Thursday, March 27, 2014

Too Long!

Oh my gosh! I cannot believe that it has been almost two weeks since I last wrote a blog post. Where does the time go? These cold, gloomy, blustery days just make me want to nap and knit; which I have done way too much of, by the way.

Today I had a wonderful farm visit with a lovely woman who I met last October when I did an all day spinning demonstration at our local nature preserve's Oktoberfest. When I do these demos and re-enactments I hand out my business card and tell people who seem interested to call and arrange for a visit to see the alpacas. Yolanda is the first person who actually took me up on the offer and I was so glad to welcome her and her daughters and their girlfriend this afternoon. It certainly made this glum day much brighter.

The animals put on a good show for our guests. In the barn the girls held out their hands with offerings of sweet feed for the alpaca girls, who obliged by nibbling the molasses/grain treat. If the kids were at all timid before meeting the alpacas, the feeling quickly dissolved after this experience.

Took, Leezza and Mango hightailed it in the opposite direction when my visitors and Callie and I opened the barn gate and came into their territory. The boys were, as usual, very nosy and not at all intimidated by Callie or the strangers in their midst. They hung around their gate, eager for their sweet feed and apple flavored snacks. The kids were delighted by the boys, and Nikko even ventured one of his sniffy "kisses" for Yolanda who was brave enough to hold her face at his level!

Yolanda was busily snapping pictures of the girls and the alpacas while our Callie dog and the little boys, Asterius and Brutus, were sniffing each other out. Unfortunately, I was so busy "teaching" that I forgot the camera in my pocket. I didn't take even one picture of the visitors so you'll have to check out this old picture of Rich at the gate feeding treats to the boys and imagine two women and three girls and a black dog in place of Rich.

One of the children dropped an apple flavored snack onto the ground on the alpaca side of the gate and Callie, who loves the treats, too, flattened herself out and pushed her head under the fence to retrieve it. Her first attempt left her a few inches short of the treat when her shoulders got hung up under the fence. She backed up two or three times until she figured out how to push her head and one leg under far enough to achieve success and gobble up the treat. Callie is always entertaining and had us all laughing.

My guests left  with cheery promises to return when the weather is warmer and the pasture is drier. I look forward to seeing them again.

Asterius and Brutus have been in the big boy pasture for almost two weeks now and have adapted very well. Where Asterius was a bit confused when we released him into the pasture with Nikko, Brutus just ran on in and headed for his friend. The difference, I think, was that Asterius was being weaned from his mama, Took, while Brutus's mama, Firenze, had died and he had been without her for two months. Both of the little boys hang out together most of the time, grazing and sleeping side by side; while Nikko looks on seeming to guard them. On nights when the weather is windy and nasty, the two little ones sleep inside the condo and Nikko sleeps just outside the door. It's funny how each animal has a distinct personality and role in our small herd.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pi Day

It has been over two weeks since I last wrote an entry and for that I'm sorry to those who actually read my ramblings. We left town on February 27th to attend niece Annie's wedding in St. Petersburg, Florida and I just don't blog when we're on vacation. I pretty much unplug from electronic communication except for my cell phone because I want to enjoy the sites and sounds of each new place Rich and I explore together. I also want to focus my attention on Rich and just enjoy his company and the electronics always seem to get in the way. Anyway, I'm obviously having trouble getting back into the groove. At first we had some chores to catch up on when we got back and after that I just found excuses. So here goes...

Besides the fact  that Annie and Drew make a lovely couple and he so obviously cherishes her, we love him because he survived two of our family reunions at Lake Hope! You gotta love a guy who can,us  not just put up with us but also blends nicely into our crazy extended family. He even had an entry in the annual cook off this year. He didn't win but then neither did I. Better luck next year.

Rich and I left for Charleston, South Carolina the day after the wedding where we had a lovely stay at the Cannonboro Bed and Breakfast. It is one of many historical homes in the city.We also enjoyed exploring the many beautiful old churches in the city. St. Michael's was one of our favorites. Charleston is a lovely city with so much history. 

We spent a day at Ft. Sumpter and the USS Yorktown which is anchored  at Patriot's point. Porpoises followed our ferry to and from the fort. The first time I have ever seen them in the wild. Awesome!

Upon our return we transferred seven-month-old Asterius into the big boy pasture with our young stud, Nikko. We had decided that it was time to wean him from his mother, Took, since she had been walking away from him lately and not letting him nurse as often. The whole procedure went very smoothly. Took was unconcerned and didn't seem to notice he was gone. Asterius was a bit confused at first but after he started to explore and then play with Nikko he seemed ok with it. No crying, screeching or humming in distress. 

Brutus is next. He's a month younger and smaller so we want to give him time to grow a bit. If you remember he was already weaned because his mama, Firenze, died in January. One of our chores last weekend was to begin halter training Brutus since he's six-months-old. Rich held him while I buckled on the teeny tiniest halter that we have. It just fit over his little snout. I snapped on the lead and just stood there waiting until he realized that he was now under my control. He tugged and pulled a bit before he stopped and stared at me.

We had a bit of a stand off for a few minutes, just staring at each other. I cooed and sweet talked him until he took that first step toward me, then praised him, telling him what a good boy he was. This went on for a few minutes before he walked more than a couple of steps at a time. He finally walked out of the safety of the barn and into the open with the others. The entire training session took about 15 minutes and we were satisfied with this first time. We'll try again this weekend.

And finally, today is pi day, March 14th, 3/14... We always used to celebrate this day in the teachers' lounge by bringing pies to sample throughout the day. This was first established by the "other" Linda in the school; the one who taught math, as opposed to me, the one who taught English. So tonight, in honor of "pi day" and the "other" Linda, I made lemon, blackberry tartlets for dinner. Yum!