Less Noise, More Green: Backyard Alpacas and Fiber Arts

Monday, October 7, 2013

Backyard Alpacas and Fiber Arts

Look at this face! Toasty is two and loves Molasses, his Dad.

My friend Roda and I met years ago when our kids were involved with 4H.  This was at the start of my journey towards a more simple life and Roda was a wonderful source of knowledge and an example of someone already on that path. She has always loved and cared for animals and since I’ve known her, she and her kids have owned rabbits, chickens, birds, hamsters, dogs and horses. Horses are a special love and right now she has two miniature horses called Beau and Birdie, who are quite the pair. 

Everyone loves the back yard.

 The family’s latest additions to the back yard are two alpacas, called Toasty and Molasses. What delightful animals alpacas are. Very shy and passive, alpacas are great backyard pets. Originating in the Andes Mountains, these fascinating creatures have adapted very well to life in Rhode Island. They are quiet, except for a pleasant humming, don’t smell and are very clean, always going to the bathroom in the same part of their enclosure. Alpacas don’t challenge fences like goats and as long as they are not the only alpaca  (they are herd animals), they are quite content. Their diet needs to be watched as there are plants here that can make them sick, but these two are allowed to roam in the back yard, chomping on the lawn, along with Beau and Birdie.

Toasty with his shorn fleece.

Each year, Roda gives me aged horse manure for my garden and in return I give her fresh veggies and jars of preserves. I love that. Bartering is very cool. In the spring I’ll get my first shipment of alpaca poo. Is it weird that I’m excited about that? 

Roda is a fiber artist and spins her own wool. Alpaca fiber spins beautifully and makes a very desirable product. Toasty and Molasses will each produce a ten to thirteen pound fleece each year, which Roda will spin and use to knit something useful and gorgeous.

I can sew and I can knit, but it is not a passion or form of meditation for me, as it is for some. I love having a friend with different skills, a friend I can learn from and have fun with as we explore the challenges of simple living.

Look for future posts from Roda about her fiber arts, here at Less Noise, More Green.

See you in the garden,

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