Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rainy days!!

The rain today is such a welcome sight (for most of us). For all farmers hoping to get a good second cut hay, the rain is a must. Second cut hay is like green gold for farmers, it is what we all want to fill our barns with for winter. First cutting is much more coarse and for picky alpacas with a soft palate there tends to be more waste. This rain today is great because it will really soak into the ground. When you only have a brief heavy down pour from a passing thunderstorm most of the water runs off offering little relief to growing crops.
When I say the rain was a welcome site for most of us, it wasn't for my spring cria. The four boys (Storm, Blizzard, Ice, and Slide) were laying in the barn with their heads hanging out the door way. They looked like children who were just told that they couldn't go out and play.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Slow and Steady

Slow and Steady from goldentouch and Vimeo.

Here is a video of a praying mantis enjoying our new deck.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Helping the alpacas beat the summer heat!

Alpacas tolerate the cold temperatures much better than the heat so when temps are soaring along with the humidity we take extra measures to keep them as cool as possible. One of the first things we do is to be sure all of our alpacas have been shorn, their fiber is extremely insulating and would cause an alpaca to over heat very quickly. If you have ever worn alpaca socks you would understand why it is so important that all animals are shorn before the dog days of summer take hold. We also run fans in the barn to help circulate the air and be sure the barn floor is clean of hay as hay acts as an insulator. It is a must that they have access to shade and are not forced to stay in the beating sun. When we clear woodland for pastures we always saved some of the bigger trees so there would always be shade available. Lastly and the most favorite is to give belly hoses. Alpacas love the water and when it is extremely hot they come running to get their turn in front of the hose. When doing belly hosing it is important not to wet the top of the backs as the sun will create steam and this will make the alpaca much warmer. We only wet their undersides which they truly love.
Keep cool everyone!!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Shearing season ends with great excitment!

For the last 4 years Chris and I have sheared our own alpacas with Chris being the master shearer. I have been the assistant and handled all of the husbandry needs such as vaccines, nail trimming, worming injections, and teeth trimming. Our complimentary skills have made us a great team. I have always wanted to be able to shear with the confidence and skill that Chris has mastered but every time I picked up the shears I felt like I had a lethal weapon in my hand and was always happy to hand them back to Chris to let him finish the job.
Well this year things were different, when I picked up the shears they no longer felt like a lethal weapon. They actually felt comfortable in my hand and I was also confident with the alpacas anatomy. I sheared my first alpaca in record time with minimal second cuts (fiber that is). This was a great milestone for me and I look forward to shearing season next year as we plan on both shearing at the same time. Looks like it could get a little competitive.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Jr. Herd sires won't be called Jr. for long!

With Spring cria season behind us we have been busy working with our two new Jr. Herd sires. They eagerly began their breeding careers several weeks ago and it looks very promising. The girls they have bred continue to spit off any attempt at breeding, a very good sign for pregnancy. I will confirm the girls pregnancy by ultrasound just to be sure and when that happens we will drop the Jr. and they will graduate to Herd sire.

Cooler temps and gentle rain!

We have much appreciated this rain we have been getting last night and this morning. Normally we do not go into drought conditions this early in the season and when your trying to grow a new pasture the rain is a welcome site. I only wish the orchard grass we planted would grow as well as the weeds. Weeds seem to grow in any conditions and it is important to keep them at bay so it doesn't over shadow the newly planted grass. We have been monitoring this closely and if we have areas of weeds that are overbearing then we remove them with a hoe.

Monday, July 2, 2007

5 Short Farm Clips

There is a project at to make a video with 5 short clips that otherwise wouldn't be used. Here is our submission to the project.

Golden Touch Farm: 5 Vignettes from goldentouch and Vimeo.