Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cria Naming Contest Winner!!!!!! Astra

Drum Roll please - Here he is - Astra
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Thank you so much for all the suggestions, friends. My first choice was Andromeda until I remembered "she" was the Princess who was saved from the sea monster by Perseus. Our next girl will be Andy, I'm sure.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
This is what my cyber friend Marianne submitted:
Marianne said...
Astra is my name for the new baby...it refers to the Kansas official motto Ad astra per aspera which means "through difficulties to the stars"...which somehow makes me think of your own difficulties losing Smitty and how you have hope and a great family and a new star being born. Much love!

Let me know what you would like from my store, Marianne. Congratulations. Find $25 worth of "stuff".

I'm going to leave all those names up for a while for everyone to enjoy.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Beth Saves the Day - Another Alpaca Emergency

Here's little Libra getting his lunch at noon. Folks, I took 17 pictures to get this one good one. Realize that I'm straddling him with our buttes up against the fence, bottle in left hand, and camera in right. He's drinking 4 ounces of Whole Cow's Milk + a little Vanilla Yogurt 4 times a day now and is starting to gain weight. He hasn't given up on Sonata Mom and tries to get a little from her also.

So you're saying, what about the Emergency in the title. Doc Russ called yesterday to report on Sonata's blood work. It looked bad, really bad, and indicated there might be some liver involvement with hepaticlipodosis (this spelling is probably way off). You can imagine how I panicked after dealing with Smitty's liver this summer. I called Buddy Beth and she was here in minutes with her van to make a run to Michigan State's Vet School. Anticipating leaving the 'pacas there, I gathered up Libra's bottles, milk, yogurt, and a couple Diet Cokes. Sonata had never loaded into a van, but followed her baby right in.
The staff there was wonderful - again. After we clarified the misunderstanding that Sonata has, in fact, been eating, everyone relaxed and we discussed why her blood work might be skewered. Maybe because I wormed her last week and gave her a CDT injection, plus she does had an infection, possibly from her dystocia (assisted delivery). And, of course, Sonata's weight problem. The staff was rather sweet saying she is heavy and Rubenisque. No, she is just plain FAT.
We came home with $86 worth of Naxcel, an antibiotic, and $120 worth of Domperidone which is a paste that "might" increase Sonata's milk production. I'm hoping the Domperidone works but in the mean time, really don't mind doing the bottle feeding. Remember little Spot. http://northstaralpacas.blogspot.com/2008/07/spot-bottle-alpaca-minor-miracle.html

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Contest Reminder & Another Vet Visit

This is a reminder of the Name Goldie's Cria Contest that will end October 1st, which is next Wednesday. The names that have been submitted are listed on the right - remember, it must be something star/sky related. Winner can pick $25 worth of stuff from my Etsy store.
Scroll down to last week for details.....

This morning was horribly busy. Sonata, brown momma shown below, was lethargic and didn't want to get up. Her cria, Libra, was born a week ago Friday and weighed 13.6 pounds. Here it is a week later and he weighs only 13.3 pounds. Something was drastically wrong, so I called dear Doc Russ, our vet. He was here in half an hour. Momma Sonata has no visible signs of illness but is producing minimal milk for the little guy. We gave her a big dose of Penicillin thinking she might have an infection, although her temperature is nice and low. I ran to town and picked up some whole Vitamin D milk and added a dallop of vanilla yogurt. Got about an ounce into little Libra. I will continue the Pennicillin injections with Sonata and trying to get some milk into Libra. Send some good energy out to these two......

Libra and Sonata at hay rack. Following is what my friend Maryanne sent to me and the reason we named the little guy Libra.

because the two boys were born during the Libra part of the zodiac cycle and
Libra men - are almost too popular with women; they have a rare ability to relate to women on a feminine level;they have great personal charm and elegance; it's hard to pick a fight with a Libra - they love stability and balance, and will go out of their way to steer clear of upsetting influences. A libra male is the diplomat of the zodiac - the one who will strike a balance between what you want and what he wants - AND Lovemaking is the Libra man's favorite activity! so a Future stud for your farm!! Love with a Libra male is supposed to be an erotic experience! so watch out girls!!

Thanks, Maryanne...... I'm going to be looking for a Libra, I'm thinking ☺

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hand knit Alpaca Socks

Nothing feels as nice on our feet as handknit socks! Make them from alpaca and merino and you definitely have happy feet. VermontKnitBoy, Chris made these socks for me. He assured me that the yarn that I sent him is not sock yarn because it is loosely spun and that I shouldn't advertise it as a sock yarn. I do sell this yarn in my shop. But let me tell you, Chris, I love the way these feel. I live in my Birkys so you know they will get lots of wear.

Thank you, Chris, thank you. Can you folks see the V of garter stitch down the top, and the really neat basket weave ribbing? I cherish these socks and am planning on wearing them to bed tonight. Did I say thank you, Chris?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Last Cria of the Year Born Yesterday

All my fiber friends who love Sonata's fiber, look at this: a miniture Sonata only he's a boy, born yesterday at noon, weighs only 13.4 pounds but is doing fine. I so worried about her, she's overweight, the barn Diva, loves people and I seriously, didn't think that she would take to her baby. But, oh my, the motherly instinct has kicked in and she is very attentive. Her milk is coming in and she lets him nurse whenever he wants.
Contest Seekers - scroll down to last Wednesday's entries.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It May Be a Poopy World but...

.... neighbors like Dean and Billy make it beautiful!
We are a little clump of three houses set in the middle of our mile, sort of isolated, but not really. Neighbor Dean comes over every Thursday and spreads my manure for me. I still can't drive that tractor and, frankly, it scares me to try right now. I know that I will get my courage up soon. Remember, the riding lawn mower was a huge challenge.
Neighbor Billie has been watching out for me for the last 2 months. She has done some amazing things like pick Smitty's little tomatoes and take them up to the funeral lunch. She's cleaned my garage and kept people informed for us when Smitty was so sick. The list of kind deeds could go on forever. Yesterday I called her when the cria was about to be born. We didn't have to do much to help, but she was there for moral support.
♥ ♥ ♥
Before Smitty died he asked me what we could ever do to repay and thank these neighbors/friends. It's an impossible task! I just hope that I can somehow pass love and kindness on to others.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Name the Cria Contest

An event in my pasture this a.m. A light fawn boy weighing 17 pounds was born at 9:30. That's his mom, Golden Shadow, standing behind him. He is still wet in this picture that was taken about 11 o'clock.
Names are always a big deal to me because it seems like there must be a perfect one. Why not have a contest? Whoever submits the name that I pick can choose $25 worth of stuff in my Etsy store.
Of course we need some rules:
1. Must be star/heavenly bodies related because our farm name is NorthStarAlpacas
2. Cannot be a name that we have already used. Residents born on the farm are: Celeste, Orion, Polaris, Mira, Lyra, Galactico, and Pollux.
3. Contest will end in 2 weeks - October 1st, and I will announce the winner here on my blog.

Goldie is telling everyone one to stay away from her baby while he's learning to stand.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Yummy Alpaca and Merino

I bought this colorful merino from Jennifer who lives in Columbus, Ohio. Visit her shop at The Laughing Rat Studio http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=7231 I also bought some of the loveliest sachets that I have ever seen/smelled.
If I remember correctly, Jennifer and I first got acquainted through our blogs. I was fascinated that she actually had pet rats. Visit her blog here http://laughingratstudio.blogspot.com/

I thought Jennifer's roving would work perfectly with Polaris's dark fawn fiber. Sorry, Chris, you can't really have it all to yourself.
Can you see in this picture that I held them next to each other as I spun? Polaris sort of overpowers the colors, but they do show through very subtly. I will spin another single the same way and then ply them together. The yarn is amazingly soft.

My life is starting to resemble my old routine of spinning for a couple of hours in the morning, and then again at night while I'm watching t.v.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sick Alpaca Getting Better

Aw, there he is, friends, our Lars is grazing again. You can probably click on the picture to get a better look. This is my view from the kitchen and deck. It warms the cockles of my heart.....

Behind him is a pasture for the fiber boys and way out there are the girls and their cria. Behind them is our corn field which is supposed to have a great yield this year - that means $s to me.

The farmer (Dave Eckelbarger) who plants our fields has been a great care taker of our land, and he's very careful what he puts near the critters. He has always been right there to help if we have tractor or manure spreader repairs. I feel very confident that he will continue to take care of me. Well, actually he made a special trip over to tell me just that.

Life is good!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sick Alpaca

I'm so worried about Lars (Polaris) that I woke up at 4 this morning and had to go out to the barn to check on him. In three months he has lost 40 pounds and is constantly drooling and foaming from his mouth. I think that he has just about stopped eating. Two and a half weeks ago I had Vet Russ out to examine him. He drew blood, removed a little loose tooth, snipped off his fighting teeth, and got a stool specimen. The specimen indicated that he had some stomach worms so I dosed him for 3 days and have been giving him GastroGuard twice a day. He's just not getting better and he's annoyed that I'm shoving medicine into his mouth so it's getting harder for me to handle him by myself.
I'm going to call the vets' office as soon as they open. I'm thinking that I may have to hook up the trailer and haul him to Michigan State.
Sick Alpaca update: Vet Russ stopped by about noon to look at our boy again and suggested that we take him to Michigan State. Beth ran home and got her van and dear Lars jumped right in. He stood up all the way there and back home, humming the whole way, so he must be pretty tired tonight. Sparing you a long story, they x-rayed his head and found 3 teeth on the lower right abscessed with bone degeneration under them. Poor guy must have been uncomfortable. No wonder he lost so much weight. Must have really hurt to try to eat.
Treatment is rather simple - 9 cc of an antibiotic every 4 days for a month. The only trouble is I have to give the injection SQ, which is just under the skin. I think this is rather hard with all the fleece. The first time I gave an SQ, I slid it under the skin and out, like sewing. It's much easier to just pop it into a muscle.
Of course, being the tidy alpaca that he is, he didn't poop or pee the whole 4 hours that we were gone. After he relieved himself, Beth and I gave him a dose of GastroGuard for his tummy and an injection of Banimine to relax him and hopefully, ease his pain.
Life is good again!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

EEEHAW! I Have Mowed

A couple of weeks ago my son-in-law gave me a quick lesson on driving the lawn mower. We have had rain the last few days so that the lawn ALMOST needs to be cut. I need to tell you that big noisy machines like tractors, snow blowers, and roto tillers really, really scare me.

I waited for today's company to leave (Heather, Beth and her son, John, daughter Nikki with grandgirls Meredith and Elizabeth). No way was anyone going to see me make a fool of myself.

OK, says I. I can do this. I read the manual in the house (see, it's on the tractor in the picture) and wrote some directions on a big sticky note. With the manual and my notes on my lap I started it and actually backed it out of the garage. Back to the manual for going forward. EEEHAW! I'm cruising, sitting on the manual, and having a great time when I realize that I'm not cutting grass. Manual reading again. I'm moving AND cutting and then I figure out that everytime that I go backwards, the blades stop cutting. I'll figure that out tomorrow 'cause I'm feeling pretty powerful and special right now.

Barn Boots

I can finally walk past these boots without welling up, getting snotty nosed, and feeling that heavy thud in my chest. They wait in the garage next to my Muck Boots. Family and neighbors would silently chuckle when we saw Smitty in his cut offs and these boots making his way to the barn, making repairs, or hauling manure.
I sort of understand the symbolism here and am reminded of Kennedy's funeral. We old timers remember the feisty black horse in the procession - the empty saddle with the boots hung backwards. It's sort of like that.......
I hope that this doesn't sound too maudlin but writing is so theraputic for me that I can now probably put them in the trash.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Simplifly, Simplify

Don't you think this is just too lovely? I'm going to use these colors the next time I get out my dye pots.
I'm on a really big "cleaning, purging, simplify my life" binge. My son said that he would take the aquarium back to Pennsylvania the next time he comes home. The neighbor across the street's daughter came and took the two fish that I had left. Last winter the tank heater got totally out of control and I poached all but those two. They must be hearty little guys and will be in a nice home.

This was my tank. It took several, as in probably 30 trips to the sink to empty the yucky water

And then I washed all the stones as I removed them. You're welcome, Rob.
The glass tank is sitting outside but I think that I better not let the sun dry it out or it may leak. You can imagine me getting it down the stairs and out the doors by myself. Cassie and Max tried to help....
My next project is to paint my bedroom. I already bought the paint.
I'll bet a therapist would have a field day with me. Do all widows feel this urge to clean up their past life? What's with it? I feel the urge to not only clean and pitch things, but also to do physical stuff. I wonder if there is some energy in me that needs to be released????

Thursday, September 4, 2008

My bestest friends

My animal friends bring me unlimited joy. Throw on a granddaughter for absolute bliss. This is Elizabeth resting on dear, kind Cassie with little Max looking on. This Golden Retriever and Shetland Sheep Dog (Sheltie) are my best friends and constant companions.
They have been anxious and worried for the last six weeks but seem to be settling back to normalcy now. I am taking my cues from them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Good bye to some dear friends

With Smitty gone, my morning barn chores went from taking 1 hour to 3 hours. I have found really good homes for some of my 4 legged friends. These three alpacas, brown Luke, gray Boris, and black Berringer, have gone to a 4-H family in Northern Michigan. I know that they are getting all the attention and love that they need.

A really lovely 4-H family in Western Michigan has the sheep: 1 ram, 2 wethers, a ewe lamb, and 4 ewes. They are a delightful family who already have a couple BabyDolls and will take some to the fair.
The hardest friend that I said good bye to was little Haflinger Fiona. Smitty bought her last year as a 4 year old with aspirations of driving her. She spent two weeks with a trainer this summer and Smitty went up and drove her twice. She came home the weekend before we got his diagnosis.
My dear friend, Harmony and her two girls, Chelsea and Caleigh, have her to work with.
I still have 4 horses and 16 alpacas greeting me every morning. I can't imagine a life without animals.
I didn't realize how hard this post would be to write. ........ Bear with me, friends, you are all part of my therapy, I guess.