Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ready or Not, Winter is Here!

Yes, winter is upon us.  Rowdy is standing in front of my soon-to-be-studio.  So far this is about the extent of my holiday decorating!  

Winter really came in with a bang this past week.  Sunday it rained and then became frigidly cold on Monday.  Our highs have been in the low 20's and the temp has been dipping down into single digits by the time I go to bed.  We are really grateful for the woodstove, I can tell you!

The animals are dealing with things well as usual.  I keep an eye on the alpacas to make sure no one is shivering.  I did put a coat on Chiquita, as she seemed cold.  She is 12 now and is nursing a big boy who is sapping her weight and energy, so she got a coat.  I keep 2 adult size coats on hand and every year, someone needs one.

Since he is now 25 years old, I even but a blanket on Apache this week.  He seems to appreciate it, even though he is still quite well insulated without it.  Isn't he stylish?

I took several photos this morning and the snow was coming down pretty well.  Hmmm, the weather forecast I looked at online said 1 to 2 inches possible, this afternoon.   They never seem to get it right!  

We do now have water in the creek.  Or actually it is ice now, so we really do need the bridges.  I remember before we had the alpaca barn on the other side of the creek, I used a 
1" X 6"   as a bridge.  That just would not cut it anymore!

I took this photo from the bridge we can drive across and what is waiting for me in the other direction are all the alpacas, anxious for their morning feed.  Note that they have seen me coming and are heading into the barn and no longer craning their necks gazing over the fence to see where I might be.  It's nice to be wanted. 

Here comes breakfast!
Once I get into the barn I distribute the morning grain and while they eat that I put out hay in the hay feeders.  We have one outside that they really prefer to use if it is not raining.  No fear of that today.  And then there is one under the overhang and 2 more in the barn.  I generally put out 3 bales of hay divided up into these 4 feeders this time of year.  I like to be sure everyone can get to the feed without too much squabbling.  Squabbling, however, is inevitable.

After I put out the hay, I do the scooping.  When it is frozen and snowy, clean up is relatively easy.  I can only clean up what I can see and what is not frozen solid.  I have better ways to spend my time than to chip away at frozen poop.  My theory is that the poop will still be there once there is a thaw.  That theory HAS been proven.

bean piles
Here, most of the girls have gone outside to the hay feeders and we just have a couple of "hoovers" staying behind to get what may have been missed.  I have raked the "beans" into piles prior to shoveling up.  There is a partially full hay feeder under the window, but the girls prefer to eat outside (so do I, but not in this weather!).

outside hay feeder
We did finally get the plastic on our overhang on Saturday, which was a beautiful sunny day.  It just gives that much more protection from the wind and blowing snow and rain.  There is also a deep layer of  hay on the floor of the overhang, so it stays nice and warm  with the plastic up.  

Here is how it looks from outside.  And how it looks on the inside.

Of course, after I finish at this barn, I still have to go down the road to the other house and feed in the 2 pastures down there.  We have 8 males in one pasture and 6 females in the other right now.  But since I came to the office today, Sam takes care of those animals.  I have already fed the 6 "weaners" that are in the small pasture by the garage, since that is my first stop on my morning rounds.  After that, I fill the bird feeders and head on over to the girls' barn, then to the horse barn where Apache and the cats are waiting.  If I don't need to move any hay or feed, I spend a good hour to an hour and a half on this morning routine (on the days I don't go in to the office).  

I don't really spend a lot of time on this blog writing about family.  But today I am feeling nostalgic and missing my 2 sons so I will write a bit about them and what they are currently up to.

Ian and Sam/Zac (long story for another day) spent the last 2 1/2 years working at a lodge near Yosemite National Park, but moved in November to Lake Tahoe for seasonal work there.  They are really living a pretty cool life right now since both are in their 20's and neither has anything to tie him down.  Ian has a girlfriend, Michelle, but she is doing the same thing and moved with them.  There  4 of them living in a condo near Heavenly at Lake Tahoe.  I guess the condo even has a hot tub on the deck.  Ian has a job working at a retail store which is located in one of the big casinos but is owned by Heavenly, so one of his perks is a ski pass for the season.  Sam/Zac who has become a very good chef is starting a job at a new restaurant opening soon and is training at their other location.  Along with their 4th roommate, Ryan, they play in a 3 piece band called "Those That Kill", which for those of you who don't know is the English translation of "Yosemite".  Here is a link to them playing  a song in the bar at Evergreen Lodge, where they all worked until recently.!/video/video.php?v=541160648138&oid=357790829700&comments 
My 2 boys are left (Sam/Zac)and center (Ian).  Ryan is on the right.  I am so glad that through the internet I can share in what my boys are doing even though they are 2/3 of the way across the country from me.  I hope this link will work.

I am in the process of warping up my loom for more rugs.  I sold 2 rugs this weekend to an alpaca friend,  I hope she likes them.  I'll do a post on warping one of these days.  It is tedious and time consuming, but must be done in order to weave.

I have gotten a start on the 118 Spin-off entries that are in my dining room.  I hope to really make a dent in it this weekend.  My biggest class is 10 entries, which is nice.  I've had classes as large as 15 and that is an entire 8 hour day + which becomes more like work than fun. 

Until next week, stay warm everyone and finish up those Christmas chores.  I will be baking Rum Cakes this week!

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