Friday – dinner with Sibylle and Stuart, which included lovely conversation (Stuart is a lawyer for the Ministry of Justice and doesn’t have quite the… appreciation we do for the off-the-cuff candor of Kiwi politicians :^D.) and some truly amazingly yummy goulash. Germans do goulash, too, apparently, they just don’t get the credit they deserve. Sibylle, who has possibly the most complicated list of can’t-eats of any of our friends (must dig up Kathy’s Food Allergy Matrix), is also in the habit of making these incredibly sinful, bad-for-you desserts which she can’t eat herself. Hmmm. Maybe she’s secretly trying to kill us all, very very slowly. With heavy cream.
Saturday: We lit out north. Stopped in at the Lindale Farming Center (I mean, “Centre”) for french toast in the their cafe, and to see if they had the lambskin aviator cap I’m lusting after in my size. (they didn’t. Ah well.) Hit the Farmlands in Otaki for clippers, fencing supplies & assorted things-the-local-Wrightson’s-failed-to-provide.
Then up to Alpacas Unlimited (otherwise known as “Thief of Hearts”) to see if Eric had any alpacas for us to buy. As it happens he didn’t, as he pretty much keeps his females and sells the males (unless they’re potential stud material) as pets. We got to look at his setup, though, and a *lot* of alpacas, including a good two dozen cria — Cutest. Babies. Evah. Just looking at tons of different animals is tremendously educational, because you really start to learn what you’re looking at, and what you’re looking for. We also got to just talk with Eric for a while, and that was good in itself, as he’s been in the industry for quite a while, and has some pretty strong opinions about various things (and various people). As we’ve mentioned before, getting three alpaca people in a room nets you five different opinions on any given subject & Stephen and I are just sponging up everything & gradually sorting it all out for ourselves.
After spending a good few hours with Eric, we swung by the house/workshop of the guy we sold some of our old fenceposts to. He’s got this secret little hideaway almost, down a driveway that runs between a saw factory and a licorice factory, that you’d never have known was there if you hadn’t been told. We picked out a big chunky garden bench that he’s going to drop off for us next week & we’d better have decided by then where we want it to go, because it looks like it’ll take three people to move it.
After *that*, we phoned Elise at the Straw Llama — we had been planning to phone her up a good bit later, as she’d been recommended to us by Linda at Willowbank as a place to maybe find a llama, but she was right there by Levin, and Eric recommended her as well, so we rang her up and she told us to come on out. It’s “Straw” Llama, by the way, because she lives in a big straw bale house. Very, very cool.
The first thing we saw at Elise’s place, though, was our very first “berserk” alpaca, a rescue from a farm park where he’d been over-handled. Male camelids (and to some extent females, too) can develop severe social problems if you coddle them too much while they’re young — *especially* if they’re alone & don’t get proper socialization from the herd. Basically, they don’t distinguish between people and camelids, which makes you fair game for challenges to the pecking order. What this means is the alpaca or llama that seemed “friendly”, because he was running up to you and rubbing his head against you and being all cute, eventaully takes it to the next step: chest-butting you to the ground and stomping on you. Not so cute. Especially not so cute in something llama-sized, with fighting teeth. Anyway, as we drove onto the property, this black alpaca *charges* the car. As the car turns to drive along the fence, the alpaca follows at a run, tossing his head. As we park the car and get out, the alpaca, eyes rolling, repeatedly throws himself against the fence. When that doesn’t work, he snakes his head between the wires and tries to bite our shoes. “Don’t get to close too that little black alpaca,” says Barney, “He’ll bite you.” Yeeg. Sydney the Berserk Alpaca. Scary, and yet also really sad and pathetic. *People* did that to him.
Elise is a neat lady, though, and we got tons more information and opinions from her. She’s been doing llamas and alpacas almost since the beginning, and I didn’t realize until afterwards that several of the articles I’d read online were hers. She had a pair of male llamas that she’d really like us to give a home to, as they were not exactly thriving in the current pecking order — even some of the alpacas were higher than them — and she hoped getting them out from under the dominant male would perk them up. We took pics with the digital. Elise gave us a ton of contacts to follow up & then we scurried into Levin for dinner before making our way home.
Sunday: Stephen went to fight practice, while I went to a yum cha (dim sum) organized by Alan. Ooof. Stuffed. The Radfords Furniture across the street is having a 20% off sale on its leather sofas !!! Stephen was too hunger-blinded to shop, though, so we went home. The sale runs to the end of the month, though….
After lunch, we played with the ‘paca — Oak is getting really really good at leading (much better than he is at standing still), and with Stephen steadying his head, Chris let me pick up and hold his feet ! I want to try clipping his other front one today, and check the one we nicked to make sure it’s healing up clean. Pointer is Passive Resistance Lad. I need to figure out what I’m doing that’s confusing him.
After ‘paca, we killed a couple hours on the Playstation (finished FFX-2 and am now finally starting on Wild Arms 3). Then Sunday night was the first “Turkish Delight” night at the Blue Note, organized by Stephanie’s troupe, Sisters of Sindbad. Sort of a belly dance Open Mic. Very cool. Stephen and I were DJs. Tangerine was there playing live, so there was plenty of boogie for all.