Tuesday, April 6, 2010

If looks could kill

I believe alpacas must have a very good sense of time. It's almost like our girls can check their watch and know that I am late giving them their grain. They start gathering by the gate, giving me a snarly look (the look of "grain or death"):

I've found when I do feed them later than usual, they will stand by the gate for awhile, then give up and go eat some hay, then later gather around again. Often on the weekend I am quite late feeding them their a.m. meal. They survive. But this time I actually am going to start changing their evening meal time. All because of:


Those are our indoor dogs, Dottie and Quinn. While they look sweet, it seems when I go out to feed the girls and Spot, Dottie and Quinn run to the sliding glass door:

That is where they bark and bark and bark. At this same time, J is trying to sleep (being that he works 3rd shift). I actually thought I had this great system all worked out. This was the first year both of the kids are in full day school (Zack had 1/2 day K last year). I arranged my schedule so that I could leave work at 3 p.m. and pick the kids up from school. This eliminated any need for after school care. And I was home by 3:30, I could feed the alpacas right upon arriving home. I would be in the house by 4 p.m. with all my chores done for the day. All winter I did it this way and it worked great. I loved being inside before darkness fell, and with it being cold, it's nice to spend the night snuggled inside.

(Forewarning: this paragraph is a bit of rant, so only read it if you want, you can skip this paragraph and enjoy the rest of the post). The first thing that fell apart with this arrangement is that I was under the impression it was a luxury to pick your kids up from school. I know not everyone can do that. What I didn't realize is that you might not *want* to do it. I tend to be a pretty calm and quiet person, one you'd hardly notice was in the room. But, there are a few topics out there that get to me. One of those topics is how people drive in a school zone. If I ever get into a fist fight with someone, it will either be because they pulled out in front of me on icy roads and I couldn't help but hit them, at which point I'd get out of the car and want to beat them up, or, it will be because they were driving ridiculously crazy in a school zone. You would not believe the things people do in a school zone (like drive across some one's lawn because they didn't want to stop for a bus). I know getting in a fight in front of the school would be the worst thing I could do, but that is really how upset I get about it. At least once a week someone passes me recklessly (and illegally) in the school zone. The kids know this is a hot button for me, they usually mutter "oh no!" I give the passing driving a very snarly look (just like the lady alpacas give me when their dinner is late). I'm not saying I never speed, I do. I drive a lot for work and I by no means follow every driving rule. But, a school zone is different. What you are risking by driving recklessly could be a child's life. I don't take that lightly at all. Also, keep in mind I learned to drive in the Chicago area, road rage was part of the driver's training course. So I can't help but be a defensive and irate driver. Getting back to our school thing, I also am very ticked at the lady in the white car who parks where there isn't a parking space, and blocks the parking lot so no one else can get in. Who does she think she is that she gets to do that? It's so rude. And she does it every day. The kids and I call her the "rude white car lady." One day I will give her a piece of my mind. So yeah, this isn't the highlight of my day and isn't a luxury by any means. I'm thinking the bus is the better way to go. I've seen the bus area. All the buses line up in neat rows, and the kids march out to their bus all happy. It's all neat and orderly. Everyone is happy and it all works smoothly. That's out back of the school. In the front of school is chaos, where the crazy parents, half of which drive recklessly, fight over parking spots, and the kids are running around out of control. I admit, I might be the craziest parent out there, it really bothers me how some parents are. Unfortunately, we don't have the option of using the bus because we live in a different district. So, I will go on pretending that picking the kids up from school is this great luxury.

It's a good thing I do have the farm to come home to. I need that time out in the barn to unwind from the chaos of the school pick up (see my past post on poop scooping, I get a lot of that done while unwinding). Which brings me back to the topic of the alpacas. I need to change the girls' feeding time until after J is awake from his days' sleep. He usually gets up around 5 p.m. and starts making dinner. I'll either feed the girls then, or wait until after he leaves for work (he leaves around 6 p.m.). Then when our dogs gather by the sliding glass door, they can bark and not wake anyone. It should work out fine since we've had the time change, it is lighter until later now too.

If you stand in our backyard, you can see the dogs to the right:

and the alpacas on the left:

The alpacas could care less about our house dogs. They hardly ever pay them any attention. Occasionally the alpacas will sniff at our dogs through the fence, but mostly they ignore them. The house dogs on the other hand, keep very close eye on the alpacas. They are most upset when I am with the alpacas. I think they are actually trying to protect me. Dottie also hates Spot. Spot is so sweet and has never done anything to Dottie. But Dottie is old and set in her ways. And as far as she is concerned, Spot has invaded her territory. The one time Dottie got into the area with Spot, she ran over and bit him! We are careful to make sure they stay separated.

After the girls are done eating their grain, Spot comes and picks up any bit they missed. Alpaca grain must be very tasty because Spot will do anything for even the littlest bit of it. Here he is cleaning up:

By then, the girls have moved onto the new hay I put out:

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