Wednesday, January 26, 2011

More Snow?

Gabriel doesn't want any more snow.

Leah is shocked and will not watch Weather Channel any more. (Izzy just wants to know if more grain is being dished out.)

Jewel likes the snow because she thinks she can blend in. (Well, she could if she didn't roll in our lovely PA red clay thereby making her white fleece a lovely shade of pink.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Yesterday's Fun & Games

8:00 AM - Off to the Animal Rescue League in Birdsboro so that Stella and Little Cat no longer need to have litters of kittens. Coffee, check. Paperwork, check. Checkbook, check. Two cats in separate carriers without any food or water since midnite, check.

We arrived to find a whole lotta other folks there too. There is a bad feral cat problem in our county, and there are many people who as a service to the community catch, neuter, and release these animals.
The organization who helped us out is No Nonsense Neutering They have volunteer vets and staff who set up clinics several times a month. We had to wait 2 months for an appointment. The staff told us that that average between 50 and 60 cats per clinic.

Here are Stella and Little Cat on their way to surgery.

Everything went well and we picked them up that afternoon. They now have a shaved belly and a small tattoo that marks them as neutered.

They are both living in the house for a few days until they are feeling better, besides it is too cold out there anyway.

This Morning's Report

Minus 3.6. It actually went to -3.8 before it started creeping up to the present temperature of 21. The snow squeeks beneath your feet.
So to further establish my geekdom, I made Len help me do the boiling water thrown in the air thing this morning. I just used hot tap water, but it still worked. Looked like a snow machine on a ski slope.
The animals made it through the night. I always worry about Cassandra who is 11 years old, but she was just fine and ready for her feed this morning. Her baby Lottie was also ready to say hello this morning with her whiskers frozen a bit. Her sister Izzy had some frozen whiskers going on too.
These two girls are favorites and will be heading to the Virginia Classic show in March, Mid-Atlantic Alpaca Show in April, and PA Owners and Breeders show in May. I always find myself humming this song whenever I hang out with these two...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

No, wait. That's Cold

I am such a weather geek.

That's Just Plain Cold

I don't care who ya are, that's just plain cold. Not the 64 degrees in the house. That's just fine by me. It's the 3 degrees from the thermometer at the barn. Thank goodness for heated water buckets.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Week in Review

It’s been a busy week here at the ranch, what with the snowfall, low temps, and always something or other that needs tending.

The last bottle of Rude Elf’s Reserve went into this here beer bread. Find the recipe here at FarmGirl Susan’s blog

It’s really a quick bread type of thing without any yeast; just mix it up and scoop it in the pan. In the future, I think I’d try a lighter beer. Rude Elf was way too beer-y in my opinion. A Coors Light would probably do the job.

Finished this hat. Lucky got to model it. It’s superwash wool (not alpaca this time). It will be for sale at the online farm store.

Started working on a project for the folks who process some of our alpaca fleece. They started making alpaca felt and asked if I’d try my hand at making a garment with it. I am going to make a vest embellished with penny-rug style appliqué. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve never done appliqué with wool, but I'm good at doing things I don't know how to do. It will either be a brilliant success...or a fashion disaster, causing unbelievable stress and embarrassment.

The cold has made barn cleanup difficult at best. Everything, and I mean everything, is frozen to the ground necessitating use of a garden hoe to break up their “toilet” area. At least the days are getting longer and we aren’t racing to the barn by 4PM to beat nightfall. The price of grain is starting to creep up. Nearly $1 a bag increase in less than a month. Even with that, the alpacas are very efficient and our herd of 13 costs us around $3 per day to feed… not each alpaca…that’s $3 a day for all of them.

All of Stella’s kittens got homes and now Stella and her first young’un, “Little Cat” are heading to No-Nonsense Neutering this Sunday for surgery.

It really is for the best, as some old Tomcat with questionable genetics keeps lurking around and causing population explosions. Stella also had an upper respiratory infection last week and went to the vet. She’s on antibiotics and is doing better already.

Finally got the outdoor Christmas decorations down, bagged, labeled and ready to go to the loft in the barn. With the impending doom predicted for tonight (snow & ice & freezing rain tomorrow) and the fact that the holidays are truly over, it was time to un-decorate the house.

The alpacas left the barn for awhile today, nibbling on nonexistent grass, while No. 2 son and I went to Farmer Alan’s today to pick up some straw for the next garden project. Sure, this looks like the van of a soccer mom.
But wait, it’s a straw hauler.

And in a pinch, two or three alpacas can fit in the back. I’m doubting that Chrysler would have used this to advertise the Town & Country, but I’m telling you, it’s as close to a pick-up as you can get without actually driving a pick-up.
Anyway, my absent gardener son, Max, (here's the alpaca scarf he made while home on break) went back to Millersville University yesterday, but has great plans for coming home to build a hot frame (some sort of greenhouse thing) to start plants in.

It requires straw bales surrounding it, and since we are trying to make them last and keep the alpacas out of it (they’ll pull at it just for fun), the straw has been sort of hermetically sealed in contractor’s plastic bags.

The neighbors must love us.