I always try to find something new to do in the winter: a project, a course, a craft. Something to take the edge off for five miserable, cold, dark months. A course taught by a local photographer seemed interesting. A perfect solution to winter doldrums!
I lasted for two classes. They were incredibly boring.
Instead I googled "alpacas ontario". Their website http://www.alpacaontario.ca/ provides a handy list of members with locations and contact info and I was surprised to see how many were within driving distance of my suburban home. It was easy to e-mail those closest to me and ask if I could visit them and their alpacas.
On November 1st we drove to Brier Run Alpacas in Oil Springs (http://www.alpacascanada.com/). Our timing was perfect as they were holding an open house for visitors, and because they also have a fibre processing mill, Edy's Mills Fine Fibres, on the property. It was a great way to be introduced to the alpaca industry. Norris provided us with a thorough tour of the barn and the pastures and I tried to understand his explanations. This is where I heard my first alpaca hum. It's also where I clued in that alpaca farm = alpaca store. This kind of winter project looked to be a right up my alley!
The very next day we drove to a smaller farm only 30 minutes from home: Vineyard Alpacas in Beamsville (http://www.vineyardalpacas.com/). Gillian and Patrick welcomed us and introduced us to their herd. They have a lovely store on the farm and I was impressed with their marketing plans. It was a warm, sunny day and I just wanted to stand at the fence and stare at the alpacas. I remember Patrick explaining how alpacas poop in a communal pile and that it was pretty easy to care for them, and that a couple of acres would support about 5 alpacas. A light bulb went off. We own two acres of mostly grass at our cottage in PEI - how could I figure out a way to get alpacas on that grass? How could I figure out a way to get Greg on board with this idea? This project was going to get challenging.
I've mentioned before the cuteness factor of alpacas. See what I mean?