Saturday, September 29, 2012

Introducing: Alpacamundo's Pearl

Today was a much warmer day, with a less dramatic story.

Hubba was working with the dogs and Holly this morning while I did the regular chores.

I saw that Kocoa was feeling uncomfortable and was cushed off to the side, away from the commotion of puppies and cria.  I didn't think too much of it since I was not expecting her to deliver for at least 3 more weeks.  She's the reason that I'm not joining Hubba on his trip to Japan at the end of next month.

I did give Keyla an exam this morning to confirm she was not likely to deliver today.

Hubba and I then went to the Farmer's Market, came home and checked that everyone was still ok.  I layed down to take a nap since the dogs had kept us up most of the night and then Hubba tells me "there's another one."

In my half-asleep stupor, "Another one what?"

He said "A white one!  There's a white alpaca running around the corral!"

Queue Cartoon Head Shake

I jumped up and ran outside.  He was already to the corral.  I yelled "Whose is it?"

He said, "I think, Kocoa's, but I"m not sure yet."

Sure-enough, Keyla is still very pregnant and Kocoa has a beautiful little white girl.  :-)

As I mentioned, she was already up and running around when we found her.  She is warm, dry and has been nursing.  This is a much more typical birthing experience... at least from the human side.  ;-)

We're feeling very blessed.  Two healthy girls in two days.  :-)

Pearl is very likely out of our grey, Smokey's Bandit at Pastoral Profits, but may also be out of our light fawn, Blue Mesa Yoda.  Enchanted Sky's Kocoa Moon is her momma.  Pearl is Kocoa's fourth cria.

Happy Birthday Alpacamundo's Pearl.  Welcome to the world.  :-)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Introducing: Alpacamundo's Holly

It was chilly, damp and overcast this morning.  So much fog that we could only see a few hundred feet.  I did as I normally do... answered a few emails, made sure my software tools were working properly and that there were no big issues going on.  I did a few other day job related things, then went out to complete my farm chores.

Frieda has been uncomfortable for the last several weeks.  I gave her an exam last Sunday which confirmed she was still at least several days from delivering.  But this morning, she was especially uncomfortable and all of the right things were swollen and elongated in all of the right places.

I sent a text to Hubba telling him that I thought Frieda would deliver either today or tomorrow.  He texted me back asking if I ever heard of the little girl who cried "wolf!"?  But then cut his errand-running short and came home.

He agreed that she was in labor and a few minutes later we saw the nose and toes starting to poke out.

He collected the dogs while I watched Frieda to make sure everything was progressing and finish cleaning up the corral.

Things were going along just fine, then I saw that the left leg was not fully presented.  The cria was stuck!

I made Hubba hold Frieda while I pushed the cria back and got both legs loose.  (Yes, my hand was up in there.)  We let her continue but then the cria was gasping for air and Frieda was no longer pushing.  I intervened again, was able to rotate the cria enough to pull her out.

Frieda was pretty exhausted and not very interested in the cria at first.

As I said, it was a chilly morning and the cria was shivering.  So I got a few towels and eventually a hair dryer to dry the little one off and warm her up.  It was only when I started the hair dryer that Frieda was concerned about what I was doing and that perhaps that I was doing her job.

So I backed off and let Frieda tend to her new little one.

By this time the sun had burned off the fog and everything was just a little warmer.

The cria is a fighter and got up to her feet rather quickly.  It took her a little time to figure out which alpaca was momma and Frieda was not too excited about the whole nursing thing.  So again, I got Hubba to hold her, guided the cria to the milk bar and held Frieda's back-end so the cria could drink.

It took a little more time, but the two of them have figured it out now.

Intervention during an alpaca birth is rarely necessary.  This was my first time.  I am grateful to have been there at the exact right time and grateful to have had Neo-Natal training.  It all came back very clearly and I was able to calmly do what I needed to do.

The two of them are doing well now.

All of the dogs have met her, but it will be another day or two until we leave them all together, unsupervised.  This is only Wonton and Noodle's second experience with cria and the two of them, especially Noodle, are still a bit rambunctious for me to feel comfortable.

She is out of our grey, Smokey's Bandit at Pastoral Profits, and Alpacamundo's Frieda.  She is Frieda's first cria.

We have decided to call her Holly... Alpacamundo's Holly.  :-)

Fiber Arts Friday: Wingspan, part 5

I must admit that with the Day Job in overdrive and canning season in full-swing, I have not had much time or energy for fibering...

I've only managed two halves of a wedge on my Wingspan in the last month or so..  It's a good thing it's a very, simple pattern, since that's about all my mind can handle right now.  ;-)

I hope you enjoy your Fiber Arts Friday.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Breakthroughs and Setbacks

The last couple of months my fitness routine has seen both breakthroughs and setbacks.

Breakthroughs in that my back bends have returned.  I can bend backward from many positions and am actually seeing the wall (or floor or ceiling) behind me. :-)

Setbacks in that my day job has gone into overdrive.  My client announced a re-organization and layoff in August.  Several of my points of contact were layed off, included the person I worked most with.  So in the ramp-up of "preparing to Go-Live" with software tool improvements, I've been mostly on my own.  Which means I have been working even more hours than usual during the Pre-Go-Live period.  Which also means that I have missed a lot of yoga classes in the last couple of months.

Prior to the layoff, I started seeing a Massage Therapist that Hubba's Coach recommended.  She has been working on my hip and been able to get into the Psoaz and Iliacus muscles which have been causing most of my pain.

When I do make it to class, I feel strong.  But I feel I will continue to miss classes for the next few weeks.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Food: Apples with my Momma

I've been making applesauce pretty much every weekend for a month.  It's been slow going with just 4 or 5 pints per session since the first weekend.

So my Momma came over last weekend to help me make a dent on our apples.

Over 2 days we think we peeled more than 30 pounds of apples.  We aren't exactly sure since we only did the weighing after the peeling and trimming had been completed.

We made 4 batches of applesauce, 1 batch of apple butter and 1 batch of apple jelly that over-jelled and became apple candy instead.

making pectin

one jar of over-jelled apple jelly

saved and turned into powdered-sugar covered apple candy

I had a good time spending most of the weekend with my Momma.

19 pints of applesauce and 12 1/2pints of apple butter

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cria Watch - 2012

Several weeks ago we noticed that our near-term Dams are starting to look pregnant... just a bit more triangular, a little hollow near their hip bones and a lower belly.

Alpacas are silent about how they're feeling, so watching for the little differences is very important.  Of course I have fallen into the trap of seeing things that aren't there before, but this time we know for sure that we are expecting 3 cria in October.

We now are on Official Cria Watch, although we have been watching our Dams for the last couple of weeks, especially Frieda.  This is her first time being pregnant and she seems quite uncomfortable with what's going on.

Apple (newly pregnant, fingers crossed), Frieda (due in October)
and Keyla (due in October) in the background

The good news is that Keyla is due on the same day as Frieda and has been around this block more than a few times.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fiber Arts Friday: Shaving my Woolens

It's no secret that I like to make hats.  One look at my Ravelry project page reinforces that assertion.  But of all those hats I've made, only one is mine.

I wear it a lot during the spring and fall.  It's not really warm enough to wear in the heart of winter.

It was very enjoyable to make... a loosely spun merino single... very squooshy and I love the color, but it had become very pilly.

I started plucking it, but then I decided to try shaving it.

Which worked much better.

How do you keep your woolens looking polished?

Happy Fiber Arts Friday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


It started raining yesterday evening, continued through the night and rained most of the day today.

I had mentioned rain back in July.  The weather people had thought our monsoons were starting, but the truth is we had 4 days of rain and nothing since.

Today, I had to wear my big boots while doing the farm chores.  Not because it was cold, but because it was muddy.

I love the rain.  :-)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Garden: Tomatoes and Onions

My tomatoes are doing better.

There are a few Romas and a few Heirlooms, but mostly there are these tiny-little Juliets.  They're kind of like Cherry-Romas.  They grow in a cluster like Cherry Tomatoes, but are shaped like Romas.  They're tasty and meaty, but but not really worth turning into sauce.  At least in my opinion they're not.  If I had a food mill, I might feel differently.  ;-)

Hubba's been snacking on them and I plan to take some to Knit Night to share this week.

Our onions are small, but very potent.  I suspect I should have planted them earlier.

The thing I'm excited about is my new, future garden.  :-)

our property ends right before the trees

Hubba and I have decided to turn the front parking lot into a veggie garden.  :-)

We had been talking about putting in a planter box for blueberries and raspberries along the road to the left and make the rest of the space grass and shade trees.  But with the ridiculously hot summer, I think Hubba has decided  that grass is too much work.  ;-)

Right now it's mostly Goat Heads because we generally don't use this space for our cars and have ignored it all summer.  The rock facade on the house faces west and this space becomes unbearably hot in the summer and fall.

I need to stake it out and then call for the line locates.  :-)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fiber Arts Friday: Recovered from Dog Saliva

Now that's a headline I never thought I would write.  lol.

If you recall, our very lovely and wonderful LGD's (Livestock Guardian Dogs) hatched a plan and successfully executed a llama-silk roving heist a couple of weeks ago.

Some bits were definitely felted, but most of the roving was usable.

The yarn has now had a bath, so any remnant dog saliva should be long gone.  ;-)

131 yards, 2 ounces

Happy Fiber Arts Friday.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Enjoying the Paralympics

Hubba and I have been enjoying the Paralympic coverage on

Aside from one morning where I messed up on the timezone math and missed the event I wanted to see by an hour, we've been getting up early to see some events.

After the live coverage, the Paralympic Broadcast is posted to YouTube on the ParalympicSportTV channel.

There have been so many amazing things put forth, but one in particular is the men's T54 (wheelchair) 5000m Final.  This is Hubba's class, so we know something about most of these guys.

The race starts at about 3:16 into this video.

The 5000m on the track is a chess game.  It's all about knocking the others off balance and being in the right place at the right time.

One of my favorite athletes to watch is Kurt Fearnley of Australia.  He is so relaxed and patient while he's racing and hometown boy, David Weir, won gold in front of a packed house.  Definitely an event to watch.

If you scroll back to 2:37 then you can also see the amazing Oscar Pistorius be surprised by the young Brazilian athlete, Alan Oliveira, in the 200m.

In my mind, there is little better for the Paralympic Movement than seeing the brilliant Blade Runner, who did so well at the Olympics, have real competition at the Paralympics.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Slow Living: August 2012

It's hard to believe it's September already.  Our nights are getting cooler and the leaves are starting to change.  I heard the weather reporter say that today may be the last one in the 90's for the year.  I hope they're right. I'm ready for this brutal summer to become lovely fall.

So on to my August's installment for the Slow Living Project.  :-)

NOURISH: Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch overpackaged, over-processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead. Share favourite links/recipes/tips from the month here.

Lots of Farmer's Market and Garden produce this month and a whole lot of home made peach jam on just about everything.

Fresh Farmer's Market "Peaches and Cream" Corn

Hubba also made a very memorable Colorado-inspired Jamaican Feast one night... Jerked Beef (top sirloin), (green) peas and rice and an oven roasted sweet potato.  Not exactly Jamaican Jerk, but it sure was tasty and reminded me of many, hot summer nights eating at a friend's restaurant so many years ago.

PREPARE: Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season. Aim to reduce dependency on store bought items especially those known to contain BPA and other suspect additives. Stocking up on dry goods when prices are low counts too.

Canning season has started.  First up was Palisade Peaches.  Quickly followed by homegrown apples and more homegrown apples.

Apples are one of the few things that are doing well for us this summer.  :-)

I am making plans for canning pumpkin and still hopeful that I will have enough tomatoes for saucing.

We also made the first half of our annual hay buy.

REDUCE/Reuse/Re-purpose/Repair: Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing. A ladder into a strawberry planter? A sheet into a dress? Share ideas and project links here, allowing others to be inspired.

I have been filling old and donated canning jars with tasty goodness.  I have only had to purchase a few cases and of course lots of new lids.

GREEN: up our lives. Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.

I had my first ever experience with Squash Bugs and resolved it with dish soap, water and diatomaceous earth.

GROW: plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden? Herbs in a pot, sprouts on a windowsill or and entire fruit/vegetable garden -opt for what fits space and time constraints. Don't have a backyard? Ask a friendly neighbour or relative for a small patch of theirs in return for some home grown produce, they may surprise you!

This month zucchini, cucumber, tomato, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, radish, beets, onions, okra and apples have all made it to our table.

We finished off the radishes and there are just a few remaining beets still  in progress.  Coming up soon are spaghetti squash, pumpkin, acorn squash, butternut squash and rutabaga.  :-)

We finished the breeding protocol for our both of our alpaca maidens, had a little more work to do and finished that this week.  It's now time to schedule our vet to come out for the ultrasounds.  Fingers Crossed that they are pregnant.

We will officially start our cria watch in about 2 weeks for our girls who are due in October, but Frieda is looking especially pregnant and uncomfortable.  I'm thinking she might deliver early.

CREATE: to fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others. Create something as simple as a handmade gift tag or something as extravagant as a fine knit shawl. Share project details and any new skills learnt here.

Not much going on here unless you count jam, butter, sauce and a small bit of knitting. ;-)

DISCOVER: Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests. Trawl libraries, second hand shops or local book shops to find titles that fill the need. Share titles/authors of what is being read this month.

I have learned a little about Pectin, Blossom End Rot and Squash Bugs.  I have also been spending a lot of time with these old books.

ENHANCE: community: Possibilities include supporting local growers and producers, help out at a local school/kindergarten, barter or foodswap, joining a playgroup or forming a walking or craft group. Car pooling where possible and biking/walking instead of driving. Even start up a blog if you haven't already - online communities count too! Or maybe just help out someone trying to cross the street! The rewards for your time are often returned tenfold.

I have given away some of the yummy goodness I've been canning.

ENJOY: Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment. Share a moment to be remembered from the month here.

An impromptu visit with a dear friend, a planned visit with cousins neither of which I've seen in a looooong time.  There was a trip to the County Fair and dinner with a new friend.  We enjoyed plenty of Olympic coverage and have been getting up early to watch some live Paralympic coverage online.

We also went to see President Obama speak at a nearby rally.

I hope you're enjoying the change of seasons and will consider joining in over at Slow Living Essentials.