The herd that hears Mozart
Last November, Dan Bodmer’s family decided to move from Whitefield to Westport and move in with his father Jerry. Dan’s mother and Jerry’s wife Carol had passed away that summer and Jerry welcomed their company.
So, they moved there — Dan, his wife Lee, their daughter Bella, Lucy the dog and a cat, along with Will, Gussy, Fleecy and Marty, otherwise known as “the boys.”
“The boys” are alpacas. ages 2-5. The family adopted them. Lee Bodmer said she originally wanted a miniature donkey for the property in Whitefield but when she attended the Fiber Frolic at the Windsor Fairgrounds a few years ago, she saw the alpacas and fell in love.
Thanks to Linda and Alan Russo at the Maine Alpaca Barn in Whitefield, finding alpacas to adopt went smoothly. “They can be very large animals,” Dan Bodmer explained. The Russos helped the family find smaller alpacas from area farms. Dan Bodmer refers to the group as “the island of misfit alpacas” because the boys are small. Rather than serving as breeding animals, they are fleece animals.
Each has its own personality. Gus has no manners, according to the family. Will is the sentinel and sounds an alarm when he believes danger is near. The alarm is adeptly imitated by Bella Bodmer, a fifth grader at Whitefield Elementary School. The youngest alpacas are curious about almost everything.
According to Lee Bodmer, alpacas are native to the Andes Mountains, but do well in Maine. They enjoy the cold, often sleeping out under the stars, and can tolerate the warmer months after their fleece is shorn for the summer, usually in May. Their fleece is unique in its lightweight softness and warmth, and can be worn by people who can’t wear wool, Dan Bodmer said.
The wonderful-looking, powerful animals are members of the camel family and require lots of water daily. Alpacas are herbivores, eating hay and alfalfa, and can grow to be 250 pounds and seven feet tall.
The boys are enjoying their new home on the island. At their small barn, twinkling Christmas lights illuminate the dark and classical music plays 24 hours a day.
The alpacas are green, too. The Bodmers rigged the barn with a solar panel for electricity and will soon offer alpaca fertilizer for plants. Five years ago, Lee Bodmer started Lulu’s Garden, a product line of all-natural lip balms and hand balms. The products can be found at www.inlulusgarden.com.
The family is enthusiastic about sharing the alpaca adoptees with the public. Contact email@example.com to arrange a visit.