Monday, October 29, 2007

Barn Worries

I just came in from doing morning chores and am worried about Lady Belita (that's her with her last cria, Pollux). She is acting very strange. Moaning a little but she's pretty verbal normally. She's laying down with her legs out to the side and not in the normal cush position. Remember, she's pregnant. If Smitty were home to hold her, I would probably give her a shot of Banamine to relax her, but I will just keep watching her for a while. She's acting a little like a horse does when he colics.

3:30 Update on Belita. I had the vet here. Took her temp., listened to her belly, checked gums for dehydration, and gave her Banamine - just like I would have done except I would have given it in her muscle 'cause I just can't seem to hit those veins. We also gave her some ProBio which is a probiotic to ease her stomach, sort of like yogurt. I was out to check her about 1/2 hour ago, took her halter off, and let her out of the barn. She still isn't normal. Just wants to lay around and is a little shaky. Will continue watching/hovering.

9:00 Lady Belita - At 5:00, we took Belita's temp and it was 97.3, which is quite low. Her gums felt dry. Worrying about dehydration, we syringed 2 cc of Pedialyte (not in spellcheck) into her mouth. Back out at 7:00-temp up to 98.5, gave her another 2 cc of Pedialyte. Seems more alert and no shaking, ate a little hay. BTW, a normal temperature is about 100, 101.

Vet Russ is stopping here at 8 tomorrow a.m. before he does some herd health at a nearby cattle barn. I will go out and check her just before I go to bed tonight.

...and I have a sore throat. Feels like I won't need to chew food today because the razor blades in my throat will masticate it enough. I haven't had a sore throat since I quit smoking a little over a year ago. poor me.

I have been really lucky lately in getting Treasuries on Etsy. Treasuries are when a curator, that's me, gathers pictures from other Etsy stores and presents them to the world. Below is a link to my latest.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gunny Alpaca Training - continued

First of all, I'm very pleased to announce that I haven't been spit on since that first day. In fact, the little darling hasn't even made the hawky, throaty noise that is a threat.
Yesterday he wore his halter with a short rope dangling. Even though I worried about him, he also wore it all night.
This morning after his breakfast, I tied him up! Yep, for about an hour. I wanted to use a bungee cord so that it would give some when he did his rearing and pulling but didn't have one. So I rigged up an old elastic trailer tie that I had used for hauling horses around. He did do considerable thrashing but never really got himself into trouble. I could keep my eye on him while I was cleaning the horse stalls, but managed to stay out of sight. I wanted him to think I wasn't involved and he would learn to give to the pressure. worked! When I put a lead on him and released the trailer tie, we actually went for a little walk out side with no rearing and pulling. YEA!
I'll continue tying him up for a couple of days until he thinks our walks are fun.
BTW, that's a picture of his awesome fiber all spun up......
☼ ☼
Pam, look, I put the picture where I wanted it. Thanks for your help!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fricke Yarn Winder

My two favorite spinning friends are my Fricke yarn winder and my Woolee Winder so thought you might want to see them. I originally wound my yarn onto a knitty knoddy (that doesn't look right), but my arm, hand, and shoulder would be screaming. Arithitis doesn't favor repetitive motion. I ordered this winder from Fricke, and ♥ love ♥ it. It had a counter that I managed to break in the first month but it is easy to count the yardage because each revolution is 2 yards.
I guess I should have said my three favorite spinning friends are shown here because that's my Cassie girl in the background.
Talking about this reminds me that I have a brand new knitty knoddy, or however the hell you spell it, hanging in it's denim bag in the basement. Think I will try to sell it in my Etsy shop. Hmmm, off to dust it off.......

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

SpitFace Gunny Is Forgiven

Gunny Fiber

This is what came in my mail today. Three pounds of beautiful baby alpaca (Gunny) roving processed at Suzanne Pufpaff's mill. You are so totally forgiven, Gunny Boy! You even get a few free spits for this fiber.
I have already weighed out a couple of ounces 'cause I can't wait to start spinning it. I spent a lot of time cleaning the VM out of this fleece before I mailed it out to be processed. As many of you know cria fleeces are like velcro to dirt and debris. Those embryonic tips pick up and hold everything.
These colors are awesome. They range from a very, almost white/gray to a very dark, almost black/gray. And, of course, all colors in between. Can't you just imagine?
The picture below is of the boys putting Gunny in his place.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Alpaca Training

This is Gunny, the little dear that was given to us about a month ago. He's a year old and weighs a little over a hundred pounds. He has had no training and very little handling. Yesterday I decided that it's time for Gunny to get to charm school. Oh, my, it took my 200 pound husband and myself (ample weight here too) just to get a halter on him. That was after I received my very first ever alpaca spit in the face from him. Yuck! it's really stinky, probably from that second or third stomach.....A leisurely walk down the road was out of question. He leaped and drug me around a small pen for about 5 minutes. I figured that was enough for the first time (for both of us), and I really did need a shower.
This morning I managed to sneak his halter on without his really getting upset. Yea! I hung a small, 2 foot lead from it so that I can get a hold of him later. He is going to wear this all day to get used to it. Of course, I am checking frequently 'cause I have this horrible vision of his getting his hind foot caught in the halter when he does a face scratch.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Handspun, Handdyed Alpaca Yarn from Polaris & friends

In spite of felting the roving a little, this yarn came out quite soft. I plied the dyed single with a single that I spun from dark fawn Polaris and ended up with 204 yards, which is considerably less than I thought I would get. It weighs 4 ounces and averages 10 wraps per inch which is considered bulky. The dyed fiber fought me some and just wouldn't be consistent. Hence, we have here an unintentional Thick N Thin yarn.
More views of this yarn can be seen in my Etsy shop.

(thanks for your awesome golden brown fiber♥)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

My dear friend Cary and I did a dyeing workshop last Saturday uptown at the SipNKnit yarn shop. Well, actually we were upstairs over the yarn shop, in what used to be a dance studio. Was a really great place because we had lots of open space.
I've been so pleased that I have been able to dye my alpaca roving and maintain the yummy softness of alpaca that Cary encouraged me to teach the crockpot/roving method. Well, I goofed. I didn't over cook the demo roving. Nope, I was in such a hurry to get the next person dyeing that I abused my fiber. I usually let the roving cool completely in the pot and then handle it VERY gently. At the workshop, I dumped it into a drainer in the sink while it was still hot, and before it was cool, started rinsing (way too vigorously!). This resulted in a rather harsh, hard to spin fiber. You can see it above ↑. It looks fine and will probably be a nice yarn. I'm going to ply it with Polaris, which is a very soft, golden brown and I should end up with about 350 yards.
We are planning another workshop and I have learned a good lesson here. Slow down! Be patient!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sonata Not Pregnant

Not good news tonight. Sonata is in western Michigan at Gosnell's Irish Valley Farm to be bred. They thought she was pregnant but the ultrasound yesterday says NO. We'll leave her there through the weekend to try again and then bring her home. I really miss this little darling. She's our super friendly, visitor greeter who loves Spearmint Life Savers. I'm really anxious to get her home.
Good news - 6 weeks with Weight Watchers and minus 6 pounds.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Alpaca, Merino, Silk, Handdyed Yarn

It has been a while since I posted something that I have made. I think that this yarn is really nice. The gray roving that is the foundation is a combination of black alpaca, Beringer, and light fawn alpaca, Celeste, and white Merino from genopalatte.

As I was spinning each single, I held and added the colored silk that I had dyed last spring. I just had to knit a little swatch before I skeined it up and, oh, my, did it ever feel good in my hands. Unfortunately, when I took a picture of the swatch, I had forgotten to replace the memory stick, and didn't realize it until I pulled the knitting out.

Was kind of a bad morning because I took the skein outside to photograph, came back in and realized that I had left the lens cap on. If you want to see more pictures of this yarn and the alpacas that grew it, look here.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Sickly Alpacas

Oh, my, these are the two boys, Orion & Polaris, that we took to the show and they came home with very snotty noses. Now all seven of the boys are sneezing and snotting. I haven't really felt the need to call our vet because I'm not really hearing any nasty wheezing. Temperatures seem normal. Now you horse folks know how really unpleasant that nasal yuck is, but even though this is sort of thick, it's not nearly as offensive as horse snot.
I had an email from a friend who said that she saw the vet at the show giving antibiotic shots to a farm's alpacas with like symptoms. I wonder how many alpacas got infected there.
I also wonder if it's not just a good idea to stay home. These same two boys came home from the spring show with diarrhea.
I still can't put these pictures where I want them. Pam said she would help me one of these days.