Archive for the ‘barn’ Category

Alpaca Photos! Luster and the Field

April 10, 2011
Coco demonstrates luster

Coco Demonstrates Fantastic Luster

Finally a couple of pictures! Granted they are taken with my cell phone and it has a permanently clouded lens, but there is nothing that can hide just how gorgeous Coco is–and Carmel Sundae looks pretty good for six and a half years old too. Carmel’s most recent cria is Stagedoor Johnny who is a simply stunning and promising junior herdsire.

It ‘s amazing what a few weeks of great hay, extra grain, and a huge field of verdant grass can do. Everyone is packing on the pounds. Here is a photo of the alpacas in the new field.

The alpacas love their new field.

I had to lure the alpacas into the new field with grain. Carmel is the alpha female, so most of the other alpacas followed her as she followed me to the open gate. When we reached it I heard something similar to the sound a child makes at Christmas when it sees all of the presents spread under the tree. Gone were any thoughts about the grain as she dashed 15 feet into the field before suddenly stopping to eat–she was nearly run over by the others scrambling to get in too. There is plenty of room for all. I am going to move the boys over to the vacated girls fields where the grass is now running amok since it was had rain, warmth and sunshine and no one eating it. That will give the boys’ fields time to rest a bit before formal weaning. Many of the crias are already naturally weaned but a few are not above grabbing what they can get on the side.

Amber Rose and her Cria Samantha Before the Mad Dash

A couple of the alpacas had to be haltered and brought to the field. Amber was a skeptic. The former alpaca fields for the girls were  two acres and one and one-half acres. This one is 15 acres and they love running and pronking in it. (The odd shape in the foreground is my finger.) We bring the girls into the paddocks at night, or should I say they bring themselves in and we shut the gates for added security. Now we have to get up extra early because they line up in the little one acre field by the gate just before dawn waiting to get into it. I love watching them as they graze in a herd, moving up and down the field and back and forth across it. We are all in love with the new field.

Alpacas, Heat, Where IS that Camera Cord?

April 8, 2011

OK. The thermometer has officially hit 88 degrees and the real feel is 92. Just over two months ago it was 27 below zero with a nasty wind chill on top of that. Who would have imagined? We have not turned on the air conditioner because of ceiling fans and a gorgeous breeze. Because of Tom’s schedule we moved shearing to next week so today is a truly lazy day.

You may ask how the alpacas are taking the weather. They are out in their new field, some basking in the sunshine, some grazing on the lovely grass and some enjoying–shade. Yes, there are a few trees and a three-sided barn out there. The main water sources are closer in and I suppose we will have to run water out there eventually. Currently they just saunter in for a good, long cool drink before moseying out again. There is so much grass out there that they occasionally just cush and chew cud for a while.

I am setting up a hammock on the porch for easier viewing (if I don’t fall asleep.) Everything is simply gorgeous. If I could only find that camera cord or the one I bought when I couldn’t find it last time I’d show you. I think they are together in the same safe place. Does anyone know how to send a photo from my cell phone?

Alpacas and the Wind and the Fields and Fire

April 6, 2011

Maybe the 35 mile per hour gusts will blow the hay out of the fleece before shearing. It is windy again today and reminds me of a cruise Tom and I once took. He insisted on going up to the very bow where the wild wind made it impossible to speak. It’s difficult to believe that too much air can suck your breath away, but it can.

All of Oklahoma is under a burn ban and with wind like this it seems anything could burn. West of us there are fires–but far west so far. We see pictures on the news and smell whiffs of smoke on occasion and it is unnerving. We are a bit more fortunate than most of the state. This is Green Country and we have had rain. But I would not take bets on fires not catching given the right circumstances. The alpacas don’t seem worried and they seem to know about things long before we do.

I’m not going to write too much today. The new field will be ready in less than an hour and we’ll be letting the alpacas in shortly. The fence is not totally complete on the south side–there is fencing, just not the 5 foot no-climb I like so much. Since the field is somewhere around 12-15 acres, I don’t expect them to notice the fence at all, just all of the grass. They will only be allowed in the field when I am home and able to keep an eye open in that direction and they will be able to come into the barn at will. I don’t expect them to want to come in very soon.

I’ll get pictures and look for that camera cable. I promise.

Prep for Shearing Alpacas

April 5, 2011

If I had time I would be looking for my photo cord, but the truth is I just don’t. The alpacas are happily letting themselves in and out of the barn in the morning, but the boys didn’t want to stay out or use their three-sided shed last night, so today I had to do door duty for them. Last night was freezing cold but it is 10-15 degrees warmer in the barn this time of year and there is no wind chill. Yesterday we had gusts up to 40 mph but in the afternoon the wind stopped.

Tom and I were watching the news and I said, “What was that?” What it was, was no wind. It’s slated to start again later today. No matter really. The alpacas only mind it when it is cold and when it is warm the suri fleece lifts and they are air-conditioned. We should hit the sunny mid-60s later. The grass has greened up very nicely and with any luck we will get to open the new field this afternoon. They will have access to one of our little half-way house barns as well as the main barn for wind protection and shade and the new field has something else they have not been able to get near–up to this point: It has trees.

Oh, I almost forgot about the shearing in the title. We shear on Friday–how did I ever wind up with shearing on a Friday??? I think this means I have no helpers at all. I hope the shearer brings help. I am trying to concentrate on getting bags and labels and the CDT shots about half of the herd needs ready. We will also give vitamins and weigh both alpaca and fleece I am nervous. Last year’s shearers weren’t so wonderful. Read down in my blog history if you want to know how awful it was.

I feel as though I am going in for a new hairdo myself. I wonder if the shearer does people too. If he does a good job, I’ll ask. Oh, and if you’re in the vicinity come on by and I’ll put you to work.

Alpacas–Johnny and Cassandra

June 19, 2010

Jeepers! It’s HOT! With crias on the ground and the weather in the mid-nineties and the humidity way up, we are counting our blessings that we built where we did. There is an almost constant breeze, frequently a wind, that blows up the ridge from the trees and keeps the barn lovely and cool. The insulation under the apartment and in the overhangs doesn’t hurt either. There is another benefit to living in air-conditioning over the barn.

In the meantime, the crias are growing by leaps and bounds.

Johnny, over 30 pounds now, will be four weeks old tomorrow

Johnny is already 30 pounds and won’t be four weeks old until tomorrow. He already considers himself quite the macho guy. This is one fantastic young boy.

Cassandra is younger by far, but the two of them are starting to play under her mother’s watchful eye. Jenni doesn’t want Johnny to get too rough. She’s growing by about one-half pound every day, despite the heat. Jenni is a very good mother.

Cassandra is only a baby, after all. She looks like a little deer to me. She was born June 14.

Alpacas and the Business of Spring

April 7, 2010

Whoa! Time slips by quickly, doesn’t it? Saturday is our first shearing here at Zena. Spring=nude alpacas. There is some lovely fleece out there in the fields that I can’t wait to get my hands on–unfortunately there is a lot of hay in it and picking it out at this point seems to do little good since it magically reappears overnight.

The little ones are pretty much weaned and partly/mostly halter trained just in time for the business in store for us. Saturday is our big shearing day! I almost messed us up good and didn’t find a shearer to come. I had plenty of time and then I suddenly had no time. Fortunately we have been fit into a schedule. Shearing will happen in the evening on what should be a beautiful Saturday–or the crew may wait and do the deed early Monday morning. We are providing a place to sleep and a nice bathroom with shower.  🙂 The crew does not work on Sundays so we will be playing everything by ear.

I have been invited to speak about alpacas to a local woman’s club and we have had our first ranch visitors. We plan to be open for visitors several times a week–this is a big summer tourist area. The local Chamber of Commerce has announced that we are one of the area’s attractions and we had to put up a gate (before we even talked to the chamber) because we were having so many unannounced visitors. And here we thought we were so out of the way no one would ever come. Now we have to announce hours and everything. Come and visit if you’re out our way, far Northeastern Oklahoma–less than 25 miles to Kansas, Missouri or Arkansas.

There will be a grand opening for our business in June and by then, hopefully our shop will be in place. I owe all of you photos–now all I have to do is find my camera. So much to do!

Our first visitors came with their grandparents on a rainy, cold April day. Luckily we have a big barn and a heated office. The boys came to check them out and appointed Marti as their official spokes-alpaca. We will have another group of alpacas coming in June and have half a dozen babies (cria) due this spring.

Please call 804-389-2579 or email zenasurialpacas@gmail.com for information about tours, purchasing alpacas, alpaca products or agisting (boarding) alpacas.

Alpacas and Spot Meet

February 28, 2010

Ever since Spot met chickens and I had to sprint madly across the parking lot at Fox Run Suri Alpacas and into the barn to save one he suddenly had his eye (and just before I grabbed him) his mouth on, I’ve been more than a little nervous about him and the alpacas. True, he didn’t actually injure it. However had I been a nanosecond later, I cannot vouch for his character.

Since then we have dealt with him and my friend Patti’s guinea hens–and he has learned that just because it runs, it doesn’t mean it should be chased–a difficult lesson for a breed (cocker spaniel) that is supposed to flush and fetch birds.

Today, we decided that Spot could not avoid alpacas through all eternity.

The boys want to know what “that thing” is, but there is no panic, only curiosity. Spot held his ground and accepted all of the sniffs offered without offering any hostility. Spot, asked to sit and stay, did except when he collapsed into a heap and just let them check him out. Yay Spot! You are the dog we hoped you would be around alpacas.

So Spot got up and quietly walked away while Allegiance and Cantu watched. Good dog Spot.

Alpacas LOVE Oklahoma

February 27, 2010

Great news! The camera cord has been found and the first shipment of alpacas has been here in Zena for a week. We have opened a pasture for the girls and another for the boys. It is truly a joy watching them run.

Allegiance, our award-winning, mostly accoyo, suri herdsire and alpha male truly enjoys the new field as he leads the way. Marti (white) and Cantu (brown) follow. Allegiance brings together the Starbuck and Bruxo/Macgyver lines. Mom is the beautiful Cassini.

Martillo (Marti) brings together the Torbio and Brigadier/Sergeant Major Jax lines and his mom is our true black beauty Laguna.

Cantu is a Macgyver grandson, son of Fox Run’s Peruvian Nomar and Peruvian Mindy May whose offspring include champions in every generation.

Breeding to our boys begin this year and we’re breeding for the best fleece AND conformation.

OK, since you’ve stuck with me this far, you get another photo.

The girls and cria Zeke get last minute instructions from Don Llewellyn of Fox Run Suri Alpacas who transported them from Utah to Oklahoma and Tom before being released to pursue their own interests. Pay attention Jesse, there will be a quiz.

Alpacas–Missing, and I’m Bereft

January 7, 2010

So. Here we are in Zena, OK. We are now living in the apartment over the unfinished barn. When it warms up a bit, I will go out and photograph the unfinished barn and then I will probably complain a bit about how cold it is. How cold is it? It is as cold as… (fill in your favorite euphemism for it is as cold as…drat, I can’t even say THAT either.) Let’s face it, it is colder here than it is in Utah right now. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Why is it colder here–and windy to boot?

It is too cold to bring our alpacas here, the trip would doubtlessly be fatal to a few. Forget my alpaca withdrawal. We are forging on and have ordered the panels for the stalls in the barn and halters to lead our mythical alpacas around. The panels should be here on Thursday or Friday–after the big chill.

Spot and MeThis is someone I know (without makeup) hugging my dog Spot for warmth. Note the robe–it’s like wearing a coat indoors. Alpaca fiber forever! This fleece is worth its weight in gold.

They are now saying it will be 3 degrees here tonight and it will only be worse tomorrow and the next night. Depending on who you talk to, this will be thecoldest cold snap in 7, 20, or 70 years. We are running water in the sinks, hoping it doesn’t freeze like the washing machine has. Who knows how long we will have to live without clean clothes. (OK, we have enough clean clothes for a week and I’m milking sympathy.) Please send me some.

Since the barn is not finish, the wind whips right on through. I am wondering how deeply the pipes from the well house were buried.

If you tuned in hoping for alpaca photos, here is one. They are still in Utah where it is a balmy 35-40 degrees during the day.

Madrigal is pregnant! We are expecting up to 16 cria in the next year. Get your order in. All are suri, full-Peruvian and some are all or part Accoyo–lots of moms are color or reserve color champions. We’re on openherd.com and hope to be on alpacanation shortly.

Whew! More soon, when my brain has thawed.

Alpacas and I in Utah

December 3, 2009

I’m packing and packing. What is this deal? There’s not a dog, a cat, an alpaca or a person in sight. It looks like 32 degrees will be the high for the week–if the thermometer makes that. I have eleventy-two thousand boxes to pack, a realtor to hire, clean-up, and a trailer to haul to Oklahoma. What’s wrong with this picture? I think I’ll order a truck and take as much as I can this trip.

They tell me the big west-facing windows should be put in this week and I’m missing it. Our little Demi has lost four pounds from the cold and there are single digit temperatures predicted for the next couple of nights. If it’s that cold here, it can only be worse up in the mountains. There is no green grass. I need to get to work and spring us all.

Meanwhile, Tom’s in OK fiddling with warm sensibilities–satellite TV and teaching. He’s eating breakfast out while I’m dining on what’s left in the cabinets so I won’t have to move as much. He’s complaining that it’ll only be 40 today in Grove while we’re working with 27 here. Grumble, grumble, grumble.

ZsaZsa’s little boots are such a hoot and she was born with enough fleece that it swings back and forth when she walks–it  even did on the day she was born. The word is that she’s a pronking instigator.

Look at that sweet little face! I guess I’m in love all over again.

Well, I’d better get packing.