Friday, May 10, 2013

Sliding Block Puzzel

It's a bit of a sliding block puzzle around here right now.

I have a small barn. Honestly, "barn" is a generous term. It's more like a loafing shed with doors, but small is correct. We store hay and feed in the barn. We shear in the barn. We cannot do both very well at the same time.

One bay is for hay, one bay is for alfalfa and the last bay is for feed and other supplies. As we approach shearing day everything gets moved into the hay bay because we shear in the alfalfa bay.

So it's a bit of a game to ensure that we don't have too much on hand and that we don't run out.

Generally we shear the last weekend in April, but this year my regular helpers were unavailable and everyone else I asked was also busy that weekend, so we rescheduled for next weekend.

The good news is that I shear our alpacas so I'm not tied to a traveling crew's schedule that has been booked since January. The bad news is that I'm dependent on my friends being able (and willing) to help.

I also have local shearing clients which means my available weekends were also limited, but fortunately, I have some wonderful friends who will be helping us out next weekend... three weeks later than originally planned.

It turned out to be a blessing in that we got a huge amount of snow and a hard freeze of +11F a few days after the original planned shearing day... both of which would have been difficult with 16 freshly nekkid alpacas.

The scary part is that I planned our hay purchases for shearing day at the end of April and not the middle of May.

I have ~5 weeks of alfalfa still in stock, so we're good there. The part that's giving me heartburn is that I have only about 8 days of hay left and we are shearing in 8 days.

It doesn't make sense to have hay delivered this week because I won't have a place to shear if I take on a whole load. So I'm resigning myself to a few trips to the feed store over the next few days to bridge us until I can schedule a delivery for after shearing day.

I look forward to having a proper barn and hay storage one day and perhaps even our own hay field too.

Happy Spring!  :-)


Carol said...

Your alpaca ranch is quite a responsibility; getting everything timed right and dealing with the weather. Hope it all works out well this spring. You are getting all the snow now and out here at Lake Tahoe we have had a very mild winter and spring.

Natalie said...

ha ha ha. I guess it's all about perspective. From over here, your barn looks positively MASSIVE to me, but then I am in the city and have to cram all of my gardening supplies into a small shed that is shared with the boys' bikes, golf clubs, random assortment of sports gear, and a broken power washer (?). Granted, I have no animals to take care of and feed...Your barn is part of my "some-day dream". Thanks for the morning chuckle...