Alpacas Takeover the Loudoun County Farmers Market
ALPACAS ARE COMING TO THE FARMERS MARKET. I REPEAT. ALPACAS. FARMERS MARKET.
They had me alpacas. Mix that together with a farmers market set up and I'm sold. My Saturday plans were made. Well, not just mine. I made the executive decision for Rob too.
I woke up around 8am in excitement because today was the day that I would get to hang out with alpacas. I think they are the goofiest floofs in all the land and have this derpy, almost fantastical look to them. They're like mammal clouds that prance around, eat and smile all the time. How could you not love an alpaca? Apparently, Rob wasn't as thrilled as I was to meet our new friends. I had to beg and plead for him to get out of bed and by the time we reached the Catoctin Farmers Market, we were already an hour late. I wanted to get there right at opening, but of course Rob wanted to sleep through life, so there's that.
After we parked, I started skipping towards the market and almost got ran over by a truck driver who was going THE WRONG WAY and not even supposed to be there due to the market going on in the parking lot. The combination of our tardiness and this near death experience had my blood boiling despite the frigid cold February air. I couldn't tell if I was shaking from annoyance or the cold. None of this matter though, as soon as I locked eyes with two beautiful alpacas in a small pen at the start of the market.
I ran, and I mean ran, over to them as fast as I could and was greeted by a couple of young girls in their cute little winter gear, passing out carrots in small dixie cups to the surrounding patrons. I immediately started asking questions. "What are their names?" "How old are they" "Aren't they cold?" I thought that last question was a valid one, it was definitely below freezing outside and the winds didn't help. Snow and ice covered the roads and sidewalks still and everyone at the market, including me, had on at least 6 layers.
She told me that this was a common question, and though the weather conditions were bitter, the alpacas were perfect fine and warm in this temperature. Their coats are thick enough to protect them from the freezing air. She even said they may be a little hot right now! I was in shock but loved every minute of time I had with them. They're such sweet and noble creatures! After a while I realized that people were coming and going and I was the only one glued to the fence, so I (reluctantly) decided to move out of the way to let others enjoy.
Next to the pin where the alpacas were, I met their caretaker, Bonnie, who harvests their fleece to make socks, hats, sweaters, you name it. This stuff was SERIOUSLY heavy duty, thick and warm. I was super close to buying a thick pair of socks, but at the time couldn't justify the $30 price tag.
Looking back now, I actually regret not picking up a pair, not only because it is the dead of winter, but because I would have had those socks knowing that it came from one of the friends I had met today. If they ever return to the market, I won't make that same mistake.
Bonnie and her husband own Double 8 Alpaca Ranch in Lovettsville, Virginia. They own 10 pastures of land where the alpacas are free to frolic about, eating as they please and living in pure serenity. I loved this idea so much it almost moved me to tears just thinking about the herds of alpacas, all with those big doofy smiles.
Like I mentioned before, they harvest their fleece and use it in a variety ways which mainly include clothing items in which they sell back to the community. She was the sweetest ever, but what do you expect from an alpaca rancher?
There was a clearing in the crowd so I decided to go back over to the alpacas for one last visit. The two girls gladly gave me more carrots, though I was sure I had cleared them out by now. The lighter Alpaca was the friendliest and didn't hesitate to come over for a bite of carrot and a kiss. The other Alpaca was more shy and took her some time to warm up to me enough to get a treat from my hand without the other one swooping in.
I'm kicking myself right now because I cannot for the life of me remember their names. I do know they were both girls and the shy one had never done a farmers market before. Either way, I was oh so glad they came out and hope they visit again soon.