Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Alpacas are Here

After more than 2 years of thinking, hoping, planning and doing... the alpacas are here.  Hubba and I have our very own farm in Northern Colorado and we are officially full-time alpaca breeders.

The pictures are a bit dark, but here are some from their arrival tonight.

Dick Hegeman's Rig.

Our grey herdsire, Bandit.

Our first, Charlie Brown.

Dick with our first cria, Augustus, and me in the background with Yoda.

My Sweet Jane with Captain Jack exiting the trailer.

My teacher, Keyla.

Kocoa Moon and Frieda in the background.

Our light fawn herdsire, Flamenco, or Phil as he's commonly known.

Many thanks to Dick Hegeman of Alpacas in the Forest for the expert and safe transport from Santa Fe today.  And of course, thank you to Bob and Louise Hazen of Blue Mesa Alpacas for taking such great care of our herd over the last year.

The Alpacas are Coming - part 2

With the alpacas on their way today, I've been reflecting on the last couple of years...

We bought our first alpaca in September 2007.  His name is Charlie Brown and I was in love.  He was 2 weeks old and oh so cute.  I had intended to name all of our cria after other Peanuts characters because I have loved them since I can remember. 

Of course, two years and five cria later, not a single one has been named after anyone in the Peanuts gang.

We named our first Augustus.  He was a strapping boy, screaming white and born in August 2008.

Then came Daisy, named for my mom's favorite flower.

Frieda was our first 2009 cria.  My husband named her after a favorite artist of his sister.

Eduardo was born during Senator Ted Kennedy's funeral.

Our most recent cria is Captain Jack who's name was chosen as the winning entry in our Name the Alpaca contest.

We have two cria due in 2010.  One maiden will be coming of age in the spring.  We also have an older dam who we are slowing down to be bred or nursing, but not both.

Our herd is now a baker's dozen at 13 alpacas.  They will be here in a couple of hours.  We are ready to receive them. 

Things that Work - ATV

With the need to feed and clean-up after alpacas coupled with a little more snow than we're used to, we had to get Hubba a tool to help with the ranch chores when I am out of town.  I learned that you can get attachments for ATV's such as snow blowers and plows. 

We weren't really sure how much these things would cost, but figured an ATV would be a better investment than a snow blower... at least with the ATV we could haul things and use it to get around the farm in all seasons.

We found a used ATV in town that already had a winch and plow installed.  Hubba's been practicing with it the last couple of days and now has zero issue reaching the corrals.

Looking for Bunnies

Last week I took our dog out to the pasture for some "first tracks."

He loves playing in the snow almost as much as he loves Hubba and chasing bunnies. 

He found a scent.  We have a lot of Cotton-tails on our place.

The scent must be really strong here, he stuck his entire head in the snow and rooted around for quite a while.

To my knowledge he has never caught a rabbit, but that does not interfere with his love of the chase.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Loafing Sheds and Corrals are Complete

Finally, we are ready to receive the alpacas.  All that remains is paint, which may not happen prior to the alpacas arrival next week.

Corrals and Sheds for the Big Boys and Little Boys.

Corral and Loafing Shed for the Moms and Crias.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Spinning Again

With everything that's been going on this year, I haven't spun since the Alpaca-Bunny Smackdown last summer.  So, last weekend I decided it was time to bring out my wheel and spin a little.

I have nearly one pound of wool-mohair roving that I purchased at the 2008 Taos Wool Festival.  I bought this roving because I love the winter white color and the mohair gives it a soft luster. 

See more Fibery posts on the Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival over at Alpaca Farm Girl here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Adaptive Ski Program

While returning home from a meeting in Albuquerque last week, I sat next to a couple of Adaptive Ski Program colleagues on the plane.  It was great to catch up and of course our conversation brought back many happy memories for me.

I had the priviledge of volunteering with ASP for eight years. I primarily taught students with congitive injuries at the Santa Fe Ski Basin.

Using Edgie-Wedgie and Reins

It's called adaptive, because we could adapt to the needs of our students.  We had all kinds of great tools to help students experience the freedom of skiing and grow their skills.

Early on I helped out with bi- and mono-ski lessons, did a few cognitive-only seasons then settled into 3- and 4-track.   In the picture above, my student is able to stand and balance on his own, but not able to control his skis, so we used edgie-wedgies to tie the tips of his skis together and reins to guide him down the mountain.

The Adaptive Ski Program provides private ski lessons to people with all kinds of physical and congnitive disabilities and is staffed with over 200 volunteer instructors, equipment managers and coordinators.  The Adaptive Ski Program teaches at Santa Fe Ski Basin and Sandia Peak Ski Area and is celebrating it's 25th anniversary this year.

Ski Instructors, in the US are certified through the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Alpacas are Coming

The health certificates and transport are scheduled.  The loafing sheds and fencing are nearly complete.

We have been dreaming and working toward this day for more than 2 years.

The alpacas are coming home the week after Christmas.

Some of our girls at their current home: Blue Mesa Alpacas, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Loafing Sheds - Almost Done

Mom and Cria Shed

We broke ground for our initial corrals and loafing sheds in early November.  Progress is reported here and here.

The sides and roof are installed, which means only the shingles and paint remain.

Front View

Big and Little Boy Sheds

Once the shingles are complete, we will install the fencing.

View from House

It's 12 degrees F, snowing with about 4 inches on the ground as I write this.  Fortunately the weather forecast is great for next weekend and alpacas aren't coming until early January.