Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mid-November Already?

Trouble X 3 
I know, I missed my blog post last week.  I came down with a cold about 2 weeks ago and it hit me really hard last week and I honestly could not motivate myself to get my brain in gear and come up with a post or even any photos.  I am still not over it, but I would say about 90% better.  

November pasture
November has been a fairly nice month so far.  We enjoyed (as well as I could with my cold) a gorgeous true Indian Summer of 70 degree days and blue skies the first week and then, while it has not been so warm, the dry weather continued until a couple days ago, when November really showed itself.   I got my garlic planted and covered it and the asparagus bed with a mulch of moldy hay and composted 'paca poo.  Took some nice walks with the dogs and Rowdy was even in the pond a couple times.  Of course, daylight savings time ended which means it is now dark by 6 pm and on the days I come to the office we no longer get our walks in.

We have some new additions (I know I am totally crazy) to our alpaca herd.  Some good friends are dispersing their herd and I have taken in 4.  One actually came from here and 2  of her daughters came as well, along with a simply gorgeous rose grey male.  He is just old enough to start breeding and has incredible genetics and super fine fleece, so I may use him this spring.  His name is Opus One or "Opie" for short.  I plan to clip a sample of his fleece to have tested to give us a idea of how fine it really is.  I don't really breed for grey here, so I don't know if we will keep him or sell or trade him.  There's no rush.

With the nice weather, I spent some time with the camera in the pasture one day.  To the left are our 2 fall crias, Accoyo Laci (white) and Inigo Montoya (black) along with Miracle's cria from May, Stormwatch (fawn).  Stormwatch is ready to wean from his mama, but since I just drove her 2.5 hours each way for a breeding 3 weeks ago, I haven't wanted to stress her yet by removing her  "baby".  I will likely do that this weekend.  I have some moving around of alpacas to do and Sam will be here to help. 

Ok, since Laci's mom, Kadi, is not the nicest alpaca on the farm (she will spit at me as soon as look at me) I don't feel bad about posting this totally unflattering shot of her sitting with her head in the hay feeder chewing on a mouthful of hay.  This is her favorite position in the barn.  That is the look I usually get from her, no matter what I am doing.  She hates me when I give her a shot and she hates me when I feed her.  Equal opportunity hater.  And this girl can SPIT.   I hope her daughter turns out sweeter.

I have mentioned in past posts about our male, Lightning, who we acquired last fall.  With no pregnancies from him last spring, I have been worried about his ability to got the job done.  This Monday, I did another behavior-testing on all the females he bred this fall.  It looks like he may have several offspring by this time next year.  My next step is to have the vet out to do ultrasounds for confirmation.  Females can show a false postive upon behavior-testing and even blood testing if they ovulate but the egg is not fertilized and their body does not re-cycle properly.  Ultrasound is really the only way to be sure that there is indeed a fetus present and even with ultrasound it can be difficult to verify if the pregnancy is not far enough (<30 days) or too far (>60 days) along.  I plan to make my appointment for the week following Thanksgiving.

Sam has run electricity to the chicken coop so I can use a heater for their water and have a light on if I choose in the winter to increase egg production.  We are actually kind of looking forward to getting less than a dozen eggs a day.  But with holiday baking, I am sellin' 'em as fast as the girls are layin' 'em, so no worries.  This hen spent a good bit of time in Apache's hay feeder the other day, but I never found an egg.  I wonder if  Apache has taken a liking to eggs?

Speaking of Apache, Sam and I were late coming home this past Monday and 'Pache did not get fed on time, so he went under the wire fence and helped himself to the alpaca feed over by the garage, which is kept in a plastic garbage can outside the pasture gate.  In response to this, I have plugged in the electric fencer once again.  I sure hope I don't forget I have it plugged in......I HATE that.

All the projects I have been working on lately are gift projects, so I will have to wait and post photos post gift -season.  Except I will post this photo of some beanies I made of hand-spun, hand-dyed alpaca.  I sent them off in a care package to my boys and Michelle today and was told they should arrive on Saturday.  We'll see if any of them read my blog and go check their PO box!  I made 2 of these last spring, but I wanted to make 1 for each and the weather got warm, so I figured I would make the 3rd one this fall.  I had planned to make one for another of the Those That Kill (TTK) band members, but he moved to Minnesota, so the band is no longer together.  Of course, living at the Boundary Waters in Minnesota for the winter, Ryan might need an alpaca beanie (and socks and long underwear and anything else you can make of alpaca!).  If the guys think he needs one, I will make one.

And by the way, some friends of mine (who gave me Cheetah years ago) have a Pyr about to have puppies.  Anyone want one??  They will be free to good homes.

1 comment:

  1. I love your new gray male!! I like that he has good solid bone on him, and straight confirmation. If breeding for gray, you can always breed him to a fawn female (to give it the fineness and fiber boost) to create incredible gray offspring.

    And LOL at the picture of Kadi - I think we all have one like that on our farm, the crabby old lady. I tell my kids at least I'm not the old crabby lady at our farm!!

    Let us know if those girls are confirmed pregnant by Lightning. If not, we'll do whatever to work something out.