Thursday, March 21, 2013

Alpaca Field Trip

The brochure for El Paca Pastures read:  Located just below Lake Casitas, around the bend from the Corner Market.  Now, that's Ojai for you!  Still folksy and charming.   A haven for artists, writers, vegans, seekers of the mysteries of the cosmos AND animal lovers!

I had never seen an alpaca before.  They're supposed to resemble llamas, but to me, they looked like giant French Poodles.  The owner assured me they made good pets, but as soon as the big guy sprayed my travel buddy with sour-smelling spit, I kept my distance.  But, man, are they cute!
Alpacas are domesticated animals from South America.  Their soft, warm fleece is coveted the world over.  It is lustrous, silky and warm.  Many people allergic to wool can wear alpaca because it does not contain lanolin.  Our guide told us there are over twenty natural colors of their fleece.  White is the most common and gray is the rarest.
Besides the alpacas, there was this one very handsome llama.  Evidently, llamas make very good guards.  They are naturally territorial and extremely protective.  They will chase predators like coyotes and wolves out of the pastures.  What a great, non-lethal way of saving livestock.
We were allowed to enter a fenced-in area where this yearling still lived with his papa.  I got brave and stroked his back.  It was incredibly soft.  He will be sheared once a year and his fleece knitted and woven into who knows?  A sweater?  A scarf?  At any rate, I had to have one!  Mimi had already made a beeline into the gift shop.  Being Mimi, she had picked out the most beautiful shawl in the store.  My travel buddy vetoed it on the spot.  Mimi looked at me and I knew precisely what she was thinking.  Who is this person and why is he invading my territory?  We ended up shopping by committee and picked out a gorgeous gray scarf that all three of us could wear.
Or maybe not.

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