A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

October 18, 2017

Unexpected Treasures


Sometimes we can try so hard to make things happen, yet our plans don’t work out as expected. Then at other times we discover acts of serendipity, when things just happen without any effort on our part.

Our gardening efforts at the farm have been historically hit and miss. A shortage of water on the farm, dry desert heat and drying winds, lack of time to dedicate to care of the plants, and a distinct lack of green fingers on my part have meant that any crop production has been low.

So imagine my surprise when I recently discovered a bumper crop of pumpkins and sunflowers in the area where we compost the alpaca poop! I’ve tried for years to grow sunflowers on the farm but experienced total failure, pumpkins had never really crossed my mind as I knew that they needed quite a bit of water. Yet here they were happily growing side by side, and in the case of the pumpkins very happily growing.

So had did this bounty happen? Well every fall we ask people to bring us their leftover pumpkins to feed to the alpacas. We feed the pumpkins to the alpacas and the alpacas are very happy. Every day we feed black oil sunflower seeds to the alpacas and the alpacas enjoy eating the seeds. As part of the feeding process some of the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are left on the ground and get raked up when we are raking up the poop piles and off they go to the compost area. In addition to this process last year we had a whole bag of sunflower seeds that got moisture in the bag and molded, so off they went to the compost pile as well.

Maya Eating Pumpkin

The seeds have been sitting there for a while, the alpaca poop has been breaking down into what alpaca breeders like to refer to as black gold, then this year we have been blessed with some rain and poof! Low and behold our bountiful crop appeared!

How cool is that! That Mother Nature did her own thing and created a much better result than all my efforts could produce!


The pumpkins are about ready to harvest. To start with we will use some to decorate the farm. Once their decoration duties are done we will use some of them to feed to the alpacas, llamas, chickens and guineas. Some of the pumpkins appear to be sugar pumpkins so will be cooked and used for pumpkin pies and cookies, with some cooked pumpkin being reserved in case we need it for a sick animal (pumpkin is an excellent soother of the digestive tract). I was hoping to be able to harvest some sunflower seeds from our sunflowers but our horses Savannah and Saber decided to eat the heads off most of the sunflowers. No wonder their coats are looking so glossy! Hopefully they will leave me at least a few sunflower heads to harvest for next year.


So where do we go from here. Well my plan for next year, provided we have a chance of rain, is to take a random assortment of vegetable seeds, toss them on the alpaca compost area and let them grow if they wish to. Why toil for vegetables when they apparently do better without me? (Although I probably should consider a horse fence!).

Until next time,


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.



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