Monday, August 27, 2012

Once in a Blue Moon

I had a very exciting weekend.  I spent the weekend in Gainesville, Virginia at the Breeders Edge Invitational Alpaca Auction.  The auction was at Double "O" Good Alpacas and their farm is located on the historic Falkland Farm.

The auction happens once a year.  Last year my parents didn't attend the auction because there was a hurricane and traveling would have been too dangerous.  This year the weather was much
calmer and I asked if I could join them at the auction and they were happy to let
me tag along.  I wanted to go to the auction because it is a wonderful place to learn
about alpacas.  Since I am new to the industry I wanted to gain as much knowledge as I could
at the three day auction.

The auction is held in a huge barn. It is split into two sections by a large drape for the auction.  All of the lots (alpacas) are on one side and the other side has the stage and tables.  We arrived on Friday so we could start looking at all the alpacas.

Do you see the large white tubes running across the ceiling? Those are a portable air conditioning system.  It is sooooooo cold in the barn. If you plan on attending an auction be sure to dress extra warm.  It is kept cold for the comfort of the alpacas. If the alpacas were to get too hot they could suffer from heat stroke.  But the other problem with the heat is that alpacas sweat.  When they sweat it is hard to get a good look at their fiber characteristics.  So the colder the better.

Since the alpacas are shorn in the spring they don't have that much fiber on them.  The owners of the alpacas have the fiber from their last shearing on display infront of the alpaca's pen.  So all day I got to feel the warm amazing fiber in my fingers. It is the most amazing feeling.  I learned all about primaries, secondaries, crimp, color, density, and many other characteristics of the fiber.

In front of the pens are also the alpacas' ARI's which list information about them such as: official name, owners, age, gender, and their lineage.  It is important to know who their sire and dam is as well as grandparents and so on.  This way you know if you already have their bloodline on the farm. 
Also it helps you know more about the alpaca.

It is so hard to not want to buy all of them!  They are so cute.

So many people ask me. "Can I buy one and let it live in my house?"  The sad answer is no.
They look so cuddly, but they prefer living in a herd.

I have been knitting for about twelve years and since I started knitting with alpaca fiber I have
become more and more a fan of them.  When my parents bought their first alpacas I can't begin
to tell you my excitement.  Not only did that mean I get to look at their sweet faces anytime
I wanted, but that I would be able to use their fiber for my knitting projects!

But something else started to happen after my parents got their alpacas that is just as fun as yarn. 
They started making friends with more and more alpaca owners.  I have to say alpaca owners are some
of the most nutty, crazy, funny nicest people I have ever met.

My parents have made lots of friendships and I have also.  There is something about alpaca people that is just fun.  At the auction there were hundreds of people.  I only new a handful of them.  But as the weekend went on I had some of the most wonderful conversations with different people from all over the country.  It didn't matter who I sat down next to or who I was standing in a pen with all of them
were fascinating.  It was so nice to be in a place with tons of people that I felt like I fit in with.

At the auction there were awards for best and worst dressed.  Do you see Garth Brooks?

There were about 70 alpacas being auctioned.  I've heard people say you bring your best to the auction.
So I had the privilege of meeting many great alpacas.

Oh and you have no idea how bad I have wanted my own.

On stage with the alpacas were also many awards.  I got to go on stage and hold a rod full of awards like the one on the left in the picture below. And go figure I dropped one. How embarrassing :(

Look there's Garth again... hee hee hee

Even some of the alpacas got dressed up too.


Getting ready backstage.

So have you fallen in love with alpacas yet?  I haven't even gotten to the best part!

Looking at all these alpacas made we want one even more.  I would love to have a "spinners herd".  I don't know if that term exists but I want a herd of males maybe 3-5 of them. I want to be able to use their fiber and spin it and knit it.  Then I'd like to sell my knitted goods.  Ideally selling my knits would help offset the cost of feeding and caring for them through out the year.  My parents will let me have my own alpacas on their farm. The only thing stopping me is finances. I can't afford to buy one.

So I went to the auction with the idea that I was going to learn as much as I could about them, so when the time does come and I can afford my own I will know just what to look for. 

So far my favorite alpacas are rose gray.
The rose gray alpacas fiber spins into the most amazing colors.

There was a special alpaca at the auction with a sign in front of his pen "BINGO BOY".

At the auction there was a special game of BINGO and this alpaca was the grand prize.

He is a three year old Rose Gray Junior Herdsire.
Rose Gray my favorite color and a boy just like I want.  Not only is his color perfect he also
has some blue ribbons and some very impressive lineage.
He is the son of Dom Lucilio!

I was so excited to play Bingo to try to win him. I figured there would be a fee to play, but it was free. 
So I got my card (after almost missing the game because I was in the pens with the alpacas)
and started to play.

The first round the winner got a scarf,
the second round the winner got a book, the third round

I WON AN ALPACA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was so excited I rushed to the stage and I was shaking I was so excited. I am typing so fast right now thinking about how exciting it was.  Do you believe it?  I am officially a nutty, crazy, funny alpaca owner!

His official name is "Dom's Blue Moon of ELK".  The boys have been calling him Bingo Boy.
He is such a great alpaca you can expect to see lots of pictures of him in the future!!!

We are going to call him "Blue" for short.

We left VA early Sunday morning to get a place ready for Blue on the farm.
Friends of ours brought Blue back in their trailer later in the day to their farm
about an hour and a half from us.  My boys insisted on going with me and grandpop
to pick him up. So after a three hour round trip to the farm on top of the over four hour drive home on Sunday Blue is at the farm and acting like he has always belonged here!

I am one happy girl :)

Thank you so much Sue and Wayne for bringing him home for me!
Also thanks to my parents for taking me with you this weekend and for picking him up and letting
Blue live at your farm!



emi love said...

WOW you must be over the moon! So excited for you. :D Can't wait to see those future projects made from his fiber

Brian King said...

Congratulations! He's a good looking alpaca! I'm sure he'll enjoy living at the farm. It would be fun to go to an auction. The alpacas that were shaved except for their head and face cracked me up!

TexWisGirl said...

congratulations! that was a match made in heaven! your herd is beginning!

Deanna said...

Oh fun for you to WIN!! These are great pics of your time at the auction. Ofcourse Alpaca people are great people, look at those animals. They are just too darn cute!!

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

YOU WON AN ALPACA?!?!? Now that IS exciting! And what a fun event too.

I went to high school up around Gainesville - I went to Brentsville.

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

Oh I am so excited for you to have won an alpaca ! Wow! ~ Great photos ~ (A Creative Harbor)

alissa apel said...

That looks like a great experience! Congrats on the winning!

Carletta said...

What a delightful story!
Congrats on the win. I could 'hear' the excitement in your voice.
I think they have the cutest faces in he animal world. :)

Pat said...

Congratulations! What a beautiful alpaca you now own. I love all the photos in your post. Alpacas have the cutest faces!

Nancy Claeys said...

That's fantastic! I'm so happy for you. He's adorable. :)

Melissa aka twoknitwit said... are officially the luckiest girl in the world

I'm so glad you shared the link in the Leaves kal so that I could read this goosebump inducing story


Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

LOVE this story. I, too, have a fascination for alpacas and llamas. It is just too hot in Texas... otherwise... ;) blessings ~ tanna