them approach me with with interest, then it faded fast and they went back to eating … I was “old hat” soon. I was surprised by the coloring as well as the only alpaca I ever saw was at Heritage Park in July at the petting farm and he was a cream-color and looked like a sheep. These were all different colors as you see. Some jet black ones too. That multi-colored alpaca that reminds you of Chloe was very friendly.
      I will ask Gail. I told her I write a blog about walking and would send her this post which I did after I published it here. I was glad none of them spit on me either! I loved the looks on their faces. I kept trying to eliminate some of the photos as I know I overdid it, but the facial expressions on some of them – especially the ones in the collage, I knew I had to include them.

      Like

    • lindasschaub says:

      Janis – I wrote to ask Gail at the alpaca farm about the various coloring of the fur and she responded as follows:

      “When we breed the alpacas we never know the ou come of color or sex. We just hope it is healthy.”

      Like

  4. Ann Marie stevens says:

    Miss Linda……………………….your blog today on those Gibraltar Bay Alpacas from Grosse Isle was so interesting and the close-up pictures were wonderful………………….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John says:

    Beautiful photos on the alpaca!😊 We have a farm with alpaca just outside Kristianstad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Glad you liked the alpaca pictures John. They were fun to watch and I learned a lot about alpacas that I never knew. I want to return and see them before all their fleece is removed as I bet they look totally different. I liked their facial expressions – made me smile. 🙂

      Like

  6. What a wonderful post! Alpaca’s are just the cutest ever. I take my developmentally disabled adult clients to our Metro Parks farm. They have alpaca and donkeys in the same field. The first time we visited, a white alpaca spit at me. Now we watch them from the car. I named the white one spitter..hahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      Thank you Diane – it was a fun trip and I learned a lot. I’d like to go back and see them with their long locks before the big haircut. 🙂 I’d watch from the car too if I got spit on!

      Like

  7. Mackenzie says:

    I’m so glad the weather was better! These alpaca pictures are awesome!!! Oh my gosh- hello national geographic, tehe. I didn’t realize there was such a diverse array of colors too. And I loved the fun facts you shared too! Thanks for sharing, Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. clarejk2014 says:

    Those are great pictures of very cute alpacas.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Uncle Tree says:

    They sure look cute and cuddly, Linda, 🙂
    like a cross between poodles and camels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      They sure do Uncle Tree, even huggable. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Uncle Tree says:

        Sorry to say, Linda, but my Mom passed on Sept. 25. The funeral is Monday, so I most likely will remain distant for a time. Thank you for your previously made kind words of support. Take care, Keith

        Like

      • lindasschaub says:

        I’m sorry to hear this news Keith, but I know that given the circumstances of your mom’s lingering health issue, it is likely for the better. I am sure it is painful every day for you to remember her vibrant personality that you wrote about before (on Mother’s Day I believe) and seeing her now. I’m guessing that the last time you saw her was at your nephew’s funeral – you might have gone to visit then while you were back home. This has been a very tough year for you, and I wish you a better year in 2019. Take care and have a safe trip on your sad journey. – Linda

        Liked by 1 person

  10. pjlazos says:

    My friend keeps Alpacas and yes they spit and sometimes can be quite mean but they are pretty adorable as well. Glad you had fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. They are such interesting animals. We have a farm locally that raises them and sells the wool. I should go but I’ll want to adopt one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I found that visit really interesting Kate and I was lucky no one else was outside with the alpacas, so I got to chat with the owner for quite a while. Funny you mentioned adopting one, because I had a coworker years ago who remarried and her husband was older and he always wanted to have an alpaca farm. He retired and convinced her to quit her job (legal secretary) and they moved to a rural area and raised alpacas on a small farm. This was before social media, so we lost track of one another, but she came back to visit us one time, showing us pictures of all the “kids” and the farm.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Beautiful animals and so intelligent. I love how they just come in when called with no fuss all. That is amazing x x x

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Rebecca says:

    What a neat experience for you! They sound like they are intelligent animals. What a wonderful idea to sell the wool with each alpacas name on it. Makes me want to buy some, and I don’t even knit. Interesting read. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I really enjoyed my visit Rebecca. I’d like to go back sometime before they are sheared and see how they look. I thought how they gather and process the wool and keeping track of what alpaca it originated from was fascinating. I don’t knit either, but my mom did for years. She tried to teach me but I was terrible at dropping stitches and she was always repairing my work so I abandoned that hobby. Glad you enjoyed this post.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. So many alpacas! They are adorable. 🙂 And their legs look so soft! 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      They sure do look huggable don’t they Heather? I was smiling at their faces and some of the ones with the curly hair and “bangs” that were in their eyes! I’m glad you enjoyed this post and I’m happy I finally got there to visit them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m really glad you finally got to visit them too! 🙂 xxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • lindasschaub says:

        It was a fun trip Heather. I sent the link to the blog post and the owner said “we have bees and make our own honey, if you want to see the bees too.” Summer and Fall are the best times for that trip – I think I will go there too, not sure if this Fall or in the Summer. Right now we have torrential rain and potentially severe weather … it got very warm and humid again and that is triggering some bad weather. Then some nice and stable weather (thankfully).

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m surprised by how many different colors they are? I’ve only seen one once at a petting zoo and we were warned it wasn’t very friendly….

    Liked by 1 person

    • lindasschaub says:

      I was too. I thought the prettiest alpaca was the black one with the multi-colored face. And up close, I thought it looked like a colt as it had a long, thin face. The Heritage Park Petting Farm had one alpaca … it was grazing and never raised its head the entire time I was there and it was the color of a sheep. A fellow blogger took her class to an alpaca farm and one alpaca spit on her.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. sharonchyy says:

    Alpaca? Really captivating I must say, I love the black alpaca. Tons of photos.TFS dear!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. ruthsoaper says:

    How fun! Your photos are great, Linda. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ellie P. says:

    Love ’em – especially the little black girl!! They’re in the camel family, aren’t they? Their snouts and feet – I think – look the same.

    Liked by 1 person

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