Friday, December 26, 2008

My Near Death Experience 0R Avalanche in Flatlands of midMichigan

I am obsessing about this experience so maybe blogging about it will free it from my mind. Christmas Eve Day turned warm and rainy here and I was out in front of the barn digging trenches to try and drain water away from the barn. I heard a little rumble and took off running (well, as fast as I run). The snow that you see in this picture came off the metal roof up above. It would have smooshed, broken, and buried me completely 'cause I was standing right in the middle. (Remember you can click on this pict to see how massive it really was)

My first question is "What are the odds of this happening while I was standing there?"
The second is "How did my body know to move out of the way?"

Of course, now I'm a little giddy thinking of newspaper headlines-
Alpaca Breeder Dies under Tons of Snow
Snow Breaks Every Bone in Senior Citizen's Body
First Known Avalanche in Michigan's Farmland
Widow Joins Husband in Untimely Death
Animals Survive but Caretaker Meets Death After Storm

Do you have any headlines to add to my collection?

How about this from my online friend Zuleika originally from Bermuda, now living in Edinburgh, Scotland:
'Freak Alpaca Farm Accident Makes for an Icy Grave'

My friend Sharon Winsauer suggests:
"Death from Barn Chores"

I was waiting for Beth to get home from the U.P. because I knew she would have some great headlines:
"Snow Slides....Granny Dives"
"Loud Cursing Sets Off Near Death Avalanche"
"Santa Makes Emergency Landing on Barn Top: Grandma Gets Runover by Cascading Roof Snow"
or how about:
"Metal Roofing Sends Barn Owner Hoofing"

Just in from daughter Terre:
"Snow Avalanche Makes Alpaca Granny Move Her Fanny"
"Alpaca Granny Finds Get-up-and-go Because of TwoTons of Cascading Snow"

From Friend Kathy down in Jackson at Luka's Alpaca Ranch
" Spinning Lady Spins Out, Saving Herself by a Thread"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another Storm Blowing In

Another storm is blowing in today but I didn't have to shovel to get in to the animals in the barn. They are all cozy with food, water, clean bedding, and listening to Christmas carols. A lovely surprise while out there - about 8 o'clock Dean, my across the street neighbor, popped in to offer any help. He shoveled a path to the outdoor poop pile and dumped my wheel barrows for me.
The picture above is Max, my Sheltie, and Cassie, my Golden Retriever. They are just on their way back inside this morning. Max is a little short so I have had to keep a path shoveled off the deck for him.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

More Damned Snow and Cute Alpacas

Folks told me not to be surprised if I got mad at Smitty for dying on me but I thought, aw, not me, how could I be mad? it's not like he did it on purpose. Well, this morning I was really p....d having to deal with all this snow by myself. How could you do that to me, Smitty, a 66 year old woman shouldn't have to take care of this mess by herself. Was probably a good thing that I was mad because although it was only 9 degrees, I didn't get cold.
This picture is the front of the barn. I had to snowblow a path out there and managed to blow out an area behind the drift so that I could open the big door.
..... and here's another shot of the front. You can see my tracks where I had to climb over the drift to get in to the service door.
Enough moaning and feeling sorry for myself. The rest of the shots are of the alpacas when I let them out this morning.

Sniffing at the curious white stuff that arrived overnight.

Celeste's cria, Lyra, stayed pretty close to her until she was sure the white stuff wouldn't hurt her.

The wild ones! Snickers (Astra), on the right, is only 3 months old and definitely the boldest, most curious of the herd. He was the first one out and went pronking through the drifts.

Snickers again with his mom, Goldie, needing a little snack.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Etsy Sale # 500

I knew that my 500th sale was coming up on Etsy but I didn't want to make a big deal ahead of time so that it would seem like a promotion. I just wanted to wait quietly and then ♪ ♫ ♪ TA DA ♪ ♫ ♪ announce to the person that he/she could pick something out in my shop as a thank you. Last night Edie Bowles from SpinningMoonFarm ordered a skein of gray yarn and was number 500. She preferred that I pick something out for her so I sent her a skein of my brown alpaca/merino blend and, now get this - some white roving that has mohair that I purchased from her.

Edie was the person who convinced me that, yes, mohair can be soft and compliment my alpaca. We have become online friends and because she lives here in Michigan, we plan to get together for a spinning day. Couldn't have planned that 500th sale any better.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What Happens to My Fiber

This is a picture of Lynne Macco. I don't really know where she is going but I like to imagine that she is on her way to her spinning guild meeting. I smile every time I look at this.

Lynne, from BayShore, NY, has bought roving and raw fiber from me. This beautifully spun brown yarn is an alpaca and merino blend that she did up. Most of the alpaca came from Sonata, my visitor greeter and barn diva. The merino is from the McMurrays colored lambs.
And look at these lovely mittens..... Beautiful work, Lynne.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Spinning on a Wintery Day

This was a day to hunker down by the fireplace and spin. ♫♪♫ The weather outside is frightful ♪♫♪ Yesterday it was in the 40s and water was seeping into the barn. Tonight it's 12 with winds at 20 mph. This is Michigan!

This is the yarn that is on my wheel up above. I finished it up, took some pictures, put them in my Etsy store, washed the yarn, came back to my computer and it was sold. Will be off to California in the morning when it's dry.

And this is a cute little hat that I knit up with some of Sharon Winsauer's cochineal dyed alpaca. You really should click on that link and go see the awesome new butterfly shawl pattern that she recently created. The woman amazes me. I couldn't even knit those lace patterns, let alone create the actual pattern.
I just spent 15 minutes trying to get that writing off the side of the hat pict. Sorry.....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Granddaughter Weekend

This is Elizabeth (age 6) watching television on my oh, so tolerant Cassie girl. I am very fortunate because since the girls were born, their parents have allowed them to come spend time here. I love having them and I think that they like to be here.
This weekend our big project was decorating Christmas cookies. Actually, Meredith (age 9) ended up by doing most of the decorating. I got called away and Elizabeth got "the b.... word." They aren't allowed to say they are bored here. I tell them that only boring people get bored.
After cookie decorating, we met Terre at the matinee in Alma to see Bolt. It was a fun time because we had to wear the 3-D glasses. I can't believe that I'm so sappy that I cry in a dog cartoon. Geese.

♪ ♫ TaDah ♫ ♪ I will send lots home with the girls and freeze the rest or I will be snacking big time. Need to save some until Rob comes home. He does like decorated cookies.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Snow Continues

Anyone for a picnic lunch on my deck? That's over a foot of snow on the table. I'm getting quite handy with the snow blower now and thinking that I'm doing a pretty good job. I keep looking at the neighbors' driveways and they leave a little too.

Today was a cold, but sunny day and you can see here the horses soaking up the sunshine. It's been a challenge keeping those doors shoveled so that I can get the horses out in the morning. Each of the four here have their own door and paddock.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Alpacas in Snow and Damned Truck

Remember that snow game we used to play? We would stomp a big pie in the fresh, new snow and play tag. Was it Fox & Geese? I think that's what these 'pacas are playing. They get really excited when I let them out in the morning.
Here's the real reason that I'm posting today. The truck had a recall - windshield wipers, or something. I had to rid it of snow because it gets driven about once a month. If the neighbors were watching, I'll bet they were holding their breath. A snow brush didn't move this snow at all so I got out a rake. Heh, heh, prongy side up and very carefully, I pulled the snow off.\
Anyway, here's the deal. The truck was a year old when Smitty died and he had put life insurance on it. I'm really tired of making the payments and have been contacting the insurance company since the end of August. They are trying to be sure that he had no preexisting conditions before purchasing truck/insurance. Which I understand. But first of all, I had to sign a waiver releasing medical records to RiteAid and the Clinic uptown. To speed things up I contacted both these places myself and asked them to send on the records.
Well, RiteAid's records showed that he had scripts from two other doctors - a cardiologist (routine tests) and a surgeon (knee replacement). I learned this by calling the ins. co. When I contacted these two doctor offices, they hadn't had a request. I faxed a medical release (glad we have a trust) to the offices and asked them to fax Smitty's records on to the ins. co. Finally, on Monday the insurance company says they have all the requested papers, they will evaluate the claim, and I might know by Friday.
Now what if I had been a distressed, grieving widow who didn't want to make waves - would this get settled? Would they have contacted the docotors' offices? How many years would this take?
This is a pretty boring post, but makes me feel better to vent. (That's why I put the cute alpaca pictures first ☺)
Number 24 . I ran the snowblower today. Rob, when you showed me how to work it, you didn't tell me I was going to be covered with snow and that I probably shouldn't wear my glasses.

Monday, December 1, 2008

First Snow Storm - December 1, 2008

We got about 6 inches of the really heavy, sticky snow that turned my morning trip to the barn into a true winter wonderland.

Beautiful! yes, but look what I needed to move before I could clean. I left a show shovel outside last night thinking that I would need it, but it's buried somewhere in that drift by the barn door. Thankfully, I had that other one inside. I moved Cord and Ivan out so that I could clean their stalls. That's Cord peeking over the fence.

The alpacas were just too funny when I let them out. The young ones had never seen snow like this and were jumping and running and body slamming each other. Each of them had to drop into the white stuff and take a roll. The 4 alpacas in the left picture are (left to right), Orion (Slammie), white Pollux (Luxie), naughty gray Gunny, and our handsome dark fawn, herd sire, Polaris (Lars). On the right are crias with little Junior in his purple coat. He's up to 20 pounds now, but not growing like he should. Vet Russ will be here tomorrow and I will have him examine and do a blood draw. Maybe we will get some answers.

As I was finishing up my chores about 10 o'clock, I heard a snow blower. Dean, my across the street neighbor, blew out my house driveway and this path from my house to the barn. Aren't I the luckiest woman in the world? Actually my son, Rob, was here for T'Day and showed me how to run the snow blower, but I'm really glad that Dean did it for me.
As Dean was finishing up, Ben, the young man who farms my property, arrived, got the tractor out, and cleaned out the barn driveway. I'm in great shape!
23. I realize that I can't do EVERYTHING by myself and am so grateful and thankful that I have folks to help me out.