Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Since Grace has been mostly hiding out in the barn with Brigid these days (please send them a prayer for a quick recovery - once we know what is wrong!), I thought I would share some of the pictures I've taken of the other two recent additions - Destiny's baby girl, whose name is Follow Your Joy, or Joy for short, and Frangelica's baby boy, who is yet unnamed. I hope they bring you smiles like they have brought to me! Follow Your Joy - and who wouldn't want to follow this precious little imp??
JoyThis little guy looks just like his mamma! And, he's a nibbler, just like her!
Yum yum, Pineapple weed!
Yum!"Yep, that's my sweet boy!" Says Frangelica.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Grace is just shy of two-weeks-old today.
She loves to mimic her mamma, from grazing the pineappleweed to lying down and sun-bathing, she can often be found doing exactly whatever Brigid is doing.

She is also very curious and bold, coming right up to hang out with Betty and I, even lying down next to Betty's feet.

We think she's utterly beautfiul. Despite still being a little peanut.

And apparently, she thinks we're OK, too.

I woke up this morning, wide awake, at 4:20am. The first thought that crossed my mind was, "I wonder if C-baby's Koolaid ever went home," being that we were heading to bed around the time he showed up at our house last night. So I did what any mother of a 20+-year-old would do - turned over and went back to sleep. Just kidding - I got up and stumbled downstairs in the dark, peered in at my daughter's bed, tried to discern if it was one lump or two (one, I concluded), peered out at the dark driveway looking for foreign objects (Koolaid's car), and went back upstairs and crawled back into bed. After taking a bathroom break of course. And then I laid there. Pappa Bear mumbled half-asleep, "So did he go home?" "Yep." And with that, he was sound asleep again. Once my mind is awake, it's pretty tough to convince it to go back to sleep again. I argued with it: "You could use two more hours of sleep." "If I lie here long enough, you WILL go back to sleep." Right about the time Pappa Bear would have to get up and go to work. It didn't work. The mind wasn't listening. Then a brand new thought arose: "I could just get up now." Up? at 5:00am? Who does that, besides cowboys and mail carriers? What on earth would I do at that hour? I should just go back to sleep. Now, please. So after about thirty minutes of mind-twirling thoughts like these I checked the weather (no, I didn't get out of bed to look out a window, pick up a paper or turn on the TV. Without getting out of bed, I powered up my iPhone and checked Weather.com). If it was currently cloudy, I would force myself to go back to sleep. But if it was clear... well, maybe it wouldn't kill me to go down by the lake for the sunrise. It was clear. Darn. No excuse to stay in bed now. On my way down the road towards the lake, I saw a deer standing at the edge of a clearing. I didn't even attempt a photo, she was too far away for the poor little zoom on my Canon SD1000 Elph camera. I stood still and watched her while she kept a very close eye on me. I decided to walk on a bit, and as I passed by her I could now see a spotted fawn standing near her. I stopped again. She advanced towards me, stomping a leg with each step. Then she snorted, and the fawn leaped into action, bounding across the grassy space and stopping just before the road. I kept walking, closing the gap between me and the fawn. Mamma wasn't far behind, and the fawn bounced across the road with Mamma right on her tail. Now there's something you just don't see if you stay in bed until well after sunrise. And here's something else you just don't see if you stay in bed until after 5:30am on the second day of summer: For over twenty minutes, I sat on the dock and listened to the world wake itself up, snapping a photo every minute or so. Sparrows, robins, chickadees, grackles, crows, even a loon. They were all in on pulling the sun out of the trees and casting it up over the glistening lake. I might be very tired by 2:00pm today. I might feel like I need a nap in the worst way. But let me tell you, it was worth missing two hours of sleep this morning. For the deer, and the fawn, and the birds, and the fish, and the water and the golden sun. Amen.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Betty called me today around 12:30 to tell me a baby was coming. Kelly was off today, so we changed clothes quick and sped the 5 miles over to her farm. We were there in time to see the entire birth. If you’re squeamish, you might want to scroll down a bit past the birth photos. What can I say, life on a farm ain’t always pretty. baby's coming! No, they’re not in a wind tunnel. wind tunnel? Destiny worked so hard to get this 17 pound baby out. here she comes! Betty put out a clean sheet for her to rest on while she gathered strength and took her first breaths. just born Mom was never far away. hello baby Within 10 minutes she was attempting to stand and walk. Albeit, not always gracefully. lookatme lookatme lookatme! But she was very strong, and she soon had it figured out. hello, mamma! Destiny had a nice full bag of milk for her baby, and the little one caught on quick to where the milk bar was. lunch! A few hours later she got to meet a playmate, Grace. Despite Grace being almost 20 pounds now, new baby made Grace look like a peanut. will you play with me? All in all, it was a perfect delivery of a healthy, beautiful baby girl. Oh, and one more thing – she can curl her tongue. Can you? i'm cuter than you are!
THE BEGINNING

Monday, June 14, 2010

Grace was born last Wed. at 3:15pm in the afternoon on a sunny, breezy day. Brigid had a quick and uncomplicated delivery, yet baby Grace had trouble with her legs and, consequently, balancing while standing to nurse. Grace two hours old Because of this she got very weak Wed. evening despite milking out Brigid twice, (ever tried milking a cat? An alpaca has about the same size bag and teats – and tolerance!) she was growing weaker. All through the night Wed., we woke every hour to hold her up to nurse and also supplemented her. Thursday morning she seemed stronger, standing to nurse at 5:00am on her own – for the first time. We thought we had turned a corner. But by 9am, she was weakening and not nursing again. The vet was called, who came and did a tube feeding – milking Brigid first (using a sedative and Oxytocin to help him) – he collected 2 ½ ounces, a huge amount for an alpaca. After her tubing he reassured us she should spring right back. She should be up and nursing in 90 minutes. Grace & Brigid We tried to rouse her when she did not awake from her 90 minute nap. She would not stand to nurse, she refused to take supplementation, and she was very weak and tired. We tried off and on for 5 more hours. Finally, we could not even rouse her from her sleep anymore no matter what we tried. She lay like a limp rag doll in my arms. After 26 hours of continual efforts to help her, I had to steel myself for the possibility that I was losing her. I posted a request on Facebook, for prayers, as the tears fell freely as I held her limp little body. I noticed a tear on her cheek, too. I don’t think alpacas cry. Perhaps it was mine. Betty was crying, too, as we hooked up the trailer in a last-ditch effort to bring her to the vet for some intervention – we didn’t know what else we could do for her. She was still lying limply when I took her temp one more time. Napping in a blankie And then, a miracle occurred. She not only sprang up when the rectal thermometer was inserted, she went right over to mom and nursed. She did not nurse very long, and we knew she was still very weak and not getting enough nutrients. But we now had hope where we had none before. We decided to have the vet stop once more, his last call of the day. This time he hooked her up to an IV to get her re-hydrated, and also milked Brigid again and tubed Grace once more. That night, Pappa Bear and I again took shifts with her (and C-baby kept us both company all night long), making sure she was up every 60-90 minutes to nurse. We supplemented a little, too. Friday morning, she was getting up regularly on her own, nursing, and getting stronger. She improved all day Friday and yesterday. By Sunday she seemed like any normal little cria. Nobody would know by looking at her now, how close we came to losing her. C-baby & Grace I realize on a farm, there are no guarantees. We don’t always get to choose who lives. On many farms, she would have been left to die if she was not strong enough to make it on her own. I understand that, and, as a Biology major, I also understand the importance of letting nature weed out the weak. So I struggle with my own interventions, while at the same time, savoring the fact that we did, in fact, save her life and she will continue to grace the pasture with her sweetness, given a second chance at life. She was to be called Valiant’s Vivian – Valiant, for her sire who is now deceased. But after our close call, a new name came to me – Grace. It is only by God’s grace (and your prayers!) that she lives today. And a lot of love and care from a dedicated team of people who believe, “No small act of kindness is ever wasted.” Brigid & Grace God Bless – Victoria

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I admit, I was kinda cranky today. It all started with the financial drama of my almost-out-of-the-house-20-year-old-child. And assorted other child-related messes, physical and mental and emotional. Added to that stress was work stress - internet was broken (thank goodness for my Mifi card!), my server connection to a client site broke, and communications with my work team were nonexistent despite several attempts on my part. I was a cranky lady when I left the house to go pick up my car-less child from Forest Lake, 20 minutes away. But after I picked her up, we stopped at the local whole foods type grocery store, where I am a frequent customer, and the lady at the register asked me if C-baby was my little sister. Oh Joy! I could have hugged her! And then at the farm today, after scooping a wheelbarrow full of dung, I stopped and watched Betty hose off the girls, who are all still fully fleeced and very uncomfortably hot. They love the hose, like little kids love hoses & water. It was a hoot. Hosing the girls And then I watched the two babies born this year chasing and romping around the pasture. I drove the back roads to go get my car-less child after I was done at the farm, and marveled at the emerald green fields everywhere I went. First crop of hay is being harvested at some farms. I want to learn how to cut and rake and bale hay. Does anyone out there need a hand with this task? I also had a good laugh with C-baby over some of the "slingo" her and her friends have come up with lately - I'll post about that very soon. You'll find out what "Mackin' with yer Koolaid" means. So stay tuned on that one. And then, just now, I checked one of my favorite blogger sites, Pioneer Woman, and she had literally JUST POSTED her daily Confessions blog - and I was able to comment as number eleven!!! Make that, number seventeen - in the 3 seconds it took me to post my comment, 6 others had been posted, too. I mean, number 19... once the page refreshed, I was bumped to 19. But still, this is a site the frequently receives hundreds if not thousands of comments/day (her giveaway posts exceed 30,000 comments!), so making the top twenty of any of her posts on any given day is no small achievement. I know, I live a small and pathetic life. I have to look for the good where I can find it, when surrounded by child financial drama and work excommunication. At any rate, I did smile today, several times, despite my tantrums and stress frazzles. And now, I am going to go make these. And all will be well with the world. Smiles - Victoria

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