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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Expecting

. . . another litter from Lucy.

Come on girl, you're due today. What gives?
She is closed in the barn with the 'barn rats' to stay out of the weather and keep her sense of purpose watching over her charges. But I'm starting to wonder if she is even pregnant. She feels and looks loaded. But maybe I got the confirmed date wrong. Who knows. Only the Man above.

Pretty uneventful day for the most part. J worked online doing some Vet Tech schooling and Stacey is her normal cheerful self. They sure are a joy to have living right next door. How many of you can say you like your next door neighbors?

The weather report for the day . . . . yup, there was weather. Snow, then rain, then snow, then rain. Couple that with 40 degrees and you have an OK day. Certainly nothing to complain about. J and Stacey picked a hole shot for chores, but got rained on right at the end a couple of times for probably less than a minute each. Cocktail after chores, kids watched two episodes of something they had DVR'd and departed for the tin can. Us old farts did what we do at night, watched some TV, mother went to bed and I 'putered some more working on the Mercantile system.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Think Spring

Wishful thinking? Exactly !

Don't get me wrong here, I'm not complaining. I hate complainers. Complaining gets you nowhere. No matter what you are complaining about, it won't change a thing. But I'm here to tell you, this winter thing this year bites. Sure we need the moisture, that's a given. And we are blessed in our little vortex to not be getting slammed like millions of others including our friends in the northern and eastern part of the state. But I've had enough already.

Last week we were under the impression, thanks to the weather gods/gurus that we were going to dry out and have a nice sunny ending to February. I was wrong to believe them for they know not what they speak of. I was more on the money when I forecast the weather "Yes, there will be weather". Living in The Land of Enchantment for the past 8 years has proved the old saying around here, "if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes, it will change". But does that mean it has to change every 5 minutes? Why yes, that's exactly what it means.

OK, so now that I got that off my chest, I guess my complaining is done. Now on to better thoughts, like green grass, pretty flowers everywhere, gardening, sunshine, lollipops and roses. Come on Spring, we can do this. Remember what I said about complainers? I lied, so sue me.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Anticipation

Anticipation according to Merriam-Webster is a feeling of excitement about something that is going to happen. : the act of preparing for something. We had both this morning at our 'morning meeting of the minds'.

Today as we plan our path of attack, 2 things immediately came to mind that we needed to consider. First off, we are expecting to receive our POS system from Square and second we are expecting some weather in the late afternoon or early evening. With that being said, the girls informed the group that they need to make a short supply run to Grants within the near future. After checking the weather reports for the next few days, the decision was made to 'do it now'. So, they hurriedly got ready and left to accomplish their mission, leaving J and I here to handle the ranch.

Carolyn and Stacey stormed Grants, took care of business and were on their way back by 3:00 pm. I played on the 'puter getting used to the Square Online and Onsite system, worked in the pastures and barn a bit getting some exercise, while J went to the tin can to rest as he is still not in top form. About 3:30 J joined me in chores. Before we knew it UPS was coming up the driveway with our anticipated shipment from Square and the girls arrived with their treasures. Unloaded everything, put it all away, completed chores by 5:00 and hunkered down to anticipate what the weather gods had in store for us.

All in all, a fantabulous day. We were right in our decision making. . . . .

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Better Days Are Here

Future Vet Tech

Future Vet Tech

Well that didn't take long.

This past Sunday J stated that he was interested in becoming a Vet Tech and had looked at some online schools. "Cool, sounds good". Today, he's enrolled and completed his first lesson. "Even cooler". J enrolled in Penn Foster Colleges' accredited Vet Tech Associates Degree program. Needless to say we are very excited, proud of him and will support him through this next journey he has chosen. It's a perfect fit for what he wants to accomplish in the alpaca industry.

Carolyn spent the day working on selecting products that she wants to carry in our Mercantile. She has amazing organizational skills developed over so many years in the nursing field that apply to the current task at hand, stocking the store. Our POS system is due to arrive tomorrow, hooray! Let the fun begin programming all the items and getting them live online.

Moved the girls back to pasture after the dust settled from the last winter blast. We kept 'the barn rats' in the barn/paddock area and added JR so Nicky would have a mate. They are about the same age and enjoy each others company. Still waiting on Lucy to have her litter of pups. Maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Seen Better Days

Sometimes being a steward of livestock is challenging, to say the least. Today was one of those days. Our Pretty Girl sudden crossed the rainbow bridge with what seemed to be complications giving birth. She went very quickly and we will miss her dearly. One thing I've learned is if you are going to have livestock you have to be prepared to accept short term defeats, know in your heart that it was God's will, and move on.

The weather presented a challenge as well. Sudden snow storm meant moving the girls to the barn and rearranging everything to keep them warm and comfortable. It wasn't a terrible storm, about 4", but it was wet and sloppy, so plowing was short lived. Coupled with my whole crew being down with this upper respiratory crud, I was on my own. Upside is, with a little multitasking and 'can do attitude', I got-r-done.

Tomorrow is another day and I will not only survive, but I will prevail.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dog Day Morning

First thing this morning J discovered that Pretty Girl had delivered her first pup, a boy. Being a first time mother, she seemed a little confused and put off with the whole thing. First reported to me that the pup was really big. That turned out to not be the case. Just a normal size pup. The odd thing is that as of 6:00 pm she still only had one.

J apparently has come down with the same thing the girls have been battling and is under the weather. Therefore I took over and handled the chores for the day. Felt good to be back at it and I definitely needed the exercise. Will probably give him another day to rest and kick this crud to the curb. Knock on wood, I still seem to be warding it off, with the help of my magic potion, colloidal silver.

Carolyn spent the day researching items she wants to carry in the Mercantile and making lists of vendors and products. I'm so glad she has taken this on because she is so focused and organized. If it were up to me I would just fill the store with candy. LOL

The POS system has been ordered and is on it's way. And so are we . . . . .

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Is an Onsite Vet Tech in Our Future?

Why yes, quite possibly it is.

This morning J walked in my office, like he does most mornings and shared with me that he had been investigating going to Vet Tech school online. Obviously I was surprised, yet really happy to hear that. Together we looked at the school he had been investigating and discussed the endless possibilities that a move like that could have on his life.

J is motivated to have a career involving animals and becoming a Vet Tech plays right into his plan. He has been a great help here on the ranch and he is super with the critters, so I think he may be on to something. We shall see how this pans out, but for my money I think this could be an awesome road to wander down.

Go J.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

It's Time, or is it?

Sitting here thinking about things and pondering the state of affairs at High Country Alpaca Ranch and all the things going on and how I was going to keep up with it all and on and on and on. So, the light bulb went on and I thought maybe I should start the blog back up.

I used to blog in the old days, but found myself spending a little too much time flapping about things that people probably couldn't care less about and didn't have the time to spend reading 'my mind'.

I created and admin a page called the Alpaca Blog Connection on Facebook, where I post links to other alpaca bloggers. I recently have been posting links from Blue Moon Ranch and found her daily updates to be short, interesting and informative. Brilliant idea, be short and to the point and maybe that will work.

So here goes. . . . . . .

Thursday, February 3, 2011

High Country Alpaca Shearing - The Start

The time has come to kick it into gear and get the 2011 shearing season scheduled. We are presently looking at about 1000 alpacas to get shorn in 5 states so far. The interest in Cody's services this year is very positive and a clear indication that he did a good job last year.

Cody schooled with Matt Best of Best Shearing last year at Magical Farms and then traveled with Matt up and down the East coast and New England area for 2 months as an apprentice and head man. Working and traveling with Matt to some of the best alpaca farms in the country was an invaluable experience. He got a great education, met some wonderful people and came home with some great stories. He paid his dues, so to speak.

Cody was only on the train about an hour, on a 2 day trip home, when the phone here at High Country Alpaca Ranch started ringing. It seems that another shearer had left several alpaca owners out west, shall we say "high and dry" with little or no notice. Word spread quickly that Cody was on his way home and by the time he arrived I had booked around 450 pacas that needed shearing.

With one day of rest and a truck full of new equipment Cody headed out to "save the day" and get his feet wet in his new career. Thanks to all the people that gave the rookie a shot, Cody was able to gain even more experience and make some wonderful new contacts. That, and his dedication to the pacas has given him a super jump start on the 2011 season.

Cody will be joined this year by his cousin Michael, who will be reporting here shortly from Michigan. Michael was very instrumental in the birth of High Country Alpaca Ranch in 2009 and is now raring to learn the shearing business. These two guys are a great team and will be very successful this year. They are serious about their mission, have a great sense of humor and will make your shearing day a wonderful experience.

If you are in need of High Country Alpaca Shearing's excellent service, please contact us via phone: 505-495-9232 or email: hcar2009@wildblue.net If you are not in need this year, perhaps you could pass on our contact info to friends who might be in need of all we have to offer. We would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

BAT - Leap of Faith?

February 2nd is a day that will be a yearly holiday for myself and my family. That's the day we made the decision to join the Build A Tent initiative and become a "Founding Investor". February 2nd will stand out in my mind because that's the day we made the "leap of faith".

I had been watching the BAT initiative since October 2010 when I stumbled upon the first gathering of alpaca owners/breeders, fiber fanatics, fiber processors and a whole slew of people gathered in a room somewhere in Nashville, TN. I don't even remember how I found them, but I do remember that somehow I had found a link on the Internet, clicked on it and there I was attending the same meeting that all these other people had paid good money to attend in person. Only I was watching it from my office here at HCAR on a web cast while occasionally looking out my office window to enjoy my pacas playing in their pastures. How cool was that?

The web cast had me spellbound and glued to my monitor with the surround sound turned up. I almost felt that I was there in person until I realized I was still in my pajamas, OK, underwear and having a cup of coffee. I was very intrigued with what I was witnessing. Here's a whole room full of people listening to some lady up front talking about building a tent. You've got to be kidding. Building a tent? Out of what? Alpaca? This I gotta see. As the meeting progressed I started to recognize certain people in the room. Robin Kuhl and Carrie Hull from Coarse Broads. Rod Dakan. These were folks that I recognized from being a research geek and seeing their websites. And I'm sure there were others, but I can't put my finger on them right now. Everyone in the room seemed very intent on this lady at the head of the class who was facilitating this exercise.

A quick click to the AOBA website and I found the Build A Tent section, where I then discovered all these documents explaining what this was all about. I downloaded and printed out all the documents, including the agenda for this particular meeting. OK, now I can follow along and started to see the picture. During the lunch break, I stayed logged in so I wouldn't take the chance of missing out on the afternoon's agenda. I spent that time studying the material and trying to bring myself up to speed. Wow, what an enormous undertaking these folk are tackling. Organizing the alpaca industry. And this time it's about the fiber. Yes, yes, yes !

In the interest of time here I will continue this story in my future blog posts. I just really wanted to get this started in order to force myself to chronicle our journey in this exciting new initiative and give others an insight to our involvement.

Thanks for taking the time to read.