Thursday, June 28, 2012

getting along

Our kittens are growing up and learning their way around the farm.  The alpacas and our guardian dog, Spot, a Great Pyrenees, don't mind the cats one bit.  Our house dogs have been another story, but they are contained in a small section of our backyard.  The cats have free reign of the farm.

They walk around, and while the alpacas look, they don't care that the cats are there:

I've even found Buddy in the alpaca's hay bin, and none of them seem to care:

Buddy had a lot of fun playing around in there.  And surprisingly even the mom alpacas were fine with him playing about:

The kittens have taken over the kids' swing set as their playground.   I love watching the kitten brothers run and play and chase each other all over the farm.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Water Fun

On those hot days I try to get outside and hose the girls down.  And it seems even on the cooler days they enjoy it too.

Here I am hosing down the maidens:

Zack insisted I needed to be in picture, he told me to smile:

Some of them drink the cold fresh water from the hose as I'm spraying. I'm impressed with their talent to do that!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Labor Tree

We joke that the ladies who are close to delivering tend to hang out under this tree, we've dubbed "The Labor Tree". It seemed Sancha spent about a week under there prior to having Stormy, and Latte several days there prior to having Raspberry. Now Tehya has been hovering around the labor tree (she is due, day 350 gestation, on July 1st).

The Labor Tree ~ with Tehya sitting right under it:

Later on I caught Maddie under the tree with Tehya (Maddie isn't due until August):

Here Tehya, Maddie and Victoria are cushed under The Labor Tree:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Date Night

On our farm Date Night means it's time to do some breedings.

We have 4 maidens to be bred ~ Mysteria, Gigi, Twilight and Rose

This past weekend we tried them all out:
+ Mysteria (white) to Greyt (modern medium rose grey)
+ Gigi (white) to Alchemy (fading fawn)
+ Twilight (tuxedo dark silver grey) to Alchemy (fading fawn)
+ Rose (tuxedo light rose grey) to Smokey (modern dark silver grey)

We also started some rebreeding:
+ Latte (fading fawn) to Harley (white)
+ Sancha (white) to Smokey (modern dark silver grey)

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Finally got all 3 in one spot ~ here is Raspberry, Stormy & Ruby:

We are expecting 5 more cria, so this is only the start of our 2012 cria gang.

An Active Balanced Life

Along with having our farm, with so many ways to be active and creative, I also try to run several times a week to keep up a cardio workout.  For the last two years I have run a 10K in the Fifth Third River Bank Run  - I blogged about that in May 2011 and in May 2012 (links to those blog entries).

My husband brought home information for the Seaway Run.  This race only had a 5K or a 15K, no 10K that I have run.  I thought for only a minute: if I run the 5K I really should run that at a faster pace than I do a 10K and I don't like running a faster pace, or I could challenge myself to the distance of the 15K and not mess with my pace.  I opted for the 15K!  I know most runners want to be faster but for me it stresses me out and makes me not enjoy the run when I push my pace too much.  I've only been running in the last few years (since 2004) and at that time I did quite a bit of reading on it.  It struck me when I read it and I've remembered it to today - don't push yourself to the point you don't enjoy running anymore, because if you do that you are more likely to quit running.  This was written in regards to not always making every run a long run, make sure to have days of shorter runs so you stop your run wanting more.  Sure there are runs I push myself on, but if every run every time is like that constantly I won't enjoy it and that would be the demise of me running.  I have to keep a balance of challenging myself and having some enjoyment.

I had four weeks before this race to change my training from a 10K to a 15K (for those wondering how that is in miles 5K=3.1 miles so 10K=6.2 miles and 15K=9.3 miles - this means adding 3.1 miles to my run).

The race was yesterday, June 23, 2012.  I don't have a picture of me in the shirt because no one was awake in the morning when I left for the race and by the time I got home afterward I was quite a mess.  Here is the lovely wicking shirt I got:

I am happy to say that despite my fears and times during training that I wondered what I was doing running that far, I not only finished the race but did so at a faster pace than I thought I would.  Seems I can run faster, but I only do so in the moment of the race.  Running by myself outside I tend to run slower and slower.

I know I say this every time, but it always hits me in the middle of a race (from mile about 4 to 6 I become quite introspective and emotional) - there have been times in my life I couldn't have done this.  I've worked to find balance and health in my life and that is what I am so proud of (not the race itself).

As a young child born in the 70's, I played outside and had a typical fun childhood.  As a teen I wasn't so healthy. I was too thin, to the point of being underweight, and it wasn't because I was so active, quite the opposite, it was because I was a picky eater. I wasn't involved in sports.  By my 20's as a young adult I could eat what I wanted, yet I didn't add in that activity and soon found myself overweight and terribly out of shape.  I still remember how difficult that feels.  It wasn't until approaching my 30's that I decided that it was up to me to change.  In 2003 as a family we started a complete change around and in 8 months time from 2003 to 2004 I lost 70 pounds.  Since that time it's been about finding balance and keeping an active healthy lifestyle.

Alpaca farming fits right into our healthy active balanced life.  The farm keeps me and our whole family busy.  There are farm chores twice a day.  There are new projects that need to be done.  And there are new babies to watch and see grow.  Not only does it keep us active, but we are doing things together.  I know my kids are growing up with family memories - no matter how nasty or fun the job may be.  Just yesterday Emma mentioned being bored and the next thing you know she's off getting hay with us. I can just see her telling her kids, "If I said I was bored I got to go get hay."  :)  She'll surely tell her kids what that means.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lovin' this yarn

I started spinning Challenger's 2011 fiber into yarn.   I LOVE how it is turning out:

I wasn't sure how it would look as yarn, being a variegated color.  I thought I'd like it but I had no idea how much!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

tough to be a mom

Too cute:

That is Jewel napping next to her cria, Ruby.  Jewel, like many new moms, looks really tired.  These cute babies really take it out of you.  Ruby is strong and healthy, but petite as far as most of our cria have been (she was born weighing 12 pounds, when most of ours are around 20).

Jewel and Ruby:


Then there is Stormy, who's already 26 pounds!  He's a big guy:

I couldn't get Raspberry to cooperate for a picture, here she is near Jewel and Ruby who are cushed taking a break:

I need to get a picture of all three cria next to each other, but so far haven't had luck getting that. They move once I get the camera out.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Always something

It seems no matter what we do to keep hay in the hay bins, someone finds a way to pull it out:

Monday, June 18, 2012


it's hard to catch those little guys, but here is Stormy and Raspberry out on a run:

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Introducing OHVNA Ruby

Morning chores started out as normal this morning. I brought out their grain while J started filing water buckets. I scooped poop while he put out hay. But we both noticed Jewel head over to the poop pile while walking quite funny. She pushed over the pile but only a couple of beans came out. When she turned, I could see a bubble of the amniotic sac - she was definitely in labor!  It's gestation day 341 for her, so within a normal delivery range (normal being anything from 335 days to 400+).  We were excited to have caught labor so early on.

She continued to walk around, but looked confused.  I found it interested that when she finally did settle down, she cushed right under the kids' swing set (see the bubble out her back end):

She didn't even mind Zack playing right there:


She labored cushed and even laying down for a bit.  We are slow to intervene in a labor, since often nature knows best.  But being a maiden and seeing no progress we decided to step in just a bit.  We encouraged her to get up, since labor goes better if the female is standing. It appeared she was either not pushing or couldn't push. We saw a face but no feet, we know normal presentation is a face and 2 legs.  J reached in to find the cria's legs. He had to adjust it just a bit, then we saw the right presentation:

And then the baby born:

How beautiful!

We could see it was a girl, and a rose grey tuxedo girl at that!!! We let her try to move and get accustomed to the world. We stayed back so the mom and the rest of the herd could welcome her. But we also noticed how she was shivering. We didn't wait too long to dry her a bit with a towel and move her into the sunshine.

It didn't take long and she was sitting:


See the rose grey tuxedo face:


We were unsure how Jewel would take to mothering, being this is her first baby. We were extremely happy to see her bond and take to it like a natural.


It took a bit but nursing was underway in under the recommended time frame:


While most of our girls deliver at a later day gestation, Ruby appears full term. Her ears are erect, her teeth erupted, and she is very strong. She is our smallest cria to date, at 12.8 pounds - a little thing! At this point Stormy is twice her size!! But she appears healthy and strong, just in a little earlier package.

Friday, June 15, 2012


I have been spinning quite a bit of yarn lately.  This past week it was Challenger's 2011 blanket, a beautiful rose grey.

Here it is all fluffed up in a cloud:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Stormy's mom, Sancha, is an older experienced mom.  She is very attentive and makes sure he nurses and is doing ok.  But she will also walk away from him and give him his own space.  Stormy loves to follow us when we are out in the pasture area.  He and Zack have become good friends (as noted by the water pictures over the weekend).

More Stormy pictures:

I wanted to get a picture of Stormy next to Raspberry to show the size difference (Stormy is huge in comparison), but Latte would not let that happen. Anytime Stormy came near Raspberry, Latte would shoe him off. Maybe next week I'll be able to sneak a shot. Stormy is itching to play so I know it's only a matter or time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


We decided to name Latte's cria: OHVNA Raspberry Coolatta.
Farm nickname: Raspberry (or Berry)

Latte's name is Straightfork Vanilla Latte, so we decided to name all her offspring after drinks.  I liked that idea of raspberry given the reddish mahogany hue to her fleece.  I was partial to Raspberry Mocha but Emma insisted on Coolatta, so that we made the compromise.

Latte has proven to be a very protective mom.  She does not let Raspberry out of her sight.  And whenever we are out there, she gives us the stink eye to make sure we know that is HER baby.  We know, we know!

We've seen over protective moms before and the truth is as that baby grows, soon they are running and playing and mom just doesn't have the energy to keep up. In no time that baby will be running laps with Stormy (who's older mom is much more laid back).

Here is a picture Latte would let me take, of them in the distance nursing:

I can't believe I managed to get this one too!

Protective moms are good moms.  I will take this over having nursing or bonding issues any day. Latte is a very good and attentive mom.  

Sunday, June 10, 2012

boys and water fun

Today is topping out in the 90's which is quite hot for our neck of the woods. You can often count on one hand how many times we hit 90*F throughout the summer.  The air conditioning is on full blast in the house.  The fans are on in the barn.  But those silly alpacas prefer to sun themselves out in the pasture area.  We do go out and hose them down several times on a hot day like this.  To hose them down we use the hose to aim the spray right under their chest.  That is where they regulate their body temperature.  If we can keep that area cooled down, they feel cool (just like in the winter if they cush down and keep that area snug and warm they are toasty warm, even in a snowstorm).

Today Zack not only was outside to hose the girls down, he decided to play in the sprinkler.  New baby Stormy wanted to play too:

Saturday, June 9, 2012


The kittens had quite the story to tell:

About a couple dogs who stalk them:

The dogs say they can't resist watching this kitten haven:

He's only peeking in:

And Shadow swears he wouldn't do anything to hurt a kitty:

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fiber Update

All this cria and belly watching has given me plenty of excuses to sit outside on the deck and spin some yarn. I have a great view of the alpacas, and I get to play with fiber.

This past weekend I spun some of Tucker's fiber into yarn.

Here I am drafting:

And here is a strand of Tucker's fiber as yarn:

I plan to ply this light silver grey with a strand of the dark silver grey I spun up a week ago.  This will make a small skein of contrasting yarn for a neat knit project.

This has become my favorite place:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Second 2012 Cria

Today Sancha gave birth to her 2012 cria:

A 21 pound brown boy.  We think he may turn rose grey like his older brother, Thunder (full brother).

He has proven to be very strong, walking and nursing great.  Very regal in this picture:

Here he is with his mom, and Latte and her cria who was born yesterday:

We named this guy:

OHVNA Storm Warning

Farm nickname: Stormy

This goes along with Sancha's theme of nature (her other boys have been named Lightning and Thunder, so Stormy seemed to fit right in).
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