Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Things I wish I knew

In the time we have been alpaca farmers, we have learned a lot. But there are some things that I wish I knew more about, or how to do better.

I wish I could take a class in how to trim an alpaca's top knot. You would think it wouldn't be that big of a deal. Especially given the fact I use to cut people's hair. But for some reason, I cannot get a top knot to look the way I want.

I wish I felt more confident about halter training the young ones. Somehow they all manage to get halter trained. But, I feel like I'm making up a lot of it along the way. I have read some books on halter training, though nothing specifically has clicked with me. Maybe I'm creating my own halter training method :)

We do a pretty good job using the prime fiber, but I wish we did more with the seconds. I had plans to spin it all and make up a bunch of slipper socks and rugs, but, that hasn't happened. I still have plans to do this, we'll see when it actually happens.

I wish I knew more about knitting. There are a lot of things I can do, but I have not had success using circular knitting needles. I also am not fond of double pointed needles. I know by not using either of these I limit my knitting options.

There are other things that while I personally don't feel anywhere near expert on, I tag team it with my husband. I turn to him for the information, as he has done more research on it. Some days I'm glad to have him be the expert in various areas, when I have plenty of other things to do. Other days I think that I should really learn more about those areas.

For example, he's the expert when it comes to herd health. We do herd health days together, but he's the one in charge of shots - what shots we give, who they go to, and administering the shot. He also trims the toe nails. I'm the one who catches and holds the alpacas for him to work on. It works for us, but sometimes I think I should really know more about our herd health management.

He also has done more research on genetics. I know some of the big name alpacas, but I do not have the vast knowledge that he does. He also understands more about fiber stats than I do. We both are able to evaluate fiber for crimp, consistency, bundling and brightness. I have really worked on being better able to feel for density. This one has been harder for me. I understand the basics on micron count and CV etc. But J understands how these all work together much better than I do. Sometimes I wish I had a better handle on the bigger picture in regard to fiber; though thankfully, for this weakness J is able to fill in.

There certainly is a lot to learn in regard to alpaca farming. I don't think there ever comes a time you can know it all. Maybe that's what keeps us so interested in it.

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