Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Comings & Goings......

Maybe "goings" should have come first in my post title.  Our sweet old friend Ginger succumbed to illness and came to trail's end on Saturday.  I am sure the excessive heat was an indirect factor in her departure, but it really was only a matter of time.  Ginger joined our family 4 1/2 short years ago when she was brought into the no-kill shelter where I volunteer and was deemed "too old" to adopt.  Her age at that time was given to be 15, but I suspect she was actually a few years younger, like maybe 12.  

I decided she needed to end her days on a couch, not in a cold kennel at a shelter, and so she came home with me right before Christmas.  She immediately decided that Sam was everything a dog could want in a human companion and attached herself to him.  She followed him everywhere those first 2 or 3 years.  I even remember going up to take Sam some water(or beer) in August when he was mowing a hayfield and him asking me to please take Ginger home with me in the truck because she was following in the tractor's wake in 90 degree heat as he circled the field over and over.  

Of course when I brought her home, then 2 1/2 year old Rowdy thought he had a new companion and tried very hard to get her to play with him.  He outweighed petite Ginger by 20 pounds and his type of play is very physical.  Not long after she moved in with us, she had had enough one evening, and she pinned him to the couch and drew blood on him!  I pulled her off him and when I thought she had calmed down I let her go and within seconds, she had him pinned once again.  I think I held onto her longer that time.  After that, they would still play on occasion, but Rowdy always seemed to know his limits with her.

Ginger always  liked being outside and she had a bed on the front porch.  Of course, she was always welcome in the house as well.  She enjoyed our 2 mile daily walks until the end, though she was suffering from some arthritis in one elbow and so often this year Rowdy and I would sneak off without her.  Since she had lost most of her hearing, this was not that difficult.  She loved riding in the car and preferred to stand on the front seat with her paws up on the dashboard, watching out the windshield, making little noseprints on the glass.

In all, although she liked to bark and liked to be stinky, we enjoyed the time we had with her.  And I truly believe that she was happy to live out her golden years with us.  Rest Peacefully Ginger.

Back to less sad news.  Other leavings included 7 alpacas who used to belong to a boarder who were loaded up Thursday evening for a trip to their new farm in Michigan.  This puts my current alpaca herd at just over 50% of the size it was 4 months ago!  It is hard to believe how much more quickly I get chores done now.

 Speaking of chores, our power was not back on until this past Monday, July 9th at around 10:45 am.  That makes almost 10 days with no electric except that from our generator and in the hottest weather we have had for years.  Our generator runs our water pump for our well, but we have no generator at the guest house and several of the alpacas depend on that well for their water.  So, I was hauling 20 gallons of water to them every morning.  I am glad there were fewer alpacas in those 2 fields than there had been 2 weeks ago.  The one pasture behind the house is usually watered from a spring that is piped into a trough, but that went dry several days ago due to lack of rain.  Ergo, more water had to be hauled.  Glad I have my little truck and my co-pilot to help out!

Another side effect of no power for so long was that all natural gas was need to power our generator.  When our vehicles ran out of natural gas, we were once again driving on gasoline.  Sam was not happy when he had to pull into a gas station and fuel up.

The lack of rain has also caused the water level in the pond to drop. At its highest, the water level is at the 3rd step down from the top on the dock ladder.  The steps are about 1 foot apart, so you can see, the water is down over a foot.  It will take a lot of rain at this point to bring it back up.

We also need rain if we are to get a good second cutting hay crop at the end of August.  Having fewer alpacas than last year, this is not a crucial, but it would be nice not to have to purchase hay.  And if we have to purchase hay, so will many other people and that will drive the prices way up.  Our hayfields are full of red clover in full bloom right now.  I have not gotten close enough to see if the bees are taking advantage of this or not.

And yes, "comings" was part of my post title.  On Friday, I picked up a "fossie" or foster Aussie and brought her home.  She is about a year old and answers to "Laci".  She is close to Rowdy's height, but nowhere near his weight.  Will she become a permanent family member?  Well, she DOES seem to like playing with Rowdy, despite the weight difference.  Maybe her being so much younger than him is a point in her favor in that respect.  She needs to learn not to chase chickens or cars, but we are working on that. 

Nothing new on the fiber front this week.  It was rather too hot to do much knitting this past weekend, but I have gotten some rows done on my mystery shawl.  Into the 4th clue now.  I need to dye some more rug yarn and warp up the loom with red white and blue warp. 

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