Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall Is In The Air!

Rowdy is posing with the results of Sam's efforts with his new "toy".  

It seems I begin every posting with a disclaimer of how busy we have been.  I never really noticed before how much we seem to have going on all the time.
We had our big Labor Day weekend party on Saturday.  Of course it involves family members and friends staying around all weekend and on Saturday  we have lots of friends and neighbors over as well.  My unofficial count was 55 people and 7 visiting dogs.  

Here is my aunt, Elaine, with her 2 "grand-dogs"

But the weekend started out with a visit from the vet on Thursday afternoon.  I had 9 alpacas I wanted ultrasounded for confirmation of pregnancy and they all are positive!  That's good news, especially since at least 1 was bred to a young male who had never settled a female before.   I also had the vet draw blood on the 5 crias from this past spring for routine bloodwork and am awaiting the results of that.  I really like this vet who came out.  Unfortunately, for personal reasons, she is leaving the practice and moving elsewhere in the state.  I am sorry to see her go.  This means the vet service I use will be back down to 1 vet, the owner.  Large animal vets have a hard job and really have to love their work.  Ours covers a lot of area (he is an hour from me) and so I dread emergencies, but will do what I can to get my animals to the vet if he cannot get to me. 

Friday was housework and party prep day and Saturday was the party.  We played cornhole and volleyball and I made several trips to the alpaca barn with friends who had not been to our farm before and wanted to meet the alpacas and Cheetah.  We had lots of good food and party guests brought lots more.  I am always afraid I won't have enough food, and then Sam and I end up eating leftovers all week.  Nothing wrong with that!

Sunday is probably my favorite day of the weekend as we all just kind of hang around and eat and drink and enjoy family time.  This year, my aunt was here from Michigan and she has always wanted to shoot a gun, SO while the kids were up at the pond swimming, Sam gave a brief firearms lesson to her and my niece and cousins.

Here is my aunt firing Sam's Glock.  Yes, all our firearms are legal and Sam has had the requisite safety courses.

Poor Cheetah was NOT happy about the noise and we decided we really should have done this farther from the house.

Saturday night we had a fire and the obligatory s'mores, but most of the adults were too full from pulled pork sandwiches and cherry cobbler to indulge.  It seems like we ate all weekend!

On Monday, everyone packs up and leaves.  But while the adults were packing, I took the 3 older kids and 5 dogs on a hike through Wayne National Forest.  This is a hike I do several times a week and it goes up a couple of steep hills and through some very overgrown trails and past a derelict farmhouse and outbuildings.  I figured the kids would like it and they did.  

Once the hike was over, while yet another meal was being prepared, I got out Apache, who you met in an earlier post, so the kids could all go for a ride.  He's such a good ol' boy.  Here he is with my 2 nephews and niece and of course me keeping an eye on things.

It was SO quiet once everyone left!  Recovery time!  But not for long.  I am preparing for the Fiber Festival in West Virginia this weekend, so have been doing some dyeing of roving and yarn and labeling and re-labeling yarn (labels get kind of beat up after a while and need replaced).  I think I dyed about 2 1/2 pounds of roving in 3 different colorways and I dyed 3 skeins of yarn using the same dyes as one of the roving batches.  I  more yarn I could dye, but I just don't have time.  I have tonight and tomorrow to get everything ready and packed in the truck and plan to leave around 3 pm with trailer in tow.  So I also have to make sure I have everything I need for 4 alpacas for the weekend as well.  

Meanwhile, Sam has been busy with his own projects.  He purchased a log-splitter since we are planning to increase our maple syrup production this winter and will be using a wood-fired evaporator instead of our gas grill.  The evaporator will be up at the pond, so he is stacking the split pine we took out of one of our pastures under the picnic pavilion.  Most of the trees we will tap will be in that general vicinity.  I think Sam has wanted a log splitter for some time, but has never had the reason to spend the money on one before.  Nothing like a new power tool!

We are also finally going to cement our garage floor, which is just gravel.  It is a project Sam has wanted to do ever since we moved in, but it is a lot of work.  It is a 3 car garage so it is no small project.  We have been having a lot of problems with rusting of the undersides of our vehicles and we suspect the poor drainage of the gravel floor is the main culprit, so we have decided it is time.

So all this is going on in addition to our daily work on the farm and at the Real Estate office and the Humane Society.  We are once again officially on "cria watch" and some of the soon-to-deliver females have been moved into a small maternity pasture so it is easier to keep an eye on them.  Maybe by next week, I will have new cria photos to share!

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