|Alpacas, Alpacas Everywhere
6:00 am may seem early to you but its the perfect time to clean out stalls and put down fresh straw if youre the lucky owner of alpacas, that is. Alpacas are closely related to llamas. They have cute, camel-like faces, mod hair-dos, like a sheepdog, and wool as soft as velvet.
Originally from the Andes Mountains in Peru, South America, alpacas are becoming popular in this country, too. Kid reporters Sarah and Mary Brewer recently visited their aunt, Suzanne Fogle. She is the proud owner of five alpacas. Cousins Lauren and Rachel De Souza were more than happy to introduce them to the new family members.
The best way to get to know alpacas is to take care of them. Rachel, age 5, and Lauren, age 7, showed the girls the basics:
- Clean the stalls. This means shoveling alpaca droppings to put in a compost pile for the garden. The result: happy alpacas and a beautiful garden.
- Feed them. A serving of alpaca chow a day, fresh hay and grass make a complete diet. For a treat, they love carrots and apples.
- Walk them. The girls used a halter and lead; it takes a while for the alpacas to get used to it. Once they are, it can be fun to bring them to a parade.
- Brush them. Alpacas really like this. It keeps their coats healthy and it feels like a good back-scratch.
Why would anyone want to have alpacas? Alpacas are gentle, loveable animals and make great pets, says Suzanne. They are easy for kids to handle and care for. The wool is very soft and makes warm, high-quality sweaters. People will pay a lot of money for alpaca wool. But, she adds, The best reason of all to have alpacas is because theyre so much fun!
Alpacas from Bolivia on the Chesapeake
Gayle Campbell fell in love with alpacas when she first saw them at The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in 1993. Her farm, Ameripaca, is near Galesville.
There are two kinds of alpacas: Suris and Huacayas. Huacayas have wool that is very wavy. Suris have wool that is much straighter.
Both types make great sweaters. Gayle has both kinds, although she has more Suris.
If youre looking for a special pet, you may not have to look any farther. Alpacas are right at home in Chesapeake Country.
Match the letters on the right to the letters on the left to make a complete word.
Cool Stuff To Do
Tues. Aug. 15 (10am)Fruits and veggies become cool sculptures of underwater creatures. Come listen to One Lonely Seahorse, a charming story with incredible pictures. Preschoolers. Barnes & Noble, Annapolis Harbour Center: 410/573-1115.
Fri. Aug. 11 (10-11am; 2-3pm)Ants are like honeybees & not just for a picnic. Explore an anthill & learn about these interesting insects. Read a story & enjoy an ant snack. Ages 3-5. Battle Creek Cypress Swamp, Port Republic. rsvp: 410/535-5327.
Toyland from the Past
Sat. Aug 12 (2-4:30pm)Travel back in time when kids made their own toys. Make walnut shell sailboats, a pebble target game & more at this one-of-a-kind workshop. Take your games with you to play at home. $10. Capt. Salem Avery House Museum, Shady Side: 410/956-2426.
Kunta Kinte Festival
Aug 12-13Visit an African marketplace in Annapolis. Do art activities & learn about life in Africa. Storytellers will tell their favorite African folktales. St. Johns College, Annapolis:
Sun. Aug 13 (3-4:30pm)Theyre slimy, they sting, but what else do you know about them? Bring an old pair of sneakers and find out more. Walk the beach and wade for jellyfish. Make a jellyfish to take home. Flag Ponds Nature Park, Lusby: 410/535-5327.