Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good hair day: my visit to the Great Midwest Alpaca Festival.

While driving by the Alliant Energy Center last week, I saw a sign for the Great Midwest Alpaca Festival this weekend. Yarn vendors and adorable alpacas in an air conditioned environment? I just couldn't miss this!

At the Alpaca Festival, farmers show their prized alpacas in a setting similar to a dog show. The most beautiful alpacas win ribbons and top honors.

The main arena for the alpaca show.
I wandered around and met hundreds of precious alpacas (many of which were quite willing to pose for photos). At the festival I learned that there are two types of alpacas: Huacaya (fluffy, teddy bear-like fur) and Suri (silky, hair-like fur). I then met Jess Fredericks from Whistling Pines Ranch in Clayton, WI. She introduced me to her two Suri alpacas, Bocephus and Dorothy.

Hanging out with Bocephus, a male Suri alpaca.
Getting friendly with Dorothy, a female Suri alpaca.
After my meet-and-greet with these furry cuties, I decided it was time to document exactly how adorable these creatures are. Here are my favorite photos:

"I'm having a bad hair day. I don't want to talk about it."
"Hay should be part of the food pyramid." 
"I'm smiling! Cheesin' it!"
"This is our 'just got outta bed' look."
"It's exhausting being this fluffy."
"I cook and I clean for you. And all you give me is straw?"
"Colorblocking is hot this season. That's why my face doesn't match my coat."
"We've been together for 50 years and she still insists on blowdrying her hair for me."
"I'm smiling with my eyes, just like Tyra Banks told me to."
"Hairy ears? No YOU have hairy ears."
After visiting the lovely alpacas, I made my way to the yarn vendors. After much deliberation, I opted to buy a small wool skein from Sugar River Fiber and a large wool skein from Hearthside Fibers:

Gorgeous colors!
I'm not sure what I'm going to make with these yarns yet, but I just couldn't resist. The alpacas really put me in the mood to knit!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

To market, to market: opening day (with a side of custard).

In Madison, the third Saturday in April means opening day at the Dane County Farmers' Market. Wisconsinites gather on the square to welcome the return of the downtown market. Today's hot item: morel mushrooms, some for over $30/pound!

Kat, Mackenzie, and I braved the crowds and perused the market, where I was thrilled to get a great photo of "Piccolo Guy" (aka "Orange Guy"):

According to Mackenzie, he's a proud nudist when he's not donning his orange garb.
The piccolo was a lovely soundtrack to the market, which was peppered with the usual mix of young, old, political activists, and hipsters.

My loot from the market: R.P.'s pasta and some lovely potatoes.
After brunch at Marigold Kitchen, Kat and I went to the East Side Club for the Vintage Flea and Finds market. I purchased three vintage bangles for $2: score! We then decided to meet up with Anne at Michael's Frozen Custard for my first ever custard indulgence.

Creamy frozen goodness!
After a busy morning, it's nice to be home sweet home. My little girl is purring away:

Phoebe feels right at home in Wisconsin!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

March poll results are in!

The neck-and-neck March poll results are in:

Wisconsinites love their beer, but I'm more of a wine girl myself. What's your preference? White or red?

White - 5 votes
Red - 6 votes

This cow likes her red wine, too!

Check out the April poll on the right and pay homage to your favorite pop culture cow.

A good dose of cow.

Who doesn't like a good dose of cow every once in a while? I absolutely love this video of British cows jumping for joy after being cooped up in a barn all winter:

Special thanks to Val for sharing this video with me.