We left Valley of Fires for Socorro after lunch and although the road never really changed the scenery did a bit. Traveling these roads can get monotonous but staying off the interstates not only gives us better views but in general the road surface is better...by far in many cases.
David, the owner of Puerta del Sol Alpaca Farm told me that he would be home from school by 3:30 and when we pulled in to the yard next to the house and barn at 3:15 we expected him soon. Unfortunately (for him-we were fine wandering around and walking the pets) as a teacher he was required to stay for a meeting until 4:30.
|The view from our MoHo|
|As I sat waiting for Don to disconnect the tow hitch this Gambel's quail beat a hasty retreat into the bushes|
When he arrived we realized that the car we'd seen was his mother's and she had been over with the alpacas caring for the first born cria of the season. A cria is a baby alpaca. He immediately invited us into the pen to meet the herd and the cria and began teaching us about the difference between alpaca types- Huacaya (pronounced wah CAH yah) and Suri. Huacaya alpacas produce the dense, soft fiber that is a bit like sheep wool whereas suri is very silky with long fibers. We also learned not to look an alpaca straight in the eye (which is actually true of many species) and that the herd can have a dominant female who will protect the others. The non-breeding females are in one area, the pregnant females in another (they gestate for 11 months) and the males in another.
Since that day's cria was the first this year (they are born in the spring and usually during the day between 10a and 2p) she was an object of curiosity for the other mothers-to-be. Her mother, Fiona, was attentive but was emitting tiny little cries that David said they do after birth, likely because they are still hurting a bit. All was going well until David noticed that the cria's umbilicus was still quite wet and long. He called the vet who said to keep an eye on it and suggested an injection of penicillin prophylactically. Well, David has never given an injection and he did not know where to start...so I volunteered. I never thought my nursing skills would be called back into play for a newborn alpaca but there it was...ya never know! I gave the cria an injection in the neck, feeling its soft fur and having a watchful eye kept n me by Fiona and when we went into the house to look at the wool she was fine, gamboling around on her still wobbly legs and Fiona trying to catch some rest when she would lie down. We could easily understand how David fell in love with these inquisitive, adorable, smart animals with incredible hearing.
|the cria was lying down when we arrived|
|but awakened and sat next to Fiona|
|he tried standing|
|and steadying himself while Mom received company|
|then rested again against Mom|
|while David was on the phone with the vet the cria fed|
|but as she'd been all afternoon, was the object of curiosity from other mothers to be,|
|as well as the boys on the other side of the fence|
One of the courtesies members of Harvest Hosts are expected to perform is a small purchase of good in return for the free stay. So, we went in to look at what was available and I was able to get 2 bars of soap wrapped beautifully in wool spun from the Puerta del Sol alpacas. David gave me a ridiculously low price in return for my having helped and we were very grateful. We all talked for awhile longer and as we were leaving I noticed a pan of brownies on the counter. David said it had been teacher appreciation week at school and he'd eaten more dozens of baked goods than he could count and asked us to please take them. I protested-weakly, I admit, I LOVE brownies-but we left with the entire pan full which I cut into squares, froze and ate with as much control as I could. And yes, I shared with Don.
We retired to the MoHo and David said he'd be leaving early the next morning so we never found out how the little cria did but everything was quiet as we pulled out the following morning and I like to believe everything was fine.
And so on to Albuquerque where we'd be boondocking again, this time on a city easement road next to Camping World where our annual "check up" would be done.