A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

January 27, 2009

Winter Pays a Visit

Guess what's under here

Guess what's under here

Well we knew the warm sunny weather had to end at some time and yesterday it did.  From having temperatures close to 70 degree Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius for those of you in areas where Celsius is used) on Sunday we plunged down to 18 F (-7 C) overnight and then achieved daytime high of (-2 C).  Brrrr!!!

 

(You might be asking what relevance the picture of the upturned trash can has to do with all of this – keep reading and you will find out!)

 

The cold weather made the animals a little frisky.  The adult girls were pronging around the pasture on Monday morning as I carried over their feed.  They certainly were not lacking in energy and were more than ready to eat.  Maya one of our llamas was a little shivery as I fed her, cushing in the straw as she ate.  At 11 years of age Maya is starting to feel the cold more in winter, but she is smart and on colder days she stays in the big blue shelter where she is protected from the wind and can cush in deep straw if she needs to.  I made sure I let Maya out of her pen as soon as she had finished eating so that she could return to the comfort of the shelter.

 

The cold also makes the boys frisky, they are apt to wrestle and chase each other more, a natural way of turning up their internal temperature.

 

Today is forecast to be even colder with a chance of freezing fog, freezing rain and even snow.  The weatherman is not promising a lot of moisture, but it is moisture all the same and so we will take it in whatever form it comes.  I might have a slippery time doing chores in the morning, but at least I don’t have to drive anywhere and it always feels so good to come into the warm house when it is cold outside.

 

No doubt my thermal coveralls and fleece-lined jeans will be making an appearance today, along with my alpaca socks and alpaca headband to keep my ears warm.  Chores tend to take a little longer in the cold and so it is best to be prepared to stay outside for a while.

 

Of course our preparations for the cold start as soon as we hear it is coming.  We make sure that the alpacas have a good layer of straw in their shelters, we turn on the heater for the boys’ large water tub and we plan to feed the herd extra warm soaked beet shreds and some extra hay including a little alfalfa.

 

So with regards to the trash can.  Look carefully at the picture and you will see a glow coming from the bottom of the trashcan.  It’s a simple way to keep our outside faucets from freezing!

 

Our outside faucets are supposed to be frost free, but some are quite old and the faucet heads tend to freeze up when the temperature gets really cold.  To make life easier we hang a worklight with a 40-Watt bulb on the faucet, turn the light on, cover with a trash can to keep the heat in and the alpacas and llamas out and voila – a working faucet in the morning.  The things we will do to keep from carrying water buckets!

A simple faucet head defroster (I turned the light off to take the picture, usually it would be on)

A simple faucet head defroster (I turned the light off to take the picture, usually it would be on)

 

Rosemary

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