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.
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!