Friday, June 30, 2006

Six weeks to go!

I will have pictures of the very pregnant Cabernet later this weekend. She is smuggling basketballs in that tummy, I swear.

Cabernet has had trouble with her last two babies so we have all our fingers and toes crossed for luck that she will carry this little one to term and deliver it without assistance. She deserves to be a mommy again.

That said, she is being a righteous b**** at the moment. She tries to steal food from the other girls and hogs the hay bin whenever she can. We try to excuse her by saying that she is pregnant and hot, but really, Cabernet just likes to be boss, and so she is bossy and demanding, even when she isn't pregnant.

I can't wait to have little cria bouncing around again! They are sooo frigging cute.

Pray for girls.


Friday, June 23, 2006

baby pool

How many alpacas can you fit into a baby pool?

I promised you pictures!

It hit about 80 degrees today, so I filled the baby pool. This is what happens when the girls hear the water against the plastic.

Spitting ensued shortly thereafter. Here's a shot of the "winner."

Dawn wins!

In other news, we are baby-sitting a due-any-second-now alpaca of Polly's because she is out of town overnight. There could be cria pictures this weekend! Or, we could just sit around and watch her play dead (like the alpacas previous posts).


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

shearing update

Quickly, the shearing went well on Saturday. As is typical, Dawn shreiked like a banshee (you think I'm exaggerating, don't you?) the whole time, and Consuella just accepted it.

The excitement came when we were shearing little Snowball, a.k.a. Ringo. He was cut by the shearers. He didn't even flinch, but the rest of us were very upset. We closed the wounds with superglue (it's what it was designed for, you know), and slathered triple antibiotic ointment on it. It is now healing fine.

I need to get an "after" picture of Snowball up. He looks even less like his "before" picture than the fuzzy alpacs do.

What happened to these 'pacas??

What happened to these alpacas?

Actually, they are sunbathing. The first couple times you see this out your window, you go rushing out thinking that they are dead. They sit up when you get close and look at you expectantly. "Well? What did you wake me up for?"

This also demonstrates what the weather is like here. We only have a few more hours of "Spring," which is nice because it has been rainy and cool here since one freak weekend in May when it hit 90 degrees. Now it is 70 degrees with the promise of summer-like 80s next week.

When it gets that warm, the alpacas seek out the shade. I also fill up the baby pool for them. They love that so much that they fight over it. I'll have picutures, I promise.


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pre-shearing Pictures

Snowball, a.k.a. "Ringo," pre-shearing

I'm just preparing for Saturday when our final three alpacas will be shorn. This is our only suri alpaca. Notice how his fleece is twisted and stringy, not fluffy like the other alpacas. This is a genetic variation that is actually a dominant gene, but suri alpacas were nearly wiped out by the Spanish sheep hundreds of years ago because they can't stand the cold as well as their huacaya cousins.

The other two to be shorn are Dawn and Consuella, both of who are due in September. This is a little late to shear them, but it is still a week earlier than we were going to shear them originally.

Alpaca pregnancies are a little delicate the first three months and the last three months of an 11 1/2 month term. They are pretty solid those middle six months, but immediately after breeding and approaching delivery, you don't want to stress the mammas. They can and do re-absorb pregnancies during the first three months and they can abort during the last three months. This means that we like to get stressful things like shots and shearing done in that six-month window, or do it between birth and re-breeding (about a 2 week window).

We're pushing it with Dawn and Consuella as they are due between 10 and 12 weeks from now. I think it will be okay, though, since both of them have had many unproblematic pregnancies.

However, I am going to be far more vigilant in the future to schedule shearing in May when all of the girls will still be in that six month "safe zone." I'll sleep better at night if I do.

In other news, Cabernet is due in eight weeks. This means that cria watch will begin approximately the last week of July. This might be a problem with filming the movie this summer, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

That's all for now.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Fleece show Update!

This is Duffman's Fleece. He won a 3rd place ribbon!

This is Milhouse's fleece. He won 2nd place!

This is our display. I shared with Polly from Fernhill Alpacas.

This is my entry in the fiber arts contest. I won 1st place!

It was a good show for ribbons, but I didn't sell a blamed thing. Oh well. I'll pick the fleeces and send them off for processing.

I'm thinking of using the black yarn from Tony for myself. I'm thinking shawl.