Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dreary part of the year

J and I were just talking about how alpaca farming gets kind of routine and blah this time of year. From about November through February, there really isn't much going on, at least in our area (places with different weather conditions will breed for fall births, and some places do have shows throughout the winter months). Here, it's snow and if you are lucky, a quick look at the sun. November and December fly by with the holidays, and the other parts of our lives are busy. But January and February are pretty low key. There are of course the daily chores. But, that really does not take much time. I have my morning feeding routine down to about 10 minutes. I spend a bit more time in the evening, but that is mostly by choice. After a busy day it's sometimes easier to spend some time in the barn puttering around, than coming inside to help the kids with school work, baths and the typical family routine. There is plenty of time after dark to attend to the kids. And I find as the kids get older, they need me less and less.

But we are on the cusp of our favorite time of year for alpaca farming. There are several things coming up:

1) First there is the Spring Show season. We love going to shows! We are planning on attending three spring shows this year (more on this in an upcoming post). Our first show of this year will be in March, then two in April.

2) After the spring shows, then we have shearing. While shearing day is a hard and busy day, I do love having new fiber to spin. I am most excited to get my hands on that rose grey fiber from Po and Greyt. It looks like this year we will shear around mid-May.

3) Then we start cria watch. I don't know what we enjoy more, the shows or seeing the new cria. We have four cria due this year, starting in May (though I suspect all will hold out until after shearing, Sancha is good at waiting as long as possible, and Maddie, being a maiden, I suspect will go longer rather than earlier). I put a ticker countdown to cria due dates on the bottom of my blog page.

4) As cria are born, we will need to re-bred the moms. This year we also have some yearlings who are coming of age to breed. This year we could have up to 8 possible breeding age females! Lots of decisions to be made on breedings. This is exciting in what possible outcomes we could have. Both J and I enjoy genetics, so we think about the possible color outcomes and what qualities each alpaca could bring to a cria.

5) After all the cria are born, and moms re-bred, then we head into fall show season.

There are lots of things to look forward to in the coming months. Now if I can just get through February! So very dreary. I do have some fiber on hand to spin, and some ideas on some knit projects to work on.

1 comment:

Noah and Jillian Schwander said...

I agree with you on the ho-hum dreary winter months. The poor pacas just tend to hang out in the barn. When we had the thaw last week, the poor things were out in the field eating the yucky brown grass; I think they are looking forward to the lush green grass of spring! I am looking forward to some green and sunshine too!

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