Tuesday, February 7, 2012


For my typical farm chores, I try to clean up after the alpacas everyday. I find that then I have less than a wheel barrow full of alpaca beans to pick up and push to the woods. I prefer to do a few minutes each day rather than save it all for a big chore. I have tried doing it every three days (which I understand fits with the parasite cycle, leaving them in the pasture longer than three days can cause more difficulties with parasites, since they have time to hatch and a new cycle begins). I did not care for how much work it was after those three days. I've come to appreciate my typical daily routine.

My whole planned schedule gets thrown out of whack when a snow storm hits. The day it is snowing, there is no point in trying to clean up. I would spend so much time hunting and trying to locate the beans. Then there are days when all the alpaca beans are frozen to the ground, again, no point trying to get them. There was a time I dug alpaca beans out of snow, even hacking them out of ice and frozen ground. I soon learned this really wasn't productive. I spent more time looking for alpaca beans, hacking at them, and spraying beans all over (when hacking at them) rather than actually cleaning them up.

My rule in the winter is that I will sweep up alpaca beans if there is enough that I can see outside of the snow that would almost fill a wheel barrow, and if they are loose enough to sweep (not frozen). I typically do clean up almost everyday, but the days the snow is coming down hard, or if there is freezing rain, I skip that day. But I do leave the frozen buried beans until a thaw comes (I only sweep up the ones that come easily).

The payback is that when there is a thaw, I have a lot of beans to clean up.

Last week we had a thaw. It was a huge wet mess:

On Monday I counted 7 wheel barrows full of alpaca beans that I extracted from the pasture land.

Then on Tuesday I did another 3. By Wednesday it was 2. I was so glad when by Thursday I was back to my usual 1 wheel barrow trip.

1 comment:

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Who needs a gym membership?
I hear you about wet pastures...ours our currently frozen solid but when it thaws...the beans, they float!

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