Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Trailers and Breedings and Shows, oh, my!

This month has flown by because of all of the planning that has been going on. We have bought and received a trailer, arranged for breedings for all three of the girls, and are preparing for the Heart of the Valley Alpaca Adventure at the Oregon State Fair.

The trailer was a big step for us because it is the biggest purchase we have made since we bought the alpacas. This is partly because the trailer is pretty specific. Our Subaru Forester, much as we love it, cannot pull a horse trailer, which is the default large-ish animal mover. The good news is that alpacas don't need to be hauled around in a horse trailer because they are considerably smaller than a horse. This means that we can get away with a lightweight cargo trailer that is about five feet wide and ten feet long.

Unfortunately, while there are many of those kind of trailer for sale used, since we propose to hauling live animals around in it, the trailer we needed had to have many windows and air vents. It could also not have formaldehyde-treated trim as it heats up and gives off chocking gas. Not many trailers with those specifications are knocking around Oregon used, I must say. So that meant we had the fun of going to a dealer and ordering exactly what we wanted. Anyone who wants the exact specifications can e-mail me.

I am typing this note in paint-splattered clothing because I am painting and sealing the floor of the trailer today. That way the bare wood won't be damaged if the alpacas decide to poo or pee in the trailer en route to somewhere. In addition to the paint, we have found some worn-out conveyor belts from a quarry to use as mats for the floor of the trailer. They are easy to drag out of the trailer to hose down, and will provide some footing for the alpacas as well. Plus, the conveyor belts were FREE. All I did was call and ask. Thanks to my horse-friend Sarah Beard for turning me onto this idea!

Breedings were fun and stressful to organize. Cabernet was easy because she has a free re-breeding for this summer. We're going to send her to Barolo, since he gave her such nice babies before. See him here: We are taking her down (in the new trailer) on 8/31.

Consuella is going to be bred to Haldane, or to Gallant Deed, both of them from NorthWest Alpacas. They are some super-looking studs. She is going up on 8/23.

Dawn is going to be bred to Pachacuti, also of NorthWest alpacas. He is gorgeous, and has marvelous cria on the ground. She is going up after her cria is born, probably after 9/16.

Finally, the show. We aren't doing a whole lot to prepare for it except for working with El Barto. We are bringing Antonio along as a companion, and also to offer him for sale. We could use the money (remember the trailer?), and we will not have a shortage of boys in our lifetimes. The fair is going to be an excellent place to show Antonio off because there will be lots and lots of 4-H kids milling about. A kid who wants a gentle animal to work with and some fiber to play with would be thrilled with Tony.

We aren't taking little Milhouse with us to the fair, though. He isn't old enough, and I don't want him to be exposed to all the stresses (and diseases) at a show just after he's been weaned (remember, Consuella--his mom--is going to be bred the week before). So, he'll stay home with Auntie Dawn right around that time (yay! another baby to play with!). We're thinking about taking Barto and Milhouse to the SOJAA show in Southern Oregon in October.

So, that's August for you. It's already filled up, and it is just barely 1/2 over. September will be spent picking up and dropping off alpacas and preparing for school. Wow! Crazy, but fun.