A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

April 13, 2009

Easter Brings The Joy of Rain

Following a week of dust storms and severe winds, thankfully Easter weekend brought us some rain.  Not a huge amount, no torrential downpours (thankfully) but some nice steady rain.  The ground is still damp and the dust is not blowing even though the wind has again picked up speed a little.  While local families went on Easter Egg hunts, we had an Easter Egg hunt of a different kind, as we looked at the dry oval patches on the ground where the alpacas had cushed in the rain.  


The alpacas felt there was sufficient rain for them to go into their shelters at times, cushing down in the straw and chewing their cud as they settled down to watch the rain.  They were much more relaxed than when they had to cope with the high winds, then they would stick their heads out of the shelter and make a mad dash for a different shelter taking a more diagonal route than they had planned as the wind blew them sideways.  To give you an idea how powerful the wind was last week, the latch that holds our feed barn door open was ripped off by the wind and I used two bales of alfalfa to prop the door open, the bales weigh about 60 lbs each and were stacked on top of each other but the wind moved them with ease giving me an extra workout as I put them back in place each time the wind moved them.


As the rain continued some of the alpacas ventured out for a soaking, enjoying the feeling of the rain on their fleeces and hopefully washing out some of the dirt that has accumulated in their fleeces over the past months.


The upcoming week has a forecast of more rain – we will take whatever we can get and hope that it travels on to give Texas a good soaking too.  There have been some terrible grass fires in the past week in Texas and New Mexico and rain is much-welcomed friend to those fighting the fires.


As we prepare for shearing we are even more grateful to the rain, hoping to get the alpacas a natural rinse before we start to shear.  The dirt is hard on our shearing equipment and is something we would rather not have in our fleeces.  

One of the advantages of shearing our own herd is that we are not tied to a particular day as we are when we contract a shearer to shear, allowing us to adjust our shearing days a little to ensure we have dry fleeces to shear.


We will hope that the forecast is right for this week, the rain will help our struggling winter wheat grow and once it is a little stronger we can let the alpacas take turns grazing it – and then we will have a really happy bunch of alpacas!



April 12, 2008

It’s That Time of the Year Again

Filed under: alpaca, Alpacas, camelids, Crias, Family, General — Tags: , , , , , , — alpacalady @ 7:12 am

Velvet and Blast


For today I head off to the airport to catch a plane to England.  I usually go back to visit my homeland every spring, but this year I am going a little earlier than usual.


My mother has sold her house and is moving, it’s been a while since she last moved house (about 44 years or so) and in the meantime she has acquired just one or two (or many more!) things.  So my brother Chris from Italy and I will are both flying over to help with the move.  My other brother John, who lives in Massachusetts, will be flying over to visit my mother after she has moved, giving my mother something else to look forward to once the house move is behind her.


It was a difficult decision for my mother to sell her house.  The house was designed by one of my uncles and built by my parents using direct labor.  It is the house where my brothers and I grew up and naturally has many happy family memories attached to it.  But circumstances change and with them bring other changes, my father is now in a nursing home, my mother is not getting any younger and the house has is a lot to manage.  It is a large house with a large garden and beautiful though the house and garden are they create a lot of work for one person.  So after much thought my mother has bought herself a new, efficient retirement flat.  The flat is smaller than the house and will be easier to maintain, which will hopefully make life a lot easier for my mother and give her more free time to visit my father and enjoy life in general.


It is always good to go back to England and visit my family and friends, although this year will be much more of a working holiday as there is a lot to do for the house move.   Still I will also get to spend some time with my dear friends Linda and Val and I am sure the laughter will be flowing freely among us.


Of course there is another reason for visiting England too, I get to see baby Aida and her parents Laura and Ren – Ric is so jealous that I will get to meet Aida in person before he does, but he will be traveling over later in the year to meet the latest addition to the family.


Leaving the farm is always hard, it is such a big part of my life and the animals are my other “family”.  It takes a while to prepare to be away from a business for this length of time and set everything up to run smoothly in my absence.  Ric will of course be here to take care of everyone and I have had a word with all of the animals and asked them to behave while I am away, whether they listened though is anyone’s guess!  In particular I had a word with the pregnant girls and asked them to hold on to their crias until my return, Ric will have enough to do without delivering crias too!


I am told that the weather in England will be in the 50’s and the chance of rain is good.  As cool of a spring as we are having I don’t know that I will notice the difference in the temperature, but seeing some rain will be nice and I doubt that the wind will be as severe as it has been here recently.  This last Thursday was horrifically windy with sustained winds of 40 mph and gusts around 60 mph, accompanied by one of the worst dust storms I have ever seen.  Let’s hope that is the last we see of that sort of weather for a while!


During my trip I will update the blog when I can and Ric has promised to write an entry or two.  I am not certain as to what sort of Internet access I will have, but I will have my laptop with me and I am sure I will be able to upload posts from time to time.


I will be returning to the US in early May, just in time for the girls to have their crias and shearing season to commence – after which I will probably need a vacation!



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