Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Another Day - Another Step Forward

The alpacas were easier to catch tonight. 

Sabre seemed to figure it out first. He darted into the catch pen, reared like a bad pony, struggled just a bit as I put the lead rope on his halter. He gives in so quickly there's no trauma.

Tonka charged into the catch pen, screamed like he was dying, then lay down so I could put the lead rope on him. I think he gets the fact that I lead them in at night, but he hates to be touched. I gave him a some pats to make sure he knew I was pleased with him. 

The horses watched with dismay as we took the alpacas back into the barn. The old gelding followed hubby to the barn, but the young mare shoved past him. Hubby got those two sorted out. The old mare peeked in the barn, acting like something was going to jump on her. I cooed to her until she walked into her stall alone. 

The alpacas are stalled next to Chicken World. Tonka watches the chickens as if they were his favorite TV program. Sabre stands at the gate, watching the action out there. They've already charged a couple of roosters who come to the round pen to peck at the crumbs.

The alpaca pages I've read talk about how smart these critters are. So far, I haven't seen it. I see some curiosity, and a great deal of 'no-freaking-way' behavior. However, even after four days, there are signs that they are going to settle in. 

Now, if the horses would only get over the alpacas, I could start integrating the herds.

Wish me luck, I'm gonna need it.

A word about the ducklings: I set up the smaller kiddie pool as a brooder and moved the ducklings into the tack room. I turned on the heater, but the heat lamp appears to be enough to keep the room about 50 degrees. They perked up immediately. 

I also caught the smallest of the loose ducks and put them into the new brooder. They jumped into the feeder and ate until they could barely waddle.

I'm glad I was able to catch the poor things.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Critters VS the Weather

This weather, a nasty cold snap, has reeked havoc on my animals. The older ones (JR and my old black gelding) and myself, are struggling with joint problems.

The baby ducklings are dropping dead from the cold, even under a heat light and covered with a tarp. I put the mother duck in with them, but she's not interested in babies, she just wants her eggs.

Dumbass duck.

The older ducklings, the ones with enough body mass to stay warm, are doing fine. But it's the tiny ones that suffer. I hate late year hatchings, they are heartbreaks looking for a place to happen.

The baby goose is only two weeks old, but it has gained a tremendous amount of weight in that short time. The little bugger is solid.

The last chick is having no trouble adapting to the cold. It isn't growing as fast as it would in the summer, no surprise there. However, it is still with Phatso, and she is just as protective now as when it was newly hatched.

The alpacas are wild creatures. I shouldn't let that stop me from training them. I might not be a good horse trainer, but there has to be a way to get through to these critters. We shall see.

I'm not sure why it's considered to be so bad to have llama's and alpacas trained. Maybe people who deal with them aren't horse people, so they don't know what's possible?

I doubt that.

Most likely they aren't as genetically programmed for domestication? Sheep aren't, so it's not unheard of.

Or it could be that being a fiber animal, nobody ever bothered to give it a shot. Not sure. I guess I'm going to find out. LOL There's nothing like being a stubborn Scots/Hungarian/Irish woman to make taming the untamable a challenge.

Sometimes, I wish I had more sense.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: It has only taken a week to go from a struggle every morning to put a lead rope on the alpacas, to a gentle pat before clicking the snap.

I'm very, very happy with the progress!


Monday, November 18, 2013

As the Year Winds Down

I've been thinking, as I wash, card and spin a big bag of llama fiber, about this year.

I got to know a great guy, a fellow artist, who was going through a tough time. Talking to him really made me think about my own life. He was on the fence about using his god-given talent or staying put.

He picked his art.

One of the things we talked about is being true to yourself. Life is difficult. Trying to force yourself into a mold that doesn't fit is painful. It's like being a plum in a banana world.

Now my friend appears to be well on his way back to the world of plums. LOL

I'm happy for him. Even though his success makes me wonder about my own life. There's so much going on. It's like I'm spinning in circles. The chaos and the drama never eases up for long. There's always something.

Truth is - I'm worn out from it all. I keep trying to find some way to relax and blow some stress. There are some physical problems that need to be addressed, and I'm getting ready to do that.

Once I'm over that mess, I'm going to take some time to rest and relax. Things are running smoothly here at the farm. Winter is the time to ease up on some things, and get around to tasks that had to wait.

I think that next year is going to see some more changes. Hopefully I'll find my own niche, like my friend did.

I'd like the coming year to be a good year.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The New Kids on the Farm



The little white guys peeking over the back of a bigger llama are Sabre and Tonka a pair of alpaca geldings coming soon to Jordan's Croft.

Aren't they cute?

These little guys are going to supply me with fiber for the spinning wheel.

I've got a bad case of spinning fever!

To keep me occupied, the foster parents of the boys have given me some fiber to tide me over.

Some addictions are good addictions.

However, I'm not sure what the horses are going to think about sharing space with these smaller animals.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Good News!



I've gotten an email from Ashtabula Public Library - they would like me to do a reading and give a short talk about 'Swallow the Moon' - the paranormal set in Ashtabula.

I was planning to return for the Wine and Walleye Festival in August. They want me to come on August 18th. 2014 -- just a few days before the festival.

I hope I can schedule a few more readings at other libraries in the area. Dates and times will follow - I'll post them on Goodreads and Facebook as soon as the dates are set.