Where were we on Wednesday? Our apologies, Wednesday was shearing day! There are 365 days in a year, but we will tell you quite honestly, that shearing day is the only day of the year when you raise alpacas. Momma here, trying to show you just a brief glimpse of what shearing day is all about.
Just ask Kirstin, it’s all about the fiber! Tuscany was our first candidate, I have to admit to braggin’ on him for just a little bit. He was so well behaved and his fleece was so clean that I swelled with pride when Scott, our shearer, commented on his good behavior and his clean, allow me to emphasize clean, blanket.
Speaking of raising alpacas, Tripoli humbled me the minute Dad and our friend Roger attempted to walk him down the breeze way. Trip literally had to be picked up all the way to the shearing area, and then raised up onto the table.
Thanks to Roger for wrangling, Laura for her photos, Colleen for witnessing the ordeal and as always Scott and his son Connor for their gentle and caring shearing.
Dad here – Growing up in the city, one of the things I never thought I’d be doing is driving a tractor. With the wet weather we’ve been having, our road has turned into a washboard and pot hole filled demolition derby drive. Time to grade the road!
After attaching the three point hitch to the tractor, the box scraper is attached to the three point hitch. The scraper is lowered to the road and after three passes, the road is now smooth.
It’s best to do this after a rain. The rain softens the road and allows the box scraper to more easily dig in.
Posted in how-tos
Tagged ranch life
Hi – Aunt Geri here. The latest Shape Shifter is featured today. This one is made of the same type of yarn as the original, but is a little larger in circumference, which makes it a bit shorter.
I is named this one “Spring Sunset” in honor of the gorgeous sunset I saw at Cliff House last week. They have the most spectacular panorama from their hilltop – seeing the awesome view always seems to bring the whole wide world into focus.
I’ve taken pictures to show you the six ways you can wear the Shape Shifter. This design will be a lot of fun for someone with imagination.
As I, Momma, sit at the kitchen table trying to come up with an idea for our blog post today, the sky has turned to grey and rain is falling on our 40 acres of land. Sunday had been a sunny day, and not only did Squeaky and Whisper discover the cat nip, Olive our toy poodle, discovered the cats.
Olive has always suspected there were other animals her size on the ranch, but she had never been so up close and personal with one. When Squeaky headed to the cat nip Olive followed along, but for the life of her, she just didn’t see the attraction. Ever on the ready, she spotted the horses eating their breakfasts, and off she went to check it out.
Oh, what a good life it is. The wind in her hair, the sunshine on her face, Olive the ranch dog is living the dream! As I type she’s asleep in her little beddie at my feet, Sunday in the sun a vague and distant memory.
Momma here this morning with a special report about our sweetie kitties big discovery this week-end.
Dad, Jared and I began summing up spring cleaning for the garden on Sunday, and our kitties love to join us when we’re outside. There’s always a pet or two involved when Jared’s around.
Our friend Donna gave me some cat nip for our garden on my birthday last year, and it has already sprung up. Squeaky found the little sprout in no time. Oh, did he enjoy this! After Whisper was finished with Jared, he got in on it too. To save the plant from certain demise Dad caged it off, for now.
Happy Friday all, it’s Kirstin here. My new goal is to spin enough yarn for a small throw. The blanket I made for my friend when her baby was born has worked out to be the perfect length and width for nursing, so I’m going to make another.
Since babies are involved, I’m using only 100% alpaca, not a blend. I’ve started with fiber from White Mountain Diana, an alpaca that belonged to our breeder. I’m spinning this yarn as medium weight, but I’m being careful to preserve the loft (fluffiness) of the yarn. It’s coming out very airy and light!
150 yards down, only…well, a lot more to go.
Aunt Geri here. This is the name of my new scarf creation because of it’s versatility. Are you old enough to remember “tube” socks? This scarf is knit as a tube on a circular needle. It can be worn as a scarf, a belt, a cowl, or a hood. It is loosely knit, so it is 70″ long as a scarf or belt or the circumference can be stretched for a cowl and/or hood. The wider you stretch it, the shorter it is, and as you stretch it lengthwise, it becomes narrow.
It is light as a feather – knit with a fine alpaca lace yarn with a little merino wool and nylon for elasticity and “memory”.
Sunday was warm enough to open our upper barn’s north door. Our view of Castle Rock is always a welcome spring sight. The town we live near is named after the rock you see in the distance.
The alpacas are warm and toasty this time of year, and Dad enjoys nothing more than playing with his water babies. Obviously, Dad’s not the only one who enjoys playing in the water!
We are always aware of the importance of keeping the fleece as clean as possible, and because shearing day is just around the corner, Sunday was the last time for playing water sports until after their hair cuts.
Good morning – it’s Aunt Geri. After marling over a mile of Chimayo yarn, I decided to do some “simple” spinning. The fiber I spun, Cliff House had purchased at the Estes Park Fiber Festival last year. It is from a rose-grey alpaca. I have never spun this color and found it very interesting. Rose-grey is a relatively rare alpaca color – actually it is rare in any species. A horse this color would be called a strawberry roan, a dog would be “brindle”, etc.. It is a creamy grey with reddish-brown hairs – marled by nature to make a beautiful taupe fiber.
This is a very fine fiber so a lot of plucking of vegetation and nebs is required – these fine downy fibers lock onto grass and seeds. I spin very thin singles, which don’t provide a lot of hiding places for foreign objects – but a few pieces always sneak through. I have been spoiled by spinning Cliff House alpaca fiber which has minimal debris – all due to the cleanest barn and pens in the land!! Yes – Jan (“Momma”) had admittedly vacuumed the barn on occasion!
The yarn is a 3-ply sport weight. The fiber has a lot of loft so even these thin plies provide a wonderful grey halo.
Momma and Dad here, with a note about noses. Our Tuscany aka Tuscaninny, has an immune system that’s not quite right. Because of this, he has been unable to get rid of a runny nose. Dr. Balch gave us a prescription, but until it comes in, we have to improvise. We first started using Tri Care first aid cream on our horses, but it works well on our Alpacas too.
The process involves catching him, holding him and then creaming up his muzzle. This is not as easy as it sounds. It’s always a two man project, but if you want pictures it’s a threesome, not including the alpaca.
There’s always a reward for good behavior. A scoop full of Alpaca chews helps the medicine stay on!