Thursday, December 1, 2011

December? It Can't Be!!

I KNOW there's a squirrel up there somewhere!
Yes, I know, two posts in one week.  It's to make up for last week.  Besides, I just have lots of things floating around in my head AND I am spending an extra day at the office because it is gun season for deer this week and Sam is off in the woods during the day and down at the neighbor's at night.  The guys all like to play poker.

We had at least 2 days of steady cold rain this week.  Then yesterday the sun actually put in an appearance and with the clear skies, the cold has moved in.  It was under 30 degrees when I got up this morning.  And last night at chore time, it was as well.  So, that meant that for the first time this season, I broke out the insulated coveralls.  Rowdy hates coveralls because it takes me even longer to get ready to go outside.  He has a hard time with the whole concept of layers. I have to say I do like the coveralls in this weather because they ARE warm and because I can wear anything under them.  I can wear my comfy sweats and not worry about getting crap all over them.  The biggest issue with putting on the coveralls for the first time each season is "will I be able to zip them up".  Because I have to have properly fitting coveralls.  They can't be men's, they have to be women's which are not always easy to find.  And I wear a small women's size.  Even harder to find.  But the good thing is, a pair of coveralls lasts several years.  The zippers generally break before the coveralls themselves are worn out and I always keep the ones with the broken zippers for a year or two thinking I will replace the zipper, but I never do.  Anyway, they zipped!!  

Not having had chickens in the winter before, it will be interesting to see how the chicks deal with the cold.  I am sure they will need more feed as the bugs and slugs will be deep in the ground.  Still getting 11 or 12 eggs a day, and someone is STILL laying her egg in Apache's hay feeder.  It's a good thing he doesn't mind.

Speaking of Apache, the vet was here on Tuesday to do ultrasounds and I had him look at Apache as well since I had noticed a lot of scabby bumps on his skin.  All over.  One rather tactless vet we used to have told me Apache would likely succumb to skin cancer before he was 30 because he is white.  Well, he's really a roan appie, but I didn't argue the point.  So I had Dr. Kemp take a look and he diagnosed "Rain Rot".  A bacterial infection.  Gee, whodda thunk anyone could get rain rot with the year we have had!  He said betadine scrub works well on it, but it's too cold to bathe that poor old horse.

The good news from the vet is that of the 9 alpacas we ultrasounded, 8 got positive confirmations of pregnancySix of those are from our new male, Lightning, so I am quite happy.  The other 2 are from "outside breedings" where I trailered the girls over to another farm and we used a male there.  So that is good news as well as I don't necessarily want to haul them back in the spring.  The 9th is one of the girls we just brought in and I did not know exactly when she was bredWhen ultrasounding alpacas there is a window of time when the fetus can easily be seen with my vet's ultrasound.  That window is between 30 and 60 days.  Once past 60 days, the fetus is larger and the uterus tips down into the abdomen and a good picture is about impossible to get.  With this 9th girl, Dr Kemp could not rule out or confirm pregnancy.  And later that day I found out that this girl was bred on Sept 9th, which would put her well outside that 30 to 60 day window.  But based on behavior, I am pretty sure she is bred.  And she is bred to that pretty grey male I posted about a couple weeks ago.  I wish I had some pics of the ultrasounding process, but we did not have any extra hands to take photos.

 Sam lit the woodburner Tuesday night.  Another sign that winter is right around the corner.  

He also put up the plastic on the overhang on the south side of the girls' barn to give them more shelter.  Remember Kadi?  Yup that's her in her usual spot at the hayfeeder crabbing at someone who is too close to her.  She never changes.

Here is the outside hay feeder, which has not been in use the last few days due to the rain.  There is another feeder in the barn I use when the weather is inclement, but I don't like to use it when the weather is nice as they don't believe in going too far from the feeder to do their "business", so the barn is obviously messier on rainy days.  They actually prefer to be outside.

You can just see how frosty it is.

And here are the yearlings and weanlings.  I moved two of the spring crias to the weaner pasture last weekend and will move the other two this weekend.   There was a 5 th one, but her mother left the farm so she can stay in the main pasture.

There are girls on the left and boys on the right right now.  

I am still working on projects for the Christmas Festival this weekend.  Yesterday I finished up a pair of lacey fingerless mitts from hand-dyed yarn.  They are now "blocking" on water glasses on my kitchen counter.  Blocking is shaping by stretching so that the pattern can be seen better.  

They look funny, don't they?  The one on the left shows the palm with a cable on it and the one on the right shows the back of the hand with a lace pattern.

Below is how they will look when dry and removed from the glassware.  Kinda cute, huh?  Too pink for me, though!

I have more than enough of this skein of yarn to make a headband, so I will do that today.  

Look what I got in the mail this week.  Criminently, I'm only 50!  I guess we do not have to associate being retired with being old, though, do we?  Ask my husband.  He will tell you he feels like he has been retired for the last 13 years, ever since he stopped working for a corporation and began making his own decisions. 

As I tell my kids, I am the only one responsible for my personal happiness.  If I am not happy, I need to make a change.  It is not anyone else's fault if I decide not to make a change.  

I realized that when I was about 22.  I can almost remember the day it happened.  Change can be fearful, but we only get one chance at this life and we might as well make the best of it.


  1. I love overall season, then I can do farm chores in my jammies :) the overalls cover everything so no one can see and my jammies don't get dirty. But the cold does make chores a bit more difficult (we have to lug water then etc.).

    Yes, December is upon us.


  2. Ah Cara,

    You need to run a line and put in a frost free hydrant! I have 1 in each pasture and a Nelson waterer in my main barn. I hauled water to the main barn, 1 year. It is about 100 yards from the house. No fun. But we only had 10 alpacas then!