Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring is in the Air!

Isn't Buck Looking Regal?

Yes, it certainly feels and sounds like spring out there.  Last night the peeper frogs were incredibly loud as I was shutting the chickens in and feeding the alpacas just after dusk.  I do love that sound.  There are signs of spring all over.  My neighbor's daffodils are already in full bloom.  My tulips are up about 6".  Really too early for all this.  We have garlic and hops coming up.  Apache is shedding gobs of white hair.  I had to block off the water hydrant outside the alpaca barn because he uses it as a scratching post and I fear he will break off the water line one of these days and we will be out of water and wondering why.  Rowdy is also "blowing out" his undercoat and I spent some time using the undercoat rake on him outside on Sunday.  He looks smaller.  I am sure I should get the rake out for Buck and Star as well.  Buck will like that.  Star, I am not so sure about.   She is rather flighty and silly.  We shall see.

 We did our last 2 batches of syrup this week.  Sam did one last Thursday and I did a small one on Monday.  The temps are just too warm at night now and the sap is not running.  I pulled all the taps and brought most of the buckets down and now I have clean up to finish.  I will bleach and put everything away for next year.

I also got into the bee hive on Friday as it was a nice day.  I had made them some "candy" from a recipe I got at the last bee meeting and I put some of it in their hive to tide them over until the nectar and pollen starts.  They seem to be healthy and were not real happy with me bothering them.  But no stings.  I will likely check tomorrow to see if they have consumed all the candy and I have more to give them.  

I got my big order of bee supplies the other day for my second hive.  So I have frames to put together and Sam has boxes to build before the bees arrive on April 16th.  Hopefully I will get started on that project this week sometime.  It will be hard though, if the weather is nice.

I have been letting the alpacas out onto the pastures about every third day.  Our pastures are in bad shape and I don't want them to ruin them right away.  So this morning, this is how it looked when I let them out.  There is some green starting to show and they are quite happy to get out there.

And then there is Chiquita Margarita, who did not realize I was opening the pasture gate because she was cleaning up all the grain in the barn.

No one wants to be last to the grass!  Chiquita was one of the first 3 alpacas we acquired back in 1999.  She was less than a year old and has had many crias for us, one every year.  She will not be having a cria this year.  I don't know if that will bother her or if she is ok with it.  She will be 14 in the fall.  She is one of my favorites and will live out her days here.

On Monday, I actually finished spinning the alpaca/bamboo singles!!  I now have 2 bobbins ready to twist together into a 2-ply yarn.  Even though I weighed out the batts prior to spinning, it looks as though there is more on one bobbin than on the other.  I won't know for sure until I finish plying.  Plying won't take anywhere near as long as the spinning has taken.  I need some good TV time and that is getting scarce as the hours of evening daylight increase.  Who has time to sit down while the sun shines?

I also finished tying the fringes on my latest rug.  I love how it came out.   it is 25" X 37" without the fringe.  I think I will weave more similar to this in the future. 

That's about all for now.  Oh, Rowdy wanted me to mention that he enjoyed his first swim of the year in the pond last night.  I am sure the water was rather cold, but he is always hot anyway and it was quite warm here yesterday.  He made some spectacular jumps after a medium sized stick, but was ready to shake the water out of his coat and head for home after about 5 retrievals.  Here he has 2 of his favorite things:  a stick and his Flippy Flopper.  He is a happy dog.


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