And in other news …

While for most of this year, I’ve been absorbed in the world of The Anchoress, life at our place has been exciting too. We have two alpacas, Gambol and her (snipped) son, Pacino. A little over a year ago, Gambol was introduced to a big, brown alpaca (that I nicknamed The Bloke), that made all the right noises and apparently did all the right things, though we had to wait 11 months to find out. Alpacas don’t look very much bigger when they’re pregnant, and by April we had begun to give up hope.

And then, as I walking through the paddock in early May, there she was, sitting next to her mum, head up and wobbling a little, still damp. We figure she was no more than an hour old. She staggered to her feet, tried out her long, long legs, fell over, stood up again and walked toward us. Our daughter-in-law drew on her Mexican heritage and suggested we call her Paquita, little package, little hay bale. It was perfect!

Newborn cut

Of course, as timing would have it, the next night was the first of the frosts and temperatures were heading down below zero. Alpacas are bred for the freezing mountain areas of South America and their wool is incredibly warm. We knew all that, but her newborn wool seemed thin. Anxious parents that we are, we went back to our research and discovered that we could wrap good old bubble wrap around her tummy to help keep her warm. Little package indeed. Paquita was warm and we worried a bit less.

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The nights have been even colder since then, and Paquita’s wool is thick and warm, even when there’s ice on her back on a frosty morning. Slowly, slowly, she’s learning to trust us (even if her mum doesn’t) and she comes to gives us a kiss on the nose when we visit.

New life, young life — it is such a sense of hope. In these days, when I feel like I don’t have the resilience to listen to another news report, I hang onto that kind of hope.

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