Sunday, January 15, 2012

And Some Winter Weather Finally Arrives.....BBRRRR!!

Here is Rowdy at the base of what I call the big tree.  It is an immense poplar tree on our farm.  It has branches that are bigger than most of the surrounding trees.  As long as I own this farm, it will stand, unless it dies of natural causes. 

Here is another view with Sam's 'dozer in the foreground....and Ginger.

I am late with my post this week.  Various things kept me from coming into our office on Thursday and I had already downloaded all my pics to the office computer and erased them from my camera.  Yes, I DO erase photos from my camera weekly!  Sam needed to work on the dreaded quarterly taxes, so I got to stay home and enjoy the LOVELY weather!  I think it actually rained most of Thursday.  That rain changed over to snow around 11 pm.  That snow was blowing horizontally and from the east at 11 o'clock which was when I had to take foster dog Dobby outside for her final potty of the night.  Then the temps nose-dived and the wind really kicked up and Friday was just miserable!  Yesterday not much better.  Today, abundant sunshine!

But we did have nice warm temps to end the first week of 2012.  I took advantage of the 50-ish weather to do my monthly alpaca worming on Friday the 6th.  I can't wear gloves for this chore, so I like to do it on a day I won't get frostbitten fingers.  Of course it really takes as much prep time inside as it takes to actually give the shots.  We currently have 51 alpacas here and each one needs to be wormed monthly with an injectable wormer.  This is to prevent their succumbing to meningeal worm (or m-worm).  The monthly wormer is a prophylactic treatment, kind of like treating your dog monthly for heartworm.  Once they show symptoms, it is very difficult to have a good outcome, so get it before it can become a problem.  So for each alpaca, I write their name on a syringe and then draw up the proper dose.  I do this inside where it is nice and warm and I can watch TV.  

Here is Chiquita's all drawn up.  I then separate the syringes by pasture and head out.

With the main barn, since there are so many alpacas to do, I put the first 3 letters of their names on the end of the plunger so I can find individual animals' syringes easier.

With this method, it is fairly quick for me to shut 20 or so alpacas into a single 10 X 16 pen and I will grab a syringe, see whose name is on it, locate the victim and push through the crowd until I can stick her.  Often, they do not realize they are the intended alpaca until the needle goes in.  They are so crowded they can't easily evade me or run away.  Many I do not even have to restrain.  I can do all 30 animals in the main barn in about 30 minutes this way.  By myself.  Rowdy gets put on his cable outside for this procedure as he would get extremely agitated by this process.  He thinks it is his job to help and that kind of help is really no help at all.  It is always good to get this job done for another month.  It's not something I enjoy doing, but it has to be done.  I do usually get spit on at least once and frequently I will get a kick as well.  I have even been knocked on my ass in the poop on more than one occasion.  That is what barn clothes are for!

The pond actually got some ice on it.  The ring of open water is where the aerator is.  You can see the small circle of bubbles in the center which means the windmill on top of the pavilion is going around.  It's hard to tell that, though.

Sam also got out last weekend while the weather was nice and put the syrup evaporator back together for the most part.  In another month, we will be thinking of tapping trees.  There is a place up in the next county that I drive by on my way to Bee Class that  already has blue plastic tubing running from tree to tree.  They are thinking ahead as well.  Might as well do that kind of stuff when the sun is shining.

 The chimney still needs to be put on, but that can wait until closer to sugarin' time.  I think we will have plenty of wood.

I have taken the first baby blanket off the loom and it came out pretty good.  I will post a photo next week.  I still have one end to hem and I hope to do that today and then deliver it.  

I also started spinning the roving my niece and I dyed right after Christmas when she visited.  I call this colorway "Neon-Frog"It really is bright green!  I have to admit, I re-dyed part of it to tone it down a little and I will be spinning that and plying with what you see here on my wheel.  It won't change it a lot, I just added a little darker color in places.  

 I have been to 2 of my 4 Bee classes so far.  I am quite enjoying them.  I am realizing that I have learned a good bit over the past year, but I am learning a lot of new stuff, which is why I am taking the classes.  Oddly enough, one of the women in the class is someone I have met at my spinning guild and she and her husband also have a few alpacas.  I have not see her at guild in some time and it has been nice to get reacquainted.  I am also meeting some other nice folks as well.  It is always fun to go somewhere where you meet people who have similar interests as you do. 

I also ordered another package of bees, to arrive in mid-April, so I need to have another hive ready by then.  My current hive was doing ok when I last checked, but that was before this recent deep cold weather.  I hope they will make it through the winter.  I think there were things I could have done in the fall to help them to do that, but I am only learning that now.  However, since I did not take any honey from them, I hope that they will have had enough honey stores to get by.  I will know in the spring. 

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