Monday, October 31, 2011

NAMI Walk 2011

Saturday was the 8th Annual Walk for Recovery held in Russell Commons Park in Alton. NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) was the organization that sponsored the walk. This year they added a 5K run for Recovery to the event.

It was beautiful weather and the breeze off of the Mississippi River was just the right touch of fall.

I was proud to provide the llamas and alpacas for the event -- 4 llamas: Autumn, Punxsutawney, Pebbles and Valentina -- and 4 alpacas: Eileeen and Polka-Dot Patty, Punchau and Brook.

Random participants were able to walk the animals along the path in the park. There was a huge bridge that spanned some water, but the animals only hesitated for seconds before trekking over the bridge. The quiet, gentle souls of the animals brought a calming effect to all who participated in the walk.

I have been associated with NAMI for 8 years now. The young man who drew the "NAMI llama" shared the history of "how this came to be" with me and it was interesting listening to his own personal story -- and that of the "character" that would become his creation.

Llamas historically carry burdens -- and that is what families can do to help those struggling with mental illness. When you visit their website: you can read about the "connection" that has developed over the years.

The photos tell the tale of the walk -- groups of individuals forming teams to fight for recovery. My son, Ben, is shown with Valentina -- and one youngster even dressed as a llama -- the Dolly Llama -- to be exact. She was adorable.

Llamas posed for photos for a donation to NAMI of $5. It was a great way to raise more funds.

Suicide is a leading cause of death among young people -- especially when they are struggling with depression. NAMI can help -- and we are proud to be associated with such a "stand up" organization.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pit Firing

Another Native American Pit Firing under our belts, here at Wier World. My sister is a potter, and she coordinated the placing of the pots into the pit and helped members of the Artisan Guild of Southern IL to produce wonderful pottery in the ancient style of pit firing.

I was especially honored to have one of the elders of my family here for the event, my Aunt Eleanora. She came dressed in the Native American style, complete with a feather and headband.

We were once again honored to have Ramiro Pacheco, of Navajo heritage, here for the blessing of the pit and the pots prior to the event. He called upon the Navajo language to share his thoughts and it was beautiful, as usual.

On Saturday, my llama Annika had a baby -- a boy cria that I have named Na Shad' Doe -- Navajo for beautiful. He's a handsome guy with four white socks.

Then on Sunday my alpaca Eloquent Lady delivered an adorable little alpaca boy -- Ko' is his name -- the Navajo word for "fire."

It was a lovely weekend -- with hard work, good friends, good soup and laughter.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spin a Bag -- return on investment

Since December 2010 I've sent out 71 boxes of fiber to spinners.

The plan goes like this: I mail out two fleeces. One is to be spun into double ply yarn for me, and the other is theirs to keep. I ask for the yarns to be returned within one year.

Not that complicated, is it?

One problem. I've only received about 10% of the yarns mailed back to me.

The fleeces have cost me an average of 10 bucks to mail. The weights have varied from 6 to 9 pounds of fiber.

The fleeces have gone to CA, NE, UT, MD, WA, FL, KY, TX, ME, MA, IL, MO, CO, TN, PA, VA, MN, OH, SC, KS, IA, MI, WI, NY, ND, GA, NC, ID, CT, OR, AL, AR, IN, and New Brunswick, Canada. That's 33 states and our northern neighbor.

I sent these fleeces, from the backs of my own animals, in good faith. I sent them to people who requested the opportunity to work with alpaca fiber. People that I trusted with the beautiful, luxurious "fiber of the gods" from the ancient Mayan and Incan empires.

I simply ask for these fleeces to be returned as double ply yarn. I ask that they, who theoretically stood and did this handshake deal with me, honor their promise. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I would hate to lose my faith in my fellow man -- or woman.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall crias

It's been a new cria ever few days or so. What fun.

Just so Perfect (llama) birthed Pocahontas. She's a lovely little gal with suri-type fiber.

Elody (all white), birthed Rudolph, the white-nosed alpaca boy. He's all black -- with one white spot.

Eileen had Polka Dot Patty. Patty is amazing. She runs, leaps, twirls, and is already, at one month old, a moose.

Yzma (brown) had a handsome, light fawn boy that I named Kreitner. I went to Kreitner School in Collinsville on the day he was born. He is adorable.

And then there's my Pink Pinafore. Her leg is healing and she is still confined to the "baby pen" with her mama. She uses the leg sparingly -- but I know she will eventually use it. It's been a long, long haul for her.

I know y'all want to see some photos of the crias, right? It's like a grandma opening up her wallet with the pictures of grandkids spilling out. Forgive my bragging.