Sunday, April 28, 2013

April Showers

Yesterday was the most beautiful spring day. It was 70 degrees, sunny and only the smallest of breezes. Rich mowed the lawn and worked out in the yard. It looks so greenly lush and beautiful at this time of  year. The daffodils are in full bloom and it stayed warm enough, long enough for the weeping cherry tree to burst into full bloom this year. The alpaca girls enjoyed the day as much as we did. They lolled and grazed in the pasture, enjoying the sunny day.

Firenze and Took sunbathing!
Rich and I decided to take Leezza and Mango for a little walk around the yard and ended up snapping pictures in front of the beautifully flowering weeping cherry tree merely for posterity's sake.
Rich held the girls while I snapped the picture.
Mango and Leezza look sooo skinny since they lost their winter fleece. On the evening after their shearing, Rich went out to check them and lock up the barn for the evening and all four of the girls were shivering. They weren't used to the cold nights without their fleece so he stacked up some straw in their barns for them to snuggle down in for the evening. The next morning there was clear evidence that they had burrowed into the straw the night before.
Today, typical of April in Ohio, it rained steadily all day. It was one of those gentle spring rains and overcast days that makes the green of the grass and wheat fields, and the pastels of the spring flowers really pop. It is also a prime day for snapping pictures so I took Callie outside a short while ago to snap a picture of her by the tree.
The rest of the week it's supposed to be more normal for April. Seventy degrees and partly sunny with only a slight chance of rain. But then again, Wednesday is the first of May. It's finally spring.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day/Shearing Day

Remember these beautiful, fluffy girls?

And these young ladies?

Well, today was shearing day. Rich and I loaded the girls into the used horse trailer that we purchased a couple of months ago. (that was another confidence building milestone for us) We hauled them up to Amy J's Homestead where we purchased them so that they could be shorn along with the 80 or so animals at their place. The process was pretty impressive and ran like clockwork.

There were four young men who travel across the USA in the spring shearing for a living. They clearly know their business.

Shearer, Jonathan Love, with Leezza. Waiting her turn.

They tip each animal on its side and quickly "hog tie" all four legs, stretching the animal pretty much straight out horizontally and begin working. First they shear the "blanket" or fleece that runs from the side across the back to the other side. With the help of Randi or Jana, we laid out the blanket onto a plastic painter's tarp as it came off the animal, slid it out of the way and "noodled" it. (more about this another time) Then the shearers proceeded to shear the legs, neck and underbelly and give them a trim on their topknots. All of this is considered "seconds" and went into a bag.

Leezza having her blanket fleece removed.

Took and Mango screeched loudly during the entire shearing process. Firenze gave her high pitched whine that lets us know that she is not pleased with whatever is going on at the time. Leezza was a real trouper. She calmly accepted the entire process without a peep. In fact she gazed trustfully into Jonathan's eyes as he held her head. When flipped on her side, I was cooing to her and she gave me the same trusting look. 

This is how they look now!

Took, Firenze, Mango and Leezza

Rich and I tried to take an active part in the process. He led animals in and helped me noodle a fleece. I noodled our fleeces and helped sweep and gather up the seconds for ours and other animals. When I changed this evening I had bruises on my knees and arms that I didn't even feel when they occurred! Needless to say, we are both exhausted and will sleep well tonight. Another learning experience for us.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Computer problems and April weather

It's been a few weeks since my last post and I do apologize to anyone who actually checks in on a regular basis. My laptop started acting weirdly and I tried every fix that I knew of, which admittedly isn't exactly high tech. Then I called a good friend in Florida and asked him what to do. Following his directions I didn't get any results. After this I took the stupid laptop in to school and asked our computer teacher to check it out. He found that it worked just fine after removing and reinserting the battery. I brought it home and...the problems were back! Luckily my old friend, John, from Florida was up here this week and he stopped out and made a few adjustments and today this darn thing is working fine as long as I keep it plugged in. From this, I deduced that the message that popped up last month about the battery being at the end of its life might be the real problem so I ordered a new battery. We'll see what happens when the battery arrives.

Weekly practice walking on the lead. 

We have been practicing walking the girls each weekend. Once we get them harnessed up, Mango and Leezza really enjoy walking around the yard. Leezza is such a diva and really loves posing for pictures. Mango never balks at walking on the lead and trots happily along where ever we lead her. 

Took and Firenze in their little condo.

Took and Firenze have adjusted so well to condo living. So well that Firenze's little digestive problem has cleared up completely. Both mamas seem to be filling out very well and their pregnancies have been very healthy so far. Occasionally they will lay near the fence and the younger girls will lay close by on the other side but most often the mamas are laying near their little home.

Leezza basking in the sun.

We have had more cloudy, rainy, windy  days lately than sunny days. When a sunny day comes along you can find the girls lounging around in the pasture just enjoying life. On the rainier days they stay inside their homes looking outside longingly. The grass is finally starting to green up and the girls really prefer fresh grass over the hay.

Pressley will be over later today to work with the girls so I will do another post later this evening. When I have more pictures to post.