What do you call it when alpacas take over the world? The Alpacalypse! What did the alpaca say to the blade of grass? Nice gnawing you! What do you call it when alpacas sing? Alpacapella...I could go on all day! But I won't. Instead I'm going to encourage you to grab the fam, hop in the car, and visit Southwind Farms in Morris where you can meet and greet...wait for it...alpacas! Ooh, road trip? Alpaca my bags! (Sorry, sorry).
Whether you're in the market for some finely crafted alpaca goods, or you just want to watch a whole bunch of adorable creatures roam around chewing on grass, Southwind Farms is definitely worth the trip. You can meet the alpaca ambassadors, a cheerful lot who will give you a warm, fuzzy welcome to the wonderful world of alpacas. If you time your visit right (usually around mid-July) you will be treated to the new generation of baby alpacas, an irresistible troop of soft, loping cuteness. The farm runs events throughout the year including yarn sales, holiday boutiques, festivals, and open farm days.
So what exactly is an alpaca? So glad you asked! First of all, alpacas are not llamas. While both were traditionally raised in South America, llamas are typically much larger than alpacas and have historically been used as work animals. Alpacas on the other hand have long been raised for their soft hair which makes for beautiful textiles. In fact, most people who are allergic to wool are able to wear alpaca products with no ill effects. Alpacas are friendly and they come in 22 color varieties which is kind of amazing when you think about it.
If all this is making you wish for an alpaca of your own, have I got news for you. Southwind Farms has a stable of alpacas for sale pretty much all the time. But before you become a proud alpaca parent there are a few things you need to consider. First and foremost, alpacas are herd animals. If you have one, you really need to have two. While these animals are relatively easy to care for (in the sense that any livestock are easy to care for) they do require some space. Those in the know at Southwind recommend no more than five or six alpacas per acre of land.
But if you're like us and just not equipped to have your own herd just now, a visit to Southwind might be just the thing. You can spend a few hours soaking in the alpaca goodness then be on your way. And if all that adorable visiting makes you hungry, head down to Washington and grab a bit of lunch at Hidden Valley Eatery.
Moo! (that's an alpaca learning a foreign language).
Photo courtesy of Rob Mitchell (Flicker).