We went to an Alpaca farm today. I am a knitter and a novice spinner. I was enthralled.
They had the whole process of fiber harvesting demonstrated and touchable, from animal to yarn. I loved petting the alpacas and talking to the farmers about the fleece, how the kinks or lack of kinks in the hair create fiber with memory or with a silky drape. I liked watching the alpacas mill around, being herd animals, following us and the farmer as we walked through the fields. I thought about shepherds across time and place. I liked looking at the Ozark mountains and thinking about all the beautiful creatures that live there. Turns out, the fences for the alpaca pastures have to be 10 feet high not to keep the alpaca in, but to keep white tail deer out; the deer carry a parasite that's deadly to the alpaca.
It was terrifically interesting. For me.
This is what Woody mostly wanted to do:
He somewhat reluctantly walked with me through the fields. He took my hand, but had a scowl on his face. He asked if we could go home. But his ears pricked when the farmer mentioned the flash floods that moved a boulder down the mountain and into the middle of his driveway. Woody wanted to know how he knew it was a boulder and not just a big rock. Then he wanted to know how many people it took to move the boulder. Then he wanted to talk about why trucks did better on the steep and rocky roads than our little minivan did. (I was cursing our low carriage and muttering Hail Marys with my eyes closed on the way up. I guess he noticed.)
Sometimes, you just couldn't have guessed what they were going to learn or how.