After exploring our one little corner of Makhtesh Ramon, we drove west of town, to the Alpaca Farm and Guesthouse, which is as it sounds, an Alpaca farm with guest cabins, which turns out to be really lovely and very thoughtfully put together. We walked around and looked at the animals: in addition to the alpacas, they also have a smaller number of llamas, some geese, long-horned sheep, mules, horses, and many, many working dogs who take their herding duties seriously.  Most of the animals were in pens, but some of the alpacas, or maybe llamas, are allowed to roam around among the buildings.  Here’s the view from the porch on our cabin:

Noah was of course giddy with all the animals to visit.  The other Sarah tried to get a photo of an alpaca, or perhaps a llama, and then, all of a sudden, pfft, a big wad of spit right in her face.  She’s quite the sport, though, and kept walking around with us looking at the animals. When we got back to the room, we insisted that she take the first shower. While we were walking around, Noah befriended the camel:

We went out to dinner, and, after we returned and got Noah to bed, we went outside to hang out on our porch with the other Sarah. My Sarah and I were huddling together in a hammock, when we heard a loud sort of buzzing noise and a general commotion from the animals in the pen just below our cabin. The other Sarah said that some of the alpacas (llamas?) were chasing each other, and that maybe they were about to have sex.  And then, yes, they were! We got up in time to see that one of the males had mounted a female from behind, while two others stood nearby to watch.  After they finished, the chase began again.  Eventually one of them caught her, she got away, and then he got her again.  He made the same buzzing sound, but seemed, to my untrained eye, to be entirely in the wrong position.  This sort of thing went on for 15-20 minutes.  We knew we won’t be able to sleep until this event played itself out. Spending this much time traumatized by farm animals is a very good bonding experience: Sarah Brown is now family.  (If you are brave, you can find video of mating alpacas on youtube and hear the buzzing sound they make for yourself.  I just made the mistake of doing so, and got a much better view than I had a few nights ago.  I immediately regretted this decision, and will have nightmares tonight.)

The next morning was full of double entendres flying over Noah’s head. We went out to help feed the animals, one of the attractions of this B&B over all others we’ve visited. We’re in the middle of our umpteenth reading of Farmer Boy, so Noah was in heaven scooping silage into a plastic crate and riding in the trailer, as you can see in these two movies:

After that it was a quick and delicious breakfast and into the car, so that Sarah Brown could teach an afternoon class in Haifa after a lovely and interesting weekend.

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