Thursday, 11 October 2012

Humminghills Alpacas

These days all our clothing hails from far off lands, so a visit to Humminghills Alpacas was my first attempt to source some pure local yarn. Our adventure began as the road twisted up and away from the coast and into the Tweed Valley hinterland. The property lies in the hills and the alpacas actually do hum, hence the name, Humminghills (clever, huh). They run hundreds of Huacaya and Suri alpacas who had just been shorn, including 14 very cute cria (newborns).

We hand fed the females and were introduced to each by name. Here (below) is the very sociable Rubi, nibbling some lucerne. Alpacas are of the Camelid family and their soft padded feet exert less pressure on our fragile soils than sheep and even kangaroos. So, alpaca fleece is remarkably environmentally friendly. They will also eat native plants and make ideal chicken coop guardians.

This is the farm carding machine - fleece goes in one end in a big tangle and comes out the other ready for spinning. There are not many of these left in Australia and it made me realize how much effort goes into keeping us clothed and how we simply take it all for granted.

Now, I just have to get knitting and make something super special to do the gorgeous Humminghills Alpacas justice.

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