ELLEN M. BANNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
While Kyler Martin of Kent feeds several of the huacaya alpacas on the Kent ranch where he lives with his family, as one of the animals, Sky, takes a quick break to check out the photographer. A total of 45 alpacas live on the ranch. Martin said his mother raises the alpacas for showing, breeding, stud services and for alpaca fiber products. She sends the fiber to Peru and New England where it is turned into socks, hats, scarves, teddy bears, sweaters, slippers, and blankets, just to name a few items. The fiber is seven times warmer than wool, is non scratchy and non-allergenic. The animals also do very well in the snow--their fleece repels water and only about the top centimeter gets wet. For more information about the alpacas, go to: www.mkc-alpacas.com. Visitors are welcome at the ranch.