Alpacas, Lavender and a beautiful day in the country


Some of you may know that I am learning how to knit (see my first knitting post here). Well I guess a more correct declaration would be that I am re-learning how to knit. I first learned how to knit when I was a kid and promptly decided that it was a lot of work and took up needlepoint instead. All that back and forth - knit and purl - was not my cup of tea. Fast forward what seems like a hundred years and Tracey (me) has fallen in love with all things woolly. This includes gorgeous wool blankets, cushions, chunky scarves and floor cushions made out of felt. I can't get enough of it. So I decide to take knitting classes. Then I fall in love with alpaca wool. Then I decide that I have to meet the ones who produce this soft and luxurious wool so off I go to Alpagas des Hauts Vents to meet the alpacas.

The beautiful female alpaca that you see above and below is called Shablis and she is not only soft to the touch but incredibly mild mannered. I rubbed her cheeks and patted her head while she stood there and took it all in, quite content with all the attention. 



I learned a great deal about alpacas today thanks to our host Sara. Did you know that Alpaca's are from the camel family and they have no top teeth so they cannot eat anything hard? The female alpacas also have no "heat cycle" so they can breed at any time. The gestation period is 11 months and the babies - called cria - are usually able to stand and nurse within an hour. 







Each grown Alpaca eats approx. one bale of hay per month and their poop is one of the richest organic fertilizers you'll ever find (for those of you who like to garden). 


 

Alpaca wool is hypoallergenic and doesn't contain lanolin like sheep's wool so you can spin it straight off the animal. Although Sara doesn't spin the wool herself (she has enough to do between taking care of the alpacas, goats, chickens, dogs, cats and kids) she has an on-site boutique that sells her alpaca wool as well as some pretty awesome local creations made using her wool. 



I couldn't leave without picking up a few items such as this beautiful scarf (bottom right with the white) and I can't wait for Winter so that I can wear it!

I can't say enough good things about Alpaga des Hauts Vents. So if you're ever in Havelock or on your way to Parc Safari I would highly recommend taking a small detour to visit the farm. Sara and her husband Jean-Yves will be more than happy to introduce their alpacas to you and your little ones. 

I like to buy locally but if you can't make it to the farm you can always buy on-line. Here is the link to her shop.

If you're ever in Monteal and you feel like taking a drive in the country I would recommend taking the "Circuit du paysan" which will bring you to many local farms, including this one, and other attractions such as a lavender farm called "Lavandou" that I will post about soon.

All photos ©Tracey MacKenzie

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