Vacation of a lifetime

Working holiday with llamas and alpacas

Abby Armstrong

Abby Armstrong

As the fall air overwhelms my thoughts of warm summer days, I reflect on my recent six days spent at the Field of Dreams farm in the North Cariboo.

Hidden away in the Bouchie Lake area, ten miles west of Quesnel, you will find Marilyne Lorenzo’s farm where I was introduced to three llamas and 40 alpacas. These ancient animals are living a charmed life on a grassy hillside among the birch, aspen and volcanic boulders.

After spending many hours around the animals; feeding, cleaning and observing, I decided they have the sweetest nature of any creatures I have ever met. They have all been given names and first class treatment by the owner. Alpacas produce soft silky fibres that are hypoallergenic, lightly scented (or no scent) and a warm desirable product both raw and processed.

Lorenzo has a selection of finished blankets, scarves, hats, coats and more in her boutique on the farm.

In my spare moments, I seized the opportunity to sit in a lawn chair surrounded by these fluffy quiet animals and crochet hats with skeins of spun wool. With the natural coloured materials, I created hats that came from a couple of the alpacas eating grass in front of me. I felt extremely connected to this herd as I worked my magic with their special fibres.

Alpacas communicate to each other in numerous ways but the most unique feature for me is the humming-style murmur that appears to be small talk. This soothing sound added immensely to the contented earthy setting. The baby (cria) alpaca murmurs to all the available adults.

The llamas on this farm are the guardians of the entire property. Outside the fence, coyotes, wolves and bears are often waiting for a free lunch. Protecting and providing for the needs of all the animals in a very demanding full-time job. Lorenzo, an energetic person, maintains a fine operation.

She is living her dream that represents sustainability and living in tune with all of nature. I felt fortunate to be allowed a glimpse of this harmonious Cariboo lifestyle.

Abby Armstrong is a grandmother, writer, gardener and artist living in the Lower Mainland.