Posts Tagged ‘fleece’

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.

Photos have Vanished!–Felting Hats

August 25, 2009

Bear with me, the photo button has vanished, but I wanted to mention the delightful time I had at Blue Moon Ranch today. Four of us gathered to make felt from alpaca fleece and turned that product into hats.

Three of us opted to use dyed fiber (brilliant blue, dusty pink, purple with lavender, and I went for natural dark brown and cider colors. If you enjoy working with fiber you have to give this a try. The fiber is carded and placed in alternate criss-cross layers, four of them. Using lots of water and soap (not detergent) all of the air bubbles are worked out and a gentle rubbing motion creates a sheet of fabric. Unbelievable!

We used hat forms and information available on http://www.hatshapers.com and four very different, but rather nice hats resulted. I am amazed that I could do this and will post pictures once I figure out where my photo option has gone.

We all decided that felting hats could be tedious without companionship but, add a Marguerita and some friends and it’s a party!

Alpaca #5, Cavatina–she’s not mine, you know :-)

August 24, 2009

When we first purchased three alpacas, I had to make a solemn promise. I wouldn’t ask for any more alpacas for a year. Having a fourth born within days of our purchase was astonishing. The little black beauty, Demelza whetted my appetite and any woman who has and enjoys having a baby around knows that it makes you want to keep a little one around.

I really did intend to keep my promise–really. But Madrigal, our third alpaca’s mother had the most darling cria, Cavatina. One of my girls had a half Accoyo, half sister and I wanted her so much. Hmmm. I had been really good between July and November. OK, I wanted Cavatina and had to figure out how to add her to our herd. When I came to visit, she would break away and come running over to see me. So darling, so many alpaca kisses. Hmmm.

I confess. I gave her to my husband for Christmas.

The Alpaca Lure

August 10, 2009

Long before we knew we would raise alpacas, we purchased a parcel of vacant land in far northeastern Oklahoma where it is green and beautiful. We did not know why we bought it except that I come from an old Irish family and the thought of owning land was drummed into my very soul from the time I was very young. Add some friends who also bought land in the area and a rancher who would pay to use the property until I knew why I had wanted it so much and it was a done deal.

Flash forward five years to the present and we’ll cover everything else eventually. We, my husband and I have 10 suri alpacas agisted near Salt Lake City, Utah. Oh, yes, and the 11th is in utero and due in November. As our herd has grown from the initial purchase–three because you can’t just have one and while two was nice, there was a price break at three–we have come to realize we find alpacas to be cute, sweet, and a great source of fiber and prize ribbons.

We did the math and realized agisting (boarding) was going to become prohibitive by the end of next year. Our mentors have been wonderful but sooner or later, if you want to have first-hand contact with your alpacas, you need your own place to keep them and your own knowledge of how to care for them. If you have an urge to buy an alpaca, find someone you can talk with easily, who raises alpacas of their own, who is willing to teach (and a good teacher). They will sell you one or more and be your mentor.

So then we decided to build a shed on the property for storage, then a house. Some time this winter we hope to be able to take our alpacas to Utah and move into the house. (They, of course, will move into the barn.)

Wish us luck, we’ll keep you posted.