Have You Ever Been Kissed by an Alpaca?

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Hubs and I traveled to Maine recently for an author luncheon in Eastport, where I was the featured author, and for a vacation with my grandson and his parents. We stayed in our favorite place, Boothbay Harbor.

The author luncheon was held in a hall next to the Eastport Methodist Church, which is why the backdrop looks like I should be preaching. It was an off-the-cuff talk about The Rhe Brewster Mystery series and my historical fiction novel, The Last Pilgrim.  The attendance was good, according to the organizer of the event, but I think they just wanted to get out and about as Maine just opened up!

We had rented a small cottage in Boothbay Harbor and enjoyed eating seafood for the entire week. Not as much lobster as we wished, however, because the lobster prices are sky high. But we ate them almost every day anyway, whole steamed or lobster rolls.

May you always have lobster!

And what would a trip to Maine be without going to Damariscotta for oysters?

The other highlight of the trip, aside from my grandson’s antics, was a visit to an alpaca farm. Who knew they raised alpacas in Maine?  They had two types of alpacas at the farm:  huacaya – their coat is short, dense, and crimpy, ‘teddy bear like’ and they are shorn yearly; and the suri, which have a silky coat with no crimp and ‘pencil like’ locks, and they are shorn every two years.

You can tell them apart because the huacaya have what looks like pom-poms on their heads while the suri have bangs.

 

Both types have soft, padded feet, and a three-compartment stomach like a typical ruminate. They also have no horns, claws or incisors, so they are less likely to hurt their owners! Their life span is about 20 years and they are adaptable to any climate.  They are also pretty neat animals, since they all only pee in one place in the yard or field.

The alpacas are also very friendly. I was ‘kissed’ several times by one of them – a very whiskery kiss!  This is the one that kissed me. You can see where she was shorn in May.

Alpacas are known for their fleeces. Alpaca fiber is incredibly soft, breathable and versatile. Each animal produces approximately five to fifteen pounds of fleece yearly. Depending upon its weight, quality, and cleanliness, an alpaca fleece can command $150 – $400.  The owners of the farm we visit send their fleece to a company that washes and spins it into yarn. That fiber is then spun into yarn, which they sell at the farm.

 

Of course, as a knitter, I had to buy some. The yarn is the natural color of the alpaca and if you run out, there’s no problem matching the color since you can just call and give them the name of the alpaca whose yarn you want. No color matching, it’s always the same!

My grandson was rather nonplussed with the alpaca but did enjoy an animal closer to him in size – a chicken!

35 thoughts on “Have You Ever Been Kissed by an Alpaca?

    • We enjoyed it. The problem that we had only one car and we had to stick to Eli’s nap times. Not like the good old days when we took our kids everywhere and they napped wherever and whenever!

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    • We do love our lobster – but I was lobstered out by the end of the week. The population was reduced for unknown reasons this year. There are vicissitudes to be a lobsterman when the population varies yearly – it takes SEVEN years for a lobster to mature!

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  1. They pee in the same spot in the yard, all the time? Now that’s a strange and interesting trivia fact, LOL! Both types look so cute!

    I hope you had a fun author event. And I’m jealous about all the seafood, especially lobster, you got to eat. Even if the prices have gone up, you can’t be a good Maine lobster!

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    • I found that fact interesting, too, MC. But while we were there I saw several alpacas go to the same spot in the enclosure to pee and poop. The owner said it made cleanup easy. The author event was fun – lots of good questions!

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  2. Yum, Boothbay Harbor and lobsters. I haven’t had a Maine lobster since moving west. I’m glad your event went well, Noelle. Good for you for getting back into the swing of things. And I love the alpaca photos. “Pom-poms and bangs” Lol. They’re such funny creatures though I’m not sure of kissing them! It looks like you had a wonderful trip. ❤

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  3. These alpacas have such friendly faces – I’m not surprised they are indeed friendly, and kissers too! Thanks for sharing this info about alpaca wool. That’s interesting that you can just match the color to the animal. We have a couple farms near us that have alpacas, but I didn’t know much about them. Hope you are doing well – I laughed at your comment about how you look like you look like you should be preaching at your author event!

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  4. lydiaschoch

    That looks like such a fun excursion!

    I love watching alpacas and llamas do their thing. They’re such interesting animals.

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  5. Sounds like a super fun trip, Noelle. Love all the pics, but esp. the Alpaca pics and stories. And of course, what a cutie pie grandson. Congrats on the speaking engagement. Everything in this post looks amazingly beautiful.

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  6. Nice photos and story; so, there are alpacas in Maine, but… no wonder: we’ve had lamas in the Pyrénées for over 2 decades! 🙂 we visited Maine years ago, Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, and even Bangor where we came across Stephen King – the famous novelist, small world, indeed!

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