Thursday, June 9, 2011

What to Write About This Week.....Ah, Yes, Baler Twine!

This morning, while I was  feeding in the Girls' Barn, the oil truck came to pick up our oil.  I had to send Rowdy to his cable tie so he would not run  over and scare the driver.  Often, I do not even have to clip the cable to Rowdy's collar, I just say "go to your cable, Rowdy" and he goes and sits as if it is clipped to his collar.  You can see the cable attached to the gate.  He is not clipped.

We have been waiting for the oil truck to collect our oil.  Our production is so small comparatively that they do not rush right over to pick up our oil when we call.  They usually wait until they can fit ours in with someone else's.  We get paid whatever the barrel price is the day they pick it up.  The tanks are behind the truck and both are full.  Just in time.

My week has been incredibly busy.  As usual.  It started off badly last Friday morning with the loss of our latest cria, Bit-O-Honey.  You may remember she was extremely small and  weak despite being a long gestation cria.  I really thought she would be ok since she was up and nursing, so I was somewhat (tho not entirely) surprised to find her dead when I went out first thing in the morning.  It is a hard loss, as her dam has yet to produce a good healthy cria for us.  All of her crias have had very low birth weights. I think I need to make some changes for her.  Unfortunately, life on the farm includes death from time to time.  Sad, but true.

I need to lighten things up a bit.  As I walked to the barn at 7:30 this morning, I felt like a kid in school who has a big paper due and has not yet started on it.  I had no idea what I was going to "blog" about this week and the thought of just not doing a post was not appealing.  This is what I saw as I approached the barn

 I put a gate panel across the door opening in the summer to encourage air movement through the barn and Buck and Star sit eagerly and await feeding time.  Can you guess which is which?  Remember that cute fuzzy puppy of just a couple months ago?  Buck is the one on the right!  He is 6 months old now and at least as big as Star.  He is losing his fuzzy puppy coat.  I think he will be a big bruiser.

Once in the barn, I put the feed out for the alpacas.  We have plastic gutters attached to the walls of the barn which work quite well as feeders.  I put about 1/2 cup of feed every 2 feet or so in the gutters and the frenzy begins.

While the girls eat, I generally put out hay and then start on the barn clean-up, which you can see has not been done in this photo.

All the while, I am wondering what topic of farm life to write about.  And then it hits me.  When I posted about indispensable things around the farm, I forgot one thing that comes in handy almost every day and that I handle just about every day:  Baling Twine.

Hay balers wrap each bale of hay in two loops of twine, each tied with a knot. These two loops hold the hay in place and also provide a way for us to pick the bales up and move them around.

I do not cut the twine when I remove it from the bale, I simply "bend" the bale and pull the twine off.  When feeding 3 or more bales of hay a day, these loops of twine have a tendency to pile up.  We hang them on a nail in the barn, or with the smaller 3-sided sheds, on a fence post.  There is always plenty of twine on hand.

Baling twine in the barn

So, when something needs to be attached to something else, what do I do?  Grab a handful of twine!  

It is great to hold gate panels together, or as in the photo below, it is keeping a board in place between a gate and a post where the gap is just too large, probably due to the post moving.  This is a gate between 2 pastures, not a perimeter gate, so this will work for now.

Here I have 2 gate panels which do not match which are being used to close off a pasture and yet still allow the alpacas to make use of the space under the overhang.
There is a bit of twine still attached to the lighter panel where I had it tied to the front of a gate to keep the dogs from getting into the maternity pasture when the crias where tiny.  Yes, those dogs will squeeze between the horizontal bars of the gates!


The same gate panels are attached to the barn pole for added security.  The twine can also be used to patch fence temporarily or to tie up a naughty dog or even as a makeshift lead rope for an alpaca.  It can be used to hang water buckets from gates.  I also use it when I recycle as a stringer for plastic containers that have handles.  It can tie tomato plants to stakes and you can string several loops together to make a fairly sturdy length of rope.  Yet, despite its usefulness, we always have way too much of it left over and have to either throw it out or burn it.  I have often wished there was a good way to re-use it, but there isn't, not in great quantities.    

My rug loom is warped up and ready to go.  I just need to decide on some kind of color pattern.  I have removed the 2 table runners from my smaller loom and I think they look nice.  They were both done with the same orange and yellow warp and one was done in yellow and brown weft and the other in brown weft.  2 different patterns.  I am doing knotted fringe on the ends and both are about 4' X 1'.  I still need to do some finishing work on them, but am pleased at how they came out.  I can use them on my sales display or sell them.

I will list them for sale on my Alpacanation page (link at top of blog).  I like the yellow one the best.

I'll leave off today with a photo of some of our crias playing.  I do love to watch them play.  In this photo the black one is the first cria of the year born, a female who belongs to one of my boarders, followed by Miracle's boy and Margarita's little boy is in the background.  The boys are already chasing the girls.  Go figure!



  1. I can tell Buck, because he has that funny tuft of baby fuzz on the top of his head that Pyrs get. Reminds me of a baby chick. LOL

  2. Its all falling out Lisa. His whole coat is changing from baby fuzz to grown up coat. Coming out in hunks.