The winsome alpacas
Taos is such a gorgeous outpost kind of town up in the mountains: it feels like Tibet in the Rockies. Two hours north of Santa Fe, Taos is more rural with dirt roads, more cowboy with ranchers, more bohemian with prevalent sixties values, and has more artists per capita with a population of just 5,000 (as compared to Santa Fe’s 70,000). I was in Taos for the 27th annual Wool Festival last weekend, and I’ll tell you, that was just the most perfect laidback little fest.
Alpacas, llamas, yaks, rabbits, goats, and of course sheep were the stars of this fiber arts show, and every hour there was a shearing demonstration. The alpacas (www.paradisevalleyalpaca.com, www.eyedazzleralpacas.com) were particularly winsome. They have teddy-bear ears, eat three pounds of hay or grass a day, and are shyer and smaller than llamas, which are more commonly used as pack animals. Alpacas hum in friendly communication and spit when distressed. They don’t like people reaching out to pet them, which they perceive as predatory. They’re native to the high Andes in South America. On Sunday, when the alpacas were led around the Kit Carson Park show grounds on halters, they trembled. They were happier in their pen.
Back in Santa Fe this morning, the giant sunflower has given up the good fight. It’s hunched over in decline. A block away, the bush of smaller sunflowers still looks sprightly.
Above: My mustang Ryo in Tesuque, NM. Our barn owner in Malibu described him as Ghandi-esque because Ryo didn't fight for the best feed bin like the other horses. When Ryo died in Tesuque, I turned on my car radio to hear John Lennon singing "Imagine"... that was Ryo "living life in peace."
PHOTOS BY WOLF SCHNEIDER