Altamont, Sept. 12, 2013

When the Altamont Fair was in town, I mentioned our friend Fran Ripley. A few days after the Enterprise was delivered, Harvey Levin saw me and said, “I wish I had known Fran was here. When we had the Masonic fast food booth, Fran was my working partner. She did a lot of the behind the scenes cleaning, filling ketchup, salt, made coffee washed dishes, and did anything that she could find that needed to be done.” You could hear the sadness in his voice at missing the opportunity to reconnect with a friend from the past.

Fran affected people that way. She was kind, generous and willing to do the work that others did not want to do. She would enter the gate by the animal barns early in the morning, take up her station in the sheep barn and work until dinner time on her weaving, spinning and other wool related projects to show fair goers how it was done. Whenever her shift was over in the sheep barn, she would pick up her stuff and move on to the fast food booth.

Fran would usually be there until it was time to close and be back at the gate for her turn at the sheep barn the next day.

I also mentioned seeing several new (at least new to me) Alpaca farms. One right in our back yard just outside of Altamont, one in Massachusetts, and even one on Martha’s Vineyard. Since I don’t know much about Alpaca’s I decided to do a little bit of research and learn more about the animals.

You have probably heard someone say that you learn something new every day. My learning curve started as soon as I made my entry into Google. I sat down at my computer and typed in Alpaca. Or at least that is what I thought was typed. What a surprise when the screen came back with,” Welcome to ALPCA! This stands for Automobile License Plate Club of America. The one missing letter opened an entirely different area of interest than the one expected.

There is so much interest in automobiles of every age, type, color, make and description that it should not have come as a surprise that there would be people collecting license plates as a hobby.

ALPCA has been in existence since 1954. They have been dedicated to the promotion of license plate collecting and research, the exchange of information and plates, and the benefits of sharing a common interest with others throughout the world.

As the largest license plate collectors’ organization in the world, ALPCA boasts a current membership of 2,800 from 50 states and 19 countries. Their annual international conventions are typically attended by nearly 500 collectors. It would really be interesting to see one of their conventions. With all of the vanity plates that are produced it could be fun to see how many different plates one collector would have.

At this point, I tried again to learn more about the Alpacas. After entering the correct spelling of the word in the search engine, I got back a lot of information that looked as strange as the article about license plates. The information started with, “Traveling and working in the hustle and bustle of the city for many years it took its toll. After becoming acquainted with alpacas during our travels and attending an alpaca seminar, we decided that breeding alpacas was the right lifestyle for us. We chose this location because of the incredible vistas, quietness and suitability for raising alpacas.” So far so good. Then the language began to turn and I knew that I was reading something totally strange to me.

 “Persephone has the luster and brightness of a ray of sunshine. She has crimp from skin to tip with full coverage. Persephone is a beautiful female out of Magical Farm's legendary herdsire Perauvian Dakotia. He is the sire of Jericho, grandsire of Jeremiah from Magical Farms. Needless to say, the genetics are strong. She produces fine, bright fibered cria that have all been successful in the show ring. Persephone is a superb mother with plenty of milk. Persephone is bred to BBH Devante due in the Spring of 2013 cria. These superb genetics will make an awesome combination for your breeding program.”

Some  translations are,“Persephone –daughter of Demeter and Zeus. In Greek mythology, the daughter of Demeter and Zeus was abducted by Hades, King of the Underworld. She spent half the year in the underworld and half on Earth. Her return to Earth symbolized the arrival of spring.

 She has crimp from skin to tip with full coverage. Crimp is the curl or wave of wool fibers.

Herdsire Perauvian Dakotia is the male parent of a four legged animal. A medium fawn, Peruvian boy, Dakotia was the sire of numerous champions.

Cria is the name for a baby camelid such as a llama, alpaca, vicuña, or guanaco. It comes from the Spanish word cría, meaning baby.

By this time, my mind had wandered to the Incas, Peru and Machu Picchu. The Inca Empire or Inka Empire was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th Century.

 From 1438 to 1533, the Incas used a variety of methods, from conquest to peaceful assimilation, to incorporate a large portion of western South America, centered on the Andean mountain ranges, including, besides Peru, large parts of modern Ecuador, western and south central Bolivia, northwest Argentina, north and central Chile, and a small part of southern Colombia into a state comparable to the historical empires of Eurasia.

 Machu Picchu stands 2,430 meters above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna.

By the time I finished reading and unraveling all of the information, I decided it was time to stop.  We will have to come back and revisit both of these topics some other day because there is so much information  about the Incas and Machu Picchu. We might even translate more about the world of Alpaca at a later date. With school starting, summer coming to an end and the weather changing there will be a lot of‘coming events to discuss.

Until then –stay well!

Hallowine fest

The 4th annual Hallowine Fest will take place at the Altamont Vineyard of the weekend of Sept. 13 through the 15.

Annual picnic

The weather was perfect this past Sunday as parishioners of St. Lucy/St. Bernadette's Church in Altamont held their annual picnic at the Bozenkill Park.  Not only was the weather great, the food shared was outstanding. A good time was had by all.

Recovery Room fund-raiser

Thinking about eating out? Have you tried the Recovery Room Sports Grill located at 20 Mall? 

St. Lucy/St. Bernadette's Church has invited the community to join their parishioners for dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. This is a fund-raiser. The church will receive a percentage of your bill. Personal invitations can be found in the Gathering space at the church.   If interested, pick up an invitation. You must have an invitation for the church to benefit and present it to your server at the restaurant. Take out service will also available.

Golf tournament

St. Lucy/St. Bernadettes will hold its annual golf tournament on Sept. 16.  The event will be held at the Pinehaven Country Club.

Golfers, the game will be a scramble and you will play the best ball.  For more information contact Lou DeMarco at 861-1230.  There will be a lunch buffet, awards dinner and many prizes. Registration forms are available in the gathering space at the church.

Class of 1973

The Guilderland Class of 1973 will hold its 40th reunion on Nov. 30th from 7 to 11 p.m. The event will be held at the German American Club located at 32 Cherry Street in McKownville just off Fuller Rd. More information will be forthcoming.  Interested classmates can contact or by calling Carolyn at 357-8357.

Thank you

The Ladies Auxiliary of the Altamont Fire Department extend their appreciation to all who supported the barbecue this past Friday.                                                        

Senior trip

The next Altamont Senior's trip will be to Gavin's Irish Country Inn on Wednesday, Sept. 18. The bus will leave the parish center on Grand Street at 9:30 a.m., and will return around 5 p.m. The trip cost including lunch is $45 for residents and non residents $55.

For more information or to make reservations contact Jean at 861-5516 or Kathy at 861-6258.


Happy-anniversary wishes are extended to:

— Diane and Peter Ramo who are celebrating their special day today, Sept. 12;

— Cindy and Richard Lehnert on Sept. 13; 

— Kelly and Jack Pickering on Sept. 18; and

— Nancy and Dan McDonough  and Mary and Dave Hillmann on Sept. 19.


Happy-birthday wishes are extended to:

— Beverly Haviland and Richard Sanderson Jr., on Sept. 14;

— Chris Jones, Judy Stevens and Andrew West on Sept. 15;

— Patti Farrand, Gregory Peck, Andrew Ramo and Sarah Stedman on Sept. 17;


—Jamie Hessner, Sam Levin, Stephanie Pieck and Donna Williams on Sept. 18.