Sunday, July 12, 2009

Oyama Lake Alpaca Farm

Saturday turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous, sunny and hot day. Six of us turned up at the Oyama Lake Alpaca Farm for the tour. The farm is set on a hill overlooking two lakes, Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake. I've mentioned Kal Lake before; the mineral content in the water gives it a beautiful turquoise blue/green colour, especially when the sun is shining, as it was yesterday. I was going to take a picture of the view, but I was having technological issues* again.

Jim and Darlene have approximately 30 alpacas in total, with most of the males away at "summer camp" or in pasture down nearer the lake. The herd below is the female contingent of their herd. We were allowed in the pasture with the herd, which made me just a little nervous at first.

The alpacas, however, had no such concerns. They were docile, friendly and utterly cute!

When I heard the name of the gray alpaca below, I had to get a picture of her. This little beauty is named Oceana, which just happens to be the name of my other granddaughter (her name is spelled slightly differently... Oceanna). We were also given a little sample of alpaca fiber with the name of the animal on the baggie. I chose Oceana's fiber, for obvious reasons.

And, of course, I couldn't come home empty-handed. I knew I wanted some laceweight alpaca. I'd seen it on their website and immediately knew it would be coming home with me. It only comes in the natural white that you see below, but it feels like it's going to be a lovely yarn to knit with. I'm not sure of the yardage, but that's a 200 gram skein. Their web site says that the laceweight yarn comes in at 3800 yards per pound. Hmm... if I'm doing my calculations correctly, I figure it's about 1675 yards. That should be more than enough to make a decent shawl.

I also came home with this lovely cake of baby alpaca. The colour is one of the 13 natural colours of alpacas the farm has. It's a 100 gram cake, 407 yards. I'm not sure yet what I want to make with it, but John suggested a pair of gloves. That's why the book is open to that page. I'll have to swatch first because there is no suggested needle size on this yarn. I did measure the wraps per inch, and it comes in at 22 wpi. 

Once I've decided what I'm going to do with this yarn, I'll let you know. In the meantime, I'll just keep fondling it. Seeing as it's baby alpaca, it's very soft and cushy. Absolutely yummy!

After we left the farm, we met at Gatzke's Orchard Cafe for some lunch, some knitting and lots of chatting. We sat under a grape arbour, which gave us plenty of shade. If you're ever in the Okanagan, driving between Vernon and Kelowna, do stop in at Gatzke's. It's a fruit/veg stand and cafe. It's easy to get on and off the highway there and the food is pretty good.  Apparently, they also have orchard tours, something I didn't know. 

*Me and technology... it seems we're not getting along too well at the moment. I made sure everything had fresh batteries, with extra batteries for both the camera and the voice recorder. After 9 pictures, the camera batteries died, so I replaced them with the brand new batteries that had been charged only once; as soon as I turned the camera on, the camera turned itself off. The batteries didn't work. Argh!! They have since been recharged and work just fine now. Oh well, at least I was recording everything during our time in the pasture with the alpacas. Or, I thought I was...

When I got home and downloaded the file, it seems I hadn't recorded anything! I was stumped for a moment. Then I remembered that not only does the recorder have an on/off button, so does the microphone and I had forgotten to turn it on. To say I feel stupid really doesn't cover it, especially since I had discovered the on/off switch the night before, when I was testing the equipment. I was going to play parts of the recording on next week's podcast; well, that was the plan, at any rate. Now, it will be just me... again. *Big sigh* 


  1. I know exactly how you felt being among the Alpacas. I think Alpaca yarn is about the most perfect yarn for any lace knitting. It is so incredibly light, soft and yet so very warm, that even the laciest of patterns would not take away from the warmth the Alpaca fleece would provide. Amazing fiber, isn't it?

    I have shipped my 3 fleeces off to a miller to have it processed into roving for me. If I did it all myself I might not live long enough to enjoy the pleasure of spinning it, let alone knitting with it......hahaha

    I have no doubt you will make something amazingly gorgeous with your Alpaca. I just can't wait to see it........ :)

  2. That too bad about your recorder mic... Darlene had so much information for us. I'm sure we will go back again though.

  3. One of the factoids I've learned recently is that rechargeable batteries loose their charge rather quickly and may not have enough charge for the energy needs of a camera. The Eneloop (by sony) style that is sold fully charged is the exception.

    Of course I learned this AFTER my nephews wedding where fortunately I had regular alkaline batteries as a backup.