Yes everyone, I wrote this several weeks ago and forgot to post. OOPS!
We've had a very lovely, sunny, dry summer. A few days had gotten well over 90 degrees but for the most part it's been very comfortable. The alpacas are all doing well, with only minor ailments to check on now and then, and big bowls of pellets to the thinner ones. My dear Soloman, aka Sol, is still much, much too thin but he is definitely moving around much better! He has been enjoying the sun, and most days he'll venture out, albeit slowly, on his own to the pastures. I love that he is getting his much needed Vitamin D. Even my beautiful Bo Jangles, who has always preferred the barn, has been enjoying the sun. With the lack of rain, the flies have been minimal this year, so Bo has not suffered allergic bites on his cute face as badly as previous summers. Even we humans are thankful for less barn flies. Trust me, those bites are just awful!
Here is Bear hogging the pool, just before shearing day this year:
On the really hot days, Dan will drag out the hose to spray down the alpacas' bellies and legs. All he has to do is start unwinding the hose and the boys come running. They all jockey for position with a "Me Next Please!" attitude. Sometimes Dan will bring out the kiddie pool. Bear is always first and has plenty to say to whomever tries to join in. Desi managed to get in with him momentarily and Bear promptly kicked him out. Then little Earthling got in and cushed and wouldn't budge! Such an adorable scene.
And here's a rare picture of 2 alpacas in the pool together:
Once again the deer devoured whatever I tried planting in my garden and I gave up early in the summer. I really need to find an easy way to fence them out. It's so odd not to have a garden, to head out back to pick something for dinner. I have done that for years and years. Instead I have found a new passion: shopping for veggies at the farmers' markets and picking fruit at PickYourOwn farms. I love supporting other local farms! We picked 12 pounds of blueberries one day, most of which are now in the freezer. Every morning for breakfast this summer, I have been eating the yummiest yogurt from a local dairy farm, topping it with fresh in season berries or fruit, and local raw honey. OH YUM. In September comes apples to pick and plenty of winter squashes at the farmer's markets.
No matter if it's food or fleece, remember to support your local small farmers!
Wow!! It's so good to be back! I was having some computer problems with my ole computer ~ yes, yes, ahem, it's running XP ~ and was unable to do admin functions here on my own website! But thanks to my brother, who convinced me and helped me to do some updates for another reason, voila!!! I'm here!! Thanks Mark!!
All has been well here over the summer and I plan to be back soon with fun stories from our little alpaca farm. :)
Sometimes, despite your best efforts and intentions, things just don’t go as planned. Spring arrived, and Shiloh was not able to regain the use of her back legs. Loving animals means your heart gets broken when they cannot be the beautiful creatures they were intended to be. More sadness came to our farm in mid-April, as the decision was made that it was best to let Shiloh and her wonderful spirit leave our world.
We had created a setup in the pen with a sling and pulleys so that we could sling Shiloh up with the least amount of stress to her, as well as to us. She really didn’t like being in the sling. She always much preferred that Dan lift her by her hind end and balance her on his leg while he sat on the small hay feeder. From there she could stand up using her front legs and see all around the barn, see ‘her girls’ and sometimes she’d even put weight on her back legs. Dan and I would massage her back and hips and massage her back legs and feet, trying hard to get the blood circulating. Then we’d gently work each leg, bending it and straightening it, forward and back and out to the side. Dan would even take that rear leg and pull it forward so that Shiloh could scratch her chest, like a real alpaca. :)
Shiloh actually liked us doing all this massage. When we’d arrive at the barn she’d get a really excited look on her face when she saw Dan and would try hard to get herself up, her front end anyway. When she saw us get the sling ready, she’d get an ‘OH NO!’ look to her. With Shiloh in the sling we could work her legs a little easier and she could move around a teensy bit. Anything to get her muscles working. I did reiki on her every day. We gave her homeopathic remedies for healing and pain relief, banamine for pain and swelling, MSM to build muscle, crushed B12 tablets to regenerate her nerves, and of course alpaca pellets as a treat. We kept her in the pen with lots of straw and a warm coat, and put up an extra tarp to keep the cold and wind off of her. We did this all winter long, every day.
In return, she gave us happy looks, a never-give-up attitude, and a very loving spirit. She will never be forgotten.
RIP my friend.