Alpacas and belted Galloways were high on my list of things to see and do at AGFEST last week. When my boys were little they used to point to belted Galloways in the paddocks and name them Collingwood cows and it has just stuck. Alpacas are a personal favourite and I still harbour ideas of having a pair one day. They have the loveliest faces and produce a wonderful fleece.
The rugs in the alpaca exhibit were so soft and comfy that they are really a must on every sofa. Just feeling one conjures up notions of lying on a couch on a cold winters day, warm and comfy reading a book. I first saw alpaca rugs at the farmer’s market in Wagga Wagga in NSW at the time I was fighting to stop
the sale of the CSIRO wool scour in Geelong. Right around Australia on farms small amounts of fleeces from coloured sheep or alpacas are generated for high quality value adding but they need to be processed before being returned to farms for the knitting or weaving etc. The dismantling of the scour threatened those small producers and artisans who would have had to send the fleeces to South America or New Zealand to be processed if the scour had been lost. In the end the government sold the scour to a private carpet and rug company Velieris Pty Ltd but I did secure an undertaking from the government that the sale conditions would include the company still taking small amounts of private scouring work….which reminds me that I must follow up with those producers to see that this arrangement has been honoured.
Since the demise of agricultural shows as places to showcase machinery and new technologies AGFEST has taken over as the “must go to event” in Tasmania for anyone interested in what’s new on farms or at the lowliest level, in gardens. I wanted to see what progress has been made in solar pumps as this is my year of the water feature and I want to build something that can be powered by a small scale solar pump. This had the advantage of intermittent running water that look after itself and doesn’t require the electric mains. I found what I was looking for and so am now quite excited about construction scheduled to take place in August or thereabouts.
My final indulgence at AGFEST was a gift from my son, a pair of emu garden sculptures …very simply made from a stone and some metal…you will see them when they are delivered down the track.