Thursday, May 20, 2010

May has been busy!

Life may be busy, but sometimes you just have to stop and smell the flowers, right Rowdy?!

We had a nice visit from our older son, Ian, and his girlfriend, Michelle, the first week of May. They live in California at a lodge just outside Yosemite National Park. They both work at the lodge, as does our younger son, Sam. We don't get to see them very often, so it was a great time and the weather was about perfect! Michelle had never been here, but she has lived in Alaska and Oregon and California, so I am sure Ohio was a bit tame.

We have finally been able to start shearing our alpaca herd. The cool rainy weather we have been experiencing here has got us a bit behind schedule, but we'll get it done eventually. Hopefully for my next blog post I will have photos and can do a shearing tutorial for those who may be interested in what shearing alpacas entails.

Meanwhile, we have had one more cria born, a little black female, belonging to one of our boarders. Both she and the little boy from the last post are doing well. We still expect 4 more.

The garden is coming along. We have been having salads as I thin the lettuce and spinach. Beets, peas, onions, and squash are all coming up and I have planted some pepper and tomato pla
nts. The asparagus bed is doing well, although we had a couple of late frosts and some stalks were killed off. I think by next year we should be able to enjoy the fruits (or veggies) of that labor!

Since I don't yet have shearing photos to write about, I thought I'd post some aerial farm photos we had taken a few years back and describe our farm layout. We are located in the foothills of the Appalachians, so there is very little flat land in our area and our farm is no exception. Our house and buildings are located in a "holler" or "creek bottom" and so to get just about anywhere, we must go uphill. It can be a challenge in winter, so we do have a couple of 4 WD vehicles.

This first photo is of the main house and buildings. From the upper part of the photo is the poly shelter, which houses the tractor, mowers, trailers and other large equipment. To the right of that (across the creek) is the "Girl's Barn" where our female alpacas live. Cheetah lives here with them. You can see the runway to the back pastures and you may be able to see the alpacas themselves if the photo is large enough on your screen. The red-roofed building below the poly-shelter is call the horse barn. This is where my old horse lives. He has a huge run-in stall and is not ever shut in. We also have hay lofts in this building and here is where our hay is kept. Just below this barn, partially hidden by the huge pine trees are an old corn crib (soon to be chicken house) and storage building. Then there is our house and small summer kitchen and then the garage/workshop. There is another alpaca field just below the garage which has a small 3 -sided shed in it. If you look in the lower left hand corner of this photo, you can see one of the gas/oil wells on our property, which is way up above the house.

In the photo to the left, I have tried to outline our property in white. You can see our main house and buildings top center, then the neighbor's house and at the bottom is our guest house and 2 more alpaca fields, each with a 3 -sided shed, one across the road from the house and one behind the house. There is also an older barn at the very bottom of the photo.

This final photo is a larger view of the whole neighborhood. It may be a little easier to get some of the scope of the hills an woods from this one.

I am still working on my mystery shawl, but am onto the beaded border, so it won't be long now. I will post a photo of the finished shawl when it is done.

I really need to concentrate on skirting some fleeces now. In a little over a week I will be attending the Great Lakes Fiber Festival in Wooster Ohio and hope to drop off about 60 pounds of fiber to be made into rug yarn. Then it will be time to get my loom going and make some awesome rugs!

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