Alpacas and a Pipe Organ

Wow, these have been a wild couple of days! My children and I have had two completely different and completely amazing opportunities.

Yesterday, we helped take apart a HUGE pipe organ! More on this later.

First, since I'm still all excited about it, lol, I want to tell you about today’s exciting activity – we helped to shear 40 cute and darling alpacas! My friend, Allie Neas, of Eyedazzler Alpacas, invited us to help with the shearing and let me tell you – we had a blast!

First, we had to drive to Westcliffe, which is one of the prettiest drives ever. But – take a look at this weird storm – we skirted it all the way there.

Odd, don't you agree? There was about 2 inches of slushy snow at McKenzie Junction – this is May 30! We enjoyed cool temperatures all day long. Yay.

Nice barn, eh? This is where we spent the day.

Our first customer. Isn’t she nice and clean? This was the job for my friend Dana and me – to pat the dust and vegetable matter out of their fleece.
Here I am, busy at my job, talking a mile a minute to someone about something, heh heh heh.

The girlie in the blue sweater is my Emma, striking an unusual pose, lol. The girl on the right is Clara, and they are posing with Clara the Alpaca. Clara the girl, as you can see, looks perfectly normal – what’s with Emma??? Silly girl.

There were two alpaca being shorn at the same time, so it went really fast.

They were trussed up so tightly that they couldn't move, and they were lying on a rubber mat, and the shearers were really very gentle. There was not one single nicked animal all day long, not a single one!. The alpaca didn’t like it too much, but they don’t seem any worse for the experience, except that they look really foolish, heh heh heh. The shearers are in bright green. The man in the brown coat is the owner, Phil Neas, and he’s busy trimming the feet. He also trimed the teeth of some of the alpaca, while they were tied up and immobile. It all went very fast. I was amazed.

That’s my girlie Grace in pink – she and Annabelle had the job of gathering the fleeces and putting them into bags.

A little tooth trimming.

This is the view that we enjoyed, all day long. Aaaahhhhhh…..

Here are my son, Sam (in blue), and a Francis – a delightful young foreign exchange student from France.

I tell you – this was quite a gathering today – Francis from France, the shearers from New Zealand, the owners from Minnesota, by way of New Mexico, Dana and her children from North Carolina, my children from South Carolina and me from Louisiana. Now that I think of it, maybe my Emma was the only Colorado Native here today… hmmm…

Sam’s job was to hoist the alpaca so that others could loop the foot ropes onto their feet.

Clara and Emma kept the place clean! Good job!

This alpaca’s name is Audrey, and she’s a champion – her fleece is soooooooo nice. The fleece gets special treatment because I think that it’s going to a competition or something. See how they have spread a tablecloth onto the floor first – to keep the fleece especially clean and nice. Audrey was also especially large. She’s a beautiful animal.

Camera Shy Allie – this is the only picture I got of her, all day long. You’ll notice her hat in some of the pictures. She was a very busy bee today – running all over the place. I bet that she’ll sleep hard tonight!

Dana and Kahlua sang to each other - really - they did! It was cool.

This is Bri – the darling of the barn. Have you ever seen anything so CUTE???

Just look at this face.

...doesn’t she look a bit different, now? LOL!

Phil and Bri have something special between them… they talk…

I just can’t get over how weird they look without their fleeces! ET – Phone Home!

Afterwards - - Lunch! Notice, it’s the teenagers who made it to the table, first.

This is what a bunch of people look like who have shorn 40 alpaca in just a few hours! Not a bad looking group, eh? Dana and Allie, the brats, aren’t in the picture. There were also 4 local teenaged boys who ate lunch and then took off, so they aren’t in the picture, either.

From left to right – Sam, Shearer, Shearer, Shearer, me, Annabelle, Boss Shearer, Grace, Phil, and the girlies, Emma and Clara are down in the front.

...and this is a small portion of the results of the day! We skirted two bags and it was a delight to handle the fleece – these Eyedazzler fleeces are soooooo soft!

Now, yesterday was a totally different sort of day. We dismantled the pipe organ at our now defunct church, St. Paul’s United Methodist. Morel and Associates, of Denver, renovated the organ in 1998, and they were very sad to begin to dismantle it today.

The decorative pipes have been removed, and the shades (shutters) are next to come down.

Mr. Morel, on the ladder, handed down pipes, which my children and I carried out to the pews, where another man carefully organized them all, so that they can be boxed up. Everything will be stored at Morel’s, until a buyer can be found. Wanna buy a really nice pipe organ? Contact me.

For some reason, I think that these pipes look like little people.

...some wooden pipes…

...some metal pipes….

...some tiny pipes…

... a not so tiny pipe.

Isn’t this a neat picture? children, inside a pipe organ. (You can just see Sam and Emma, peeping between the shades, on the left.) Grace has played this organ and now, she’s in it. I don’t know, but this kind of freaks me out. Have you ever read The Borrowers? Well, this sort of puts me in the mind of those books, somehow.

...almost all of the pipes have been removed. All that’s left are the huge bourdons, which Mr. Morel assures me is not a job for women and children, heh heh heh. He’s going to have some large men in today to take them out. I wish I could have seen it, but I was busy patting dust out of alpacas, lol.

We met some friends in the park for a bit of visiting, then Grace had a job interview – playing for a Catholic Church (she got the job!) – and during the interview, we had a violent hail – rain – and – thunder - storm, which had Emma and me scurrying for buckets as the rain was coming in through the swamp coolers. Eek!

Afterwards, a nice rainbow.

So, you can see that we’ve had a busy couple of days. And folks say that there’s nothing to do in Pueblo. They should be whipped.

Spring Sky

Some friends and I had a bead party at a local bead store - Frani's Beads. Frani did a wonderful job of hosting the party, and she guided us in our choice of projects - either a bracelet or an eyeglass tether. As you can see, I picked the bracelet project. It's very simple - three separate strands of beads, connected to a decorative hook and eye, and you twist the bracelet before hooking the hook. That's it! Couldn't be easier.

Since I have no imagination whatsoever, I simply looked out the window for inspiration. Across the parking lot from Frani's, I saw the bright green of the new leaves on the trees, and the blue sky, and the white and grey clouds and Eureka! There is my project!

The white beads which Frani helped me choose are somewhat irridescent, just like real clouds - how cool is that? I combined these white beads with some small grey beads, and I think that the effect is very cloudlike, lol.

This is fiber related because, as you can see, the beads are spun, lol. Or are they plied? Hmmm...

This was a fun project! I just love my Spring Sky bracelet! I'm already planning my Summer, Fall and Winter bracelets. I can hardly wait.

A couple of finished items

Gosh, it seems like all I do is start projects with out finishing any of them. Someone once told me that I have lots of initiative, but very little finishitive... ouch.

Well, this is to show that every now and then, I do finish my projects!

Here are a couple of shots of my green socks. Not only have I finished them (a vert long time ago, actually) but I've actually cast on for another pair. I just love this Red Heart Wool - see the post "Mod Socks" down below for more information.

I knitted these with the Dragon Skin Pattern, only it hardly shows up due to the variagation. This is OK with me, as it was an experiment, and it worked out very well! If you compare the front of the sock to the back of the sock, you'll see that the dragon scales are much larger on the back of the sock. I added more increases to the back so that the socks would be larger near the top, to accomodate my calves. This worked out very well, and I'm extremely happy. Yay! It was easy to do, too. I discovered something - its very difficult to take a photo of the back of your own leg, lol. These socks are pulled up very high, in order to show the stitches - they don't fit this tightly in real life.

Here you see my nice, clean skein of Lincoln. It came out very nice, and I'm a happy spinster.

Isn't that a nice touch that the yarn and the concrete on my front porch are the exact same color? lol.

That trip to the alpaca farm got me re-interested in spinning. So, YES, I've started another spinning project. I bought some roving in Red, Pink and Yellow, and I'm spinning striped yarn. Well... that's the plan, anyway. I'm hoping to andean ply it and have it come out with the red matching up with the red, and the yellow matching up with the yellow and so forth, but I want for there to be some barberpoling in there, too. Think I can do it? Hmmm... we'll see. I've spun almost all of one sock's worth - while listening to the Eyre Affair - what a cute book! Anyway, I'll keep you posted on my spinning progress. I can't wait to get plying, just to see if it works!