So, this weekend we went down to Christchurch to attend the first national Alpaca Association Fiber Expo, a combination of a large alpaca show plus lots of fabric exhibits and displays. As we were flying down there, we decided to add Friday and Monday, make it a long weekend, and go see some animals that are for sale.
The show went quite well. We caught up with some old friends, made some new friends, and talked shop for many hours. Now we must email all the new people we met so to stay in contact.
We discovered that the most common name for women in the industry is Linda. Last November we bought our boys from Linda Lonsdale. Friday we were looking at 2 ‘paca being sold by Linda Blake for Linda Ellwood. The Sunday we went out to look at some other llamas and alpaca owned by yet another Linda. Rather amusing.
We made the leap on Sunday and put down a deposit for our first two girls, Victoria and Princess Cariboo. Now, Victorias actual registered name is “AgResearch M250”, as she is an old (12) girl that was part of that original herd. (One great advantage of her- besides the traits we know about- is that if there has been any destructive inbreeing over the last 12 years we are escaping it by going “back to the beginning” genetically.) Victoria was renamed by the previous owners based on her paddock behavior. Who’s queen? 🙂 We look forward to watching her boss around the boys, we just wonder if she will boss around Jim the llama too! And Jim is arriving tomorrow! We are very excited.
On Monday we drove out to the Banks Penninsula to look at another llama. The woman selling him (Jane, not a Linda this time) runs a small llama farm with a very nice B&B. By very nice I mean they don’t publish prices anywhere, as in “if you need to ask, you can’t afford it”. I know one guest was Ian Macellan (picture on wall). Incredible views. Jane was really nice (transplanted American from North Carolina, came down 10 years ago), but when we left both Tam and I could not help feeling for her. Her husband died two year ago (cancer), and you could feel even now how much she loved him, and how tough it had been. I think her llamas got lots of hugs. Especialy touching was the secluded spot down by the stream where her gardener build her a carved seat above the water- she had been coming down there to cry, and he wanted to do something for her. Just hurts the heart to think about it.
Princess Cariboo may, or may not, be pregnant (current owners are not sure). She will be ultrasound scanned before they are sent up later this week. If she is pregnant we can look forward to a mediocre (but free) cria next March or April. If not, we send the two of them off to stud whenever we can get that arranged. As alpaca have a nearly 1-year gestation, getting them off to stud in Spring is not a bad plan, as that way we can look forward to Spring cria next year!