Sunday, January 2, 2011

It's not the Dali Lama....but it IS an Alpaca

Happy New Year from Bloggeritaville! I hope yours is off to a great start.
Mine is. Had my beans and greens.
And spent part of the day at an alpaca farm.
Pretty unconventional.
But then I never claimed to be. In fact, I like it that way. Who wants to be "normal" or predictable?
Don't ask my husband, he might disagree. He sometimes cannot keep up, though he is always graceful, accomidating and understanding and lets me be "Leigh". But I digress.

"Why, must've made someone REAL mad for them to spit on your head".
It made me giggle, I looked over to see Debbie Gablin, owner of Timberlake Alpaca Farm talking to one of her alpaca's as she spread out their feed.

"Not starting the new year off to well."
Maybe the alpaca wasn't. But I was actually enjoying my New Year's Day spent on the farm surrounded by over sixty alpaca's. And no one spit in my hair, so I considered myself lucky.
In fact, right near honored.

I have long said I'd love to have a lama. I have names picked out.....Dali Lama, Lorenzo Lama, Bahama Lama. I've got it all worked out in my head. But I have never been able to get my lama permit, issued by my husband. Much less the city.
It kinda worked out, because after spending a day at an Alpaca Farm, I have found that it isnt a lama I want, it's an alpaca. Though, the name thing could be a problem.
Nothing goes with Alpaca.
Except maybe Al Paca-chino?
Neil Sedaka Alpaca?
Alpaca's are gentle and extremely curious creatures. Like all animals, alpacas exhibit individual personality. They are herd animals, preferring the companionship of their friends and their established community, and will become stressed if separated from their buddies. And if provoked, will spit. I considered myself lucky, as a guest in their confines, they were very hospitable, although extremely curious of me and my camera. At one point I found myself surrounded by numerous big black eyes, with eyelashes that any woman would almost die for.

Everywhere I looked curious stares

From creatures big and small.

Alpacas are New World camels and look like small llamas or long-necked camels with no humps, especially when recently sheared. They have shaggy necks and camel-like faces with thick lips, pronounced noses, and long ears. Their large, expressive eyes seem to exhibit both wisdom and childlike curiosity. Easily domesticated, alpacas are friendly, gentle and curious.

Alpacas were exported from Peru in the mid-1980s and have become a premier livestock in North America and abroad.Each alpaca born in the US is blood-typed before registering. This practice helps keep our North American standards high, our animals healthy, and our breeding practices more focused on growing the best alpaca fiber in the world.

And speaking of that fiber....their coat. It's the reason the Gablin's raise their alpaca's. For show. Their coats are extremely soft, and feel much like cashmire.", explained Mrs. Gablin, "Although on a rainy day like today, it's not to pretty."

"Hey, my hair looks like that today too. I can understand, no apologies necessary".

There are two types of alpacas, classified according to their fiber type:
Huacaya ('wah-KI-yah') — dense, crimped, wooly, water-resistant fleece. About 90% of all alpacas in the North America are "teddy-bear" huacayas.

Suri ('SUR-ree') — very fine and lustrous fiber which grows parallel to the body in long, separate locks. Only 10% of the alpaca population in the US are suris.

Unlike the llama, the fiber of the alpaca can be used for clothing. Alpaca fiber is softer than cashmere or angora, and warmer and lighter weight than wool, without the prickle-factor that some wool has. "They are second, only to a polar bear...which has the warmest fur of any animal.", Mrs Gablin explained.  Since alpaca fleece has no lanolin, it is easier to process and is hypoallerginic. Sounds alot like my shih-tsu, just bigger! Alpacas are sheared annually, usually in the spring. The fiber may be sold and processed into rovings, spun into yarn, knitted or woven into fine fabrics. Each step adds more value to the product.

Alpacas have a life expectancy of 20-25 years. Which is a long time if you ask Domino, one of the babies on the farm.

The youngest baby is Loretta. Yes, after my hero, Mrs. Lynn.
Loretta here is just four days old. (Ohhh, to be born with legs that long!)

She has several friends in the nursery.

And I made several new friends at Timberlake Farms as well.

I was honored to be a guest at Timberlake Farms. And I am trying my best to convince Big Daddy we need an alpaca for our back yard. I told him all about how they are environmentally friendly...The alpaca's two-toed feet are soft pads protected on the top and sides by toe nails. Unlike hard hooves, they leave the terrain undamaged. And as they graze, they only nibble the top of the pasture grass rather than uprooting it....thus less grass to cut. He also didn't care that their manure is excellent for a garden.

He wasn't convinced. I guess it means "Al-Paca" bag and head up to Glencoe for more trips to Timberlanke Farms to visit my new doe eyed friends.
Sorry.... I couldn't resist.

"Timberlake Farms Alpacas is located in Northeast Alabama. We are the oldest and largest alpaca farm in Alabama, with both Suri and Huacaya alpacas. We began our herd in 1993. Our alpacas represent some of the finest and best-known bloodlines in the nation. We offer financing, free breed backs, and discounts for cash/multiple purchases.

At Timberlake Farms Alpacas we offer Stud services, and bred females, as well as maidens and occasionally pet males. We are happy to offer after sale support and boarding. We have enjoyed showing our alpacas and have won many blue ribbons Color Championships."-Timberlake Farms

Timberlake Farm Owners (And special thanks to): Peggy & Jerome Gamblin

Farm Address
902 Ford Valley Road
Glencoe, AL 35905

Important Phone Numbers
Ph1: 256 492 3930
Ph2: 256 490 0855
Fax: 256 4902 3930

Web Site: and


Mari said...

They are sooo cute! We used to have a man in our Nursing Home who had an Alpaca farm. He loved his "paca's"!

Lisa@Pickles and Cheese said...

Loved this post. I have always wanted to see Alpacas up close. So cute! I have a soft spot for Donkeys and Alpacas and would have loved to to spend the day visiting this farm like you did. Thanks for taking me along with you here.

Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

I really loved all of these photos...makes me want some alpacas...

4thelove! said...

at first I thought I was at my aunt's blog... as she has a farm with fur critters all over and she shares your love for Alpaca's and has for quit some time. She did have a lama at one point til he passed away. I"ll have to send her this way to read this post! Happy Monday!

Donnie said...

That was so funny and sweet to. Looks like you all had a great time.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Thanks for sharing your trip to the farm. I have an Alpaca scarf and the first time i put it on, I started itching, so wear it under the collar of my coat.
Happy New Year

the cape on the corner said...

oh my gosh, HOW adorable! i love that you have names picked out for your future llama-i do the same thing. al paca-chino is genius. i am going to have to try to come up with one, too.