A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

July 16, 2009

Where Have We Been and Who Is This?

Filed under: alpaca, Alpacas, camelids, Family, General — Tags: , , , , , — alpacalady @ 6:28 am

Spot the Snake

Spot the Snake

 

We’ve been Installing a new computer. We were finally able to take the time to dismantle the old computer set up and install our new computer, a chore long overdue and which had been put off by tax returns, shearing and then cria season.

 

Having installed the new computer our new monitor decided that it didn’t want to work. Within 30 minutes of being up and running it was displaying nothing but vertical green and blue lines. Thankfully the manager at our local Office Max where we had purchased the monitor was very understanding and had us set up with another new monitor by the afternoon. But computer installation is never without its hiccups and later in the day we realized that our portable drive which stored all of our documents, photos and more had also decided to malfunction. I think it objected to being separated from its long lost friend our old computer. Try as we might we have not been able to access the portable drive and while many documents were backed up to other locations we still have lost a large amount of data. Oh well I guess the computer gods decided that they were going to force us to clean up our files!

 

The old computer will still be utilized, we will clear off a lot of the files we now don’t need and use the old computer for our herd records program.

 

While taking the time to install the computer I was reminded that a silent puppy is usually not a good sign. While I was busy on the computer young Blue had helped herself to the roving on my spinning wheel and I was greeted by the sight of alpaca fiber all over the floor. Blue loves anything alpaca – alpaca rugs, socks, throws and now roving are all on her list of favorite chew toys. As you can probably guess I don’t agree with Blue’s chew toy selection!

 

The Snake Dangles from the tree

The Snake Dangles from the tree

For even more excitement to our day we have also had a new visitor to the farm – a very large snake! I discovered our new visitor on Wednesday morning as I walked into our workshop. He was lying by the workshop door (I am assuming the snake is a he, but quiet honestly could not tell a male snake from a female snake) when I went to get something in the morning. Initially I thought the snake was a piece of hose and then realized that he was indeed a snake. The snake did not seem disturbed at my presence and so I let him be.

 

Our snake visitor is a large snake at least 4ft in length, he appears to be either a dark blue or black color with yellow markings and has spots similar to those seen on rattlesnakes. The snake is not a rattlesnake, he doesn’t have any rattles and seems to be a peaceful fellow, he does however travel between the workshop and the house (I told Ric the snake was following me home) and also likes to climb up into the trees close to the house. You can just about see our new visitor in the pictures I have posted, I didn’t think I should be getting too close to him just in case.

 

I would like to know what type of snake he is, so if anyone has any ideas please let me know. So far he hasn’t bothered the alpacas, and I fear if he got in with the girls our three llamas would put an end to the snake. For now we will try and live alongside our new guest, although I must admit he has us looking (on the ground, over our shoulders, up in the trees…!)

 

Rosemary

 

June 2, 2009

Is It A Snake? Is It A Scorpion?…

No, it’s just a rabbit.  That was what we discovered when first thing Monday morning we were greeted with the sight of all of the girls staying away from one area of the pasture.  With their ears forward, tails up and the occasional jump back from the subject of their attention we decided that whatever they were looking at deserved our attention.

Of course at that time we didn’t know what the girls were looking at.  With our temperatures now on the warm side (low 90’s) the possibility of a snake in the pasture was likely.  We do see the occasional rattlesnake on the property and unfortunately when it comes to a battle between a rattlesnake and an alpaca the alpaca is usually on the losing end of things.  If a snake was out there we needed to intervene quickly.

So Ric was dispatched from the house to go and investigate what was holding the girls attention.  His mission didn’t take him long; one quick glance over the fence was all it took for him to see that a rabbit was sitting by part of the fence line just going about its daily rabbit business.  It wasn’t running, it wasn’t thumping its hind legs as alarmed rabbits sometimes do; it was just sitting there nibbling on a piece of hay.

Who knows why this particular rabbit caused so much interest in the pasture.  Usually the girls are the aggressors when it comes to rabbits, chasing the poor things all over the place.

We will never know why the girls felt this rabbit was worth the attention of the whole herd, that will have to remain one of life’s mysteries.  We will just be content in knowing that it was a rabbit and not a snake or scorpion – we’ll take the rabbit any day over the other two options!

Rosemary

November 2, 2008

The Cats Are Slacking!

Filed under: alpaca, Alpacas, camelids, Crias, General — Tags: , , — alpacalady @ 6:34 am

Smoky Cat Takes A Break
Smoky Cat Takes A Break

 

 

 

 

When we purchased our property the previous owner asked us if we wanted a few barn cats.  We agreed to a few, but it turned out that our idea of “few” and his were extremely different.  We thought maybe two or three cats; the previous owner left us about twenty cats!

Over the years our cat herd has reduced, illness, coyotes and owls have all played a part in lowering the cat population and eventually we got down to three cats.  One female gray cat who is one of the original group that was left here, one of the gray cats sons or daughters (we’ve never been able to get close enough to check if that cat is a he or a she) and Kit Cat, a Siamese cross who was dumped out here shortly after we moved in.  We were content to have the three cats, but then as often happens when you live in the country all of a sudden a couple more cats appeared, a beautiful smoky grey tom cat and a fluffy black and white cat who likes to talk to you all the time.   

 

 The snake wasn’t bothering anything, it was sitting basking in the sunshine, but it was pointed in the direction of the girls pasture.   It was about two foot long and had a definite rattle on the end of its tail.  If it had been a bull snake or other harmless snake I would have moved it to another area of the property, but to have a rattlesnake headed toward the girls pasture was not a good prospect, the snake would have to go.

 Alpacas tend not to do very well in snake bite situations, with several small cria running around the chances were too great that one of them would stick his or her nose on the snake out of curiosity should the snake make it into the pasture.

 Fortunately one of the neighbors was home and was able to come and kill the snake for me.  I wasn’t sure that my aim would have been accurate enough to kill the snake with one hit and the last thing I wanted was a hurt angry snake to deal with.

Here's grey cat also taking a break - theses cats need to get to work!

Here's Grey Cat also taking a break - these cats need to get to work!

 While waiting for my neighbor to arrive, one of the cats actually passed the snake, sniffed the snakes tail and then walked on again without even giving a second thought to taking the snake on.  I guess the snake was too inactive to keep the cats attention, but it would have been nice for the cat to at least try and do her job! 

Hopefully that will be the last snake I see for a while, although with the lovely warm fall days we have been having there is a chance than another snake or two might make and appearance.  Let’s hope that if that is the case the cats decide to do their job and keep the snakes at bay!

 

Rosemary

Kit Cat – also taking a break

Kit Cat - also taking a break

The cats are supposed to keep the mice and snakes down, when we had a larger cat population we had very few mice and snakes but as the population dwindled we noticed evidence of mice in the feed area and mice of course will attract snakes.On Thursday afternoon I headed out early to start on chores.  It was a beautiful afternoon with temperatures in the high seventies.  As I passed the feed barn on the way to the hay area I saw something lying on the ground and initially didn’t think too much of it, but something made me stop and take a better look – it was a rattlesnake!

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