Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brookfarm Alpacas: Shearing Day

My friend Sarah, her parents own a farm named Brookfarm Alpacas. Sarah's family has lived on this farm for nearly 3 generations. It's history is steeped in family, that I always feel like a member when I am there. So nice, considering that my actual family lives in Minnesota.

When Sarah and her parents, Mark and Debbie, asked us to help at shearing day - we were happy to oblige.

Welcome to the farm!

On the left are the alpacas that have already been sheared, on the right are those waiting in line.

Ok, guy, now it's your turn. Debbie brings the alpaca to the scale to be weighed, first, before shearing.

Sarah's Dad, Mark, reassures the alpaca that it's going to be ok as the shearer prepares his razor. Sarah's parents love their animals so much - it is so sweet.

Now things get a tiny bit dramatic, the alpaca's legs are tied, and the alpaca is guided to the ground...

and stretched so if can safely be sheared. I swear the animals are not in pain - even though this might look a bit torturous upon 1st glance. Having that guy's belly exposed, it was really hard for me to stop myself from giving him a little tickle. Trust me, I restrained myself. Here Mark stays with the alpaca while it is sheared. Adrienne and Sarah dust the coat.

Now, unfortunately for this report, I had to put my camera down - I had to get to work! From here, the shearer comes over and starts to cut the fleece from the alpaca. Sarah, Adrienne, and I were each in charge of collecting a certain part of the fleece from the animal. The best parts of the fleece are reserved for making roving and yarn while the other parts are sent to be made into rugs. We are grateful that the Emery's invited us to be part of the farm for the day. If you would like to visit the farm, they accept visitors by appointment.

To check out Sarah's family's gorgeous yarn and fiber, click here.

I hope you are having a great day!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What the Hell?

My goodness! It's been forever. I miss you!

You know when time has gone by, and you don't know where to begin...but we're good friends, so I'm sure we'll be caught up in no time.

When I lived in India, digital cameras were just beginning to fall into the hands of amateurs. I played it safe and stuck with my 1976 Nikon 35mm. Because my memories or more or less stuck in 35mm, I had shared relatively few images with the public. Which really is a shame, firstly, it being so pictorial, secondly, being that my time there has shaped my life to a very great extent.

Today, that changes. I found some photos of me in Indian that are actually in a computer, meaning that I can upload them. We actually hooked up the scanner as well - which means that hopefully I can post more photos of India and blog a bit about my research there.

Here I am at the Jama Masjid in Delhi. This place is absolutely magical. And, it is huge. This shot captures only a quarter of the courtyard.

This is Marine Drive in Bombay aka Mumbai. Right there, across the street is the Arabian Sea. The kurta I am wearing is my 1st attempt at dyeing and bandhani (the Indian form of Shibori). I took a piece of undyed fabric, and wrapped the sections which are white with cotton thread. Then, my friends dyed the fabric red. I untied the threaded sections - which resulted in the polka dot pattern you see in the above photo. Then, I took the fabric to the tailor and had it sewn into the kurta. The back of the kurta also has resist tied patterns.

Today's post, I am going to leave short and sweet. There's been a lot on my mind over the past few months and I can't wait to share. Let's just say, there has been death, there has been life, and then there is local manufacturing.