Inspired by our photograph of Gingerbread jumping as a cria (at the top of the Alpaca Facts page), the following is a fun little song we made up, sung to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon". (With thanks to Peter, Paul and Mary.) Use your imagination here to come up with your own musical style. (I think of it as heavy on the downbeat, drums, folk guitar, with a little banjo thrown in for flavor. But feel free to add your own mix - whether it's tinkling piano keys from a Broadway tune, Yellowman bass-thumping regae or Ted Nugent's screaming guitar - make it whatever you'd like. Hey, that's what the mind is FOR.)
Hopefully you are able to see Gingerbread's wings sprout like magic. (For a little help, go to our Main Page and see what happens when you scroll over the words "Alpaca Fun")
GINGERBREAD THE FLYING ALPACA
GINGERBREAD THE FLYING PACA
LIVES IN TENNESSEE,
FLYING OVER HILLS AND FIELDS
IN A LAND OF GRASS AND GREEN.
HIGH O'RE CHUCK AND NANCY
SHE FLIES SO HAPPILY
THROUGH CLOUDS OF SILVER THUNDER
FOR EVERYONE TO SEE.
IF YOU WATCH HER CLOSELY
YOU MIGHT SEE HER WINGS,
IT DOESN'T HAPPEN EVERY TIME
THEY'RE IMAGINARY THINGS.
FOR AS THE SUN BEGINS TO SET
AT THE END OF A PERFECT DAY,
ALL CRIAS SEEM TO FIND THEIR WINGS
AS THEY RUN AND PRONK AND PLAY.
ALL THE LITTLE CHILDREN
COME FROM ALL AROUND,
THEY HOPE TO SEE HER MAGIC WINGS
AND FLEECE AS SOFT AS DOWN.
WHEN THEY COME DOWN THE DRIVEWAY
IN SCHOOL BUS, CAR OR TRUCK,
THEY LOOK ABOUT AND TRY TO FIND
HER THERE AMONG THE FLOCK.
AND WHEN THEY FINALLY SPY HER
GRAZING IN THE FIELD
THEY CALL HER NAME AND OFFER HER
A BABY CARROT MEAL.
WHEN SHE COMES TO GREET THEM
AND THEY TOUCH HER NECK TO FEEL
THAT SOFTEST FLEECE AND LUSTEROUS COAT
THEY OOOH AND AHHH AND SQUEAL.
THOSE THAT LOOK THE HARDEST
WITH IMAGINARY GLANCE
MIGHT SWEAR THEY SEE HER LIFT HER WINGS,
IF GIVEN HALF A CHANCE
TO SEE GINGERBREAD THE MAGIC PACA
WHO LIVES IN TENNESSEE
FLYING OVER FARMS AND FIELDS
(big finish now . . . Sing!)
TO ALIGHT IN THE LAND OF GREENE.
An explanatory note on the spelling in the last line: For those that don't know, we live in Greene County in Upper East Tennessee, the best part of the Greatest State in the Land of the Free. Our town of Greeneville is named after Revolutionary War hero Nathanael Greene, and is one of ten Greenevilles scattered throughout the US. However Greeneville, Tennessee is the ONLY ONE of all the Greenevilles to keep the "e" at the end of "Greene". We're very proud of our "E".
A look at alpaca life in South America:
Click on this link to see massive herds of South American alpacas: A YouTube video showing HUGE herds of South American alpacas being raised at high altitudes in the Andes Mountains in their native Peru. Notice the extremely large herds (in the thousands!), guided by men on horseback, with the alpacas running free on open grasslands. Inspirational in their vast numbers, but far different from the way alpacas are raised here in the U.S. where the average farm raises 10 to 12 alpacas.
Shearing Vicunas in South America is NOTHING like how it's done in the U.S., except that they use the same electric shears. (We don't have Incan kings or dancing girls, for starters.) Vicunas are the wild ancestor to the domesticated alpaca. Their fleece is finer, shorter, rarer (they only shear every two years), and therefore more expensive than alpaca fleece. Video is all in Spanish, but the visuals are quite interesting. (Note: Vicuna has an enya (little curvey tilde thing) over the letter N and is therefore pronounced vi(rhymes with eye)-coon-yah.)
What is Pronking?
Alpacas will, on rare occasions, run about the pasture in a hopping, skipping motion that we call "the pronk". (Some folks pronounce it "prong". But we like pronk.) It's sort of like what Pepe Le Pew (the cartoon skunk) does - bouncing along on all four feet at once. It's as if the alpacas have traded in their legs for pogo sticks. They usually do it when they're happy or feeling good. One will start, and then the others might follow. Many times the crias get it going, and then the older alpacas join in. It might be in the evening, or around feeding time, or when the weather's nice. Whatever their reason (they don't tell us, it's some sort of alpaca secret, so we have to guess), pronking just means the pacas are feeling fine. It doesn't happen often so it's a rare and special treat to be able to see it. Only a very few times have we had the pleasure of watching THE ENTIRE HERD participate in "the evening pronk", chasing each other into one pasture, around in a circle and out a gate, over the mound, into another pasture, around again and then repeating the whole dance several times in one long, continuous, happy, bouncing parade. It can just make your heart sing. When we see the alpaca crias pronking out in the pasture here at Silver Thunder Alpacas we will jump on the cell phone and call the house to announce. "Pronk Alert! Pronk Alert!" You never know when it might spread to the whole herd. Here are U-Tube videos made by others, giving a slight taste of what it looks like:
Herd Pronking at Sunset (with fun music) - Video by Rick Horn of All-American Alpacas in Southern California.
The Alpaca's Cousin, The Llama
Alpacas are not llamas. Here's a semi-silly (but accurate) video on how to tell the difference: Alpaca or Llama?
The Llama Song. Really goofy. (Duck if you've heard this before.) Except this version is the NEW Llama Song.
Always looking for more info for this page. This is where entertaining, educational, silly, funny or kooky stuff about alpacas will go.
Please stay tuned.
that Gingerbread get off to?
Thanks again for
Chuck and Nancy
great alpacas in Greeneville,
Bred and Hand Fed!
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page last updated 12/20/08