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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Back to the Top of the Weather Roller Coaster...

Yes, on Tuesday Grover was wading in the creek following our afternoon walk.  It was 70 degrees with sunshine and a strong breeze from the west.  I took full advantage and took the camera along with me.  But, it being January, I knew this would not be around long and as I write this on Thursday I am looking out the window at a snow flurry adding to the light snow cover on the ground.  

I was reading a post on a forum on Ravelry.com yesterday and the writer was worrying about wishing the days away with waiting for upcoming events.  I have come to the point in my life where I believe that sometimes the greatest joys are having things to look forward to.  I love the 
anticipation often as much as I like the event itself.  I think life would indeed be less pleasurable without something in the future to think about.

So today, I am looking forward to several things.  The first being the start of maple syrup season which it seems will coincide with the second, my trip to Florida.  And following those 2 events, SPRING will be here.  That's enough to anticipate for now.  I will move on to new things once those are in the past.

I try to be mostly postive on this blog and not write of some of the down sides of raising animals on a farm, but often things happen.  This past fall we lost 2 crias, 1 was premature and hypothermic and the other was a breech birth, fully assisted by me.  And of course we have lost our old friend Apache as well.  Last week, we lost one of our fall crias, the only male, to what I can only surmise was a parasite called meningeal worm.  I have written in the past that we use an injectable wormer on a monthly basis to keep this parasite from killing our alpacas.  We have had alpacas for 14 years now and this is my first loss to this worm.  The alpaca is not a natural host to this worm, the whitetail deer is.  When it gets into the alpaca, it travels into the spinal meninges and causes inflamation and paralysis.  I usually start crias on the wormer at about 1 month of age and that was the case with this cria.  He had a dose in November and I will admit I was a week late with my worming in December.  No other animals are symptomatic.  I can only guess that because he was small and my dose was late in December, the worms were able to gain a hold and do major damage.  He was able to get up onto his front knees, but his rear was totally paralyzed.  We kept him and his mom in a stall for several days, but he regained no use of his back end.  He was eating and was bright and alert, but was sitting in his own filth and after 4 days we made the decision to put him down.  As it happened, the herd was once again due for their worming injections, so despite the fact that it was only 8 degrees Saturday morning, I took off my gloves in the barns and wormed everyone right on time.  Hopefully this will be our first and last experience with this worm.

 

Grover is doing SO well with the chickens.  He will walk among them off leash and do his best to ignore them.  If he thinks about giving chase, Elvis the rooster puts him straight in no time.  The chickens really enjoyed the warm sunny day also.  They were all over the yard, scratching and looking for any bug or worm that might show its head.  We are getting up to 6 eggs a day now.

 



The bees also took advantage of the sunshine and warm weather.  Both hives were very active which is a great sign.  This Saturday I plan to attend a Honeybee Expo in Parkersburg,WV all dayI am looking forward to it.  I signed up for 4 seminars.  I still have so much to learn!



Here are 2 of the barn cats, Cami and Thomas.  I am sure they got outside when it was warm and sunny as well, but they are careful to stay inside while Rowdy is out and about.  He loves a good cat chase.









I finished spinning my gradient yarn for the Spin-Along on Ravlery.  I absolutely love how it came out!  I got about 570 yards (pre-washing) from 4 oz of roving.  That is a nice fine yarn and  I have no idea what it will become yet.
Here it is drying by the fire.  Once it is wet, the wool plumps up and becomes "lofty" so I am sure it loses some length in the process.  Aren't those colors incredible?  This was dyed by Kimber Baldwin of Fiber Optic yarns.  She is the dyer who taught the class I took at the Great Lakes Fiber Show back in May.  I can recommend her products!

I also finished knitting the Ice Queen lace cowl for a friend of mine.  Please pardon the photo.  I can't for the life of me take a decent photo of myself.   I don't know how people do it!




 The cowl is black alpaca/silk blend and there are red and purple glass seed beads throughout.  I have a red one of these I made for myself and my friend asked me to make her one.  The beading is a lot of work!


Below is another photo.  Black is so hard to photograph.

I still have a shawl and some just-started socks on the needles, but I plan to start a quick better-late-than-never birthday gift for older son Ian, whose birthday was last week.  Also hoping to get my loom warped soon.

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