This morning I headed down to the barn like I normally do. So strange, this winter. It’s been warm, many days into the high 40’s. Aside from the freak October snowstorm, we really haven’t gotten any snow. The ground is generally hard from being frozen overnight with not enough daylight to really thaw it out, unless we’d had some rain. But even so, not that much rain either. So weird, but since we’ve had several years of record-breaking snowfall filled winter, hey, I’m not complaining about this one. :)
When I wake up some of the alpacas are cushed in the paddock, still sleeping. It’s been so warm that we haven’t even had to tarp over the upper half of the barn. We did put the tarps on the gates, but unless it’s windy, most nights we haven’t even had to shut them. Those nights, the boys are all cushed together in the deep straw, staying close to each other for warmth. There’s no snow, so as the sun rises the boys stroll out to the pasture and nibble on the stubby grasses.
A few of the alpacas were cushed out in the paddock. We’d put down some old hay and straw near the entrance fence, and Julio and Bo were cushed there, chewing their cud. I said hello to Bo as I walked by him to check out Julio. His lump has not gotten any better since we started the antibiotics. In fact it’s been looking worse, like he ate a golf ball and is holding it along his lower jaw. He’s been eating, spitting, and acting like his spunky, normal self though! We suspect he may be purposely stuffing hay there, to get more sympathy from us, so we’ll give him more pellets as treats. Julio, my Drama Queen. He knows I’m a softie.
Lately, we’ve been finding small holes dug, in the pen, up against the tack room wall. Dan and I fill them back in with stonedust and I’ve even put large rocks over them. A few days later another hole will appear, next to the rock. Damn! Over the weekend we thought we’d be clever and put the hose down the hole and turned on the water. The water poured out from under the back of the barn, and nothing else. Yeah.
I turned on the lights to the barn and walked into the pen. Yeah, no new holes! I stepped on the straw, just to double check against the back wall. Out of the corner of my eye, from behind the straw bale, something small with a long tail darted by along the wall and instantly disappeared into the teeny space next to the rock.
Right on cue, I screeched, loudly. EEwwww, yuuuuuuuuck!!
And also right on cue, I heard the alpacas all run across the paddock in a group.
For some reason when I express the urge to screech, I also simultaneously seem to close my eyes and stamp my feet. When I re-opened my eyes and turned around, the boys had walked back and were all standing there in front of the pen, wide-eyed, staring at me. All except Coty, who apparently is no longer bothered by my outbursts. He was still cushed by the outside hay feeder chewing his cud, never missing a beat. I choked out an apology. ‘Sorry boys, but you know those things gross me out.’
Earth walked over and gave my nose a long sniff ~ alpaca kisses. Ahh, much better.
p.s. This happened a couple days ago and apparently I’ve jinxed myself. Today, it’s snowing! But ......... no new holes in the pen!