Sunday, August 30, 2009

Alpacamundo's Eduardo

Yesterday Alpacamundo welcomed our 4th cria. A beautiful white boy, son of Qaint Keyla and Smokey's Bandit at Pastoral Profits.

It took us a little while to name him, but we decided to honor Senator Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy. Not sure if he would think it was an honor, but for us it's a good way to remember the Lion of the Senate.

Please help us welcome Alpacamundo's Eduardo.

Many thanks to Louise Hazen for taking this great photo of Eduardo

Friday, August 28, 2009

30 Day Habit: After 4 weeks

Almost a month ago, I decided to start a new habit, daily stretching.

I'm not doing so good.

I reviewed my first week's progress here. I thought I had reviewed my second week's progress, but apparently that was just in my brain. There is no third week progress. So that brings us to today, four weeks.

I don't think I stretched at all over the last two weeks. Maybe once or twice, but let's just go with zero since I don't really remember.

This is what happens when life happens. We forget to take care of ourselves.

I'm having a great time at work. We have a definite plan to complete our relocation project. But I forget to take care of myself. So I am recommitting to another 4 weeks.

Hopefully daily stretching will be a habit by September 24th.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Project Relocation

We're moving.

Last Fall, my husband and I decided it was time to move back to Colorado. We had been talking about it for years, but for many very good reasons we had stayed in New Mexico.

The Beginning of the Story

We started raising alpacas about 2 years ago; agisting them at nearby ranches. Agisting was great for getting started. It is a low risk way to learn more about the alpacas and gave us time to find a farm of our own.

We considered moving outside of town and had a loose agreement to buy an existing alpaca farm. Then my company layed off half it's staff. I got nervous and backed out.

The company appeared to become more stable. I was outsourced.

The outsourcer said it had more SAP work than people to do it and that I could work remotely. So we made plans to sell our house in Albuquerque and started earnestly looking for a new home in Northern Colorado.

My former company, the outsourcer's and my customer, filed Chapter 11, then Chapter 7 and layed of the remaining staff. I was furloughed, then layed off.

We sold our house and moved to Colorado.

We are staying in a rented house. I have a new great consulting job with a great young company.

I've lost track of how many houses we've seen, but we've made offers on three houses.

The First

The first was an amazing farm house at the base of the foothills, built in 1895 on 5 acres. It was a short sale and the owner did not want to sell. It is a beautiful property. The owner clearly loves it. The bank was forcing the short sale.

We made an offer. The listing agent called right away and said the bank's bottom line is a little higher. 'If you change the offer, it will be accepted.'

We changed our offer as suggested. The seller refused to acknowledge, counter or sign the offer. The selling agent did not return phone calls or emails. We never heard from the bank.

We decided to leave the offer on the table and started looking again.

This house is now listed with a new agent for the price we offered.

The Second

The second house was also an amazing farm house. This one is a little closer to town, near a lake, built in 1905 on 2.5 acres. It was completely set up with barns and fencing. A better set up for us and listed for less money.

We asked if they would be interested in an offer contingent on my having a job. They were not. I secured my great job a few days later.

Since we had now been looking at houses in earnest for 7 months and were living in a short-term rental. We made a clean offer. They countered.

They are trying to buy a short-sale and have decided if it doesn't go through, they are not selling. We told them we definitely wanted to buy a house and to call us if the short-sale was going through.

They called us a week later saying it looked like it would be done in the next day or two. We scrambled to issue a new offer. The countered the same a few days later, but rescinded it almost as soon as they submitted it. They stopped returning phone calls.

We've since learned they accepted another offer.

The Third

It's 1974 and it's awesome. 3.2 acres just outside of town. Barn, shop and pasture. Great house in great condition. We are under contract. The inspection was completed last week. We close in five weeks.

I'll write more about this house as we move through the process of purchasing it.

Lessons Learned
  • Horses Allowed does not equal Alpacas Allowed
  • Most Real Estate Agents identify every place as residential. Even if it's 40 acres way out in the country and actually zoned open.
  • It's very easy to call the county and find out what the zoning is by address.
  • Zoning that allows alpaca are Agriculture, Farming and Open.
  • Alpacas are usually considered livestock and rarely identified separately when considering zoning.
  • Each county has different zoning laws for the same zoning rating.
  • Three adjacent counties allow for 20, 50 and 4 alpacas per acre if zoned Agriculture.
  • Yes, I meant 50 and 4.
  • A single story house usually has a bunch of stairs to the front door and a basement.


  • I don't understand why selling agents don't check the easy data.
  • I don't understand how stairs and a basement qualify as single level.

Our search would have been easier if could have reliably searched on zoning and number of stories.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

30 Day Habit: After 7 Days

Last week I decided to start a new habit... daily stretching.

A few things I've learned, or probably already knew but had forgotten:

* time of day matters
* sequence of events matters
* location matters

I chose to make stretching my new daily habit. I used to be very flexible but am not so today.

I decided that I would stretch every morning before I showered.

The First Day: On my initial stretch, I can bend over and touch the floor with my finger-tips. If I reach, I can just touch my thumb to the floor. I feel very tight. After about 20 minutes of stretching, I can reach two inches further. My palms are not on the floor yet, but will be soon.

Day Two: I had to leave for the airport at 4 am, so I decided to do a very short session reaching for my toes in the morning with the major session after I checked into my hotel that evening.

Days Three thru Five: Very smooth. Each morning I woke up and completed my new stretching routine.

Day Six: I completely forgot to stretch in the morning. I got home from my trip very late the night before and my husband is out of town. So my routine was doubly out of order. I finally remembered late in the evening when I was thinking about this blog and the posts I had planned to write. I guess sometimes it's a good thing to tell the "world" you're going to do something.

Day Seven: Thanks to my goofup on day six, I remembered to stretch and did it first thing in the morning.

After one week of daily stretching, I haven't noticed a significant change in my initial morning flexibility. I do seem to loosen up more quickly and my back feels less tight during the day.

I'm anxious for the day that I can put my whole hand on the floor first thing in the morning.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Alpaca - Bunny Smackdown: Part 3

The Results: Visit vtknitboy's blog post and the Fiber Arts Friday Carnival to see the official results of the Alpaca - Bunny Smackdown.

Go ahead. I'll wait. :-)

My Lessons Learned, Alpaca:

  • The thinner/smaller rolags spin more easily.
  • The rolags contribute to a fuzzy yarn.
  • The alpaca should have been picked. - I was unable to remove remaining vegetable matter due to the rolags having the fibers laying over each other (laterally) rather than aligned in the direction of spinning (longitudinally).
  • The resulting yarn is very soft and fuzzy.

My Lessons Learned, Angora:

  • The angora is very fine and slippery.
  • I had trouble with the thread breaking, so after reading @vtknitboy's post today, I will try to spin it tighter next time.
  • Since this was my first time spinning from a "loosely held clump," it was a little challenging. I think it would have been easier if the angora was carded. However, due to it's fineness, I was concerned about felting. Perhaps if I had a pair of cotton carders, I would have tried.
  • A very patient state of mind is necessary when spinning angora.
  • The resulting yarn is extremely soft and has a large halo.

How I feel:
  • I completely enjoyed what the Alpaca - Bunny Smackdown became.
  • I learned more about angora and got to spin it. I was able to compare the alpaca and angora fibers side-by-side.
  • I made stronger friendships with @sheepmama, @vtknitboy and @alpacafarmgirl.
  • I met a whole lot of fiber people on Twitter and therefore a bigger world of ideas is now available.
  • I learned that Hubba (Mr. Alpacamundo) really likes bunnies. Not sure if that means we'll be adding angora to our fiber farm, but it's not impossible.
  • Finally, now that I've had the opportunity to experience both fibers side-by-side, I am more inclined to add angora to a roving of alpaca. I have a lustrous white cria fleece that it may go nicely with. Or there's one of my old-lady fleeces to make it a little softer.

This smack down has broadened my blogging horizon. I have found blogger to be challenging to use on the formatting side. I may need to find another client. If anyone has good experience with other blogging tools, I would love to hear about it.

What's Next?

Since the last couple of years have been all about learning new skills, I have plans to make a quilt assembled from my experiments. My first hand-spun, first plied yarn, weaving, knitting, crochet... a compilation of all the little things I've tried.

I intend to ply the smackdown alpaca with the smackdown angora and add it to my experiment quilt.

Thank You:

A huge thank you to @vtknitboy. Who agreed to judge our crazy little competition. Please show him some love at his brand new Etsy shop. This is a great place to find some beautiful hand-spun yarn in all sorts of varieties.

A big hug to @sheepmama. Without you, there would have been no smackdown.

Then, of course there's @AlpacaFarmGirl who brought the smackdown to a HNL (wHole Nother Level). There's still time to enter the giveaways... alpaca/angora bat, raw angora fiber and royal baby alpaca yarn.

Finally, there's everyone on twitter and the Alpaca Farm Girl Blog who joined in and enjoyed the smackdown as much as we did. You guys are awesome.

Thank you.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

It takes 30 days to make a habit?

I read a post yesterday by Katy over at Alpaca Farm Girl and it got me thinking... What a good idea. Do something small every day that's good for you.

I spend a lot of time in a chair; in front of a computer, in a car, on a plane, waiting for a plane, knitting, spinning, reading. My hips and hamstrings are outrageously tight.

So in small-way-sister-solidarity, I've decided to stretch. I will stretch every morning starting today, August 2nd, so hopefully by August 31st it will be automatic.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


I love books.

I know many people say that print is dead, or on the road to dead. But I can spend hours in a book store.

For me there is nothing like a good book. I love the smell and feel of a book. I love the typeface and the white space. I love the possibility a new book provides. Because of this, I completely lose track of time when I visit a book store.

I usually go to find one specific book or a book on a specific subject. I find the appropriate section and scan the shelves noticing titles, fonts and colors. I open the books so I can look at and feel the pages with my fingers. I read the summary on the back jacket and then the first few pages. I read the blurb about the author and a few pages in the middle. I check out the table of contents and of course the price. I build a stack to bring home.

I especially love bookstores that have wood floors and tall wood shelves, comfy chairs amongst the books and an espresso bar. This enhances the wonderful sensory experience of being surrounded by books. But, there is little more satisfying than finishing a well written book.