Tuesday, January 31, 2012

2nd Hat Project

The second hat was knit just like the first, only in reverse color order. I took my ball of Tehya and Greyt mix for the main color, and the ball of yarn of just Greyt for the contrast stripe color.

I find it easiest to knit both ear flaps at the same time. This means I have to have 2 balls of the same color.

I added the 2nd color as a stripe:

The bigger look (note the 2 balls of yarn, one of each color, I keep those nearby for the rest of the project):

Almost done:

You can see in the background of some of these pictures my pattern notes. I used several different ideas from various books to create my own unique pattern. I love how these turned out! My best pattern creation yet.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hat Project

This past weekend my cousin got married. I wanted to give her and her new husband alpaca hats. They are outdoorsy people, who enjoy things like winter camping. I figured they would get use out of these unique hand made hats.

I decided I needed a new hat pattern for these hats. We have made pixie hats, but found these are hard to make in adult size. I couldn't find exactly what I wanted in a pattern, so I created my own. I used ideas from several different hat patterns, but only used very small portions that way. The majority of the pattern for these hats was my own creation.

I wanted to use contrasting yarn for these hats, to make them a matching set. I decided to use Greyt's yarn, a beautiful rose grey. For the contrast, I used a mix of Greyt and Tehya's yarn. To give a bit of background on these alpacas, Tehya was born on our farm the first year we had alpacas. I saw her birth from beginning to end. I have seen Tehya grow up from the time she was born until now, as a 3.5 year old young lady. She is now bred to Greyt, our herdsire. Greyt came to us as a two year old. He was already a young man when we met him. This year Greyt is bred to Tehya. I can't wait to see that cria!!

In a way this story of our alpacas mirrors the wedding of my cousin, whom I have known since she was born, and her now husband who we only just now met.

First I cast on and knit the ear flaps (I love ear flap hats). Then I cast on the entire hat, with the ear flaps knit in:

I wanted to put some stripes in the hats, so they would contrast each other:

Now it's starting to look like a hat:


What was most exciting about these hats is they seem to really be a One Size Fits All. At our house we have a variety of size heads. We believe Emma and I have normal size, J and Zack have over sized (as a toddler Zack needed a man's XXL size hat, oh and he had to have a head scan done because his head was so big it was off the charts - no worries, he's perfectly healthy, just has a really big head). We all could put on this hat and felt like it fit great. The knit purl pattern is perfect for giving it stretch to those who need it. Some other pattern hats I've made were not versatile like this. I hope they fit the recipients well.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Other Love


I do a lot of spinning yarn, rarely do I have time for knitting, though I love knitting just as much.

Over the last couple of weeks I completed this hat set:

These are a wedding gift for my cousin and her new husband. They are outdoorsy people (who even go winter camping!). I hope they love these hats.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

farm attire

In the winter months, farm clothing is all about layers. Layers keep you warm, and layers can be shed to cool you down. I've learned that just as important as being warm, in cold weather, is not letting myself sweat, because once you do (in the cold) you can't get warm again. I actually have more of a problem of being too warm doing chores than I have of staying warm. Once I am out there moving around, it's not hard to be warm, and actually sometimes get too hot. I've been known to even shed my jacket out there on a winter's day.

The trick to layers is to make sure they overlap. By this I mean, I wear regular sock and pants (as would be typical for me on the weekend I have on running pants here):

Then I take a thermal sock, that goes over my regular sock and my pants get tucked into it ~ overlapping layers.

Then I put on my snow pants. I use the term "snow pants" loosely here, as these really aren't snow pants. They are a pair of nylon pants, over sized so they will fit over my regular pants. They keep dirt and water off my regular pants, and offer another layer of protection (mostly from wind and water) but aren't as warm as regular snow pants. The truth is that when I'm doing farm chores, I would get way too hot in regular snow pants.

I have gotten rather picky about gloves. These are the new ones I got for Christmas, and they work great:

What I have gotten picky about is the cuff. My old gloves had a cuff that just went out at the end. I have found most of the gloves sold in stores are this way. While the average person does not deal with hay everyday, I do, and those cuffs that go out invite hay into your glove. I don't care for hay in my glove. See the difference in the cuff:

I like the one with an actual cuff, not the one that just goes out and ends. For those who handle hay regularly, this makes a huge difference.

I also have my muff. J hates this muff. He has told me it's ugly and stupid, he even knit me a new one out of alpaca yarn. While this muff isn't a sight of beauty, it works exactly how I need it too. It goes around my neck ~ I can stuff it down if I'm warm, or pull it over my face if I'm cold. Some days this is the exact extra layer that I need. It can be the difference between being comfortable out there or being cold. I love my muff:

I know, it's not pretty. I don't where it out to the store or anywhere in public. It is purely farm attire.

Winter farm attire is quite different than summer wear. I find I prefer the winter wear. It covers up all my clothing, so by the time I get inside and take off those layers, I am free of hay and farm dirt. In the summer it's not unusual for me to find hay in my shirt or dirt on my shorts. Under my winter layers, I could be wearing pajamas or a suit or whatever I need to for the day.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Halter Training - Session One: Desensitizing

Our halter training session on Sunday was to get a halter on all the newbies (those not halter trained), and if we could easily get the yearlings, we'd halter them too. We used it as an opportunity to remind them about halters. It's been awhile and sometimes it can be scary. We find the more we halter them, the more desensitized they become, and the more routine the whole process becomes.

The whole point of this first session was for them to get a feel for the halter on, and to get used to people touching them all over.

We put a halter on Thunder, our 2011 cria (a beautiful dark rose grey):

Zack desensitizing Thunder (disguised as a hug):

With our yearlings, they already know the feel of the halter and can walk on lead. I wanted to work on desensitizing them, as the judge will need to touch them all over. Here is a judge type touch picking at our yearling, Challenger:

You can see in the background both Chaska and Shamballa with halters on tied to the post. This is a way for them to have the halter on for bit, and get used to the feel. Some of the feistier newbies will buck when in this position. These are the same ones who will buck when we hold the lead. In time they learn they can't buck out of the halter (a good lesson for them to learn before we are at a show). We would NEVER leave them like this unattended. Alpacas breathe through their nose and if a halter doesn't fit exactly right it can block their nose. We are very picky how their halters are on for this reason, and are careful to make sure the halters fit right. We have been amazed how many other alpaca farmers don't have right fitting halters. But even though we are so careful about halters, I still would never leave them tied up without being right there. For training, when we are right there to monitor them, it can be a useful tool that helps them learn about the lead.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Haltering in Sessions

We break up halter training into sessions. We have learned that it can be a difficult process for some alpacas, so we have to take it slow. We can't expect them to walk across the pasture the first time. I have tried it different ways, and found that doing more sessions, but shorter sessions, to be most useful. In time, the alpacas get so used to being caught and haltered that it's second nature to them. This makes an alpaca show much less stressful for them. Our goal this year is to halter them three or four times a week through show season. In no time they will be walking like pros.

Session One ~ desensitizing

Session one is all about getting them used to the feel of haltering. We put the halter on them and let them get used to the feel of it. I try to leave the halter on for a few minutes (even 5 minutes to a newbie feels like forever).

We also do touch them all over their blanket and into their legs. They have to be used to the vet, color check person, and judge touching them.

Session Two ~ steps and staying still

For the next session we do the same as the first, as far as getting the halter on, letting them get used to the feel, and desensitizing with touch.

We move on to:
~ having them take a few steps (even if they are side steps or trying to get away steps while on the lead)
~ taking a walk in a circle (which at this point means we walk in a circle and the alpaca pivots, but at least they will have to move their feet, sometimes even that can be tricky),
~ and start practicing standing still.

It wasn't until after our second show season that I realized I never practiced standing still, yet there is a lot of that at shows (waiting for the class, standing in the class etc.). The ability to stand still is as important at the ability to walk.

Session Three ~ walking with a friend

For this session we link a newbie with an experienced walker and have them walk around together. Last year we link Twilight to her mom, Maddie, and her mom showed her how to walk on lead.

We also go back over all the things from session one and two. For the ones ready, we will attempt some walking on their own.

Session Four ~ walking

By Session four many of the alpacas are able to walk a short distance on the lead. This is where the individual alpaca's personality really shows though. Some alpacas are so stubborn, others take to haltering easily. Last year by this point Twilight could walk on lead quite well. Challenger did the slump and lay on the ground play. Given the different personalities, we start working with each individual. We go back to use any of the past tricks that worked (such as linking them to a friend if that seemed most helpful, or doing the circle step).

Session Four and Beyond ~ repeat again

By this point, so much depends on each individual alpaca and how well they are talking to haltering. Some do so well, others really struggle. We taylor what we do with them to how they are reacting. Last year I had to incorporate many tricks to get Challenger to walk on lead. He sure was a tricky one.

We do a lot of repeating what we've done. Alpacas love routine and expect the same thing. If we can get haltering to be routine, they do so much better.

We do mock show rings, lots of mock show rings, so the routine is very familiar to them.

We add in new things, just to continue to desensitize them. For example, we work on walking in different places, like a walk down our driveway (taking them out of their comfortable pasture area). We keep going back to desensitizing, touching them all over, standing still, and walking. If they can handle our doing this, they can hand an alpaca show.

Halter Training

We halter train all our cria, because who wants an older bigger alpaca who they can't lead somewhere? However, we always are a bit under pressure to get them halter trained as alpaca show season approaches. Our first show is in about 5 weeks!!!

The Best of the US Alpaca Show is March 10 and 11. This means we need to have these cria walking very well on the lead by then.

This past weekend Zack (my halter training helper) and I headed outside with halters and leads. We've learned to have low expectations the first few times, as this whole process can be very scary for them.

Zack is convinced that the alpacas are more receptive to halter training if we remain calm, and if he says to them in a calm voice while rubbing their neck "calm, calm, calm". I have to say, his tactic works. That's why he's my halter training helper.

Our Juvis to train:
Lady Bing

Our Yearlings to remind:

And we are halter training Gigi. While she is a yearling, she came to our farm a few weeks back and was never halter trained. We will not be taking her to any shows, but we'd still like to have her be able to walk on the lead. Zack and I find that the older ones can be more difficult to train. But we got the halter on her on Sunday and we were able to do all the same desensitizing touching. She'll get there too. And I know come shearing time we'll be thankful she can walk on lead.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


A big part of having a business is managing the financial part of it. This can at times be stressful.

We decided back when we started our farm that it would be best to hire an accountant to do our taxes. We had always done our own, but the farm adds enough additional dynamics that we felt it was better to hire it out. We found a local accountant firm who was familiar with alpaca farming. Ever since our first year working with them, they now send us a booklet each January to fill in our expenses. J and I keep folders all year around to store our receipts, so when this booklet arrives, it's only a matter of adding up the expenses and filling them into the booklet. More of the frustration is that we don't always have all we need. Right now we are waiting on one W-2, and we can't find the receipt from one of our alpaca shows. I also stress about "what am I missing?" But I know we do a good job of keeping track of everything all year around so this time of year isn't that stressful.

We have our appointment with our accountant tomorrow and I have everything set to go. What a relief to have that out of the way!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Spinning Fun

what better way to spend a snowy day than spinning yarn:

I love yarn from fading fawn alpaca fiber!

If you are wondering about the boxes and construction materials in the background, J has undertaken a rather large home improvement project of remodeling our mud room, dinning room and kitchen. It's a mess in progress and it's going to be beautiful when it's done. In the mean time, our house is in a bit of disarray.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

still a princess

I can't hide the fact that Tehya is one of my favorite alpacas. She was born on our farm that very first year we had alpacas. I saw her entire birth. I really have known her since the day she was born. I have seen her grow up from a newborn cria to a yearling to an adult. At almost 4 years old, she's still an incredible alpaca. It doesn't hurt that her sire is the famous Goldsmith and that she won many ribbons for us in the show ring.

I've been spinning her blanket into yarn, I love the various shades of fawn that come through her beautiful yarn.

This year she is bred to our male, Greyt, for a June 2012 due date. I can't wait to see what beautiful cria they create! Tehya is fawn color, Greyt is rose grey (brown with grey) ~ together they could produce any color from fawn to rose grey to brown to black. I love all those colors so any one of them is great!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

New is always better

as soon as I put out new hay, the alpacas swarm the hay feeder:

The ironic thing is that this isn't new hay. It's the same hay they have been eating. It was seeded at the same time, grown at the same time, harvested at the same time, delivered to our farm at the same time. It might even be from the same bale I got hay from at their previous feeding, but they are just sure the new stuff I just put in the feeder is better. To them, new is always better.

I can't take credit for the line though, that I heard on one of my favorite TV shows, How I Met Your Mother. It's one of my favorite Barney quotes.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Keeping the tradition

While spring is a very busy time for our farm with all the spring alpaca shows, last year I challenged myself to run in a 10K event. I participated in the Fifth Third River Bank Run, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I had considered running a 5K, but knew I already ran 3 miles regularly. I wanted a challenge. So I pushed myself to train for the 10K. I had NEVER run that much in my life! I started training last year about this time, and not only ran the 10K, but I have made a 7 mile run part of my usual weekly running routine.

My current running schedule includes 5 runs:
~ a short run (3 miles max, at a fast pace),
~ a medium run (4 to 5 miles),
~ the hills run (different incline levels on the treadmill for 5 miles),
~ an interval run (alternate every 1/4 mile from walk to run at various speeds)
~ a long run (7 miles).

If I have to push one of the runs off my schedule, it's the short run. I've done a really good job of getting in the most difficult runs each week, the long 7 mile run and the hills run (by the way, I would much rather run the 7 miles than the hills, oh are they dreadful! but what a workout they give me).

So this year I will keep up the training I've been doing. I'm not anxious about being able to run the 10K. This year's anxiety will be around the fact we have an alpaca show the last weekend of April, again the first weekend of May, and that next weekend is this 10K. One alpaca show leaves me exhausted for days. Having two shows two weekends in a row is brutal in itself. We have a great time at shows, but the exhaustion afterward always catches up with us. But I am determined that I can do this, and will train so that I will make this happen.

By the way, two weeks after the run is the AOBA National Alpaca Show that we are planning to attend. What this means is that May is going to be a busy and exciting month for us!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fiber work continues

While I haven't done as much with fiber lately as I would have liked, I have been plugging away when I do have a bit of time.

This past weekend I plyed a strand of yarn from Tehya with a strand of yarn from Greyt. I love the variety of color ply:

Here it is being knit into something:

Monday, January 9, 2012

New Additions

Any time you bring new alpacas into your herd, it tends to shake things up. We've had a variety of responses, from older males who instantly get mad and start a fight, to timid little ones who want to hide and can't wait for the rest of the herd to stop smelling them.

On Saturday we brought home ATA Peruvian Lady Bing, ATA Peruvian Shamballa, and ATA Peruvian Gigi. Lady Bing is of course the girl I have been bragging about for some time now. We are so excited to get her home! Shamballa is a young male who we are hoping will prove to do well in the show ring and become a herdsire for us. Gigi is actually who we were looking at when we discovered Lady Bing a couple months back. Gigi is a few days younger than our own Rose, both of whom will turn 2 years old this April.

Lady Bing is very alert and is watching everything that goes on. She watches me and seems to want to follow me, but if I take a step towards her, she will run off. She still isn't sure of our place.

Here is Gigi (a yearling white female):

Gigi took to our herd like she's been here all along. She just walked up to the hay buckets and eats, no one else seems to mind. We've had times when the herd won't let a new one by the hay so this is actually something to take notice of. I haven't seen her fight with anyone, which is actually kind of odd. Usually the herd has to sort out a pecking order.

Shamballa was placed with our yearling and juvi males. He was born in June of 2011 just like our own Thunder, so we figure those two would do well together. While Chaska is the leader in this pen (every alpaca herd has a leader and each pen has their own 'herd' status), he only briefly showed Shamballa that he is the leader (this amounted to Chaska trying to mount Shamballa and Shamballa giving him a little kick and then spit at him). Sig and Challenger welcomed him with a few sniffs and that was about it. I'm surprised there hasn't been more tossling at the boys pen. It was a very smooth transition for all. Shamballa had no problem figuring our grain time:

I was most concerned about grain time since at our farm we separate all the alpacas for grain. We taylor how much grain they get to their body score and health status. The first night Lady Bing insisted on trying to eat with our full figured girls. As could be expected, Lady Bing did not get any grain that night. I tried to separate her by herself later and gave her a bowl of grain but she was too leary of all her new surroundings and wouldn't eat. By Sunday morning I was able to get her and Gigi together with their grain and they both ate well:

I knew Lady Bing is a good size girl, but I wasn't expecting her, having been born this past summer (2011), to look the same size as our yearlings, Twilight and Rose, who were born in 2010!! But do keep in mind that Lady Bing has never been shorn, so she does have a lot of fiber on her body.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 Spring Show Schedule

We are beginning to sign up for spring alpaca shows. Our plan at this point is to attend 3 regular spring shows, then depending on how the shows go, attend Nationals this spring.

March 10 & 11, 2012: Best of the US Alpaca Show Columbus, Ohio

We have attended this show every year and love it! It's always been our first of the spring show season, the first time our juvis are getting in the ring. There is always lots of excitement!

With our show string of these girls:
Enlightenment's Rocky Rose
Smokey's Twilight
ATA Peruvian Lady Bing
JLFA Leonardo's Dutch Harbor

And these boys:
OHVNA Chaska
OHVNA Challenger
Gabriel Star of RobAsia
Our Peruvian Thunder
ATA Peruvian Shamballa

This gives us 4 females, and 5 males. Rose, Twilight, Chaska, Challenger and Gabe are the yearlings, the rest are juvis. As for colors, we will have black (Gabe), brown (Lady Bing), fawn (Dutch and Shamballa), beige (Chaska) and many greys (Challenger and Thunder being rose grey males, Rose being a rose grey female, and Twilight being a dark silver grey female).

April 28 & 29, 2012: Great Midwest Alpaca Festival Madison, Wisconsin

We have attended this show twice now and really enjoy this show. The venue is a bit different, but we love the people there and enjoy the city of Madison.

Because by this point Dutchess will be joining our herd, we are sure we want to get her to a couple of shows, so she will join the show string for this show.

With our show string of these girls:
Enlightenment's Rocky Rose
Smokey's Twilight
ATA Peruvian Lady Bing
JLFA Leonardo's Dutch Harbor

And these boys:
OHVNA Challenger
Gabriel Star of RobAsia
Our Peruvian Thunder
ATA Peruvian Shamballa

May 5 & 6, 2012: Buckeye Alpaca Show Columbus, Ohio

We have never attended this show, but have heard lots about it. We thought this year we should attend this show.

We plan to take the same alpacas to this show as we did to GMAF in Madison. Though this could change depending on how they do at the shows.

With our show string of these girls:
Enlightenment's Rocky Rose
Smokey's Twilight
ATA Peruvian Lady Bing
JLFA Leonardo's Dutch Harbor

And these boys:
OHVNA Challenger
Gabriel Star of RobAsia
Our Peruvian Thunder
ATA Peruvian Shamballa

Depending how well our alpacas do at these shows, we are seriously considering going to Nationals this year:

May 26, 27 & 28, 2012: AOBA 2012 National Show Louisville, Kentucky

Our plan would be to take 6 of our own to this show. Full disclosure of that line up is pending. While we have a feeling who we will be taking, some of it depends on how well they do at the other spring shows.

I updated "Our 2012 Events Schedule" on the right side of the blog with each of these shows, along with their dates, location, and a link to their official web page.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012 Show String

Even though the snow is just starting to fly, it's time to get our spring show season line up ready to go. Many alpaca shows are already open for registration, and we know some of these shows sell out within a day (GMAF is famous for that!).

For our show string we have several yearlings (those born in 2010) and some juvis (those born in 2011). Rose will actually turn 2 the end of April, so at some of the spring shows, she will show in the 2+ age group.

2010 Yearlings:

Enlightenment's Rocky Rose (light rose grey female)
Smokey's Twilight (dark silver grey female)
OHVNA Chaska (beige male)
OHVNA The Challenger (dark rose grey male)
Gabriel Star of RobAsia (true black male)

2011 Juvis:

Our Peruvian Dark Thunder (dark rose grey male)
ATA Peruvian Shamballa (light fawn male)
ATA Peruvian Lady Bing (light brown female)
JLFA Leonardo's Dutch Harbor (medium fawn female)
Dutchess (dark brown female)

Since most shows allow 3 alpacas per stall, it would work best for us to take 9 rather than every one of the 10 listed here. As we get to be a bigger farm, we have the luxury to be selective in which alpacas we take with us. When we were really small, every cria was put into our show string. Now we can pick and choose and take those that we think will do the best. We have gotten better at predicting who will do well and who won't, but often that first show of the season is a surprise. Last year we had some do better than we anticipated (always a welcome surprise!). We have high hopes this year, with some exciting alpacas in our show string.

The next step is to choose which shows we will be going to, and which of the 10 alpacas we will bring to each show.

By the way if you are wondering who Dutchess is, her story is yet to be told. We know she's coming, the contract is signed, but the actual arrival is still pending. She is with her mom and not yet ready to be weaned. As always, we are spicing up our herd genetics in one way or another.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Who's the sire?

I sort of wanted to put as my blog title "baby daddy" but I thought better of that. In the alpaca world, sire is the right term for the dad.

Our aim in breeding this past year was to get some cria on the ground for our males. Both Tucker and Greyt have cria on the ground, but we only have 1 for each of these males. While we love their cria, 1 isn't enough to determine if they have what it takes to be a super stud.

ARF Our Peruvian Tucker

+ already gave us OHVNA The Challenger

For 2012 he is bred to:

~ Victoria (who he already had Challenger with)
~ Latte
~ Jewel

SA Peruvian Greyt Exxpectations

+ already gave us Our Peruvian Dark Thunder

For 2012 he is bred to:

~ Sancha (who already produced Thunder by Greyt)
~ Maddie
~ Tehya
~ Miss Kitty
~ Snickers

We bred only one girl to Smokey, because at this point we know what Smokey can produce (he sired our own Smokey's Twilight, along with many offspring at other farms) so it wasn't a matter of wanting to see, it was a matter of matching him up with a girl where they can produce a great offspring.

NL Smokey is bred to:

~ Kateri

And we traded breedings to have FCA Incan Alchemy bred to:

~ Bay for a little diversity to the genetics in our herd

What I haven't mentioned is that we won't actually have 10 cria this spring. Snickers and Kateri are leaving us this spring to go to another farm. I'll post more about that another time. So that leaves us with 8 cria, but we also have promised one 2012 cria in a past deal, so one of those 8 will also be leaving us (who it is has not yet been chosen, they get to pick after the cria are born). This gives us a 2012 cria gang of 7, our biggest cria gang yet.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Positive Pregnancy!

After last years disappointment with two open girls (Maddie and Snickers) and a retained CL (Kateri), we decided that this year we would have the vet ultra sound any girl we questioned if she really was pregnant. We would rather know now that they are open then wait for their due date and have disappointment.

With J's new work schedule, we decided that it would be better for the vet to come to our farm. In the past we have hauled our animals there, figuring it was cheaper. But then he worked off shift and getting to the vet wasn't an issue. We decided this time it was worth the extra money to have her come to us. Also, two of the girls we wanted to ultra sound do not halter well. Miss Kitty is a full figured girl who would rather cush than walk on lead. And Jewel was never halter trained. I meant to work on that when she arrived at our farm last spring, but it just didn't happen.

We wanted Miss Kitty ultra sounded because due to her full figure, it is impossible to see a pregnant belly. And Jewel is a maiden, they often don't spit test well nor do they show much (I remember when Maddie was pregnant with Twilight we often doubted if there really was a cria in there). We also wanted to ultra sound Bay, given she is new to our farm we did not know how to read her spit testing behavior, and she is older so she always has a pregnant belly. In addition, we wanted to ultra sound Rose. We did not believe her to be pregnant, but she was bred ever so briefly early last fall, she *could* be pregnant. We definitely would not want to take her to any alpaca shows if she is pregnant, but if she is not, we'd love to show her off some more.

Our other girls we have a pretty good handle on how they act when pregnant. For example, Maddie becomes quite crabby and fights with everyone. Latte starts to ignore us (when not pregnant she becomes a little too friendly). This year we can see a cria move inside Kateri, no retained CL this year, that is for sure. So we did not feel the need to ultra sound each girl. Also, as with any business, you have to keep cost in mind. To give a frame of reference for this, it costs about $30 per girl to have them ultra sounded. We have 10 pregnant girls, so it would have been $300 plus the farm visit fee (about $75) to do that! If we already know from spit testing and our experience with that girl that they are pregnant, we don't need to spend money to confirm what we already know.

The vet first ultra sounded Rose. She was open, not pregnant. We were happy about this because we would like to be able to continue to show her this spring. We likely will bred her late spring, giving her a chance to strut her stuff a couple more times at a show.

Miss Kitty
was confirmed pregnant! Jewel was confirmed pregnant! Bay was confirmed pregnant! YEAH!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Top 10 for 2011

Top Ten noteworthy events from 2011 for Oak Haven Alpacas

Note: I tried to link back the original blog posts about all these events (there are usually more pictures on the original post).

10. Surviving our roughest year yet.

We lost 3 alpacas this year ~ little guy, Cheyenne and Maggie. And, we had our first retained CL (blog post about that here). Despite all this, we pulled through and are pushing our farm to the next level.

Little Guy ~ July 18, 2011 to July 19, 2011 (link to birth and passing story):

Cheyenne ~ May 17, 2011 to July 24, 2011 (links to birth and passing stories):

Magnolia (Maggie) (her welcome and loss):

9. Adding new genetics to our farm.

This year several alpacas joined our farm:
Dodge City Miss Kitty
MPAF Jewel
ATA Peruvian Harley
ATA Peruvian Boppana
Gabriel Star of RobAsia
Butterscotch Bay
JLFA Pot of Gold's Northwester (AKA Sig)
JLFA Leonardo's Dutch Harbor
ATA Peruvian Shamballa
and ATA Peruvian Lady Bing

The arrival of Miss Kitty (story here and more pictures here):

I can't find the post about Jewel's arrival. I fear I may have never blogged about it!

The boys, Boppana and Harley (Bo's story, Harley's story)



The arrival of Gabriel Star of RobAsia (blog post here):

The arrival of Butterscotch Bay, Sig and Dutch is here.

Bay and Dutch:


Shamballa (story here):

The addition of Lady Bing (story here):

8. Sheared our own alpacas!

This is a goal we had for some point in the future, but as it turned out, we did it ourselves already this year. And I have to say, given it was our first year, I think we did a great job with it. There were several blog posts about shearing, the main one here.

Our shearing station:

7. Developed a new tag line:

Breeding Brightness You Can Feel

6. Becoming known as a farm with a "grey program".

While I fought this notion for quite some time (we breed for all colors), we gave into this fame and accept it as a compliment that our greys are so well known.

5. We had an incredible show season during 2011.

During our 2011 show season we came home with 7 1st place ribbons!!

Enlightenment's Rocky Rose
+ 1st in the fall of 2010
+ 1st at GMAF
+ 1st at MBS

Smokey's Twilight
+ 1st place at Best of the US
+ 1st place at GMAF
+ 1st place at MBS

OHVNA The Challenger
+ 1st place at Best of the US

Gabriel Star of RobAsia
+ 1st place at MBS

Here are a few of the official 1st place pictures:

We never did get our official 1st place pictures from MBS (we only recieved the ones with Gabe as color champion, not the first for all our others). And at the Great Midwest show in Madison WI they only take pictures of the color banner winners, not the 1st place.

4. Adding Lady Bing to our herd (did I mention this already? I just know she is going to provide a huge boost to our breeding program. We are so excited to have her as part of our herd).

3. The birth of Our Peruvian Thunder ~ not only is he our one surviving 2011 cria, but he is the first cria from our male, SA Peruvian Greyt Exxpectations. We had high hopes for this cria, and we are so excited how incredible he turned out. Birth story here.

2. Finished paying off our alpacas ~ what a relief!! A huge milestone, indeed!

1. Our Color Championship ~ Gabriel Star of RobAsia won us a Color Champion in blacks at the Michigan Breeders Show in May of 2011. Our first ever Color Champion. Blog story here.

Links to past years:

10 for 2010

10 for 2009

The end of the year (2008)

We began our farm in 2007, with our first alpacas arriving in November of 2007. The top 10 for that year was starting our farm (with more than 10 things involved in that preparation).
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