Last weekend, Hobostripper stayed with me. I’m not sure what else needs to be said about that. How often does one get a Hobostripper and her well-trained dog hanging out for a few days? I don’t know about you all, but this doesn’t happen to me all that often. We played in the woods, went to visit Rusty Cock Ridge, talked a lot. She wants to start some sort of wilderness education program herself, so we talked a lot about the things I’ve learned in the last few years. She made a fabulous beef curry stew that we ate for every meal for about three days straight. After that was gone, we resorted to eating amazing salads mostly from the garden in the backyard (just add cheese and hearts of palm…mmmmm).

The day she left, Preston got back from driving across the country. According to Mapquest, it should take 45 hours to drive from South Carolina to here, with no stops. Preston did it in 70 hours, including a 12-hour stop in Boise to hook up with some old friends, in addition to all the gas stops, construction slowdowns, and the occasional rest area nap. We have a conception in our culture that if you love someone, you should love them without reference to their actions. I’ve heard this called unconditional love, though it’s rarely actually without condition. Anyway, I love Preston for lots of reasons, and I would still probably love him if he didn’t have mad driving skillz, but it’s definitely one of the reasons I Like him a lot. And it’s not just about the driving, but about the capacity to take care of oneself (and beyond that, to act graciously and gracefully) in unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations. He’s pretty cool and I’m glad he lives with me.

And then, two days after that, several pounds of alpaca fiber showed up in my mailbox!

bags of alpaca fiber

Altogether, that’s 4 pounds of alpaca fiber. You can’t really appreciate the color of the grey/silver in the background, but it’s quite lush. My mom totally hooked me up. There was an ad in her local newspaper from a local alpaca ranch. They were looking for folks to spin up their fleeces. They will send me all the fiber I want, I’ll spin it all up and send them back half. I can do whatever I want with my half, including sell it. Wow! I was thinking that if I could spin a pound of it in 6 hours, then I could make somewhere around minimum wage for selling my half of the spun yarn. I tried it out last night. Haha! I spun less than an ounce in 1 hour. (For those of you who don’t live with an engineer who knows these conversions off the top of his head, there are 16 ounces in a pound.) So maybe I’ll have to go back to looking at it as just a great way to get fiber for personal use. But the alpaca is really nice to work with, so soft and really seems to want to spin thin. My first spindle is coming out to be a two-ply light sportweight, about 15-16 wraps per inch. This is definitely thinner than I usually spin without some effort. Here’s a close-up of the four colors, although you still don’t get a good sense of the grey fibers.

So far I’ve just been spinning the white fibers. They are really clean and un-matted. I haven’t had to wash it or card it, just pick out the occasional bit of hay as I spin, so I’m basically spinning right from the animal. He also sent me a half pound of suri alpaca to play with. I haven’t ever worked with it before (see my previous post about alpacapalooza for pictures of the two different kinds of alpaca). Their hair is longer and straighter and seems to matte more, so I will have to wash that stuff.  I’m also going to try washing some of the regular huacaya fibers, even though they don’t seem to need it, just to see what difference it makes.

And just to top it all off, Preston’s economic stimulus check showed up this week, so we are feeling even a little richer than usual. He’ll be putting his into surfboard shaping supplies (…”maybe a router,” he’s been musing…). I’m waiting impatiently for mine, with which I plan to buy a digital SLR, probably the Canon Digital Rebel XTi. And speaking of cameras, I’m motivated again to put some more effort into making something happen with selling photos. I feel like my current job has given me a lot of tools for online marketing and sales that I didn’t have the first time around. So I’ll be working on updating the main Whoa! Photos website and posting a new series of pictures that I’ve taken of a beautiful pin-up girl type. Lots of beautiful nature shots for all you pagans out there 😉