May 28, 2007

Bronte's Baby Girl

Our girl Bronte gave birth to a lovely little girl yesterday. She is our first alpaca cria of the year. She weighed 16.9 lbs and started milking with in an hour and a half of her birth. Bronte is doing a wonderful job as a Mom. Bronte and baby are still located at Rosehaven Farm up in New York. Michele called us to tell the wonderful news. She was able to email me these photos. Chris and I have been going back and forth on what to name the beautiful light brown girl.

Have a wonderful Holiday!

May 14, 2007

Alpaca Shearing Day

Shearing day comes once a year for alpacas. You want to get them sheared before summer and not till after the last frost. We scheduled our shearing day last Friday. Here are all the girls that morning haltered and in a pen close to the shearing station.

We rented a 20 x 20 canopy from a party supply place so we could be under shade all day putting less stress on the alpacas. We put up the canopy the night before. It took us two hours to assemble. The rental place said it would be real easy. They lied.

We walked the alpacas in one by one for their date with the shearer. Satine was first in line.

They are placed on a mat strapped down so they can not move during the process. The more secure they are the safer they feel and the less likely of injury to occur from the sharp shearing blades.

The blanket is taken off first which is the side, back, then side.

Here she is modeling her new hairdo.

The most amazing thing was how much fleece they were wearing. It was a drastic difference and unbelievable how small they were under all that fiber. Especially the cria babies from last year. Here is Miss Bianca after being sheared.

Here is Rusty and Stef collecting the blanket off of one of the alpacas. There were 6 of us for the day. I don’t think we could have done it with out all of us.

Here is Zissou’s Blanket being sheared off. It was beautiful. It looked like black velvet.

Here is Kingsley and Klaus freshly sheared and waiting for Zissou to get done so they can go back into their pasture.

It was a long day and we were all glad when it was over. The girls adjusted quickly and were feeling good not having all that weight on their backs.

Here is Miss Bianca. I still can not believe how small they look with out their fleece. They are just so sweet and itty bitty.

Here are the boys going back out to pasture. We are all exhausted from the excitement of the day.

May 06, 2007

The Gift of Time

This weekend my sister-n-law Stefanie and her boyfriend Rusty came for a visit and offered their help around the farm. This is the first time they have been here with the alpacas. Our alpacas as you can see felt right at home spending time with them.

Stef & Rusty might appear to you like real laid back nice people but let me tell you the truth they are a couple of power houses some real slave drivers. Just in one day we have accomplished so much. The work we completed while they were here would have taken Chris and me a month of weekends.

We were able to re-hang several gates. Rusty is on the left, Chris is in the middle and Stef is on the right. Most of the gates put in by our hired help last year were all hung incorrectly. Some would not open all the way or were hung on the wrong side. With their help we now have working gates. What a concept. I can not tell you how happy I am to have functional gates.

We also dumped several loads of dirt into the third shelter leveling the ground and making it acceptable height for the alpacas to feed on hay. Then topped it off with some gravel they seem to like to roll and lay on. Also in the photo you can see the finished feeders Chris and I had finished earlier.

We have no experience working with cement so Rusty and Stef were a big help in framing out and making a base for the waterer that goes with the third shelter. Just waiting for the cement to dry, then we can place the livestock waterer on top. This last step will complete this pasture we plan to move the boys into.

We started are work around 7 am and it took us until late afternoon to complete all I have mentioned and both Chris and I were ready to call it a day. They were not ready to quit for the day and suggested we start to work on the pasture on the other side of our property. Personally I think they might not be human, they insisted we keep going and get some more things checked off of our farm to do list.

So we began to dismantle this barbed wire fence. The fence had 5 barbed wires stretching across the length of the fence. We started at the top and took them down one wire at a time rolling it up as we went along. The unwiring was the most difficult part & barbed wire is no treat to handle. We managed to get through it with a little humor.

After the wire was down we began to knock and pull up the fence posts with the tractor.

Here is an after shot with the fence down.

Ancient Artifacts

Here are some items found out in the pasture. You can find all kinds of things while searching the ground out in the pasture. I spotted these two decorative glass rocks. Chris found the ceramic squirrels. He snatched them up and said he just found some Native American artifacts. We got a good laugh when he showed us what he had. Both the rocks and the squirrels I can only guess had at one time been in a previous owners potted plants. We did manage to find a real arrow head undamaged from time.

What a precious gift of their time Stef & Rusty have given us. It meant the world to us and we are so thankful for their generosity. It was a lot of hard work but I can say having them here with us was so enjoyable. You would think they would be scarred off and not want to come back for awhile, but guess what. They are both planning on coming back next weekend when we shear the alpacas. The month of May sure is a busy one around here. Now I plan to take what’s left of my Sunday and work on my knitting while I nurse my sore muscles.