A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

February 25, 2013

Even alpacas like to have friends

A question was posted recently on one of the online alpaca groups I belong to:

“Do alpacas make friends and if so do they remember those friends if they are separated and meet up again?”

The answer from alpaca owners was a resounding “Yes”.  There were many mentions of alpacas who bonded with other alpacas, some were related others not.  Stories of alpacas recognizing past friends at shows or when they met up at farms were also recounted.

Over the years we have witnessed the strong bonds that alpacas form with each other.  Certainly alpacas recognize their own family groups and seem to have stronger bonds with those alpacas (except for our alpaca Queen, for as far as Queen is concerned once those crias are weaned they are on their own!).    But it is not only family ties that bind alpacas together, they definitely also make friends.

We recently witnessed an example of this when we moved the two boys in our current weaning group, Patton and Leo, over to the Junior Males pen.  Patton and Leo were part of a group that consisted of five boys and seven girls.  Three of the boys Sentry, MacArthur and Espresso were moved over to the Junior Males pen a few months ago, but we decided to keep Leo and Patton back in the weanling pen for a little longer.  Patton was small for his age and we were concerned he would receive too much rough housing attention from the other males.  Leo was a tough boy to wean, at our first attempt he became distraught at being separated from his dam Velvet and tried to break through fences to get to her so we put Leo back with Velvet for a little longer until we felt he was able to better handle the separation.  Over time we could tell that Leo had matured more and was ready to be weaned so he soon joined the other weanlings.  This time Leo handled the separation from Velvet much better.  When Leo started to show too much interest in the weanling females (when he matured he really matured!) we decided that it was time to move him and Patton into the Junior Males pen.

Our process for introducing males to a new group is to create a smaller pen within the pen the males are being moved to.  We then put the new boys plus a couple of mellow boys from the existing group in that pen too.  The smaller group can have nose to nose contact with the other boys and will remain in that pen for a week to two weeks.  Usually by that time the novelty of the new arrivals wears off and when we let everyone get together we typically have very few problems.   We also make that final introduction at feeding time so that there is an additional distraction.

When the time came for Leo and Patton to meet the other junior males all went well.   Soon they were wandering around, checking out their new surroundings and new pen mates.  It was then we noticed something else, that Sentry was almost glued to Patton’s side!  Sentry was so happy to meet his buddy Patton again!

When the weanling boys had all been together prior to weaning they all got along well, but we hadn’t realized how much Sentry liked Patton until we saw them together again.  Sentry would not let the other boys mess with Patton and Patton was pleased to have his buddy by his side, even though Sentry is now considerably bigger than Patton.

Patton with his buddy Sentry

Patton with his buddy Sentry (Sentry is the brown alpaca taking it easy in the background)

Alpacas are most definitely a herd animal, which is why we tell people that you should never have a lone alpaca.  We have been fortunate to witness alpacas in our herd group over a considerable period of time and know that they do form bonds.  When they are with their families or their buddies they are happy, separate them and it definitely causes them some stress.

Sometimes though it is inevitable that those bonds are going to be broken.  Male and female crias that grow up together are not going to be pastured together, alpacas that are sold to other breeders will often be sold without their friends (unless we can work out a great deal with the new owners and we will try and do that when possible) and of course at times an alpaca will pass away leaving a buddy behind.   Any time there is going to be a separation we do our best to manage it well; probiotics to keep the alpacas rumen functioning well and to supply B vitamins to help them handle the stress of separation, Rescue Remedy to help them deal with the loss, over time the alpacas do adjust.   It is sometimes a fine balancing act to keep the herd happy and run a successful alpaca business, but we do our best to respect the alpacas while also keeping our business functioning.  Then of course there are the happy reunions we sometimes see, such as Patton and Sentry or a female who comes back to the farm for a breeding and is happily reunited with her dam or her sister for the duration of her stay.

So yes, alpacas do make friends and do remember those friends – and sometimes those friends can also be humans, but that’s a subject for another time 🙂

Rosemary

January 29, 2013

I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks…

Filed under: Adopt A Paca, alpaca, Alpaca Care, Alpacas, Blogroll, Family, General — alpacalady @ 5:10 pm

So said William Shakespeare and so say us!  For recently we received a special package in the mail for one of the alpacas in our Adopt-A-Paca program.

Our sweet yearling alpaca Pearl was recently sponsored by the Reyes family of California.  Pearl’s “adoption” was actually given to the son of the family, Oliver Reyes, by a family friend, Lan Merrill.  Lan confided in me that while young Oliver was the one receiving the gift, it was Oliver’s mother Veronica who would be the most excited.   The Reyes family had visited an alpaca farm in Ojai, California and Veronica had fallen in love with alpacas (and who can blame her!).

Pearl in the snow

Pearl

It was great fun getting to know Lan as we arranged for the sponsorship of Pearl and the delivery of the adoption packet. It was also fun hearing from Veronica once she and her family had received their gift.    They were so thrilled to learn of their newly “adopted” alpaca.  We soon received an email from Veronica saying that she would like to send Pearl a gift of some sort and I suggested that perhaps some alpaca treats would be something Pearl would enjoy.

Veronica, her husband Tim and son Oliver got busy and soon we received Pearl’s gift – just look at all those yummy treats!

Pearl's Treats

These are the treats and card that Pearl received from her Adopt-A-Paca sponsors, the Reyes Family

Along with the treats also came a card for Pearl.  Now Pearl hasn’t mastered reading yet but she did look meaningfully at me when I read her card to her, particularly when I got to the part about watching her figure.

We are now working on getting Pearl to eat the treats from our hands.  Pearl is a little shy and isn’t in the habit of eating out of our hands, but she is starting to eat the treats if we crumble them up and put them in a feed tray.  That is if she can get to them before the other alpacas!

This is just one example of the fun our alpaca sponsors are having with our Adopt-A-Paca program.  Participation is as little or as much as the sponsors wish to do.  They can just enjoy receiving their pen pal letters and other goodies from their sponsored alpaca or they can send letters or gifts to their sponsored alpaca or come and visit their sponsored alpaca.

We are thoroughly enjoying getting to know our sponsors,  the Adopt-A-Paca program is bringing us new members to our Windrush Alpacas family from near and far.  Coraline’s sponsor Betty comes to see “her girl” on most Open Farm Days, Honey’s sponsor Kiyah comes and helps us with chores some weekends (well Kiyah’s mom Mindy ends up doing most of the helping, thank you Mindy!  But Kiyah has great fun collecting farm treasure such as sticks and rocks and is treated to the occasional wheelbarrow ride by Ric), Etta’s sponsor Darlene comes by often for special kisses from Etta. Aida took the picture of her sponsored alpaca Dream to show and tell at school.  Aida’s sister Cara (who is almost 3) decided that her sponsored alpaca Kyleen really wanted to be called Adele.  We can’t let sponsors officially change our alpacas names as they are all registered with the alpaca registry but Cara doesn’t need to know that.

So a big Thank You to all of our Adopt-A-Paca sponsors, we really appreciate your involvement in our program and look forward to learning more about you and helping your sponsored alpacas keep in touch with you.

To the Reyes family – thank you so much for Pearl’s gift, she and her herd mates are most grateful and hope that even though you are many miles away you will one day be able to visit the farm.

For those who also wish to make alpaca treats either for our alpacas or theirs, here is the link to the recipe which we found on the website of Cathy Spalding of Gentle Spirit Behavior and Training for Alpacas and Llamas  http://gentlespiritllamas.com/html/tips/treats.htm

Rosemary

October 25, 2012

Adopt-A-Paca – the motivation behind the program

Aimee

I’m Aimee – Adopt Me!

We recently decided to launch a new “product” at the farm, although perhaps ‘product’ is really not a good word for it.  “Opportunity” may be a word more fitting, as we feel our Adopt-a-Paca program allows people a chance to get a closer glimpse of life with alpacas without having to go to the expense of buying and keeping them.

The Adopt-A-Paca program was Ric’s idea.  Anyone who has been to our Open Farm Days knows that Ric is the main man when it comes to doing the tours of the farm.  Ric is definitely much more of a people person than I am (nothing personal folks, but I just am more comfortable with four leggeds than two leggeds!)  and really enjoys interacting with visitors young and old.  Ric’s 30 years in the Air Force has provided him with confidence in public speaking and his degree in Elementary Education enables him to relate to the many young visitors we get to Open Farm Day.  People love Ric’s farm tours and Ric loves to give them.

So having shown many visitors around the farm, Ric realized that many people would dearly love to own alpacas but are not in a position to do so.  Not everyone lives on acreage suitable for alpacas, and our military visitors know that they are usually stationed here for a few short years and could deploy overseas or get a permanent move in the near future.  Some people know that they don’t have the time to care for alpacas along with their already busy schedules.  There are a variety of reasons why people may not be able to own alpacas, but that doesn’t mean that they may not hope to in future years and it doesn’t stop them longing to own alpacas or wanting to connect with alpacas.  Ric wanted a way to get those people a little closer to living the alpaca dream.

Being “animal mad” at a young age I can relate to those who long to own animals but who don’t get the opportunity to do so.  As a child I loved animals of all shapes and sizes and longed to have a pony or horse of my own.  The only dolls I played with were those that could sit on toy horses.

My parents did their best to cater to my desire to be around animals.  They arranged for riding lessons, drove me to stables to help friends who owned horses and drove me to kennels to volunteer.  They knew that any family vacation would involve either finding a riding stable nearby or organizing trips to visit local horses, cows or any other creature that I decided to bond with on vacation.  My brothers and I grew up with family dogs, cats, goldfish, gerbils and guinea pigs, but my parents did not feel that we could have a horse in our family.

So when Ric suggested the Adopt-a-Paca program it struck a chord with me.  Here was a way we could allow people who fall in love with our alpacas and to get a little bit closer to alpaca life.

To start with we have kept the program very basic.  For $25 people can select one of the alpacas in the Adopt-a-Paca program for a year and in exchange they receive:

  • An Adoption Certificate
  • An 8×10 picture of the selected alpaca
  • A copy of the Alpaca Registry, Inc. (ARI) registration certificate showing the alpaca’s date of birth an lineage
  • Periodic pen pal letters from the alpaca
  • Monthly e-mail newsletters from the farm
  • Maybe even get some neat bonuses during the year… you’ll just have to wait and see!

The sponsorship will last for 12 months at which time you can renew for another year or pick a new alpaca

As the program grows we may make some changes and expand it further, for now we are just “dipping our toes in the water” to gauge the amount of interest.

Of course you don’t get to take the alpaca home and ownership of the alpaca is still ours, but for the year you are in the program you will get a closer look at life with the alpacas and hopefully get to know “your” alpaca better.

What’s in it for us you might ask?  Well your $25 contribution will go toward covering the costs of daily care for your alpaca – it costs more than $25 a year to raise an alpaca, but your contribution will help offset the costs a little.  We also feel we will get to know our farm visitors and fans a bit better.  Perhaps too in these trying economic times your “adopted” alpaca will bring you something to look forward to and put a little joy in your heart as alpacas often do.

We hope you will join in with our “Adopt-A-Paca” program and that together we will have a lot of fun with it – and of course if you would prefer to actually own alpacas we also sell them too!

Rosemary

May 3, 2012

Join us for our annual: It’s May, We Want Hay Sale!

It’s that time of the year when we begin stacking up on hay for our alpacas… so we decided to host a great big sale at our next event to finance the hay purchases!

 

Bring your whole family out on Saturday, May 12, 2012 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to Windrush Alpacas Open Farm Day Event and our Annual It’s May, We Want Hay Sale! at our Farm Store.

We’re slashing prices on our inventory of alpaca products — some of which were made from our very own alpacas!  Stock up on socks, gloves, hand-loomed rugs and so much more.  For you crafters we offer yarns, roving and needle felting kits.  We have toys for children and pets, too, as well as alpaca fiber bird-nesting balls which are a great way to supply our feathered friends with great nest-building material!

While you’re here, take a guided pasture tour of our farm and participate in some of our educational demonstrations.  Learn why alpaca fleece is super soft, warmer than wool and highly sought after. We’ll explain the shearing process and how the raw fibers become a usable product to be made into luxurious items for human (and pet) comfort.

You’re encouraged to bring a picnic lunch and some chairs so you can spend a couple of hours meeting our friendly alpaca, taking pictures and making new friends.

We always offer free admission, free parking and free refreshments.

If you want more information, call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at http://www.windrushalpacas.com. Also, you can Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas and shop online at http://www.windrushalpacas.net/store/.

October 3, 2011

What’s just as cute and soft as a Windrush Alpaca…

What’s just as cute and soft as a Windrush Alpaca, but you can take home with you? A Needle Felt Pumpkin!

 

Bring all the crafters in your family to Windrush Alpacas for our Create-a-Pumpkin Needle Felt Demonstration on Saturday, October 8th between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Learn how to make these adorable and charming pumpkins that you can display throughout the fall season or give them as gifts to others!

In addition, we’ll have the normal monthly Open Farm Day Event and Farm Store Shopping Experience so that you and your family can meet our 70 alpaca – adults, adolescents and babies – and learn about life on our farm. We’ll have guided pasture tours, educational demonstrations and interaction with our alpaca as well as unique alpaca products available for purchase. It’s never too early to start thinking about holiday gifts!

Come as you are and bring your entire family! Learn something new and have fun!

 

Always free admission, free parking and free refreshments to ensure you can have a wonderful experience that’s easy on your pocket.

Call us at 575-683-5177 or visit our website at www.windrushalpacas.com for more information. You can Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WindrushAlpacas, too!

May 18, 2011

The Year of Unexpected Events

Phew!  Life certainly has been busy on the farm.  Time for writing has been scarce even though the desire is there.

I am beginning to think that 2011 should be renamed “The Year of Unexpected Events” – February brought record setting cold temperatures in the midst of a dry winter, March brought a houseful of unexpected guests when Ric surprised me for my birthday by flying in friends and family from across the world (which also solved the mystery of why Ric had taken a sudden interest in tidying and decluttering!), April brought us an unexpected large vet bill when our miniature Australian shepherd dog Blue decided to try and herd our horses and had to have a toe amputated as a result of her escapades (the vet said the horse did a good job of a surgical amputation and he just had to tidy everything up).

Blue tries to play with her cone on

Blue with her bandaged foot and her cone collar

The unexpected events continued in April when a nearby large grass fire propelled by the high winds that have plagued us this spring caused us to evacuate all of the alpacas from the farm.  We were fortunate in that the wind changed direction before the fire reached our property, but with 70 alpacas at the farm we knew an evacuation would take time and so decided to act sooner than later.  How fortunate we are to have many friends and acquaintances who showed up to help with the evacuation without being asked.  Having heard of the fire they made their way to our farm, some with trucks and trailers to help as they could.

Smoke from the Grass Fire April 17 2011

Smoke from the nearby grass fire rolls over our house - photo courtesy of our friend Barb McKenzie

May sees us in one of the worst drought periods in history, one of our hay suppliers has had his total crop of wheat fail and will not have hay for sale this year – a blow to us but an even bigger blow to him as his hay sales are a big part of his livelihood.   Thankfully another of our suppliers was more fortunate and has now delivered us 1450 bales of good looking wheat hay – good fortune has smiled on us again even in tough times.  What a year and we are not even half way through it!

Shearing is now well underway; we still have 25 alpacas left to shear but should be completely finished following another couple of shearing sessions.  Ric shears our alpacas and not being a professional shearer he cannot compete with the 7 minutes per alpaca that some of the professional shearers achieve.  There is something to be said though for our slower pace, our alpacas are calm and relaxed during the process and we can take the time to try and ensure that our fleeces are evenly sheared with few second cuts and gathered without contamination from short fibers from other areas of the alpaca.  We have a team of loyal friends who have shown up time after time to help us with shearing – to Joe, Becca, Kayleen, Keenan, Bethany, Terri L., Terri F., Darlene, Jeff, Don and Barb however can we thank you enough.

Our monthly Open Farm Days have been a great success, people love to come to visit the alpacas and learn about them during Ric’s circular tour of the farm.  We too have enjoyed sharing the farm with the community, it’s so much fun to watch the delight on people’s faces as they get to see or feel an alpaca for the first time.  For all who have come out to the farm on Open Farm Days we heartily thank you and hope you will continue to come out and visit us.  There is always something new going on at the farm and each month we hope to add a little something to make your Open Farm Day experience even better.

Ric Shows Off Roadrunner to our Open Farm Day Visitors

Ric Shows Off Roadrunner to Open Farm Day Visitors

And talking of new – crias will be here soon!  Yes we are watching and waiting for the first new cria to make his or her arrival.  Queen and Rosie are now both overdue, perhaps in part to the fire evacuation and the drought conditions – alpacas can and will put their pregnancies on hold if they feel conditions are not right for their survival or the survival of their cria.  Keeva too is getting close to her delivery date and TeQueely, Willow, Snow, Cinnamon and Gen are not far behind.  That will be quite the group of crias once they arrive – and with the way things have been going this year I would not be surprised if there isn’t something unexpected within the bunch too.  Let’s hope whatever that unexpected is it is something pleasant and delightful!

Hope to be back soon with more of our news – and there is more news to share so keep checking back for more posts and updates!

Rosemary

November 4, 2009

Happy Birthday to a Special Herdsire

 

Enchantment's Prince Regent

Our herdsire - Enchantment's Prince Regent

 

 

We had a special birthday over the weekend.  Our herdsire Enchantment’s Prince Regent turned 10 on Halloween (October 31).

We don’t make it a habit to celebrate all of the alpacas birthdays, with as many alpacas as we have we would be doing a lot of celebrating if we did that, but it is nice to remember significant events such as Regent’s 10th birthday.

Enchantment’s Prince Regent was our very first cria, his dam Enchantment’s Peruvian Jennifer was our first alpaca purchase. We purchased Jenny in June of 1999, she was already pregnant by PPPeruvian Yupanqui and we were excited to see what our first cria would be like.

Of course Jenny went past her due date and we anxiously awaited the phone call from the farm where she was boarded telling us that Jenny was in labor.  We lived about three hours away from the boarding farm, Enchantment Farm Alpacas in Ruidoso, New Mexico and so we knew that we had little chance of seeing our first cria being born, but we wanted to get to see our cria as soon as we could.

Fortunately it was a Saturday morning when Jenny went into labor, Ann Evans from Enchantment Farm Alpacas called me to give me the news.  At the time of Ann’s call I was on my way to volunteer at a local animal shelter but that plan soon changed and after returning home to collect Ric we were on our way to Ruidoso.  To this day Ann Evans teases us about the speed in which we made that journey, she could not believe how fast we made it to the farm.

Arriving at Enchantment Farms we could see Jenny and her cria penned in the pasture.  Ann and her husband Rick met us at the pasture and took us in to see our new arrival, a little white male cria who we called Enchantment’s Prince Regent.  Initially we were a little disappointed that Regent was a boy, but when Rick and Ann suggested that perhaps we would like to sell him to them we realized this was not just any little boy cria, he was something special.  While we were grateful for Rick and Ann’s offer we decided to keep Regent and have been so happy we did so.

 

Rosemary and Regent

Rosemary and Regent the day Regent was born

 

 

Regent was undeniable cute as a cria, Ann nick named him Little Monkey Face because of his round face, but as time passed by Little Monkey Face soon became an alpaca with a beautiful sought after head.  We have had people book breedings to Regent just because they liked his head style.

Regent has shown us many aspects of alpaca management during his life.  It was with Regent that we first learned how to bottle feed a cria, Jenny did not have enough milk for him and so Regent received supplemental feedings.  I can still remember being in the pasture with Ann’s daughter Thea during one of our visits to see Regent.  Thea (who I think was then about 9 or 10) instructed me in how to hold onto Regent and get the bottle in his mouth at the same time.  It was quite the challenge to me, but Thea had it down to a fine art!

We experienced our first alpaca show with Regent along with our female gray alpaca Ma Cushla in Estes Park Colorado.  That was to be the first of many alpaca shows for Regent and for us, and during Regent’s show career he won many ribbons and gave us our first Reserve Color Champion.

 

Regent at TxOLAN

Enchantment's Prince Regent wins his first Reserve Color Championship

 

 

Regent has been responsible for bringing income to the farm in the form of breeding fees and the sale of his offspring.  His offspring have done well in the show ring and he has several color champion offspring to his name.

At 10 years old Regent is still looking good and still getting bookings for breeding.  His correct confirmation, dense fleece that has held its fineness, heavy bone and of course that beautiful head make him a herdsire that is still sought after – and he is more than happy to continue to have dates with beautiful alpaca girls.  As a herdsire he is easy to manage, all you need to say is “girls” and he will stand still and allow himself to be caught and haltered.  He is well mannered with the ladies and if a girl says no, while he is undoubtedly disappointed, he will allow himself to be led out of the pen with just a little grumbling.

There is a saying that just because an alpaca is male does not mean he deserves to be a herdsire – a saying that is very true.  With Regent though he truly does deserve to be a herdsire and how fortunate we are to have been blessed with such a wonderful herdsire as our first cria.

So on Regent’s birthday I sang him Happy Birthday, told him how much he means to us – and then had to apologize to him as I didn’t have a breeding arranged for him for that day.  Oh well that’s all part of life as a successful herdsire and Regent was quite happy to receive hay and feed as a birthday treat instead.  Happy Birthday Regent!

Rosemary

 

October 27, 2009

Getting Back in The Swing of Things

The vacation in England is over and I am now back in New Mexico.  My flights home went smoothly and even the trip to Heathrow  Airport via the notorious M25 (complete with road works of course) went without a hitch.  You know you have good friends when they get up way before the crack of dawn to get you to the airport in time – thanks Val and Linda!

My time in England was not only relaxing but also productive.  I completed a little knitted alpaca bag and also started and finished a balaclava made from alpaca lopi yarn that someone had asked me to make.  Time was spent with friends and family and I even got a quick alpaca fix at Mayfield Alpacas in Ringalow Village, Sheffield.  I was fortunate to get to spend a short time with Elaine Sharp the owner of Mayfield Alpacas and we had a great time “comparing notes” on our alpaca operations.   As I looked at Elaine’s alpacas grazing on lush pastures I could not help think of how our alpacas would love to be set loose on such abundant grazing.   If ever you are in the Sheffield area and are looking for something to do make sure you take a trip out to Mayfield Alpacas, not only are there beautiful alpacas to see but also a lovely café with tasty goodies, a gift shop featuring alpaca products and a great display that educates people about alpacas and the history of the alpaca industry (and the map of North and South America actually has Clovis, NM on it – how about that!).

So now I am back at the farm and having gone through the three stacks of junk mail that awaited me, caught up on the laundry and all of the other things that go on the back burner while you are away its time to get back in the swing of things.

At the weekend two of our visiting alpacas Sonora and Dona Cleia were collected by their owners Melita Clark and Mark Hogan of Milagro Meadow Alpaca Ranch.  Sonora and Dona Cleia had been at our farm for breeding and both are now confirmed pregnant.  Sonora was bred to our Enchantment’s Prince Regent and Dona Cleia had the honor of being the first breeding for our Junior Herdsire Windrush White Blast.  We will look forward to seeing pictures of the crias once the girls deliver next year.

Next on our delivery list is Ameripaca’s Theresa who is owned by Troy and Mary Ogilvie of Timber Lodge Alpacas in Kaufman, Texas and bred to our Windrush Jennifer’s Zindel.  Theresa was due to deliver on October 25 but no cria yet so we are watching and waiting.  Hopefully Theresa will not decide to do as in her last pregnancy and go 368 days gestation – I have warned her that if she waits that long she may well be delivering in the snow as our weather is definitely on the turn.

It was good to have a break away from the farm, but it is also good to be back home.  The crias have grown since I left, Blue the puppy is looking more like a little dog than a puppy (although she is still chewing anything paper or plastic including the Windrush Alpacas check book!) and Ric didn’t look too exhausted.  All in all everything looks good – so I guess that means I can leave again sometime!

Rosemary

 

October 8, 2009

Welcome to Our Newest Arrival

Our newest cria - son of Ana Lynette

Our newest cria - son of Ana Lynette

 

Now this is the sort of cria delivery that is fun.  Here I am on vacation in England while in New York one of our newest additions to our alpaca herd “Ana Lynette” delivered her cria – a beautiful light fawn boy.  Talk about a stress free delivery – well it was for me anyway!  A big thank you to Lindsay Butkiewicus of Wild Thyme Farm for keeping us updated on the cria’s delivery and for looking after Ana Lynette and her cria until we are able to move them to our farm.

Ana Lynette is being a wonderful mother, very attentive to her cria and producing lots of milk, while her cria is enjoying life as crias tend to do.  Lindsay says that there is a chance that the cria may be more rose grey than fawn, which is a distinct possibility given his genetics (black sire and beige dam with black in her background).  Some greys become more apparent as they age so time will tell for our little boy.  Now we just have to come up with a name for him (and if you have been following our blog you will know how boy crias always prove a challenge to us when it comes to names)

 

We will not get to see Ana Lynette and her cria until after I return from England.  We want the cria to be at least three weeks old before he travels as it will be a long trip for him and Ana Lynette.  Hopefully by late November Ana Lynette and her boy will be with us and maybe we can even get our new junior herdsire Champ on the transport too.

 

Ana Lynnette and her cria

Ana Lynnette and her cria

Here in England it is still sunny but the temperature has dipped to the mid fifties, still not too bad for October.  Ric reports that things are cooler in New Mexico too and so I think we can say fall has arrived.

This evening I will be attending the Baldock Knit Together Group.  I tried to attend the group last year when I was over but was unable to do so.  Since then I have kept in contact with the group organizer Rhona and we are looking forward to meeting in person at the meeting tonight.  Of course I will be taking my latest alpaca knitting project with me, and I am sure I will pick up many new tips and free patterns during the course of the evening.  It is wonderful that knitters and crocheters the world over always welcome each other and enjoy admiring each others knitting projects while being willing to pass on tips and tricks.  Being part of a knitting or crochet group is a great way to meet some lovely people who share a common love of fiber arts.

Tomorrow my mother and I will set off by train to go to Totley in South Yorkshire where we will visit my Dad’s cousin Stella.  I have many happy childhood memories of times spent with Stella.  There were at least two summers when my brothers and I went to stay with Stella for a few weeks and had a wonderful time exploring the Yorkshire countryside and learning more of our family history.  It has been at least 20 years since I was in that part of the country and so it will be nice to visit again and enjoy the many beautiful sights of South Yorkshire.

So on that note I had better turn my attention to packing my bag for my trip.

 Rosemary

October 2, 2009

Now Where Are We?

Well…  Ric is still at home with the alpacas.  I am in England visiting my mother on my annual trip to my home country.  Usually I travel earlier in the year, but this year shearing, crias and new a new puppy meant I postponed my trip to the fall.

Today England is warmer than I remember it being in the fall (or autumn as we tend to refer to it in England).  The English summers have been getting warmer and drier, the storms more severe and the fall and winter milder.  You cannot help but wonder about global warming when such climate change takes place.  I think you would have a hard time convincing many British people that global warming is not a fact.

 During my trip I will be helping my mother with tasks such as filing her tax return and anything else she has on the to-do list for me.  My mother has coped remarkably well since the loss of my father last year, but there are a few things she needs assistance with (and let’s face it who really enjoys filing tax returns anyway!).

 I also will be spending time with my good friends Linda and Val (with a very special party on the agenda but more on that later), my nephews and former sister in law Roisin (who is still very much a member of our family) and of course Laura (step daughter), Ren (Laura’s husband), grand-daughter Aida and Paul (step son).  Also on the agenda is a trip to Totley in South Yorkshire to visit my Dad’s cousin Stella and hopefully see a nearby alpaca farm and while I am there I am hoping to be reunited with my friend Anne-Marie who I have known since pre-school.  Anne-Marie and I have kept in touch on and off through our parents and now via Facebook which has brought us together again.

 At home Ric is very busy with caring for the farm.  It’s a lot for one person to take care of, and now has he added task of looking after puppy Blue who will let  you know in her own way (by chewing something you treasure!), if she feels she is not getting enough attention.  I fully expect Ric to be somewhat worn out and possibly a little thinner by the time I get home – although our dear neighbor Darlene is providing him with some meals and so I know he will not starve to death (A big Thank you Darlene as always!).

 As well as routine chores Ric will be hauling loads of hay while I am gone.  We finally found some wheat hay that satisfies our requirements, with only one drawback; it has some wheat heads in it.  We really do prefer beardless wheat hay, but this year have not been able to find any that is nutritionally correct for the alpacas.  The hay we purchased is almost perfect in its analysis and was cut just as it started to head out, so we felt that it was the best option available to us.

 As if all of that is not enough Ric also will be keeping a close eye on Theresa who is due October 25.  For her first four crias Theresa gave birth on day 345 of her pregnancy, but then threw us for a loop by not delivering her fifth cria until day 368 in temperatures above 100 degrees.  So who knows when Theresa will give birth this year.  Before I left I checked Theresa, her udder was not yet developed and she was not puffy under her tail so there should be at least a little time before she gives birth.  I had a word with Theresa too and asked her to hang on to her cria until I was home, but not to wait until day 368 again – I guess we will soon find out if she was listening.

 My blog entries will be sporadic during my trip I am sure.  Ric may decide to post an entry or two – in his spare time that is, but whether his entries will be coherent or just consist of a string of exhausted zzzzzz’s will remain to be seen!

 Rosemary

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