A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

February 24, 2008

Shades of Spring

The calendar may say we are still in winter but nature is telling me it is springtime.  Our weather has warmed up considerably with our daytime temperatures now in the 60’s.  Nighttime temperatures are still dropping down to the thirties but the days are sunny and warmer and the skies are blue.  A couple of days ago we had one of those crazy New Mexico forecasts that warned us of a chance of snow and thunderstorms.  As it turned out the skies darkened as the clouds rolled in, the winds picked up and one little corner of Clovis got about three minutes of rain.  Then the clouds rolled off into the direction of Texas not to be seen again.

The winds are also telling us it is springtime, yesterday the sustained winds were in the 25 – 30 mph range with gusts around 50 mph.  With our dry conditions this meant that we had dust storms for most of the day.  Stepping outside required a hood tied firmly on your head and some form of eye protection to keep the dust out of your eyes (in my case a pair of old sunglasses now referred to as my “Shades of Spring”), even better yet is to wear a dust mask, but I have to admit I find those difficult to wear while working and half the time our fine red dust creeps underneath them anyway.

By the time we come in it feels as if we are a couple of pounds heavier with all of the extra dirt we are carrying.  There is nothing quite like looking down in the shower to discover you are standing in your own pile of mud, created from the dust you have just washed off!

The winds bring warmer weather but bring danger too.  We are under a fire watch most days and yesterday one of our neighbors had a frightening experience when a trailer of hay she was hauling caught fire.  The hay was not hot hay, but somehow on the journey between the feed store and her house it caught fire.  Our neighbor tried to pull the burning bales from her trailer, but with the high winds the fire continued to grow, and even worse pieces of burning hay started to land on various spots in our road.  The fire department came out and put out the blaze, but the trailer and the hay were a complete loss.  Thankfully though our neighbor suffered no more than being badly shaken up and some singed hair.   The more we think about that burning trailer of hay going up the road in the high winds, the more we realize how fortunate we were not to have several major grass fires as a result of it.

The more pleasant aspects of spring though are also here.  The birds are starting to sing more; our American hawk is making an appearance again and appears out of nowhere to capture poor unsuspecting sparrows.  I think it is a little early for the hawk to have hatched her eggs yet, but if she is not feeding a brood she certainly has a vigorous appetite.  

Through the earth we are seeing little blades of green starting to emerge.   Should we get rain soon the ground will rapidly transform as the native plants so well equipped to thrive on a raindrop or two take advantage of the moisture and start to grow.

The alpacas too are showing us that spring is near, their fleeces are getting long reminding us we need to start planning on shearing, and the pregnant girls are starting to look more pear shaped as their crias grow.  Yesterday the herd spent their time dashing from shelter to shelter to avoid the wind and by the evening feed we had several who had straw covered fleeces, evidence of a day spent luxuriating in the deep straw and shelter of the barn.

This morning I will no doubt have to don my “Shades of Spring” outfit again, the sunglasses, hood, gloves and whatever else I decide to wear to protect myself from the dust will, I am sure look, most fetching, but I am too practical to care about appearances when it comes to doing chores!

We will enjoy the warmer temperatures this coming week and will continue to hope that we can soon change out of the “Shades of Spring” outfit to they “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” ensemble.  It all puts a different light on using the words “alpaca” and “fashion” in the same sentence doesn’t it!

Rosemary

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