Many of our visitors probably remember Lady Gaga – nothing to forget about her. From the time she was a baby her exhilarating behaviors kept us smiling. She earned her name easily – energy and beauty abounds. An actress at heart, she stands out with her unique colors and actions to charm you with her looks and cuteness galore. Like no other, Lady Gaga has the personality of her namesake with her fearless passion that makes you feel like she could thrill you with her latest hit! In March she will bring us her latest hit – Lady Gaga is a suri alpaca who is now going to be a mother. She has weathered the heat during the beginning of her pregnancy – of course she is coddled being in the big barn with alot of fans. Now that fall is upon us, she will be enjoying her grazing time until she delivers next spring and yes, that 355 days is a LONG time. We know she’ll pass on those fashionable genes that we’ve all come to know and love. P.S. Daddy is Pagemaster so the genes from both sides are an amazing match for that babe to be.
“Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.” -E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
Often I tell people about the calming spirit alpaca share. When I talk to applicants about alpaca, I brag that ‘if I were to work anywhere, it would be here.’ When guests take our tours I am proud to share the unique qualities that are so different than any other animal – and yes, as an animal lover I enjoy them all. My underlying message is that with alpaca, the calm, peaceful environment is so beautiful that it is energizing. Today I had the wonderful experience to live what I believe when I took the time to look up from my chores. They are ‘chores’ in the sense of the word chores, but to me they are the time to be able to think about any and everything while doing what we do well – caring for alpaca! Often it is a time when I’m thinking about the past or future instead of relishing the present. Today, rather than focusing on getting the work done, I watched each alpaca (and of course the elegant Simon, the llama) follow the other to the pasture as the sun was rising. Their gracefulness is something we can’t always share with our guests because the ‘Alpaca Experience’ is a time when everyone wants to be close and personal to the alpaca. Alpaca aren’t terribly graceful looking when they are trying to get treats while trying to avoid close encounters. Of course the alpaca love the guests because that means special attention is coming. Being able to observe them as they made their venture to the pasture and graze while capturing their silhouette on the dewy grass was energizing. Beautiful. Calm. Peaceful. Words nor the photo can express their gentle nature and the feelings that are generated just by taking a moment to look up and enjoy.
“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” — Mother Teresa
Brenda Crum is being called the alpaca whisperer. She looks over more than 200 alpacas at the Golden Spirit Alpaca Ranch in Odessa.
“Most people do say, ‘What is an alpaca?’” Crum said. “It’s a common question. They are from the camel family.” The animals are also related to llamas. “They are a docile, gentle animal,” Crum said. “Their spirit is so sweet.” The ranch offers tours where you can get up close and personal with alpaca. “It has the name of a tour, but it’s really an experience, because you learn about the alpaca,” Crum said. “You get to touch them, learn about their personalities and have a little close-up photo-op, which is real fun for people.”
There are numerous alpaca fiber products. Each year we shear and the fiber falls to the floor waiting to evolve into something to wear or use. Alpaca fiber is know for it’s luxury feel and durability. Turning the fiber into end product is a fun part of working with alpaca because each of our beautiful creatures has unique fiber qualities. Venus, Vera, Lady Gaga and Trifecta are different color alpaca, so when they are shorn I look at the color and length of fiber to decide if it should be dyed, prepared for spinning or roving and what a buyer like yourself might want to do with that fiber. Vanilla, Cleopatra and Ledgend are also different colors but their fiber is more useful for certain products because of the color.
Steps to the end product
Scarves, sweaters, rugs, yarn and roving become items that we can sell in our boutique because of the next steps. Once an animal is shorn and the fiber is placed in a bag and each one of the animals fiber is looked at individually. Because alpaca like to graze and find all of the weeds, branches and leaves, their fiber picks up debris. I remove from the fiber while we are deciding what colors and grade (ie, quality) of fiber will be put together. Those beginning stages of processing are important to be sure that the person who receives the product is happy. From there the fiber might be prepared in many ways depending on the beautiful creation that will result. Washing, dying, carding, spinning are a few examples of steps of the process. These steps can be completed at Golden Spirit or the fiber might be sent to a mill for processing into end product.
When you visit the Ranch
If you are taking a tour we spend time talking about how we remove the fiber from the animal and what we do to reach the end product. You can visit our EveryWear Alpaca Boutique for shopping and will see alpaca fiber products that are a result of raising alpaca with fiber that will be turned into items to wear and use.