Saturday started out sunny as so many days lately do. I was conflicted on going, as I also wanted a quiet day to myself. Jim was agreeable to either although I knew he wanted to go and had agreed to do the driving, which helped. So off we went. I forgot my camera and my cell. (The photos were taken by Erica Thum of the Ithaca Journal.) I guess I was still conflicted and almost turned back when I ran into difficulty getting an iced coffee. There are usually messages from the Universe if one listens but this time I just did not know if they were hurdles or obstacles. Jim and I agreed that if when we got to the farm that if it was not well put together or started to rain we would leave.
The drive was short as Angel Tree Alpaca Farm is just the other side of Ithaca near Lansing but its address is Groton. As soon as we got there I could see how organized the people who set the day up are. Something like that always relaxes me. Deb Teeter from Cornell Cooperative Extension coordinates this fun day each year at a different farm in the area.
The sun continued to shine as we unloaded the wheels and fiber from the car, were greeted and set ourselves up under the red and white striped tent set aside especially for the spinning and weaving demos. The large grassy area was full of adults, children, alpaca, tents and color. My mood quickly swung around to positive as I greeted other spinners and knitters from my guild.
Other tents sheltered people sharing samples of cheese from dairy farms, information on 4-H and other activities. Children’s activities included making animals out of vegetables and interactive wildlife exhibits.
The food highlight of the day (for me anyway, as I don't normally eat sugar) was free ice cream made by Dairy Princesses from our area, nummy chocolate and strawberry with chocolate sauce and M&M toppings.
The Festival staff gave us generous chits for the lunch bbq, which few of use used up even though we did eat and drink all day. Salt potatoes, sausage with peppers and onions, real lemonade, real unsweetened iced tea plus water, hamburgers, hot dogs and grilled half chickens.
I knew that Charlotte S would be bringing some of her French and Giant Angoras so Jim and I had a serious discussion the night before about acquiring another bunny. Jim is definitely not ready and I am sorta not either. I want to have a vacation with Jim before getting another pet. We did not have any away time together for SmokeyBlue’s paraplegic 2 years. Charlotte’s bunnies are well socialized, come in many colors and are beautiful. She knew I needed a bunny fix so allowed me to hold them even though the temps were climbing. I bonded with a sweet 3 month old Agouti whom I knew Charlotte was not selling. I wanted to hold the others but kept myself in check with the agouti. In the early afternoon, with the sun miraculously still out, the bunnies were getting quite warm so were packed up and taken home to their cooler hutches.
Spinning for most of the day was a treat as well as answering many questions including if the animals were killed for their wool. I started by saying that only the worms were killed (meaning for silk) but got such strange looks I finally gave serious answers. The Fuzzarelly batts were also given their first airing and petting and were greatly admired. Sharon G, of my guild, immediately started spinning a chartreuse one. She loves acidy greens.
Vickie M, whom I taught to spin, brought along a Babe and encouraged children to sit down in front of it and pseudo spin with her help. I love the way the skill of spinning ( and knitting and crocheting) is passed on to others.
Theresa, who recently moved here with her newly minted PhD, gathered quite a crowd with her spindle. Theresa is an expert spindle spinner. She spun and plied 4 ounces of SW mer/tencel in Anshan’s Biscotti and fooled me good. When she showed me the ball of yarn I thought it was a commercial product.
Mary, from Knit kNight, brought blank Ravelry Hello pins. Several of us that are on Ravelry wrote our Rav names on them to wear with the regular name tags we were given when we arrived. I don’t see how I am going to remember to wear TWO pins when I have several regular really nice name pins at home that I consistently forget to put on. However, the idea of it is cool.
Angel Tree Alpaca Farm is run by 3 generations of one family. The children pitch in after school and on the weekends, while their parents, Jay and Carol, hold full time day jobs but the grandparents', Malcolm and Ellie, work is now the farm. Ellie knits machine-felted hand dyed hats from the alpaca. I bought me one, as I just could not resist - digression: I did not like the brim pin it came with so while at Bob’s on Tuesday I picked out one I did like. Bob will have lots of dichroic pins and buttons and rings and bracelets at Hemlock in September – end of digression.
The animals look extremely well cared for and happy. It was easy being there even with 750 visitors walking though, stopping, watching and asking questions. We actually stayed later than many people, showing me that the morning had been full of easily jumped over hurdles.
OH and there was no rain until the nighttime.