A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

November 27, 2008

Taking It Easy On Thanksgiving Day

Jack Takes It Easy

Jack Takes It Easy



When you run a farm you don’t get many (if any) days off.  There is always something that needs attending whether it be livestock to feed or fields and crops to tend.   The payoff for the lack of days off is the life style that you lead, for farming has a life style and benefits all of it’s own, whether it be seeing a brilliant sunrise in the morning or watching a new life come into the world.  Those benefits are not what you would find in most employee benefit packages, but then again they are benefits that cannot be bought.


For our Thanksgiving Day we will be taking things a little easy.  Of course chores will have to be done, after all, how could one enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with 70 pair of large brown eyes looking at you wondering where their feed is!  I know that the alpacas would not let us get away with forgetting to do chores for a day!


Once chores are done though we will be putting away the bookwork, farm repairs, fleece skirting and other tasks to instead enjoy the day cooking and eating our Thanksgiving meal, visiting with the neighbors and spending time together.  I am sure we will receive our fair share of “kisses” from the alpacas; especially the crias who love to come up and sniff us, checking out our hair and clothing.  The fall crias are at a fun age now where they are really starting to explore and test things.  Yesterday as I was raking up poop piles Nazca (the youngest of the crias) was fascinated with the rake, sniffing it, watching it and then racing away from it when I moved it.  He was having a great game with me and I wasn’t getting too much poop raked up!


The alpacas and llamas will receive their Thanksgiving treat too, some pumpkin to nibble on and maybe even a carrot or two.  Our neighbors and friends have been bringing us their Halloween pumpkins to feed to the alpacas and llamas, and the herd has been enjoying the fall treat.  Our horses however are not so enchanted with a pumpkin feast and so for them carrots alone will have to be enough.


Evening chores will come around just in time to give us some much needed activity after dinner, once the chores are complete we will be able to settle in for the night and perhaps watch a movie or play a board game (Ric is convinced he will be able to beat me at Scrabble).


Throughout out easy day though we will remember that it is a day to give thanks, and that we will do, thanks for each other, thanks for our family, thanks for our friends (both furry and not) and thanks for this wonderful lifestyle that we are so fortunate to enjoy.



August 27, 2008

A Neighborhood Gathers To Say Farewell

Filed under: alpaca, Crias, General — Tags: , , , , , , — alpacalady @ 6:44 am

 Today’s entry is not about alpacas, but it is about part of farm life and the sense of community that is experienced by those who live in rural areas.


Animal lovers all have their attachments to their animals, some stronger than others and yesterday I witnessed our neighbor Darlene say a sad farewell to her 26 year old buckskin horse Impressiv Buckshot – or Oakie as we all knew him.


Darlene has been there for us through many of our ups and downs on the farm.  She fell in love with our herdsire Enchantment’s Prince Regent when we first moved to the farm, she helped me tremendously when TeQueely was so ill and she is always willing to help us out whenever she is able.  She is a neighbor with a huge heart.


Darlene loves watching the crias play and on Monday evening arrived at the farm asking if she could sit with the alpacas for a while.  Unfortunately I was on a conference call, but I was able to whisper to her to make herself at home and enjoy the company of the crias, but I could tell something was upsetting Darlene.   By the time Ric came into the house I knew that Darlene had already left and asked him to go to her house to check on her.


It turned out that Darlene had taken Oakie to the vet that day (she uses the same large animal vet that we do) and he had told Darlene that sadly Oakie’s joints were failing him and it was going to be a matter of days before Oakie would be unable to stand.  Darlene then made the heartbreaking decision that the time had come to put Oakie out of his pain.  The one condition Darlene made was that Oakie would die and by buried at his home.  Our vet was more than willing to work with Darlene to make that happen.


So yesterday arrangements were made for the vet to come and euthanise Oakie.  Darlene’s friend Suzie had always promised Darlene that she would be with her if the time came to let Oakie go, true to her word Suzie did as she had promised.  Darlene’s neighbor Tracy helped care for Oakie during the day while Darlene was at work and was also assigned the task of finding someone who could dig a hole and bury Oakie in Darlene’s riding arena.  Tracy called me asking if I knew of anyone who could do the task and I then contacted our neighbor Stan who has a backhoe.  Tracy notified Darlene’s son and another of Darlene’s friends Vianne of the situation and both started to make their way to Darlene’s house.


Darlene spent time with Oakie before our vet arrived, stroking him and telling him how much she loved him.  It was decided that it would be best for Darlene and Suzie to be the only two with the vet and Oakie during Oakie’s final moments.


Once Oakie had passed away Darlene sat with him in the arena.  She had promised him she would not leave him, and so friends and neighbors sat with Darlene, telling stories of their encounters with Oakie until Stan was able to come with his backhoe and start the process of burying Oakie.


Stan literally came home from work, said a quick hello to his family and then came straight to Darlene’s to start preparing Oakie’s grave.  At this point Darlene was persuaded to go inside until Oakie was completely buried.  We all felt it would be too difficult for her to watch him being lowered into the ground.


Stan finished his work with a little assistance from us all.  Oakie was buried with dignity.  Stan had never met Darlene or Oakie before this day, he asked how old Oakie was and was incredulous when we informed him that Oakie was 26 years old.  Oakie was in such good condition from Darlene’s loving care that he looked much younger than his age.  Once Stan was ready to leave Susie asked him how much we owed him for his services and his words touched us all.  “You owe me nothing, thank you all for allowing me to be a part of this.” 


Darlene came out after Stan had left and placed flowers on Oakie’s grave.  We told her which way Oakie was positioned in his grave and eventually persuaded her that she needed to leave the gravesite.


It was a very sad occasion, but also heartwarming.  Everyone worked together with one objective, to help Darlene get through a difficult day.


Oakie was a remarkable horse, a three time champion, a successful stud and always the gentleman.  He was a loving companion to Darlene, and I know as I write this her heart is breaking.  But amongst that sadness there is a little ray of light that at such a difficult time people came together to show her how much they care for her and how much they appreciated her bond with her beautiful buckskin horse. 


Goodnight dear Oakie, we all hope that wherever you are you are now free of pain, running, bucking and flirting with all the mares you meet.



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