Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Summer 2010

We have four cria pronking in the pasture this fall and loving it. Thunder is proud papa to two boys-- one a dark rose grey with an adorable white face and the other a nice dark fawn. The third one is a beautiful robust girl--mostly white with a rather large spot on her back. This is the second "Spot" Evie has thrown from two sires. Trying to figure out who her next date will be. The last one is a beautiful beige boy out of Skye.

Thunder also had a bay-black and light rose-gray cria for Mt. Brook Farm--both girls and a dark brown girl for Barbara Patenaude of China.

No major improvements to the barn this year with the exception that the girls get to spread out a little more. Our dear pony (of the guinea hen fame) left us in December. It was very hard to let go of such a good friend. The alpacas kept him company and he loved watching their goings on. Since the alpacas were sharing part of the barn with him, they now get some of his space.

We will be back at Fryeburg Fair this year with yarn and lots of fleece for sale. I have been knitting ALOT with my own fiber this year and loving that. If all goes well, I'll have two alpaca sweaters to show off and to keep me warm;it gets very cold in those barns.

Yarn sales have been good. Our yarn is now carried by Artful Hands Fiber Studio. They hold a wonderful knitting and spinning group there with lots of space and lots of good company. Great for learning to knit or just an evening out.

Our favorite neighbor and farm sitter Michelle, is now the proud owner of Cinnabar and Spofford. She is also our midwife--two cria were born on her watch. She has seen more of our births than I have!

Hay was absolutely beautiful this year, early and plentiful.

Let us know if you want to come see the babies-- they are definitely in the cutest phase when they enjoying playing together--going down to the bottom of the hill and seeing who can get back up the fasted---zoom!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Update Summer 2009

Shearing passed uneventfully this year unless you can count a lot of good laughs with the Mingles of Mt. Brook. Michelle was our able assistant as she learned the ins and outs of shearing. She did a great job as official head holder. We use one person on the head, one on the feet, one to pull off fiber and one to round up the next animals. Oh yeah, and one to actually shear. We do shots and toenails at the same time--it is quite well orchestrated and we are pretty good at it by now.

At the beginning of the summer, we said good-bye to Prince William, White Gold and Husaucar . They have a lovely new home with a young family who wanted fiber boys. Both have excellent fiber so they are a good fit.

After Dolores graced us with a lovely Guillermo boy, she went on to Maine Woods Alpacas to become part of their foundation herd along with Puella. In part of the deal, we took Tantric--a gorgeous white male with stunning fiber. It will be fun to see how he matures.

Shortly afterwards, Puella delivered a white male out of Captain Nemo from Sea Hill Farm. The male streak continued with Miracle out of Andromeda and Skye and Spofford out of Evie and Coyo Destini, followed by Cinnabar out of Sugar and Spice and Orion from Foss Mountain Farm. We have one more birth--let's see if the sixth one is the charm to get a girl!

Miracle was named because at one point at less than a week old, he appeared to be dying. He was curled in the death throws and everything. My son Sam and I went so far as to dig a hole in the back pasture so that Chuck wouldn't have to. After an afternoon and evening of distress--he got up and started walking around. He is now perfectly fine! We will never know what happened, but whatever it was, he is doing well now and his fiber is quite nice. Looking forward to his growing up.

Spofford's fiber is stunning in character, density and fineness. Just one detail--most of his blanket is fawn and the rest of him is white. Just not breeding material. We already have a few fiber folks who are interested in him.

I was delighted to take up spinning and knitting this summer. I love them both. I borrowed Cindy Mingle's wheel over vacation and got the hang of it. Still need to find a wheel of my own but have been having a heck of a good time with the knitting. Only problem is, I have sold all my yarn so I don't have a lot to work with. Since I am still learning, I do a lot of ripping out--oh well. It's the journey not the arrival that matters.

We got in just enough hay. It was hard to come by this year with all the rain. Farmers just didn't get first crop cut and then when they finally did, it delayed second crop. It is so much harder to dry hay in the cooler fall weather.

Open Farm Day was small this year--we opted just to do Sunday, since we had company visiting from Florida. Sunday turned out to be steady rain, but people came anyway and enjoyed the animals and my dear friend Dee and Michelle spinning away inside. As a side benefit, I got all my fiber sorted and ready to ship out for processing. This time I am going to keep a few skeins for me!

That is the update for now. Please write or call for a visit.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Daylight Savings but still Winter

It seems so strange to be setting the clocks ahead when we still have over a foot of snow on the ground. The alpacas don't seem to mind though because thanks to Chuck, they have some room to move around. He clears a nice area for them with the tractor. They actually spend more time outside in the winter than they do in the summer because of the bugs.

Winter has been quite uneventful. Chuck built the alpacas some lovely new hay feeders designed by our friends at Mt. Brook. I'll have to put pictures up soon so you can see them. They work very nicely--wheel in and out of the barn to protect the hay from the weather and much less hay is wasted.

The boys seem to "scrap" more in the winter--bored without the pasture to roam in. Skye and Thunder go at it quite regularly and there is occasional blood on them, its hard to see where it is coming from.

Other than that we are waiting for green grass and shearing time--just eight weeks away!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Farm Awards

When looking at alpacas, they always say there is no perfect alpaca, and I agree. Each has their strengths and in my head, I often give them each an award in my head as to what those strengths are. Here is my rundown:

Puella-finest fleece for an old girl, even at 12.
Andromeda--produces the most beautiful alpacas even though she looks on the rangy side herself
Dolores--most reliable breeder. Never missed a mating or a birth.
Mystique-finest fleece on the farm.
Evie-most beautiful white alpaca. Tied for best hand with Theresa.
Sugar N Spice-tallest alpaca, most personality.
Theresa--most beautiful fawn alpaca. Tied for best hand with Evie.
Ebony-potential contender for finest fleece, too young to tell.
Ivory-darkest alpaca and may beat out her mother for fineness.
Skye-best crimp and hand of males.
Thunder-most desirable color and softness.
Prince William--cutest by far and best crimp and fineness for males right now.
White Gold-most curious and nicest white male--(course his competition in only Husacar!)
HuasAcar-best Suri on the farm. Oops, he is the only Suri so does that count?

Settling in to winter

Our accomplishment this fall was to put on barn doors. We had improvised the past two years, but after last winter's heavy snows, we made it a priority to be able to close the animals in, mostly to keep the snow out. The trick was to design them so that they would slide out of the way to be able to get the tractor in to scoop poop.

I believe everyone is finally bred. We have some new combinations this year and as usual, that is half the fun. We have traded breedings with three different farms and used our own Don's Bellemont Skye out of the Last Don. It was great to get to know Lana and Dick Nickerson of Foss Mountain Farm. They have a beautiful setting up a steep hill in New Hampshire. They were delighted to host Thunder's Best for a few months as we were delighted to have their Orion here to breed to Sugar N Spice.

Thunder made the rounds to Mt. Brook Farm in exchange for a breeding to Guillermo, who placed second at North American in a white class. He has also entertained a lovely lady from Sea Hill Farm in exchange for a breeding to Captain Nemo, son of the famous PPeruvian Caligula G4572,for Puella. Puella is at a bargain price right now--take advantage of this breeding! I have my own non-alpaca reasons for appreciating this breeding. Captain Nemo was my uncle's nickname for my father--My father would be 104 this year. Hard to believe.

In all, Thunder should have four cria next year.

Since the Domingo/Mystique combo worked so well last time, we went for that one again.

And our beautiful Evander's Evie is bred to Coyo. What a combination that should be.

That wraps up the fall breeding schedule. The hay is in the barn and we have just had to start to feeding it out as the pastures have been open and thanks to plenty of rain, still with plenty of grass.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Potential issue with Ivermectin

We aren't certain, what we first thought was an infection in Ebony, could be a "hypersensitivity" to Ivermectin. At less than a week old, we gave her Ivermectin along with the rest of the herd, just has we have done with other crias. She crashed a few days later. Since she was exhibiting neurological symptoms, (non responsiveness, trembling) the vet treated her as though she had an infection in the brain. Her prescription was a regimen of IV fluids, antibiotics and B vitamins. "Ebony" revived and thrived after that.

Until this Sunday, three days after her next shot of Ivermectin. Similar neurologic- like symptoms--appearing listless and non-responsive, kushing whenever she could and walking stiffly. I checked my records and figured out the timing of her symptoms was very similar to her first dose of Ivermectin-about three days. We began the same regimen, in case it was an infection, but already by today she is doing MUCH better. The vet said that if she responds quickly to discontinue antibiotics because it most likely is a hypersensitivity.

"Hypersensitivity to Ivermectin" is well documented in certain breeds of dogs--mainly collies. It produces neurological symptoms and can be fatal but more often is not. The vet and a physician confirmed that it was a possibility it was a sensitivity even though she had not seen it before.

If it were an outright allergy--the reaction would have been immediate.

To read more about this in dogs--check out this reference. I couldn't find anything about it in alpacas. Just reminds us of how little we know about these animals and how important it is to share knowledge and support research.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Grandchildren on the farm

We now have two grandchildren on the farm and both girls: "Ebony and Ivory" though Ivory's co-owner, Laila from Graceland Farm, would like to call her Domonique since she is out of Domingo and Mystique. It would be fitting except that we already have Ebony who is white and now need a black Ivory, which we just got. Oh well. We'll work it out.

Ivory's birth was a little bit stressful for poor Laila. Mystique wasn't progressing in her labor. I was on my way to Ellsworth to pick up my daughter so I was no help. The feet were poking out but, couldn't see the nose right off. Bravely, Laila gloved and lubed up to find the nose and then Mike Reardon, from Full Moon Alpacas, was nice enough to heed the call and go in to stretch things just a bit and the baby popped right out just the way they say they should. Thank you too, to Cindy Mingle as always to provide counsel via phone and Morelia Candida, who came armed with pitocin in case the placenta didn't arrive on time. It did and all is well.

"Ivory" "Domonique" is out of Mystique who is out of Puella. Ebony is out of Skye who is also out of Puella. She produces fine fleeced alpacas of good bone. Let's see if that passes on to the next generation as well. So far, so good.

Gestation was 369 days! Who would believe it.

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