Monday, May 13, 2013

Skinny Boys

Get rid of us?????? What???
It's been so busy around alpaca land that I've not had a moment to post!  So much has happened and I'm going to try and cover most of it, but, of course, the "shearing" is the star!

When I left off last month I was working on taxes and just about ready to be rid of the boys!  They certainly haven't been what I expected, but they are my boys and I have learned to love them.  For those of you who follow my Bev Ann's Mixed Bag Blog you know that I have had some tough times with them in the last month.  More and more God shows me through these three guys what it's like to have trust and then have it gone in a flash and tried my patience more than I could ever have imagined, but in the grand scheme of life, it's been one big laugh!  What I've learned is that I
take way too many things way too seriously.  They are alpacas and they are going to stay alpacas and I'm finally OK with that.LOL One day it's love and the next maybe not so much, but we're working on it!

If Bill heard me say that he would laugh, because he knows that too can change in a flash!

The week before shearing I was working with the boys twice a day - they would come into the catch pen, I would put on their halter and lead and we would walk in circles.  Lefty and Sammy actually let me  pet them a little!  Pancho simply thought of ways he could dig in his heels and not walk.  He would finally walk as long as I held the food bowl out, but not because he wanted to.  He is a stubborn little guy.  As shearing day grew closer the goal was to keep them as dry and clean as possible.  That's when Pancho discovered the berry brambles along the back fence.  He rubbed himself in them and drug long sticks all over the field!  Yes, that makes for a great fleece!  I cleaned off the fence and he still found limbs who knows where, but he found them.  And then on the Saturday before shearing on Tuesday the rains came.  They have a nice area to stay dry and where was Pancho?  He was lying in the yard in a huge puddle with water rolling past him.  All three got wet, but nothing like Pancho!  So on Sunday Bill and I came up with a temporary fence across the concrete part of the back overhang!  We can now let them go up there and stay dry and clean limiting them to their stall and the new area! It worked as the storms on Sunday afternoon came and went and the boys were dry!  So on Tuesday morning they were dry, they were somewhat clean except Sammy who had eaten something that just didn't agree with his stomach!  Yes, Bill held him and, well, let's back up to Monday night!
Pancho in puddle!

Pancho all wet with brambles!

Lefty with his wet head!
Bill ask me what time I wanted to try and load them up. What time should we get up? We wanted to be at the ranch by a little before ten and so I said if we start around 8:30 that should be plenty of time.  Oh what was I thinking?  I was thinking I had those perfect alpacas, you know the ones who are so thankful to be mine that they will do anything I ask them to do and do it smiling!  Well, now let's move back to Tuesday morning.  I've got my clean jeans on and thankfully my rubber boots when we discover the mess called Sammy!  I call Laurence and find that I need to hose him off!  Oh and don't forget to try and keep the blanket dry!  The blanket is the main part of the fleece, the best part!  And so  I get their halters on and that didn't just happen, but I will spare you the details.  I lock two of them in their stall and Bill holds Sammy while I hose him off!  And what does every dog do when they are wet?  Well, so do Alpacas!!!!!  But he's as clean as I can get him (and I'm not) and we begin the walk to the trailer.  It has rained so much we couldn't pull the trailer to the back, so we begin the long walk down the side of the building.  Now, we're really only talking100 feet or so, bur we needed a lot of patience.  Lefty and Sammy walked with Bill and I had Pancho and a food bowl.  Why is there never a video camera around when we're doing something new with these boys!  We would have been a You Tube hit when we finally made it to the trailer and they came to a stop.  They don't want to step inside the trailer.  Finally I lifted Lefty in with Bill pushing him from behind.  But before we could celebrate he was back out!  Finally, after we literally stopped and prayed over the boys and what we needed done they were all in and we were on our way.  God is so faithful and oh by the way, it was ten o'clock!

Cushed down in trailer
We drove the hour there and arrived with the boys cushed down in the back, rested and ready to visit their old home!  From here on it was a piece of cake.  Amazingly Pancho's fleece was the cleanest and the nicest.   We met some great new alpaca owners and they boys actually enjoyed being at their old home.  And now they are skinny!  The process wasn't near what I expected (is it ever?) and the boys didn't seem to mind the shearing at all and seemed to enjoy being around some of their old herd mates.

I was very proud of my boys after I heard some of the others "screech' through the entire process.  No pain is involved, but you would have thought they were being killed!  As soon as it's over they jump up and go about life as though nothing has happened.  And, there was one that spit the entire time!  My boys were perfect!  Well, until we started to leave.  Once again Pancho dug in those heels and refused to move.  Laurence took the lead, told me Pancho had my number, and started walking toward the trailer and you guessed it, so did Pancho.  He walked with him like it was his favorite thing to do including jumping into the trailer, so yes, Pancho has my number!

Once, home they headed out into the pasture and we sighed a breath of relief. "Our" first shearing was over!  Notice the "our", this was much harder on me and Bill than the boys!  hahaha  We put away the halters and leads and looked out in the pasture to see Pancho lying on his side!  Out flat!  We had never seen this and panic set in.  I ran out and he jumped up and began to graze.  I relaxed and looked over to see him flat on his side!  More panic and a call to Laurence, but before we heard back Pancho was up and grazing.  We learned they like to sun themselves following shearing!  Oh, I will be so glad when we've had them long enough to not panic when we see them simply lie down,  or some other silly thing they might do that sends us into a tizzy!

The body/blanket fiber!
Top small bags are the legs and neck fiber
So the end result is that the boys are cool and I have three bagsfull of fleece.  Still haven't decided exactly what I'm going to do with it.  Will I send it off to a mill, clean and card it myself into roving?  I just don't know.

The next big adventure will be my trip to Oregon for training!  Just a month from now, so if we all can survive that long maybe our lives will improve! Fingers crossed!