Saturday, May 1, 2010
I met a lady last week, named Frances Mosby. We chatted a while and I found out she had Alpacas. She gave me a tour of her farm and introduced me to all the animals. Then she said we would be welcome to come back and help out with the yearly sheering of the fleece. So today, Ted and the girls and I went to the alpaca farm and helped to sheer 22 alpacas and 2 llamas. There were lots of other people there to help. But I have to say, the Harmon family jumped right in, worked the whole time and proved to be indispensable to the operation! Everyone complimented us afterward on our hard working girls! Kate got an especially nice compliment on her animal handling skills by the owner. This is the before picture.
This is the after picture!
Bob, in the middle, is originally from New Zealand, but currently lives in Colorado. He travels all over the country from farm to farm sheering animals. (Alpacas, Llamas, and Sheep) He has all the needed equipment, sheers, pulleys and cables. He even brings a bag of socks to put over the animals mouths if they are going to spit!
Kyle, standing up, is Bob's helper guy. He's from Hawaii and travels with Bob.
Ted helped with the manly stuff. He worked the pulleys, looped the nooses onto the legs, lifted the animals into position and helped to release each alpaca when it was finished.
Katelynn helped to keep each animal in position during the sheering and then walked them to the correct pasture when they were finished.
Claire was the fleece collector. She had 1 bag for the "firsts", the prime fleece from the barrel of the alpaca, and 1 bag for the "seconds", the fleece from the neck, legs and head. Each Alpaca's fleece was kept separate in bags with their name on it.
The alpaca is stretched out with all four legs tied to a pulley system which is anchored to the cement. Once they are immobilized, they are pretty calm. A couple of them put up quite a fight and spit, but not most. I helped tighten and loosen the pulley system at the right moments.
After the job was done, Frances fed everyone a big lunch. (Unfortunately, I missed it because I had to leave to run an errand, but the Ted and the girls said it was delicious!) We all had so much fun, we have volunteered to help next year! This is our idea of a fun family outing! Yeah, weird, I know.