Posts Tagged ‘homesteading’

Here Kitty, Kitty–waiting for Godot Alpaca

May 2, 2010

April 14 came and went. It’s been blustery, cold, and snowy up in Utah and Kaatakilla (named for the Incan moon goddess) was just not ready. We are still awaiting the birth of her full-Accoyo suri cria. Every day I think to myself, “O. K., today’s the day.” Now it is May 2 and still nothing. The little entity moves around and kicks poor Kat from the inside but refuses to arrive no matter how hard we wait and we still don’t know what color the nursery should be.

April in Utah this year seems to have meant no spring at all. Our house is still on the market and we are trying to decide if a new realtor is the answer or if the one-two punch of bad economy and nasty weather is somehow not his fault. Spring is here in Oklahoma, but not in Utah.

I hear that alpacas can “hold off” a pregnancy and I think I’m believing that’s true about now. Please Kat, one healthy, beautiful cria at your earliest convenience–a boy or girl would be just fine.

Oh, and for those of you who thought this blog would be about cats, here’s Bristol…

Bristol samples alpaca drinking water. Is it better than cat water?

Bristol samples alpaca drinking water. Is it better than cat drinking water?

Who to blame?

August 11, 2009

So how did we end up raising alpacas anyway? From the time I was a little girl I have wanted three things no one I knew had ever thought to wish for: a cigar store indian, a covered bridge and an alpaca.

Why a little girl would want a cigar store indian is unclear, even to me…???  The covered bridge is a bit more understandable. They are beautiful wooden structures, cool on warm days, great to fish from, and I once lived near one and was ready to block traffic and call it mine. This is probably the ultimate antique–ooh, maybe some insight into the indian? I even wrote an article for “Maryland Magazine” that had me trekking to every covered bridge in the state comparing structure and history.

Our second alpaca has our fourth.

Our second alpaca has our fourth.

The third item I wanted was, obviously, an alpaca. (I didn’t know you needed two or more at that time.) Mrs. Logmann, my second grade teacher, is to blame for all of this:

Dear Mrs. Logmann,

Thank you for the A on my geography report on Peru. I didn’t know there were animals related to camels that lived anywhere in the Western Hemisphere. I found out about several: llamas, guaranos, vicunas, and alpacas. I plan to spend my free time for the next couple of years sketching these animals and driving my teachers crazy with doodles of alpacas in the margins of my papers. I will quit when I get a low grade because of those doodles and I will never mention alpacas to anyone for many, many years.

Then, when I have lived a reasonably normal life, raised a child and had a career, my friend Jocelyn will go with me on a whim to the Virginia State Fair where we will see real, live alpacas and their humming will intoxicate me all over again. I will remark to her that I would really love to have one of them. Although they are cute to look at and even cuter to listen to, even Jocelyn will think I am insane.

My husband will take a job in Utah and I will say, “I’ll go if I can have an alpaca,” and will lure him to visit alpaca ranches and eventually coerce him into letting me buy the first three from a nice alpaca ranch where they will be agisted–fed and cared for–and we will visit every so often. We buy three, one because he promised, the second because I don’t want the first friendless, and the third because of the discount. I am pretty persuasive and my husband wants me to be happy. Add a baby (cria) in July, 2008.

So I asked for an alpaca for Christmas and got it! Enter Cavatina. Our January anniversary netted another, the pregnant Betty and Martello. Zeke was born in July; another will arrive in November. I will write later about the land and the ranch.

Yours truly,

Kathleen

P. S. Please do not notice my mistakes. I still only use the dictionary for casual reading and not to look up spellings.

Divinity was our second alpaca choice (and definitely the pregnant girl.) She is the mother of a champion, and now mother to two of our additions, Demelza who was born two days after our purchase is a true black. Zeke arrived on July 8, 2009 and is a first class charmer. The jury is still out on whether he is dark brown or medium brown. Divinity is a strong, big boned girl with nice conformation who delivers nice colored crias when bred to colored males. Divinity

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.