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Sunday, October 20, 2019

All male herd

As planned, all of my female alpacas have now gone on to new homes, some of them close enough that I can visit them, and I have made new friends as a result of that as well. This all happened just in time, as I had to have my left knee replaced for the second time and this time, it is taking much longer to heal. The new surgeon I used, told me I was one of the "lucky ones out of 2500" to have the knee go bad. Fortunately, my farm sitter was available while I was recuperating from having a larger and better knee(keeping fingers crossed) put in. For the first two weeks, my sweet brother, Michael, came from St. Louis to take care of me and all of my critters. He also took care of some repairs that needed to be made, started organizing my messy garage, and kept me well fed as well.

My all male herd is working out nicely, and there have been very few arguments among them since the girls have all left. They now also have more space in the barn, and much more pasture as well.
Clean up is faster, too. Since I have not been able to do much this summer due to the knee, I have not skirted this year's fiber, and am trying to get that done before bad weather sets in. It is also nice not to be spat upon every time one of the animals gets close to me. None of the males do that, except to each other, so that is another advantage of an all male herd. They are all well trained to go out to pasture, and when I want to bring them back in to the barn in the evening, all I need to do is clap my hands, call out a few names, and they all gather by the gate, wating for me to open it, and then they make a mad dash to the barn, where they know fresh hay is waiting for them.

I have not been at the Farm Market since July, and am hoping to be back there in November and December, when we only have two markets a month. That means I have to get going on making dryer balls, knitting scarves and spinning some yarn. Never a dull moment at the farm here. On top of that, I may have a Litter of puppies by the first week of December.

Monday, June 24, 2019


I have been so busy that I have neglected posting anything to my blog for months now. As a single female farmer of ARI registered alpacas and a breeder of AKC Champion German Shepherds, it has been exceptionally difficult with the weird weather we have had. My pastures have grass growing like weeds, but I can't mow due to all the rain we have had. Every time I think about mowing, the rains start up again. I know my animals are all tired of being locked in the barn or their kennels, but I can't let them out because they will sink six inches into mud, and cleaning dogs with that kind of mess, is not something I have time to do.

As it is taking more and more time for me to do things--whoever gave the name "Golden Years" to people getting up in age was obviously a young person. So, to make my life as a single female farmer a bit easier, I decided that I would sell off my female Alpacas and only keep males. This will eliminate the costs associated with birthing, as well as having to keep female alpacas separate from male alpacas . I will miss seeing the bouncing crias, but not the extra stress, work, and expense of raising them, and maintaining healthy moms.

So, my males can still be used as herdsires for other farms' females, and I can transport them in my new Ford Transit Van, to other farms, but after my last two girls are sold, I won't have to deal with that extra work/expense anymore. My males will give me enough fiber to keep me busy for the year, making products to sell at the Farm Market as well as other sites.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

New crias

I had the chance to go and visit my nephew and niece and their two children in Truckee, Ca, so had my farm sitter come and take care of my animals while I was gone for two weeks. Of course, I had crias due at any time, so wrote up a list of instructions as to how to care for them, and also left the vet's number for "just in case". As I was frantically trying to get everything ready for the trip, one of them dropped her cria the day before I was to fly out, so that left just one more to come. Fortunately, all was well with the little male, who is a really cute one with white stripes across his eyes, that make him look like he has really bushy eyebrows. I may call him Groucho, but have not decided yet. I kept getting replies when I was texting the farm sitter, and it was not until the last four days of my vacation that I got the reply I was waiting for: "We have a baby." I was not sure that she knew hot to check the sext of the cria, and when she kept referring to it as "he", I thought that I would just wait until I got home. Well, it turned out that "he" was indeed a "she" and a lovely fawn at that. Still have not decided on names for either, but am thinking of naming the female Vista since I was looking at a beautiful mountain site at the time I received the text from my farm sitter.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Snow and extreme cold

It has been, and continues to be, one of the coldest winters I can recall. I love snow, as do my alpacas, but this extreme in temperatures, has me doing things I have not had to do in a long time. I, unfortunately, left the heated water hose attached to the faucet in the barn, so there was no water to add to the tanks. As a result, I had to schlepp(a German word meaning to carry) water buckets with heated water from my kitchen to the barn, which is not an easy feat. As there was a bit of ice on the ground, I purchased one of those plastic sleds and used it to pull three five gallon buckets to the barn twice a day. Fortunately, my farm sitter had put up the tarps across the open parts of the barn, while I was dealing with a severe cold right before Christmas, so at least the wind was kept out of the barn. She also came one day when it was freezing cold, and discovered a three inch ice cover on the girls' tank, and chopped through it, so there was a little hole for them from which to drink. I realized that the heater had been disconnected from the outlet, and also decided that the heater that was in there, was not able to deal with that much cold, so got a bigger one and it is now working beautifully. I also use my sled, now that we have snow on the ground(Did I tell you that I love snow?) to move the hay bales from the back storage area to the hay bins in the three barn areas.
I learned a number of years ago, that deep bedding is the way to go to keep the barn warmer in cold weather, so that is what I have been doing. I have a thermometer in the back of the barn, and I checked it yesterday, when the outdoor temperature(during bright sunshine) was a "warm" ten degrees, and it read a tad over twenty. My Suris were not shivering, so it must be ok for them in there as well as for the huacayas and my Anatolian. Even my hens like it in there, and prefer it to the small coop I have for them. I just don't know where they are laying their eggs right now. A few days ago, I found a slight mound of hay as I was retrieving some bales to feed the alpacas, and to my surprise, found about 20 eggs neatly laid under that mound. I scooped them up and boiled them, then fed one to each of my eight dogs. They were gobbled up, so I know they were still good, although they were frozen when I found them. Well, that is life on the farm during the winter. I am getting bundled up to check up on everyone, as there is snow coming.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

injection site cyst

I have not had one of these in nearly 14 years, but last week I discovered a hard lump on the side of one of my alpaca females. I suspected it was an injections site cyst, and waited for it to erupt, then cleaned it out with warm soapy water. Got the nasty stuff out and then flushed it. It has healed nicely. and yesterday I discovered one on one of my black girls. Am waiting for it to erupt, and since tomorrow is herd health day, will deal with it then. It never fails, if it is raining, it is pouring in more than one sense. At least this is something with which I can deal without going to the vet. Good thing I have Betadine on hand with which to flush it out this time. Checked on the cheek, and it is healing nicely.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Clinton County Farmer's Market

We will be a vendor again at the Clinton County Farmer's Market every Saturday from 8:30 to Noon beginning June 3, 2017. Come and check us out. We have fiber from our alpacas, raw, as well as washed, carded and spun, the ever popular dryer balls, cat toys(tested and approved by my own housecats) and perhaps a handwoven rug(if time permits) also made with yarn from our animals.

There are a variety of vendors there, so you can also shop for produce, organic meats, jewelry, baked goods, oils, herbs and other plants, as well as pet treats. It is a well organized market, and the site is in front of the General Denver Hotel, right in the middle of Wilmigton, Ohio. Each week, they also have special activities planned for the kids that accompany their parents to the market. It is a very friendly place, so stop by and make some new friends.

Friday, May 19, 2017

visitors from Germany

Yesterday I had visitors from Germany. They were long time friends of my cousins and touring with my brother who had taken them from Boston, to New York, Washington, DC and then to my farm before heading to Chicago and then Iowa. It turns out that they had visited Peru in the past, and had also taken in an alpaca farm while there. When I let them touch the fiber of one of my males(they were shorn three weeks ago, they could not believe how soft it was. The lady had purchased an alpaca shawl while on that farm, and she said it did not feel anywhere near as soft as the fiber I had shown her. Guess I am doing something right here. Now if the weather would stay nice for a couple of days, I will get started with skirting, washing and drying outside.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Shearing Day is a success.

Well, in spite of the dire predictions of the weathermen for storms on the days scheduled for shearing, we had a great two days of nice cool weather without a drop of rain. As a matter of fact, it was so cool that I had to coat one of the crias and my two Suris. My shearers and helpers were great and we got all of the girls finished one day, then went on to finish off the boys the next. Now to process all that fiber when the weather turns warm.

Monday, March 27, 2017

New cria

On the 21st of this month we had a huge surprise in our barn, a totally black little cria male, already up and running around. As I had only bred one female last year, I was not expecting this one, so will have to do some real background searching via DNA to find out who daddy is He has gained weight each day and has made his way into the herd, leaping around and causing general havoc. Mom, also a true black, and Evander daughter, has plenty of milk and is super protective of her little guy. My grand nephew has named him Lamborghini, as he loves nice cars and spotted one of those a few days before the cria was born. Of course, he had to make his appearance on one of those days when it went from 60 degrees to below freezing, so he was coated after we dried him off and sprayed his umbilical cord. He is now almost two months old, and feisty as they come. His fiber is stunning, with lovely, tight curls all over his body and a shiny black.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Getting ready for spring and shearing

Sunshine is here today, which makes me very happy, and I know the pacas are enjoying every ray as well. It has been one historic winter, going from freezing to the upper sixties from one day to the next. I am not looking forward to the insects this summer. As soon as I can wade through the mud, I will clean out the winter mess from the barns. Had the tractor and mower serviced during the winter, so everything should be in good working order. Need to get a new seed/fertilizer spreader as the old one is simply shot. Since I had my right knee replaced for the third time(the 3rd should be the charm) I did not get to clip nails this winter and they need to be done desperately for a couple of the animals whose nails grow more quickly. Fortunately, my 14 year old grand nephew was with me to take care of the pacas and dogs for the past several weeks since I got out of the rehab place. My farm sitter took excellent care of them before that, so with the help of Luke, we got the pacas their monthly shots in Feb. The next time they are due, I should be a little more stable on my feet. Looking forward to going to the farmer's market the third Saturday in March.