Thursday, November 29, 2012


Our kittens have been growing!


And Phantom:

They aren't too sure about the snow:

The last pictures shows the best how they are bulking up for the winter.  I can't believe how big they are getting!  Healthy, happy kitties :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Grain Routine

In addition to hay, we also feed our alpacas grain.  We do this to make sure they get all the nutrients they need to keep them healthy.   Some farms have wonderful pastures that have the right nutrition and they don't need to add grain, but for us we feel it's the right thing for our alpacas.

We have our alpacas separated into four groups:

- big boys up in the "boys' barn" (right now there are 2 up there)
- young boys in the yearling pen (we have 5 in this pen now)
- dams and cria (moms and babies - we have 13 in this area right now)
- yearling and maiden girls (7 in this pen)

Some of these have already been sold, but I counted who we have here right now.

Now with grain, we do separate them out further.  This way we can give more grain to those who are skinny and less to those who aren't.

For the yearling and maiden girls, we separate them into two pens for grain (one group gets 1/2 cup of grain, the other 1 cup):

For the moms and babies we have several pens.  Here is Miss Kitty, our full figured gal, in her own pen (she gets a very small amount of grain):

These others are separated more so to keep competition down, since they actually do get almost the same amount of grain:

Alpacas are very routine animals.  They not only seem to know what time it is and when grain time is, but they also know where they are supposed to go for their own grain bowl.  However, if I do anything different with the routine, they are a complete mess!  They can't handle that.  I have had to start over with grain time if anything messes up the usual routine.  Routine is everything to them.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Hay is a big thing on our farm.  A couple weekends ago we all worked hard to haul 200 bales of hay from the hay farm to our alpaca farm.  Our truck and trailer only carried 50 bales at a time so this meant 4 trips back and forth.  My kids are the best to help out with minimal complaints (I have to admit I had a complaint or two myself).  It's a long afternoon and busy one that wears you out!  But our hay tent is full again.

Alpacas can be picky eaters and if they have a chance will dig to the bottom of the hay bin and dump hay on the ground.  Often times this hay is stomped on and wasted.  To minimize waste, we use grates on top of the hay bins.  We had several of these metal ones:

And J made this wooden one:

This has helped a lot!!

You can see my handy hay wagon in these photos.  A full bale of hay fits in there, so I can easily haul hay to each of our alpaca's hay bins.  I'm all for making things as easy as possible.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


We have hit on another cold snap in our neck of the woods.   This means it's more than time for the heated buckets:

I sometimes put off this chore and just kick the frozen water in the morning so they can drink.  But the fact is the alpacas prefer to drink warm water in the cold weather so they drink less when it's icy water.  Now I have both available, icy water in their regular buckets and warm water in their heated buckets.  Let's see which they drink up first :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012


On this weekend following Thanksgiving being thankful is on the mind.

At my farm I am thankful for so many things.

I am thankful for Spot, who keeps a close eye on our herd of alpacas:

Spot is getting old and arthritis is hard on him as the weather gets cold.  We know larger dogs don't tend to live very long.  We aren't sure exactly how old he is, but he is near the end of what one can expect from a large breed dog.  Everyday he jumps up to greet me I am thankful for another day with him.

I am thankful for my family, who always chips in to help on the farm.  Emma handles all the day to day chores up at the big boys barn.  While right now there are only 2 alpacas up there, she had managed up to 8 up there without issue.   I can count on her to get the job done.

This year Zack started helping me with feeding our dams and yearlings (there are about 25 alpacas back by our house that he helps me feed).

I couldn't find a picture of my kids helping out on the farm, but here is a recent picture from the kids' marathon that they participated in:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Busy with fiber

To those who were worried that I haven't posted a new blog post in some time, I apologize.  I don't really have a great explanation other than that life is busy sometimes.  I do find that as my kids get older and some of their homework in on-line, I have less computer time.

I have been busy with fiber.  I spun this yarn:

I've been busy knitting up that headband / neck muff:

It's done now but I am saving the final picture for after the holidays.  It has already been purchased as a Christmas present so I want to keep that mystery alive :)

I knew this headband was cool, but I was surprised how popular it is.  I already have orders for several more!   I do hope to have some up on our farm's etsy page soon, but orders do come first.  I you want to order one, email us or message me on facebook or etsy.  I love orders.

I do have to say that our pattern for our alpaca hats has really come along. I am so so excited about my most recent knit hat, Twilight Ear Flap Hat (as of the writing of this, it's still available at our farm store):

On this black Friday heading into the Christmas season, I encourage everyone to shop small businesses.  There are some really neat and crafty things on ETSY, a great place to support your small business owners.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It was time

This past week I treated myself to a new item, something I have needed for awhile:

I have had a pair of yellow lady bug barn moccasins, but they were so well worn.  So much so that water leaked into the many rips and tears in them.  They were not only no longer water proof, but also cold when the wind blew.   I believe I bought them way back during our first year of farming, so they have to be 4 to 5 years old.   I don't tend to wear them in the deep winter, but the rest of the year they are worn twice a day (and sometimes more).  They had more than served their purpose.

I have been surprised how difficult it is to find the type of water proof barn moccasins that I like.  Most are taller at the ankle, or too tight, or more money than I want to spend.  I saw these a few weeks back, but wasn't for sure I really needed to spend the money.  When J told me I was silly for passing them up, I went back.  I still debated the true need of them, but truth be told I'd be embarssed a post a picture of the ones I had been wearing!  So I went to buy them and as a pleasant surprise they rang up 30% off at the cash register - less than I thought I was going to spend!   And they are oh so wonderful!! I was time for a new pair :) 

On the topic of time, this weekend marks the end of daylight savings time in our area.  This means changing our clock back one hour at  2 a.m.  Of course we don't actually get up at 2 a.m. to do this (though when I worked 3rd shift it was always part of the night's routine to do so).

Our animals are very routine. It likely is in part due to the fact I am very routine.  I do their chores in the same order each day, but that's how I make sure everything gets done and everyone gets what they need when they need it.  The big one that keeps me on schedule is dropping the kids off at school and picking them up.  Chores seem to fall into place from there.  But it is funny on the weekends how the alpacas will gather by the gate when it's my usual time to bring out their grain.  It's as if they have a watch on telling them the time.

Like our animals, I too was looking for my dinner a bit earlier than it actually was dinner time :) I don't like to wait for food!

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