Friday, April 20, 2012

Have you ever had one of those weeks where, despite your best intentions, working hard and focusing on what you want instead of obsessing over what's not right, things just don't work out the way you wanted them to?

This has been one of those weeks.

It's shearing time here on the Big Farm. That means over 150 head of alpacas need to have their fleeces shorn off, one alpaca at a time.

Sometimes the alpaca spits from one end and pees and poos from the other, simultaneously.

Sometimes the people you're working with get tired or frustrated or rushed.  And sarcasm and crankiness ensues. And you want to spit at someone.

Sometimes inadvertently people push all your buttons and it's all you can do not to flip out or go cry in a corner.

Sometimes you flip out and go cry in a corner anyway.

And if you're really, really lucky, your family and friends will still love you.

Despite yourself.

And when that happens, you count your blessings and hug your loved ones and say a little prayer of gratitude to whatever powers you believe in.

And then you get up the next day and do it all over again.

Without the crying. 

Cheers - 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A highly effective although not necessarily recommended method.

{Yes, it will ruin a good fleece.}

Always better to take the time to clear the pastures before putting the animals out to graze.  Make sure to take the stalks out of the pasture altogether, not letting them lay where you chop them (alpacas like roll on the ground).

I recommend matching his & hers machetes from the Amish Walmart.  $3.50 each, new.

While you're there, you can buy some lambs or pigs, too.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What is it called when you critter-sit your own alpacas which are at someone else's farm because you don't have a farm?

Whatever that's called, that's what I've been doing this week. 

The best part is I get to see my boys every day, which have been boarding here since we left for our winter in Hawaii last December.

Not to mention these A-DORE-A-BLE goats.  Lord help me, goats weren't even on my "must-have-on-my-own-farm-someday" list.

Until this week.

And then there are the peeps, which were just a week old when I arrived here.

Baby bantam peeps, which are about the most adorable kind of peeps there are in the world.


There's also a parakeet and a goldfish and a teeny tiny turtle.

Have I mentioned how much I love farm-sitting?

Well I do.

Happy Easter to all my peeps out there - literally and figuratively.

Cheers -
Gypsy Farmgirl farmsits

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

It's pretty hard for me to believe, but it seems like spring has really sprung around here. After a record-breaking warm winter, signs of spring are about 5 weeks ahead of schedule around these parts.

{We don't really say 'around these parts' around these parts, but it made me laugh to write it so there you go.}

Instead of 12" of melting snow we have 12" of new green grass.

After four months in the barn on hay, the three female herds were gathered together into one big herd and moved down the laneway and up the hill towards a newly fenced pasture stockpiled with grass.

There's always a tense moment on the part of the shepherds when moving a large group of alpacas to a new location, worrying that the leaders of the herd will miss the gate and turn around and run pell-mell past us in the opposite direction. 

{Not that that ever happens here on the Big Farm, mind you.}

But they all made it through the gate and then the real fun began.

150 girls galloped away from us to the far end of the field, then turned as one and ran down the fenceline until they had circled the entire perimeter, learning the boundaries of their new (albeit temporary) home.

Grazing together on one side of the field as I stood in the middle, the herd suddenly as if on silent command began loping towards me, the dried stalks of last year's Queen Anne's Lace plants snapping and crunching under their advance, then moving past me on either side until they gathered on the far side of the field where they resumed grazing again, only to repeat the process a few minutes later with another collective gallop past me back to side they started on.  They repeated this pattern every 5 minutes or so for the hour that I stayed watching them.

I don't exactly know if alpacas experience joy or happiness, but it certainly appeared that way to me.
I do know however that I experienced much joy and happiness standing there watching them enjoy their first tastes of spring.

As if it wasn't a perfect enough day already, the first baby of the season was born, healthy and happy.

A girl.

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