Sunday, April 30, 2006

Shearing in a week!

We have two shearing dates this year: May 5, and June something. This happened for a couple reasons:

1. Cabernet will be too close to her due-date to shear in June. She is due in August, and has had a history of having trouble in late-term pregnancy. We will be far more comfortable shearing her three months out than two months.

2. There is a fleece show in Scio, OR, the third week of May. I'd like to have the boys' fleeces for the show, but our original shear date wasn't until June. Polly is going to bring her boy over to be shorn for the show as well.

The bad news is that I haven't been working with Duffy on the halter nearly enough. I put one on him for the first time today. He was pretty good about it (Barto was, too, when he was a baby), but I need to work on Milhouse as well, especially since he was such a stinker at the show.

It will be a very interesting shearing because the shearer is going to use a table: This thing swings up vertically, then you strap the alpaca to it, then you flip it horizontal, then you shear them lying down. None of the animals have seen one of these before, I think. It will be weird. :)


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Heart of the Valley wrap-up

We didn't win any ribbons at the HOTV show.

However, we did have some good times, make a movie, and sell an alpaca. I have to say that it was a successful show!

Some friends of mine (all college professors or librarians) decided to enter a documentary film contest (I'll add the URL to the contest soon). The contest allowed competitions 4 1/2 days to make a 4-8 minute documentary, but they would give us a topic and a "theme" at the beginning of the contest to keep people from starting early. We brainstormed ideas before the contest, and I brought up the alpaca show. My friends love our critters, and we decided that, if we could, we would shoot the documentary at the HOTV show.

The topic turned out to be "sports" (if dog shows are a sport, so are alpaca shows!) and our theme was "freedom" (so we shot pictures of the critters running "free" across the field). The crew shot some footage at our farm the day before the show, took shots of us loading the boys up in the trailer and shots of the show set-up on Friday, and then spent most of Saturday at the show filming and interviewing people. They spent Sunday editing. I was still at the show.

They finished the film and mailed it off on Monday. I have a copy for ETF and one for WABA. I think the film is great. They focused on the fact that alpacas are "flight animals," and so this whole show thing is a little bit of a strain for them, and unnatural. I'll be showing the film at our WABA meeting on Thursday.

The other good news from the show is that we have sold Tony! If you remember, Tony is the replacement alpaca that the previous owners of Cabernet gave us when her baby died last year. Actually, we picked him up at last year's HOTV show! Anyway, the people who have bought him bought another male from another farm, too. They just wanted some pets for their kids. They have some land outside of Corvallis, and four little red-headed children. I think Tony made the sale when he let each of the kids (except the 2 year old) lead him around on a halter. He was so curious about them and gentle. I suspect he is going to be a 4-H project or something someday.

We didn't get as much money as we wanted for Tony, but I agreed to the price on the condition that we get this year's fiber off of him. They were perfectly happy to do that. The yarn we had made from last year's fleece was so nice that I have been looking forward to this year's fleece for a while.

So, it was a good show. Tony's sale just about covered our costs if we don't look at them too closely. Yay!