We have had gentle snowfall for 6 days now. We’ve probably picked up close to another foot of snow. At least it’s come in small increments so it makes it easier for us to clear the driveway and pathways around the house and down to the barn and over to the big poop pile. Dan hooked up something called ‘skid shoes’ to the bottom of the ‘blade’ attachment on the tractor and has a fairly easy time ‘plowing’ all these paths out. It’s much, much faster than using the snowblower even if he has to be turned around plowing backwards the whole time. He used the tractor bucket as well as the blade a few weeks ago to clear a path in the pasture for the alpacas to run around on. They all followed him and pronked behind the tractor while he worked. Guinness was so excited he was pouncing around the tractor and then laid down in front of it and rolled and rolled and rolled. When Dan was done, they all had races up and down the paths sometimes tripping over Guinness when he decided to roll again. They continually find endless ways to amuse us. Now when they see Dan coming down the path to the barn on the tractor they get excited, thinking he’s going to clear another path in the pasture for them.
The strong winds continue and I’m constantly re-shoveling the drifts that keep accumulating on the paddock walkway. Today the sun is shining brightly and I wish I could find a way to get the boys out of the barn. Julio is a good guard keeping the others in the barn out of the wind but the sunshine is so refreshing! Alpacas, with their wonderfully dense fleece can withstand the cold easily but it’s the wind that creates havoc with their health. Wind blew snow up and over the tarp and onto the straw we’ve put down. A few days ago I was actually shoveling snow off the straw in the awning area of the barn. The boys must be heartier than I keep planning for as most days I find them cushed on the stonedust in the 2 stalls where we did not put straw down. Usually at least one is cushed in front of the hay feeder entirely in the wind. Arlo enjoys the thick straw in the pen the most although I wonder if the reason he likes cushing in the pen is because that’s where we feed him his grain!
We’d been visiting our alpacas in the winter up at Pam’s during the 2 years they’d been there but this is our first winter to watch them ‘grow into their fleece’ on a daily basis. Wow! What a show! The more their fleece grows the more gorgeous of an animal alpacas are. It is so soft to the touch and with gloveless hands my fingers are instantly warm. Their fleece right now is as long as my fingers are or longer. When I touch all the way down to their bodies, their bodies are warm. Yeah! Sometimes it’s necessary to put a coat on the younger alpacas or the older or sick ones. With this wind I’m tempted to make little ear warmers and booties for them although I’m sure none of my boys would wear them!