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Archive for the ‘Alpacas’ Category

As part of our 2010 cyber-reorganization, we are moving and consolidating our cyberhomes.  You can get to our website at http://www.fancyfibers.com or just http://fancyfibers.com.

Our Farm Blog is now on that site instead of in a separate place! 

Please continue to follow the news from the farm by going to our newly designed website (on a different hosting service), click on the latest blog post, and SUBSCRIBE!  There is an RSS feed link down at the bottom.  When I figure out how to add other feed readers, I’ll do that, too!

We hope you’ll check it out and watch our new site grow!

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Can we come out yet?

I don’t want anyone to think we have spoiled animals, but, well, we have SOME spoiled animals.

One of the rather ramshackle buildings that was on this property when we bought it was a barn. Although it’s nothing special to look at, the animals are really fond of it. Especially the alpacas. And the goats. And the chickens.

We have prissy spoiled animals. They don’t like getting their feet wet. They stand and look out the door with that “is it dry yet?” look on their faces, ever hopeful.

Sadly, so far the answer is, “No.” But there’s a brisk wind blowing this morning, and that will definitely help.

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With the water to the barns turned off because of the busted pipe, Ken has been hauling water at least once if not twice each day for the animals. They are definitely glad to see him once he gets there!

The first bucket has to go to the chickens.  We have not been able to find an electric base set under the chicken’s watering bucket, so it is most definitely frozen over every morning.  Ken hauls a good size bucket of steaming water out to the chickens so that it stays unfrozen for a while. This morning he got taken advantage of a little bit! Rascal, our 4-year-old Suri, figured out what was going on and had to have a big ol’ drink out of that bucket before the chickens got to it!

Then he sets a couple of buckets out for the alpacas and goats in the main barn.  Despite the fact that they have a perfectly good, unfrozen, watering trough outside, they prefer to laze around in the barn, munching hay, kushing, and drinking water all in about a 12 x 12 square. Neither the alpacas or the goats seem at all bothered by the cold, acting as if it is “business as usual” in the barn. 

By the afternoon, in the beautifully bright sun, everyone is walking around the pasture.  I walked around the pasture too (until I couldn’t feel my fingertips) picking up some feed sacks that had blown up against the fence.  The water on our new “lake” was frozen pretty solid.

At least it’s not deep!

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Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.
Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.

This red sky was exactly what I saw this morning as I left for work. It was no surprise, though. The weather-guessers had been saying for days that we were in for bad weather, and we’ve been getting ready.

This evening we wrapped it all up.  What’s coming is going to come and we’re as ready as we’re ever going to be!

I was relieved to know that the electric heaters we bought for the water troughs seemed to be working.  Buddha was happy to get a big sloppy drink. There was still a piece of ice on the ground this evening that Buddha had pulled out of the trough when I broke up the ice yesterday evening!  The water in the trough, however, was not frozen.

The alpacas are loving their extra rations of alfalfa hay that we purchased special for the freezing weather.  They have all they can eat out at all times.  There’s also plenty of straw on the ground in the areas of the barn where the animals like to lay.

‘Shroom wanted to play “king of the mountain” with the hay, for some reason, but he wasn’t stopping Dewey or Rascal from eating, so they didn’t care.

The chickens will also have unfrozen water, and they, too, have lots of fresh straw, even in their nesting boxes in case they decide to curl up in one.

The outside faucets are wrapped and covered. The rabbits are safe and cozy in their heated Bunny Barn.

Bring it on!

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A Cold Day in….

It started off really nice today, although a bit overcast, but it didn’t take long to be come a cold day in the pasture!  The wind turned to the north and the temperature dropped 20 degrees in the time you could snap your fingers.  A bracing rain started and everybody except the guard dogs ran for shelter.  The guard dogs don’t mind the rain, actually, although they usually end up in the barn because all the other animals are.

When feeding time came, Ken bundled up in his felted hat and overalls (on top of his other clothes), grabbed the tin snips, and went out to feed and put out hay.  Bless his heart, I stayed in the warmth of the back doorway!  (That’s why these pictures are fuzzy!  My batteries are dead, again, in my “real” camera and I was using my iPhone.)

The animals were definitely ready for him.  He has quite a routine down, a certain order, certain pens for certain animals, and the animals pretty much march to his tune!

The alpacas eat while the dogs play

Sheep & Goats Waiting

In the meantime, I was inside with my Ashford Drum Carder on the breakfast bar lightly carding together some black alpaca (Gideon, from Jacob’s Reward 2008 harvest), some black Corriedale (from Terrific Fibers), and some of my own black-grey-white angora into soft batts. 

I feel the need for a cup of coffee and some time at my spinning wheel! 

Let’s see what sort of luscious fancy fiber I can spin up!

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P.S. to The Big Snip!

For those who are curious, there was a reason we took the alpacas in to be fixed.  Testosterone was running rampant, and they were beginning to fight in earnest.  If you’ve never heard an alpaca fight, let me just say that the noise they make is unearthly. It sounds like aliens have invaded the pasture. And their fighting is something to behold!  They tangle themselves together using their long necks and throw each other onto the ground and run after each other.  It’s pretty amazing that they don’t really hurt themselves. Sometimes it looks like they’re suffocating each other.  How ’bout I let you see for yourself? In the words of the U.S. Press Corp, a picture is worth a thousand words.

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The Big Snip!

Yes, today was the day for my two young alpaca boys. Time to see Dr. Lane for …. The Big Snip!  Ken had stayed home to give me a hand with them which was a good thing.  It occurred to me later that if something had gone wrong in moving them from the barn to the trailer (which was parked in front of the house due to the mud), I wouldn’t want to be here alone.  Besides, Ken is the most helpful person on the planet, and I enjoy doing farm stuff with him!

So into the trailer they go….

A short ride into Farmersville…

Then into the stalls at Dr. Lane’s.

Late this afternoon, we went back to get them, and put them back into the pasture with their friends.  They had come through the operation just fine, although Dewey ended up with a larger incision than originally intended due to one of his pertinent body parts not being in the expected place!

So happy together!

[Note to readers with good eyes: Look closely at this picture. There are 4 goats eating hay with the alpacas, although you can only see 3 of them. The two littlest ones (Little Bill and Blackie) basically eat from underneath the feeder! It’s really a cute sight!]

Hey! What’s that welder working on???

Stay tuned and find out!

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