A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

September 20, 2009

So Where Have We Been?

Well that is a good question!  We have not actually been anywhere but have been dealing with various things at home and time has been short.

This last week we had contractors show up unannounced to install bay windows in our living room and master bedroom.  We had purchased the windows back in July and it has taken until now to get to the top of the contractors list.  While it is good to be having our windows installed a little notice would have been nice!

The new windows will make our view of the girls pasture even better and it is amazing how much bigger and brighter the rooms seem since they were installed.  We can cria watch in style now.

Along with the contractors we have also had puppy Blue back to the vet again.  It seems she has quite a sensitive stomach which is not helped by her wanting to eat everything she comes across.  We thought we were making some progress with her but tried a tiny amount of a different dog food on Friday and she is back to having an upset stomach – looks like I will be cooking meals for a little dog as well as humans as she seems to do fine on cooked chicken.

We have also been busy buying alpacas – a couple for us and a couple for a client of ours.  More on that in later posts, but my search for a black male alpaca is over!

Ric has been busy preparing for the New Mexico State Fair and the show program is now coming together.  He will leave for Albuquerque on Wednesday to get things set up at the show grounds before the exhibitors start arriving on Friday.  I will be staying at the farm, looking after alpacas and cooking for dogs.  If you are attending the State Fair make sure you go and say hello to Ric and I am sure he will be happy to see you.

So life has been a little time consuming (are we getting older or are the days really getting shorter and going by quicker?), but that’s how life goes sometimes and before long everything is back on track.

Contractors and sick puppies permitting I hope to resume the posts to the blog in the coming week.


September 3, 2009

It’s That Time of the Year Again

Time for National Alpaca Farm Days!  This year the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association has scheduled National Alpaca Farm Days for September 25 and 26, 2009 which is great except that those are also the dates of the alpaca show at the New Mexico State Fair.

This year Ric is the show superintendent for the New Mexico State Fair and so it will be difficult for us to hold our National Alpaca Farm Days Open Day when Ric, at least, will be away at the State Fair (I am still trying to figure out if I too can attend the State Fair even if only for a day, that will depend on us finding a reliable farm sitter)

The State Fair was not willing to reschedule the dates of the alpaca show, so we have decided to hold our National Alpaca Farm Days celebration a little early.  On September 12, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. we will hold an Open Farm Day in celebration of National Alpaca Farm Days.  During the Open Farm Day we will conduct pasture tours, give brief educational presentations, have some fiber arts demonstrations and we will also have the farm store open for business.  With Christmas rapidly approaching our Open Farm Day will be a great opportunity for people to do some early Christmas shopping.  Of course Willow’s new cria will be a favorite I am sure and hopefully by then Bjorn will have had her cria too (she’s due today!).  Visitors to the farm always like to see the new crias.

For now we are busy working on marketing the event to the local community and hope that we will have a good turnout.

If you are not in the Clovis area and would like to attend a National Alpaca Farm Day event you can go to the National Alpaca Farm Day website where you can locate participating farms in your area.  If you are in the Clovis area we hope to see you at our early National Alpaca Farm Day celebration on September 12.


August 6, 2009

It’s Almost Showtime Again


With summer rushing past us it will soon be time for the fall show season. For New Mexico that means the New Mexico State Fair that features an alpaca show as part of the activities.


We always try to attend the New Mexico State Fair as it is held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, making it our closest show.


It is a pity that the show always happens in the last few weeks of summer as that is the time that many New Mexico alpaca breeders have crias due, making it difficult to leave their farms. Depending on when the farm’s alpacas were shorn it may also mean that their alpacas do not have enough fleece length to qualify for the halter classes (where both fleece and conformation are judged). There are shorn classes available but most alpaca breeders prefer their alpacas to compete in the halter classes.


This year for us the show will be a little different as Ric is the Show Superintendent. As the Show Superintendent Ric will be responsible for verifying all of the entries, building the classes and ensuring that the show program is changed as necessary. Ric’s work will keep him busy during the show, the night before the show will be particularly busy and I am sure Ric will be working long into the night to ensure that the class list is correct and printed off for the exhibitors before the show begins.


The New Mexico State Fair is a small show compared to other shows where Ric has been the Show Superintendent, so I am sure it will not be too much of a challenge to him, however he is having to work within the mechanism of the State Fair and so there will be some differences in how things are handled.


Due to a problem with the State Fair website last weekend, the State Fair had agreed to extend the deadline for Online Entries for the New Mexico State Fair through Sunday, August 9 so if you were thinking of entering the alpaca show at the State Fair you still have time to enter. Just go to the New Mexico Alpaca Breeders website and follow the links to the State Fair (or Expo New Mexico as it is now called!).


Ric and I are still trying to decide if we will enter alpacas into the show. When Ric is the Show Superintendent at a show we have to be careful that we don’t cross any ethical boundaries. Usually if we do enter alpacas at a show where Ric is the show superintendent then we have someone else take the alpacas into the show ring for us. Of course we also have to consider who will look after the farm if we both go to the show, but we better hurry up and make our minds up before the extended Show Entry Deadline expires!



September 22, 2008

Safely Home From The State Fair


The New Mexico State Fair is over and Ric and the alpacas arrived back home yesterday evening.


This year’s State Fair Alpaca Show was a little smaller than those of previous years with approximately 224 entries.  The economy and high fuel prices are making people think hard about which shows they travel to.  According to the State Fair staff, livestock entries were down across the board and a local news channel reported that attendance at the State Fair was also down.


Still the alpaca entries came from several states, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona and California to name a few.


According to Ric our four alpacas all behaved well and were very relaxed for the whole trip.  Only one of them Windrush White Blast had been to a show before, for the other three this was a new experience.


Unfortunately young Zeus did not place in his class, one of the hazards of being in a competitive class of juvenile white male alpacas, usually the largest class at a show.  Zeus is a little small for his age and that probably went against him, but he is still young, has a beautiful bright white fleece and has lots of time to grow.


Blast did also not fair as well as we had hoped, but he did come away with a 6th place ribbon, the judge liked his fine, soft handing fleece and crimp style but felt he was not as dense as some of the other alpacas in the class.


Windrush Zindel’s Carissima took a third in her class, and she was the youngest in her class as well.  The judge really liked her fleece (it is really nice if I say so myself!) and commented that that she realized Carissima still has some growing to do. Carissima is starting to enter that gangly adolescent stage that young alpacas go through, so hopefully in a few months she will be looking more adult, and I bet her spring show season will be a successful one.


Finally our true black juvenile Windrush Zindel’s Kaneka did us proud by taking not only second in her class but also going on to win the Reserve Color Champion – well done Kaneka!  And well done Ric for traveling to the show on your own, setting up and manning the booth and showing the alpacas, even with just four alpacas shows are hard work on your own, but they also are fun too,


Now the show alpacas will be placed into quarantine for the next three weeks, just in case they picked up any parasites or other ills during their trip.  The biosecurity and vet checks at the show were very thorough, but there is still always a risk of bringing back something unwanted and if that does happen we don’t want it spreading through the herd, especially as we have young crias due to be born any day.


Back at the ranch, we continue with cria watch, no sign of any imminent births yet, just some heavily pregnant dams waddling around the pasture, enjoying the cool breeze of the fan, having a roll in the dust from time to time, dipping their feet in the water bucket (I’ve lost track of how many times I have had to rinse and refill the bucket!) and eating hay to keep those crias growing!



September 18, 2008

When You’re Loading Hay Don’t Wear Shorts!

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Nutrition, Alpacas, camelids, General — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 6:17 am

Ric will be leaving to take four of our alpacas to the New Mexico State Fair tomorrow and so we have been trying to get everything ready that he will need for his trip.  I say trying because life has, as usual, thrown a few distractions our way.


Yesterday’s distraction was an advertisement for some hay in our local paper.   The hay was alfalfa, not something that we would feed in large qualities to the alpacas on a daily basis, but it will be good hay to feed our horses in the winter, and the pregnant alpaca girls will benefit from a little of it every now and then.


We called the hay grower and discovered the hay was reasonably priced; it was time to strike while the iron was hot, as the saying goes.  We have discovered that where good hay is concerned any action to buy it must be sooner rather than later.


The hay was located in Fort Sumner (home of the gravesite of Billy the Kid), about an hours drive to the West of our farm.  It was a beautiful day for a drive and it was good to see that some of the pastures along the way were greening up following a showery week last week.


We had a good look at the hay, it was first cutting, a lovely bright green in color with lots of leaf and not too much stem, and decided to buy the 115 bales that the hay grower had available.  Then came the fun part – stacking the hay on the trailer.


With the hay grower, Ric and myself all working at putting the hay on the trailer it didn’t take too long to get the hay stacked, but we weren’t long into the process before Ric kindly pointed out that I shouldn’t have worn shorts, for as I moved the hay bales they hit against my legs and those alfalfa stems are pretty sharp!  By the end of the hay stacking I had green and red legs – green from little pieces of alfalfa and red from scratches on my legs.  As I pointed out to Ric though with a little bit of lotion my legs will soon be as good as new.


We will get the hay tested in the next day or so, if it was the only hay we were going to use I would have tested it before buying it, but as this will just be used as an occasional supplement we could take the liberty of buying the hay prior to testing.


Next time we go to load hay I will try and remember not to wear shorts, but if the weather is still warm I know that the chances are I will forget my previous hay experiences.  It’s a good job I always have plenty of great lotion on hand at the house!



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