Thursday, October 23, 2014

We're Expecting!

We awoke this morning to a bit more fog than the weather people had predicted. Many schools in the area had two hour delays. Out here on the farm though, it's the type of October morning that I absolutely love. The fog softens the autumn colors in the surrounding woods and the alpacas in the pastures out back look positively ethereal as they float, ghost-like, grazing silently on the wet grass.

Our studly Nikko can barely be seen out in the farthest area of his field. I use the adjective "studly" now because it appears that he has proven himself with our Took. His first "date" with Took didn't take. We figured it was because that was his first time and he was a bit anxious and didn't wait until she had her tail curled up. Rich and I set them up with another date two weeks later and he was a bit more "romantic" and gave her a little time to kush down first. This past Sunday we put Took back into his pasture for a behavior test and, hallelujah, she spit at him and ran around speedily to avoid Nikko's advances. These are sure signs that a female is pregnant. So now we wait 11-1/2 months.

A week after his first date with Took, we arranged a date between Nikko and Mango. It seems a bit unfair to mate a new mama just a month after she delivered a beautiful baby boy, but that's the way it's done in the alpaca world. They can actually be bred a mere ten days after delivery. So this Sunday, we plan to put Mango back in with Nikko to do a "spit test" to determine whether she is pregnant. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

This evening we are giving Nikko and our beautiful brown Leezza a chance to get acquainted in the hopes that she will also become pregnant. Nikko, being the only mature stud in the pasture that is not related to any of our girls, is a very busy guy! He's either going to be very happy or very exhausted.

This afternoon I am going to have my Research Club members out to the shop for an alpaca presentation. This club meets once a month at which time a  club member is responsible for presenting an educational program of their choosing. This year I volunteered to host and present on the same day because showing the actual thing one is talking about is so much more effective than a power point. You know how I love being able to introduce people to our alpacas! This way my club members can actually interact with the animals and have a hands-on experience with the final products: yarns, rovings, and knitted items. I plan on doing a short spinning demonstration, too.

Callie and I spent time in the shop early this morning after we fed the herd. Since it was 39 degrees this morning I needed to turn on the heater early to warm the place up. While I was out there I ran the vacuum, rearranged the seating and set up my posters and pictures in preparation for our meeting. I also had to price out some of the rag rugs that I had taken off of the loom the other day and arrange them on the display rack. Everything is ship shape now and all that remains is to review my notes. I am really looking forward to seeing my friends this afternoon.

This past weekend we went down to Lake Hope State Park for our annual family reunion, a tradition that originated with my brother-in-law's family almost 50 years ago. Once he married my sister and our  families were joined the event has evolved into a blended family event. We rent all of the cabins in an area of the park almost a year in advance and fill them with 20-30 of our family members, depending upon who is able to be there. This year my niece, Annie, and her new husband, Drew, whom we all love, came the greatest distance from St. Petersburg, Florida. My sister used to be in charge of planning the event and gradually my granddaughter, Olivia, has taken over the task. She does a great job of scheduling the menus and events, like trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and the pizza making contest. Since each family has their own cabin we have just enough "togetherness" and still have a place to retreat for solitude when we want it. It's a great weekend of hiking, cooking out and other outdoor activities.

Olivia driving her great-grandpa's tractor with Callie and Calypso in the foreground
Rich just purchased his grandfather's little red IH Farmall Cub tractor from his uncle, who had been restoring and showing it for many years. He is so thrilled to have this little gem back on his grandparent's homestead where we live. It will make a great hayride tractor when the kids come up. Olivia and her dad, Steve, each took a turn driving it when they were last up here, and I have made up my mind that I am going to learn to drive it this weekend!

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