I’m a little late getting this post up… a plague descended on our household post-Thanksgiving. There was a lot of coughing, couch naps, and sinus headache crankiness. We’re starting to sweep up all the snotty tissues now and consume more than just Nyquil so I wanted to report on my cyber Monday adventure.
So who really needs cyber Monday? I had a FIBER Monday!
I had the privilege of visiting Villa de Alpacas – the farm at Villa de Sales in Acquasco, Maryland the Monday after Thanksgiving.
The owner – Angel – is a family friend and she graciously gave me a tour of several areas of the farm. Naturally, the best part was meeting the alpacas and llamas!
Angel’s farm is one of only 4 remaining bicentennial farms in the state of Maryland. And it is the only continuously operating and self-sustaining bicentennial farm in the state.
I feel really strongly about historical preservation and maintaining buildings versus pillaging our green areas to build tracts of McMansions. As evidenced by my own 165-year-old domicile and my ever-growing disdain for structures that are younger than me… but I digress!
The point is, I’m really in awe of what Angel has accomplished – both in preserving her family’s legacy and in using the alpacas and llamas as a unique solution.
Angel’s property and gorgeous Victorian home are awe-inspiring but her animals and the amazing things that are made with their fleece are the real stars of the show.
Although quilting and sewing are my main passions, I also knit so I know alpaca fiber is fabulous. Their fleece can be as soft as cashmere and is warmer than wool. Plus it is hypoallergenic! Since alpacas don’t have lanolin, their fleece doesn’t cause allergic reactions that way that wool does for some people.
You don’t have to knit to appreciate the lovely things that Angel and other artisans make with alpaca fleece. During my tour of her studio and shop, I was harboring serious fantasies about snuggling down in a pile of alpaca blankets and sweaters for an afternoon nap.
As I said, the highlight of my afternoon was my visit with some of her “girls” – a dozen or so alpacas and llamas. (Angel owns about 200 animals – 65 or so are on her property. The boys and girls are separated like any kind of livestock and I just met a group of the girls.)
It was cold and rainy, so my visit to the barn was short. But let me tell you, nothing is more delightful than a kiss from an alpaca and some snuggles from a friendly llama!
Angel’s girls were friendly and curious and they like to have their necks rubbed. I was thrilled at how soft they are! I just wanted to hug them and pet them all day long.
Please check out Angel’s website for interesting info about the farm and about alpacas. I believe she is working toward making some of her gorgeous alpaca fleece products available for sale online in the near future so keep your eyes peeled!