Saturday, January 1, 2011

10 for 2010

I loved my blog post at the end of 2009, reflecting on that year of alpaca farming. It's amazing what changes in one year's time.

A lot has happened in 2010. I did my best in this post to link to blog posts about each topic for reference. Though many things had more than one blog post, so of course there is so much more to the posts from 2010. This year I made a distinct effort to blog more frequently, and given the number of posts I had in 2010 (296 posts), it appears my plan worked.

Here is my top 10 things that took place on our farm this past year.

1. The top award goes to our own OHVNA Pocahontas winning reserve color champion at the Best of the Midwest Show in March of 2010. Our goal is to breed animals that can win in the show ring, and she is exactly what we wanted. Blog post about that is here.

2. We participated in our first Alpaca Auction. Link to blog post about that here. This led to the sale of two of our girls, Lily and Shelby.

3. As with every year, this year we built an additional shelter (blog post here and here). After doing this a few times prior, we've learned what we like most about shelters, and I think this one is by far our favorite design (this picture was taken before trim was put on and it was painted):

We also added on with the purchase of a hay tent to hold all the hay (link to blog post here. We had been storing hay in our garage, taking away valuable space.

inside the hay tent:

4. We attended the National Alpaca Show, our first time at such a big show. I have many blog posts about that, I'll link to this one, but there are many others to cover this big event (look through May 2010 on my blog).

5. This year marked the end to an era (link goes to blog post). We started our farm in 2007, so in 2008 the first cria were born on our farm. As they turned 2 years old in 2010, they came to the end of their show career. Tehya is the only one of our 2008 cria who is still on our farm. Tehya had an impressive show career and we are excited to see what cria she produces this coming spring. There are too many posts about Tehya's show career for me to link to (I did link one above).

6. For the first time, this year, 2010, we had more male cria born than female. For two years straight we had 1 boy and 2 girls born each year. This past year we had 3 boys and 1 girl.

Smokey's Twilight was the only girl born on our farm in 2010. Her birth post is here.

Our Copper Canyon was born while we were at the National Show (blog post here). We met him here:

OHVNA Chaska was born in July 2010. I wrote about his birth here.

OHVNA Challenger was the last cria born on our farm in 2010. His birth day is posted here.

Looking at these newborn cria pictures, it's neat to see how much they have changed since they were born. They grow up so fast!

7. We waited over 374 days for the birth of a cria!!!! I know I put Twilight in #6, but really waiting that long deserves a second mention. It was a long long wait. Typical gestation is 335 to 350 days. The longest we had waited before was under 360 days, so going that additional two weeks felt like an eternity. Just as I gave up on that cria being born, she appeared.

8. We improved our fiber production line by adding a fiber tumbler.

It took some time for me to get used to using the tumbler, but now that I've adjusted, I find it cleans the fiber better than my previous method.

9. This past year through trades we added some animals to our herd. First the arrival of Rose and Snickers, then the addition of Lucy, Latte and Ginger.

Enlightenments Rocky Rose is a favorite on our farm (blog post here):

Rose along with her mom, Snickers (Persnickety Miss)

RPA Lucy:

Straightfork Vanilla Latte and her cria, Eclipse's Ginger Ale:

There was also the return of Tucker! He came home in October.

10. This is certainly not the least important, but it also isn't directly related to our farm. This past year, 2010, we had to put our down our house dog, Dottie (link to blog post about her). Dottie was old and no longer had quality of life. But given her role as beloved family member, she is greatly missed (link to poem about her). I still wake up every night and look for her next to my bed. She was the best dog ever.

I also wanted to put an honorable mention to the post about alpaca farming being Fuel for the Soul. I think about that topic frequently, and love the rejuvenation that I get from these creatures. There are benefits to alpaca farming that goes way beyond the luxurious fiber and cute cria.

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