Monday, June 30, 2008

Hats, Hats, and more Hats

For some reason I'm on a really, really big hat making kick. I'm averaging one every two days. I don't quite get this side of me. It's a little compulsive - like when I was making the Mobius Scarves. I can't wait to finish one so that I can get started on another. These are my own designs but I'm sure that I picked up the patterns somewhere in my past. Hopefully, I'm not really copying anyone. ♥ ♥ Remember, you can click to enlarge.

Etsy has really screwed up big time. They were adding new servers and somehow hundreds of us could not access Etsy. I wasn't able to get on from Friday afternoon until a couple of hours ago. Our provider, Casair in Stanton, MI, did some finagling for me this afternoon so that I could get in to my shop. Lots of bad feelings, negative energy over there so I'm staying away for a while. I just hope that no one tried to convo or buy from me in that time.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Granddaughters feeding Cria

Nikki brought the granddaughters up today to see Spot, well, and us too. Can you tell by their faces that they think the little guy is pretty special?
He's doing well. Will be two weeks old tomorrow.
Remember, just click on picture to enlarge.

Monday, June 23, 2008

"Spot, it's lunch time!"

This bottle feeding isn't all bad. You can imagine my smiles when I go out into the pasture and yell out, "Spot, it's time for lunch" and here he comes, leaving the girls and his buddies at a dead run.
We have rigged up a pen in the barn with a small opening so that he and the other young'uns can get in for constant access to supplement. I bought rolled, steamed oats yesterday and hope that he likes them. He is nibbling on grass and hay so I'm optimistic.

We are waiting for one more spring birth. This is Lady Belita on the left below ▼. Thought you might want to see what they look like very pregnant so I took this pict this morning. I have her due date marked on the calendar as this Wednesday, but she has looked huge like this for over a month. The big girl looking into the barn is Golden Shadow and that's little Chinella in between.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Alpaca Alert

I have had folks tell me that when danger is present, alpacas will surround the younger ones to protect them and that is what is happening in this picture. The neighbor's dog was in the field about 1/8 mile away and one of the girls sounded the alarm. It's sort of a high pitched - eeeek, eeek. They surrounded little Spot and Chinella, can you see them? They stayed like this for about 5 minutes until the dog was out of sight. Some of the fiber boys are on the left of the fence and the girls are on the right.

Spot update - he's still not nursing from Ariana but drinks 9 ounces of cow's milk with a little Activia 5 times a day. Feeding times are 8, 11, 2, 5, and 9. Stop by and hold the bottle...... He's pretty cute 'cause when I go out and call "Spot", he comes just a running. It's hard not to cuddle and fiddle with him but the experts say not to, he needs to be an alpaca and respect 2 leggeds.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cria becomes a bottle baby

First of all, the little guy has a name - Spot. He has a very light fawn spot on the top of his head that is very hard to see, but that's what I'm looking at when he is taking his bottle.

We have pretty much given up on any chance of his nursing from Ariana, she's sore and not letting him near her back end. But frankly, he gives no indication that he knows the milk bar is there.

Today was the first day that he actually took the bottle nipple into his mouth without my forcing his mouth open. Remember, today is his fifth day out in the world. At this feeding he drank 6.5 ounces of cow's milk and a dallop of Activia. When we weighed him yesterday, he had gained 1/2 pound so it looks like he may just make it.

We know that something is just not right and if he were in the wild, he would not survive. If he makes it through criahood, he definitely will become a neutered fiber guy. Although his conformation is excellent and his fiber is beautiful, we would never pass along what ever it is that is making him such a slow starter.

BTW, that's our handsome herd sire, Polaris, in the background ♥☺♥ And - I just know that you are all wondering why the Scranton sweatshirt. That's the university in Pennsylvania where my son, Rob, teaches. Proud mom here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cria Still Not Nursing from Mom

Born Saturday a.m. This picture is of the girls welcoming the little guy to our world. He doesn't look white because he's still wet here. He was about 2 hours old. Mom is Ariana, the girl with her head up. Whenever a cria is born, I think the rest of the girls take on kind of an Auntie role and help watch out for it and teach alpaca social rules.

He still isn't nursing from his mom, so we are milking mom and then bottle feeding him. The worse part is milking Ariana. She is sore and really doesn't like us fiddling around. We have an alpaca chute which we put her in that has belly bands to hold her up because she wants to cush. This morning Smitty milked 5 ounces which the little guy gobbled up. I'm having him teach me because it is tedious. Geeze, if my hands can spin they can surely milk an alpaca, wouldn'tcha think?

Mike, our vet, said to try for 3 days before we supplement, so we'll stay with it. In the meantime, I've been researching the best product to use. I'm thinking whole cow's milk with a glug of vanilla yogurt. It almost seems too easy, doesn't it? There are a ton of options like goat's milk and different powders that can be mixed up.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Two Alpacas Born on the Same Day

ABOVE ▲ Ariana's cria, white baby boy, 22.2 pounds (gestation 334 days), was born about 9 a.m. yesterday. I finished barn chores at 8:30, and went back out at 9:30. He was standing! Strong and healthy! But - after 5 hours, he still hadn't nursed. We called our vet. Mike came and while we were milking Ariana, Smitty noticed a nose sticking out of Celeste - a nose, no feet.

Thankfully, Mike was there, repositioned the baby, and delivered HER. Note I said HER, our second girl out of the 9 born here. We are estatic! ....and she's beautiful! She weighed 19.7 pounds, gestation - 349 days. Strong, healthy, and was nursing from her mom, Celeste, within a couple of hours. The picture below is Celeste, who by the way was the only other girl born here, and her delightful cria. I think that her color is a medium fawn.
I'm still quite stressed that the little white boy isn't nursing. When vet Mike called today, he said to try for three days before we give in to purchasing a milk replacement for him. So we will just keep trying to milk Ariana (which she has grown to hate) and bottle feeding the little guy. The good thing is that we did get that first colostrum from Ariana into him so his immune system should be healthy.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Successful Scarf Experiment

This little scarf was an experiment generated by my friend from Canada, Margaret. I wanted to see if I could make a lengthy scarf from a small amount of yarn. Yes! this is 3 to 4 inches wide, and 54 inches long, knit from 104 yards of my handspun. So here are the directions: I used US# 13 needles.
Cast on 40, knit 2 together (20), then knit 2 together again (10) for the cute little ruffle.
Continue knitting back and forth (garter stitch) until you have about 5 yards left. Increase in each stitch (20), and in each stitch again (40) and bind off.

This is the yarn that I used for the scarf. I spun this yarn back in March from an alpaca/merino blend. First a single, sort of thick and thin. I strung tiny pearls and gold beads onto a gold flecked Woolly Nylon thread and plied, randomly sliding the beads in as I went.

Friday, June 6, 2008

New Alpaca Welcome - Chinella

This little black girl, 9 month old Chinella, is being welcomed to our farm by her half brother, our herd sire, Polaris (they have the same daddy, Chin). Can you see the only white on her - her little milk mouth.
If you are thinking about purchasing alpacas or just want to visit a really nice well run farm, visit Kathy and Lew Kukla in Jackson, Michigan. They have beautiful animals that they love dearly and so enjoy talking about. Although their site isn't current (get on it, Kathy) you can take a look and make connections for a farm visit here - Luka's Alpaca Ranch I now have a business partner on this alpaca investment - Beth. She drove her van to Jackson and this is her son, John (our alpaca expert) and Chinella on the way home. Chinella cushed (alpaca's unique way of tucking their feet under to rest) all the way home and being the perfect little lady that she is, she didn't relieve herself until we got here.

Our four girls were quite aloof and acted half frightened of this little black thing thrown in their midst, but the boys welcomed her with kisses and much running, jumping, and showing off. The girls are on the left of the fence and the boys are on the right. Six of the boys are fiber alpacas (not able to reproduce) , and Polaris is our handsome, kind herd sire.
Have I mentioned that all four of our girls are pregnant. Two are due any day now, one later in the month, and Sonata, the brown girl above - behind grumpy, pregnant Lady Belita, is due in September.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Kristin's Faded Glory

This yarn is from some of my hand dyed alpaca/merino roving named Faded Glory that Kristin bought. She recently sent me this picture to see how lovely the yarn turned out. Take a look at her Etsy shop kcknits. She has some more of my fiber in her store.

Kristin is a stay at home mom to two, living in Denton, Texas, who recently discovered the joys of combining fibers to make beautiful yarn. She's now totally addicted to carding and spinning. Welcome to our world, Kristin.