On an alpaca farm near Eugene, Oregon, we found Aggie (Class of ’71) Ann Dockendorf tending her girls and boys. (Thank you, Caroline, for this lead.)
Ann graciously showed us around Aragon Alpacas and introduced us to
|Trinket and Tinkerbell|
You will notice one of the girls has a blue bandana around her neck; no that is not a fashion statement.
Tinkerbell is pregnant. She should deliver her little one any day now. The bandana helps Ann keep an eye on her, watching for signs that she is ready to deliver. Did you know the gestation period for alpacas is 11 ½ to 12 months and they most often deliver before 2:00 p.m.?
The girls like to flirt and we know how that can stir things up. Ann keeps the girls away from the boys to keep them calm; also she wants to have a bit of control over the color of the fleece by selecting mating partners.
Unlike sheep wool, the alpaca fleece is hypoallergenic and does not contain lanolin making it is easier to spin. After shearing in the spring, she sends her fleece to a mini-mill to be spun into lovely yarn which she sells in her shop, A Spinner’s Barn.
In addition to her yarn, she sells art and knitted items from other area artists as well as products from the Andes, the ancestral home of the alpacas. Quite often visitors to the shop will find Ann doing a hand-spinning demonstration. When not tending to her boys and girls, manning the shop, knitting or spinning, you might find her giving presentations and demonstrations to local art events or children’s groups.
Aragon Alpacas is a small farm located on a rural road a few miles from Eugene. We did not see any signs promoting or giving directions; however folks find her. As we were leaving, a small group from Florida arrived. Also, two of Ann’s friends stopped in with knitting in hand with no plan except to sit, knit and chat.
With eyes shining and a smiling face
Ann talked enthusiastically about her farm and herd. It is refreshing to find folks that are passionate about their craft. If ever you are in the Eugene, Oregon, it will do your heart good to stop in and meet Ann and her alpaca family.
Currently we are in one of our favorite regions of California (Yep, we are tasting some very good Zinfindel!)
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