Sweet Harmony Farm

  (Deerfield, New Hampshire)
Simple joys of the alpaca life ...........

Trixie and the Twins

originally posted 10/17/15

A wonderful thing has happened to our little farm.  In mid-September, Pam came down from Maine, bringing along Dreamer's daughter, Ashoo, and Ashoo's look-alike daughter, Danae, as company for our poor, lonely Trixie.  The meet and greet was entirely uneventful, just the kind we enjoy.  Well, the boys were all riled up for a few hours but by the next morning, all was calm as usual.  :)

Within a few minutes of arriving, the two new girls decided to check out their new pasture.  Trixie was so excited to have pasture-mates again that she ran off after them, pronking away!  She was literally 'jumping for joy' and 'clicking her heels together.'  In case you're not sure what I mean, Trixie was absolutely ecstatic.

Ashoo looks and acts so much like Dreamer that I was in tears for several days after her arrival.  But now, it's just pure joy.  We're still mixing Ashoo up with Danae but they don't seem to mind, hence our nickname for them, The Twins.  The pair is very bonded and they are always, always together.  Of course that now means that Trixie isn't quite sure what to do sometimes.  With her dominant personality as well as Ashoo's, again so much like her momma, Dreamer, there is usually a good spit-fest happening between the two of them when I put out fresh hay.  What can I say?  It's funny as hell!

Sometimes the 3 of then will stand together side-by-side.  When I see them like that, for some odd reason all I can think of is ZZ Top singing Sharp Dressed Man.  lol.

The best news is that the 3 of them stay together, in the barn, in the paddock, out to their pasture, and back again.  They've become an instant herd.  

Yes, yes, pictures are coming!!

Summertime 2015

Yes everyone, I wrote this several weeks ago and forgot to post.  OOPS!   ~ posted on 10/11/15

We've had a very lovely, sunny, dry summer.  A few days had gotten well over 90 degrees but for the most part it's been very comfortable. The alpacas are all doing well, with only minor ailments to check on now and then, and big bowls of pellets to the thinner ones.  My dear Soloman, aka Sol, is still much, much too thin but he is definitely moving around much better!  He has been enjoying the sun, and most days he'll venture out, albeit slowly, on his own to the pastures.  I love that he is getting his much needed Vitamin D.  Even my beautiful Bo Jangles, who has always preferred the barn, has been enjoying the sun.  With the lack of rain, the flies have been minimal this year, so Bo has not suffered allergic bites on his cute face as badly as previous summers.  Even we humans are thankful for less barn flies.  Trust me, those bites are just awful!

Here is Bear hogging the pool, just before shearing day this year:

Bear, not sharing the pool 2015

On the really hot days, Dan will drag out the hose to spray down the alpacas' bellies and legs.  All he has to do is start unwinding the hose and the boys come running.  They all jockey for position with a "Me Next Please!" attitude. Sometimes Dan will bring out the kiddie pool.  Bear is always first and has plenty to say to whomever tries to join in.  Desi managed to get in with him momentarily and Bear promptly kicked him out.  Then little Earthling got in and cushed and wouldn't budge!  Such an adorable scene.  

And here's a rare picture of 2 alpacas in the pool together:

Pool Party! 2015

Once again the deer devoured whatever I tried planting in my garden and I gave up early in the summer.  I really need to find an easy way to fence them out.  It's so odd not to have a garden, to head out back to pick something for dinner. I have done that for years and years. Instead I have found a new passion:  shopping for veggies at the farmers' markets and picking fruit at PickYourOwn farms.  I love supporting other local farms!  We picked 12 pounds of blueberries one day, most of which are now in the freezer.  Every morning for breakfast this summer, I have been eating the yummiest yogurt from a local dairy farm, topping it with fresh in season berries or fruit, and local raw honey.  OH YUM.  In September comes apples to pick and plenty of winter squashes at the farmer's markets.

No matter if it's food or fleece, remember to support your local small farmers!

Springtime 2015

originally posted 5/17/15

Thank you all for your kind notes, comments, and emails regarding the unfortunate loss of our lovely Alana.  I am very grateful to all of you.  :)

Spring has arrived.  The snow has melted, melted, melted, and the mud, mud, mud arrived too.  A wonderful week of sunny weather with actual springtime temperatures significantly dried up the mud.  Grass is growing and turning green.  We're slowly removing the winter tarps off the front of the barn and have opened up 'the big doors' on the sides of the awning, letting in spring's very welcome warm sunshine.  Songbirds have returned, singing their beautiful songs of love.  A cute little flycatcher is nesting above the light in the barn.  Dan has put the birdhouses back up along the fence line for the bluebirds.

Over the winter, the freezing cold heaves up the ground which heaves up the fenceposts which mis-aligns the gates.  Now that it has warmed up, the ground recedes back and once again the gates are mis-aligned.  Dan's winter and springtime chore is to move the latches up or down, usually more than once, so that the gates will shut easily.

The alpacas are all in "full fleece" now and are looking their cutest!

A few weeks ago, Candy from Eye Candy Alpacas/Wit's End Alpacas came by for a visit and to bring the pacas a gift ....... a bale of Chaffhaye.  Chaffhaye is basically chopped and fermented alfalfa hay.  It is excellent for ruminant animals and horses too.  The bale is in a thick plastic, somewhat shrink-wrapped, 50 pound bag.I opened the bag in our little tack room.  Our tack room now smells like sauerkraut.  :). Good thing I like sauerkraut.

The alpacas’ reaction to the chaffhaye was priceless.  I put a handful in Trixie's bowl and she wanted nothing to do with it.  She just sniffed once and walked away.

I stuffed an empty container of electrolytes to offer it to the boys.  Alpacas are curious yet cautious creatures especially when it comes to new food.  North was the first to approach me and check it out.  He stood just far enough away to stretch out his neck and give a good long sniff and..... instantly JUMPED back, all 4 feet off the ground, sneezing and wide-eyed.  He gave me this look of 'what the hell is that?'. One after another they slowly came over to me and they all reacted like North had.  I wish I'd had a video camera filming their reaction because it was absolutely hysterical to watch.  :).   They really made me laugh.  I really need to laugh again.

I cleaned out the catch tray on their stand up feeder and spread out the chaffhaye, then stood back and watched.  A few curious noses slowly walked up, long necks outstretched, in total sniff mode.  The first to sample the chaffhaye and deem it yummy to eat?  Desi, of course.  I spread some more out along both shelves of that feeder and along the top of the hay in the bale feeder in the barn.  Yes the barn now smells like sauerkraut.

When I returned in the evening, Trixie's bowl and the boy's feeders were licked clean.  Yup, they love the stuff!  Now to find more .......

Earth Day 2015

originally posted 4/22/15

Happy Earth Day Everyone!!  And don't forget to say Happy Birthday to our little Earth Wind & Fire, whom we call 'Earthling' or just Earth.  He was born on Earth Day in 2009.  :)

Earth in full fleece

 
 

Sadness Once Again

Today, today we buried my beautiful, sweet Alana.  We placed her right by Dreamer whom I'm sure she missed, and now they are running together in the green pastures on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Alana as a cria

My heart is broken in a million pieces.  When I first saw Alana as a cria, I knew I had to have her; she was my reason for having alpacas.  Her rosey-grey fleece shined pink in the sun.  She was only here on Earth for 8 years, and never once been sick.  Alpacas are so very stoic creatures, hiding their illness and pain very well.  By the time we human caretakers are aware, it's become very serious and oftentimes too late.  And oftentimes, there isn't anything we humans can do.  I certainly did not see this coming.  I certainly was not prepared for her to leave.

She was so calm and patient while we worked with her, giving injections of pain reliever and antibiotic, syringing water, and trying to get her to eat and drink from the water bucket we placed in front of her.  Our vet was not hopeful, but Alana kept showing me she had the will to live. 

What I wouldn't give for one more chance to hug her.

Goodbye my sweet Alana.  Rest in peace girl, knowing you were loved.  Whenever I see pink I'll think of you.  :)

 
 

Paca Personalities

I think our blog could use some happy thoughts! 

Today I thought I'd write randomly about our alpacas' many different personalities.We are sure having a very snowy February!  Hope you all are staying safe while clearing snow and ice from your driveways and barns.

The two girls we have left, Alana and 'Trixie', are totally bonded and inseparable. Trixie definitely is more dominant, although both alarm when needed.  Their new trick is to watch me clean the barn and to get my attention, they'll start rolling.  They alternately roll and then stare at me, pleased with themselves.  This continues until I laugh, stop what I'm doing, and give them pellets as a treat.  :). Sometimes, they'll stand at their hay bin and stare at me with their most pathetic face until I give in.  Sometimes Trixie will follow me right into the tack room.

Alana is our shyest alpaca but she will now eat from my hand.  She is very tall and can easily 'gazelle' right over the hay bin from a standing still position. Her beautiful rose-grey fleece looks pink in the sun.  When I first saw her, I knew I had to have her.

Dan was scratching Trixie's neck and she sniffed his hand.  When she realized he did not have any pellets, she spit in his face.

Henry..... oh Henry ......I wheel over the poo barrow after I finish up on the girls' side and Henry comes right over, sticks his head in there, and takes a good long sniff.  Eeewwwww!  I have to chase him out several times before he finally stops.  When I have to catch him, he rests his head along my shoulder.

Henry is our Barn Clown and is usually up to something.  :)

Sol loves to watch me and follow me in the barn.  While I'm bent over fluffing hay in the bin or checking to see how much water is in the buckets, he'll put his head on my shoulder.  Julio used to do this also.  Sol has earned a special place in my heart.  He came here with some sort of injury to his hips (?) and has trouble walking and is still quite thin, so we're always checking in on him.  He is dominant towards the others regarding hay and feed yet very well mannered around we humans.  He lets me hug him too.

Arlo has the sweetest alpaca face, like he's always smiling.  When he chews his cud, his little round face looks like a cherub singing.  He is sweet, sweet, sweet.  To me, he will always look like a cria.  I often call him my Little Man.  He really does not like his feet touched at all and will cush quickly when we try to trim toenails.  Arlo and Bo's toenails seem to grow the fastest.

Daji is so shy still that when I put out hay, he comes to me first, I'll pull out a handful from the feeder, and I hold out the handful for him to munch on.  Then he'll step in closer and try to eat from the feeder with the others.  He is easily pushed out by the others.  He is also very sweet.  He does not like to be caught by us humans and whimpers.

Desi will usually let both Dan and I give him a hug and does not mind humans at all.  Desi will alarm when he senses danger, so we've deemed him our Guard Alpaca.  He is a big alpaca and super strong.  When he eats pellets from our hands, he is so enthusiastic he almost bites our hands.

After 5 years of living here, Coty will finally eat from our hands, sometimes.  Coty is our tallest alpaca, very calm yet shy like his momma Alana, and struts beautifully when he walks.  His fleece is my favorite.

Copper loves to talk in an adorable high-pitch squeal, often.  He talks quite a bit while at the hay feeders.  Copper is also quite the clown, much like his big brother Henry.  Copper and Henry are quite the pair together, instigating humorous trouble.

Earth also loves to talk and is still our most talkative alpaca.  Sometimes it is a loud squeal, but usually it's a long, drawn out, deep humming.  I tell him he sounds like a sheep.  He is very sweet and gives me kisses every day.  He will also tug at my jacket when trying to get my attention.  He chews hay very slowly and I love to watch his little mouth.

Bo loves the barn so much that he is almost always the last to leave and the first to return.  Bo is allergic to the many flying insects.  He looks pathetic during the summer since he scratches the fleece right off his face around his eyes.  Poor Bo. This summer I will try something homeopathic for him.  And Bo loves to have his picture taken!  When he sees me with the camera, he stands still and poses.  I love spinning his fleece.

Falcon is a very quiet alpaca.  He is always observing whatever is going on, quietly, and bothers no one.  He prefers to cush in the back corners of the barn where the straw is.  But when we bring out pellets,watch out!  He is right there, nosing his way in, making sure he gets some.

North is another big, calm alpaca, with lots of lovely, maroonish fleece.  The fleece on his neck is almost as long as the fleece on his back.  He loves to be scratched behind the ears and down his neck.  He eats hay from my arms as I load it into the outside feeder.  He follows Dan around on the tractor while he's moving snow in the paddock, jumping and pronking.

Speaking of moving snow, we really miss Guinness right now in the depths of winter.  He used to get so excited when Dan brought in the tractor.  He'd lay down in front of the bucket and roll and roll and roll.  None of the other pacas will do that.  He seemed to prefer us humans to his alpaca friends.  lol.  I also really miss his momma Dreamer and all her sass and spunk.  She'd spit on a moment's notice in her alpha way, but also welcomed my neck scratches and hugs.

Bear came to us with a bit of a shoulder injury.  With our fairly flat pasture, much different than the farm he was living on, he was running within a week.  He tries hard to be Alpha, head of the herd.  He has a dominant personality and isn't afraid to let the others know it.  He has lovely silvery-black fleece.  His voice has a growling sound to it, which is how we nicknamed him Bear. 

Cowboy is a very sweet little guy with lots of thick, soft, medium fawn-brownish fleece so we call him Peanut.  He's very quiet and bothers no one like his papa Falcon.  He doesn't mind us scratching and touching him, but is surprisingly strong if we try to catch him for shots or shearing, etc. 

Eragon, aaahh  Eragon.  He is a nice boy and likes to pal around with Henry. He sometimes joins Henry in his sniffing the poo barrow shenanigans.  His face and curly topknot even look a lot like Henry's.  You'd think they were brothers but they are not related at all.  He is usually quiet but will shyly eat from my hand. Dan kind of refers to him as 'the forgotten alpaca' since he doesn't have any paca personality traits that stand out nor is he ever sick.  He's a good boy!  His very dark rose-grey fleece looks fabulous in the sun.

I hope you all enjoyed the tour of our pacas' personalities!  Next time I'll talk fleece colors.  :)

 

 
 

The Fiber Twelve Days of Christmas 2014

It's that time of year again to sing a happy tune.  Merry Christmas Everyone!!! 

The Fiber Twelve Days of Christmas        

On the twelfth day of Stitch-mas, my true love gave to me:

Twelve knitters knitting

Eleven cones a’ winding

Ten orders shipping

Nine rugs a’ hooking

Eight yarns a’ dying

Seven needles felting

Six sample cards

Five spinning wheels!!!

Four pounds of fiber

Three nuno scarves

Two socks on one needle  

And a yarn store that understands me!

 
 

Computer is all fixed!

Wow!!  It's so good to be back!  I was having some computer problems with my ole computer ~ yes, yes, ahem, it's running XP ~ and was unable to do admin functions on my own website!  But thanks to my brother, who convinced me and helped me to do some updates for another reason, voila!!!  I'm here!!  Thanks Mark!!

All has been well here over the summer and I plan to be back soon with fun stories from our little alpaca farm.  :)

 
 

The Ladies

As you may already know, last December we had alpaca ladies join our farm. 

Dreamer, Trixie, and Alana, June2014

We had spent months trying to figure out how we could inexpensively build a new barn and pasture area for them.  We talked to other farms who house both males and females for tips on how to keep them separated, the hardest task of all.  Knowing well that farming is much more difficult during the winter, we devised a plan of how to get them shoveled out relatively easily so that we’d be able to get them water and hay. 

In the end, the quickest, easiest, and most efficient method was just to divvy up the barn by moving one of the gates to block off the pens next to the tack room, run a line of fencing from the back corner of the barn to the back pasture fenceline, and then run fencing down the paddock with 2 handmade gates on either end.  Done.

The girls, or rather The Ladies as Dan calls them, have the smaller side next to the tack room.  The boys have the rest of the barn, the bigger side.  It’s not that much bigger!  I swear it was much cozier this winter for them.  With a smaller space and a few more alpacas, all that extra body heat must have helped. 

As it turns out, after the initial Meet and Greet, the boys just couldn’t care less about having girls on the other side!  They are always, always, much more interested in me bringing them hay than who’s on ‘the other side.’  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

The Sling - Part 2

Sometimes, despite your best efforts and intentions, things just don’t go as planned. Spring arrived, and Shiloh was not able to regain the use of her back legs. Loving animals means your heart gets broken when they cannot be the beautiful creatures they were intended to be. More sadness came to our farm in mid-April, as the decision was made that it was best to let Shiloh and her wonderful spirit leave our world.  

Shiloh April2014

We had created a setup in the pen with a sling and pulleys so that we could sling Shiloh up with the least amount of stress to her, as well as to us. She really didn’t like being in the sling. She always much preferred that Dan lift her by her hind end and balance her on his leg while he sat on the small hay feeder. From there she could stand up using her front legs and see all around the barn, see ‘her girls’ and sometimes she’d even put weight on her back legs. Dan and I would massage her back and hips and massage her back legs and feet, trying hard to get the blood circulating. Then we’d gently work each leg, bending it and straightening it, forward and back and out to the side. Dan would even take that rear leg and pull it forward so that Shiloh could scratch her chest, like a real alpaca. :)  

Shiloh Apr2014

Shiloh actually liked us doing all this massage. When we’d arrive at the barn she’d get a really excited look on her face when she saw Dan and would try hard to get herself up, her front end anyway. When she saw us get the sling ready, she’d get an ‘OH NO!’ look to her. With Shiloh in the sling we could work her legs a little easier and she could move around a teensy bit. Anything to get her muscles working. I did reiki on her every day. We gave her homeopathic remedies for healing and pain relief, banamine for pain and swelling, MSM to build muscle, crushed B12 tablets to regenerate her nerves, and of course alpaca pellets as a treat. We kept her in the pen with lots of straw and a warm coat, and put up an extra tarp to keep the cold and wind off of her. We did this all winter long, every day.  

In return, she gave us happy looks, a never-give-up attitude, and a very loving spirit. She will never be forgotten.  

RIP my friend.

Dan and Shiloh Apr2014

Dan and Shiloh April2014

 
 

The Sling - Part 1

I really don’t need to explain to anyone that it’s been a brutally cold winter this season. Temps have often been near zero and with the wind it’s well below zero. The tips of my fingers go numb within a minute or less of scooping up frozen beans. It’s a nauseating feeling. I run into the tack room to get out of the wind, take off my gloves, and shake my hands wildly to get the feeling back. If I’m on the boys’ side, I usually run to Guinness or Arlo to put my fingers into their fleeces. This time of year the alpacas’ fleece is usually about 3+ inches long and it’s toasty warm down by their skin. Guinness will usually grunt and look up at me quickly, surprised by the sudden cold. I wish they’d stay still long enough for my fingertips to get as warm as their skin, but usually it’s just long enough to get the feeling back.  

On the plus side, we haven’t had as much snow as we’ve usually had the past several winters. On those odd days where the wind is calm, the sun is out, and it’s over 20 degrees, I am able to open up the ‘big door’ for the boys. They love it! It’s so dark in the barn with all the tarps up along the front opening. Plus, it gives me another way to get into and out of the barn to scoop all the paca poo.    

Over on the girls’ side it’s a bit different. We’ve been keeping the tarped gate closed and their ‘big door’ closed most of the time, trying to keep poor Shiloh warm. Shiloh stays cushed in the pen, on piles of warm straw, and wears a lovely coat. She can wiggle around fairly well using her front legs but doesn’t leave the pen on her own.    

Shiloh came to us somewhat mobile. She’d been injured back in October at the farm she’d been living at and went down, and then spent a week recuperating at the vet. For the next month she needed assistance getting up and overall seemed to be improving. When she first arrived here at the beginning of December, she just needed a boost to get up but could do a wobbly walk. After several days, Shiloh was getting up on her own! We were thrilled and thought she was basically recovered. NOT. The intense cold came on suddenly and within days she needed a boost to get up again, and just as quickly needed help just to stand. And then, she couldn’t even stand. Her front legs work just fine, but her back legs do not. It is incredibly sad for us to see her so helpless.  

Shiloh is considered a ‘down’ alpaca. In the mornings and mid-day, I massage and rub her legs as best as I can to get some feeling into them. I do reiki on the part of her lower spine where her actual injury appears to be. Her wonderful owners have provided her with all kinds of homeopathic remedies, vitamins, banamine [a livestock medicine to reduce pain and inflammation], etc. In the evening, Dan lifts her by her hips and she stands. He sits on the hay feeder with her hips in his lap and her back legs somewhat dangle. We then rub and massage and stretch out her legs and feet trying to work the muscles.  

Shiloh is one very co-operative alpaca. It is amazing how she just lets us ‘do what we have to do’ with really no complaints. She has the best disposition of any alpaca ever! The downfall is this: she is a rather large-framed alpaca. She is not fat, in fact even after all this she still body scores very well, but she is much too heavy for us to lift her easily; in fact I cannot lift her at all if she isn’t assisting and quickly trying to stand on her own. This makes therapy rather difficult and is certainly slowing down her healing process.  

It’s time for us to make a sling. Dan has put something together and we did a successful test run with a hay bale last night. It will still require both of us to get her into the sling and lift her. Once she’s in the sling and Dan doesn’t have to hold her up, we will both be able to work her legs much better.   Her muscle tone in those weak back legs will improve. She will soon be able to start standing on all 4 legs with the sling helping her to keep her balance. And then, she will be able to run again on her own.   That’s the plan, anyway.  

We refer to Shiloh’s condition as an injury, but it’s actually the affects of the dreaded meningeal worm.

 
 

New Year's ~ 2014

Happy New Year Everyone!!!  Bright Blessings for a happy, healthy, and prosperous year!

Thank you all for reading our little blog.  We very much appreciate it.

~ Mona

 
 

Twenty

Our little farm has grown to 20 alpacas.  This little fact now begs the question:  are we nuts??

In mid-November we brought home 2 more boys in need of a farm, Soloman and Sam.  Soloman is an all-black alpaca with a wild and curly topknot and the longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen on an alpaca.  He is also rather good-natured and doesn’t mind at all when I hug him, usually.  He is papa to several of our boys: Cavalier, North, Eragon, and Copper.   Sam is a light fawn alpaca, another really nice boy, and a bit high-strung and nervous.  He is papa to still very shy Adagio.

Our girls are home!!!  Our girls have always boarded elsewhere, and at the beginning of this month, they’re finally home.  Dreamer is my older girl, full of spunk for her teeny size, with lovely light fawn fleece.  She never lets anyone get in her way and is most likely to spit.  She is mama to Guinness, Bo, and Arlo.  Then there’s Alana, who is very tall, with the loveliest medium rose-grey fleece.  I first saw her when she was a cria and knew I had to have her.  Even now, in the right sunshine, her fleece has a pinky glow.  I wish it would spin up that way!  She is mama to Coty, Henry, and Copper. 

Our girls came home with a couple of friends.  First there’s Christina, who is a medium brown gal, and mama to Desi.  Christina seems to be the lookout for the girls and often sounds the alarm call, especially when she sees Stella.  Their other friend is Shiloh, who probably has the best disposition of any alpaca, ever!  She has a dark brown blanket of fleece across her back, and the rest of her is white and brown splashes of color.  This little gal’s unique coloring stands out in any crowd.  She wears a red coat all the time because she hasn’t been feeling well [more on that in another post].  Christina and Shiloh are very well loved by their owners, who enjoy spoiling their alpacas as much as we do.

Dreamer looks incredibly small compared to the other 3 gals, who are all rather tall.

Dan refers to the four of them as ‘The Ladies.’

At first the girls were very nervous of their new surroundings.  They were definitely unsure of what to make of me and Dan.  The good thing is that they have lived together for years and are very bonded.  The four stay together and move together as a group, as a herd should.  I’d come walking into the paddock announcing ‘hello girls!’ and they’d all run into the barn and out their big door.  They’d stop and turn to stare at me wide-eyed wondering, who is this new 2-legger who’s always singing our names?  And what’s with that little dog?  The boys have always greeted me at the gate with kisses so to have alpacas actually run away from me was rather upsetting. 

Thankfully, they only took a few days to get used to me.   At first I used the universal language of alpacas:  I offered them hay.  I slowly held out hay from my hand towards their noses.  They all stared.  Dreamer, very obviously the alpha, was the first to take a teeny step towards me and sniff the hay.  Then she had a bite.  Yeah!  The others then felt safe and ate hay from my hands too, even very shy Alana.  It took me little effort to offer them minerals from the feed bowl, and then the cup.  I’ve been greeting each of them by name, staring right into their eyes.  I call their names from the back door of the house.  That has gotten them running out of the barn to look!  Now I can scratch all of them on their beautiful, long necks.  They stay in the barn while I work around them and ask to drink water from the bucket before I walk it over to the boys’ side.     

The girls also quickly adapted to our routine of being in the barn at least twice a day to put out hay and fresh water, and to rake up all the paca poo.  All of a sudden it seems like we’re raking up an extreme amount of poo, a never ending amount of paca poo.   There seems to be poo everywhere, on the boys’ side that is.  The Ladies are very, very neat, never pooing inside their barn, and only creating one, sometimes a small second, poo area.

Hey boys, are you paying attention???  Of course not; boys will be boys.

Dan and I spent all summer and early fall deciding on how best to divvy up the pasture and barn safely for the girls’ arrival.  We built gates, and more gates, dug holes for fence posts, and put up the fencing.  We built ourselves a Fort Knox system to ensure that the boys can’t wander over to the girls’ side, or vice-versa.

There is some humor to all this work.  The boys sniffed at the girls upon their arrival with the usual gusto.  They ran up and down the fence line trying to acquaint themselves with the new alpacas on the other side.  After a few days, that was it.

The boys are much more interested in me bringing them hay than in the girls on the other side of the fence.  Silly boys.

We had an unfortunate incident amongst the boys about a week or so after Soloman and Sam arrived, and Sam is no longer here on our farm.  We wish him well.  On our farm now, including our beloved Julio, are twenty.

 
 

The Fiber Twelve Days of Christmas

once again, it's time for our annual song ...................

On the twelfth day of Stitch-mas, my true love gave to me:

Twelve knitters knitting

Eleven cones a’ winding

Ten orders shipping

Nine rugs a’ hooking

Eight yarns a’ dying

Seven needles felting

Six sample cards

Five spinning wheels!!!

Four pounds of fiber

Three nuno scarves

Two socks on one needle

 And a yarn store that understands me

 Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

 
 

Changes

Oh my.  The past few weeks, we have been experiencing the best autumn weather, ever!! 

The dew is usually dried off the grass by late morning.  I’ve been wheeling down a bale of hay around noontime.  Everyday, several alpaca noses greet me at the gate while I wheel the bale in and follow me excitedly as I plunk it down alongside the paddock fencing.  The boys love to cush around the bale and mindlessly munch in the sun all afternoon.  In the evening I pick up what’s left and put it into their feeders, fluffing it up as much as I can.  By then they’re usually pronking about in the pasture.

Daji,Copper,Falcon Aug2013

Changes have been coming to our little farm.  Our little farm is growing, growing. 

Several weeks ago, I blogged that our adorable little CopperMoon had come home.  He arrived with his little shy friend Adagio, which we are calling Daji, and another friend, Falcon.  Copper and Daji are average sized alpacas and a bit cautious of their new surroundings.  Falcon is a smaller sized alpaca, calm and quiet, but he definitely can take care of himself.  The usual meet-and-greet over the fence with our herd went well.  We let the newcomers into the small blocked off area to the side of the barn so they could further acclimate themselves.  After a couple hours, we opened up the gates.

That was a mistake.  Within minutes a horrifying scene emerged while Desi, Coty, and North all insisted on asserting their dominance all at once over the 3 new arrivals, namely shy little Daji.  Dan and I managed to separate the 3 offenders rather quickly.  I scolded them and lectured them on manners.  I know that others will laugh and tell me that this is normal behavior for livestock.  I still see it as a nightmare scenario.

I knew my lecture would do no good.  Dan and I sectioned off the barn and secured a small pasture area.  I knew we had a problem that wouldn’t right itself on its own.  We phoned our vet immediately.  Luckily she was able to come to our farm a few days later.  On a beautiful sunny morning, my 3 ‘big boys’ were gelded.  All is calm and quiet again on our little farm, well, for the most part.

We now refer to Desi, Coty, and North as ‘The Sisters.’    :) 

In a few weeks our girls, Dreamer (momma to Guinness, Bo and Arlo) and Alana, (momma to Coty, Henry, and Copper) will be home!  More fun on our little farm is sure to happen.

 
 

For Lisa and Val

The camera is working again!  Definitely operator error folks, so we'll just leave it at that.  :)

In honor of the camera finally working, the first picture is for you, Lisa!  Here in front is Desi in full fleece, just before shearing this year:

Desi full fleece May2013 

And the second picture is for you Val!  This is adorable little EarthWind&Fire, whom Dan and I call Earthling, in full fleece:

Earthling May 2013

And for all of you, here are all of our fiber friends!  The first picture is missing Guinness; he was probably just out of camera range.  The second picture is missing Bo.  Bo was probably in the barn.  Bo loves his barn.  Yes, our beloved Julio is in both pictures.  Enjoy everyone!

Alpaca friends full fleece May 2013

alpacas in full fleece 2013

 
 

The Alarm Call

Things are still strangely quiet on our little farm.  I just can’t explain it but it all seems so oddly quiet.  The alpacas have their occasional moments of rough housing and it’s odd not to see Julio step up.  Sometimes Guinness intervenes.  He’s a little guy though so this doesn’t always happen.  I tell him he’s a very good boy and give him a hug.    

There is still no clear alpha but I think it’s Cavalier.  He obviously doesn’t mind the rough housing ruckus.  He’ll just stand there and watch while he eats hay or grazes, if he even watches at all.   If he’s cushed he’ll just continue to chew his cud and ignore what’s happening.  Maybe it isn’t such a big deal to him or any of the alpacas.  Maybe I’m just overreacting.  Most of the time it’s as it’s always been, very quiet out there. 

I’ve been asking Cav, whom I often call Big Bear, if he’s the alpha now.  He doesn’t respond.  But when I say ‘hey A-Man!’ he looks me right in the eye in surprise as if to ask ‘What, Who, Me??’  His expression makes me smile and laugh.  Finally I’m laughing again.

The other night we heard the strangest noise outside.   Were raccoons fighting?  We had no idea.  We heard the strange noise again and tried listening for other noises.  Nothing.   Dan said ‘I think the alpacas are alarming!’  Alpacas make a loud, high pitched noise when they feel threatened.  They do not make this noise often.  This could not be good. 

We quickly turned on the outside lights to the barn.  We saw that all the boys were in the paddock, standing perfectly still with their necks straight up.  All of them were staring at the main gate.   They had stopped alarming now that the light was on.  The only alpaca who had ever sounded the alarm was Julio and he hadn’t done that in a very long time.  The hair was standing up on the back of my neck.

We couldn’t see or hear coyotes, nor dogs, nor a bear.  The alpacas will curiously follow wild turkeys along the fence line but turkeys are not out late at night.  When deer or the occasional moose come through the alpacas couldn’t care less.  Dan took the flashlight and cautiously walked out towards the gate.

And there, in front of the gate, waddling by without a care in the world was a porcupine.  Oh geez!  My wimpy alpacas alarmed at a silly little porcupine. 

Who sounded the alarm?  Usually it’s the alpha/guard but we didn’t see who alarmed and we haven’t got a clue.  

Ahhh, the Who’s The New Alpha Game continues on.             

 
 
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