Rich and I had the best time at our open house yesterday and we hope that all of our guests enjoyed themselves as well. We couldn't have ordered better weather if we tried. We were able to take anyone who wished to, into the pasture where our two "farm stars," Asterius and Brutus entertained them.
We would like to thank all of our visitors, both old friends and new, for coming out and making our first National Alpaca Farm Days Open House so successful. We were so pleased that everyone who came out seemed genuinely interested in alpacas, and that we were able to share our love of these strange and interesting creatures.
The children especially were fascinated by the alpacas and our two little guys put on quite a show. Both of the yearlings are always eager to be friends when visitors offer sweet feed treats to them. Asterius, in particular, offers "kisses" to show his thanks.
|Emma gets a kiss!|
|Little sister, Ella, is not sure she wants a kiss.|
I also enjoyed serving cookies and cider when visitors came into our little farm store to browse. We have a large stock of wood furniture and home decor that Rich has made, along with my baskets and rag rugs woven on his grandmother Elizabeth's antique loom. The alpaca yarns made from the natural colored fleeces of our animals was far and away the best seller yesterday. I am sure that the knitters will enjoy them as much as I do. I am currently working on a lovely pair of socks from the yarn made from our pretty Leezza's brown fleece. Every stitch is a joy to knit.
It was lovely to see old friends stop by, too. Many of them had not yet seen our new little member of the herd, Mocha. He just keeps growing and getting friskier. Yesterday he weighed in at 24 pounds.
Brutus even got photo bombed as he was having his picture taken.
Rich and I discussed the event this morning and we brainstormed ideas for next year's event. At some points yesterday we both were so busy that we didn't feel that we had enough time to spend with each new group. Next year we think that we will put out a call for grandchildren and former students to assist us. We would like to incorporate more activities for kids like face painting, an old fashioned apple bobbing contest and a hay ride. We will need the assistance of some talented teens.
Callie was also happy to have so many visitors. She is the official greeter, running out to escort each vehicle into the parking lot. Callie feels that everyone is coming just to see her and we cannot convince her otherwise. Today she is one tired puppy!
This evening before dinner, Rich and I had to do some routine herd maintenance in the pasture. Mango needed her toenails clipped, which is so much easier to do now that she has delivered little Mocha. She isn't as touchy as she was in the late stages of her pregnancy when she was so uncomfortable. Took needed a pre-breeding, booster CDT shot, so we figured that as long as we had her harnessed up we may as well lead her into Nikko's area for the initial attempt at breeding...his first time ever. She was a little reluctant to leave the safety of the female's pasture but some sweet feed treats solved that problem.
Once in Nikko's pasture, she kushed too near the fence and the poor guy, who was clearly ready, couldn't get into the proper position to do his job. He started making his mating sound called an "orgle." He was orgling, and orgling in frustration until Rich pulled him back and I pulled Took to her feet and led her to a more open area.
There is only one job that I absolutely refused to do in connection with the animals. I have given shots, enemas, held them for the vet to do internal ultrasounds and fecal samples. I am the first one on the scene when a new cria is born to wipe the membrane off and I pick up the placenta in a plastic trash bag in order to dispose of it. I have even held plastic bags in the freezing air of this past January while the vet deposited necropsy samples from our poor Firenze, into them. The one job that must be done during breeding is to get down on the ground to check that the male is making contact. Nuh, unnh! No way am I going to do that. This one belongs to Rich. So for the approximately 15 minutes the process took to complete, Rich knelt on the ground in the stones to hold up Took's tail! Let's just say that Rich especially wants the behavior test, done two weeks from now, to be positive.
I did take pictures but I'll spare you the alpaca porn and just show the photos of the other girls curiously looking on from over the fence!