Monday, May 31, 2010

Whew! Snow in May?

What a week we had. It started out on Wednesday with nasty weather. Some parts of Colorado north east of Denver received golf ball sized hail, which took out car windows, caused car dents, fallen tree limbs, and needed to be plowed off the streets due to accumulation. I was watching Lili that day. My sons dog started barking uncontrollably, I looked out the window to see really black ominous clouds overhead, so we headed for the basement. I found out later that a tornado had touched down a few miles where we were. Scary. At our house, we received only marble sized hail, but no damage. I guess it is too early to take my winter survival gear out of my vehicle.

We went to Linda and Dons and helped to remove a stock tank that they had been using for their goldfish. We were surprised to see that Don had 3/4 of the job already done. Bless his heart! We were expecting to do the entire job ourselves as the price for these two 8 foot tanks could not be beat.
We plan to bury these in the ground and use for our koi pond. But probably won't get them in the ground until the fall. I need to put up an arbor and some picket fencing to define my area first.

No not really, but here you can see that I am combing the old winter coat off of Bear. I have been combing him 10 minutes twice daily, and still have a long way to go. He does love these grooming sessions so.

Our chicks are almost 3 weeks old now, and growing some every day. We have moved them into my old budgie fly pen, they love all the room to roam. We still have them under the heat lamp until they get more feathers.

I went out and primed the chicken coop, to ready for painting. It will probably take me a few days to recover.

My carpal tunnel flares up when ever I do any painting, but I want the job done right. Earlier I had posted a picture of the color combination that I was going to use, but have decided to revise it somewhat. Will post picture when I have the coop completed.

I put my order in for 12 guinea hens. Can't wait. I will get them June 15Th. Of all the "yard" birds, guineas are my favorite. I just love watching their antics when they are out and about.

All you folks from Minnesota can skip this part but here goes, you Arizona folks should love this. Look how green it is here. Of course the picture does not bring out the true green we have here. I just can't get over it! The animals think that they have died and went to heaven!!!or to Colorado that is!

Have a good Memorial Day. Remember those you have loved,those you still love and drive careful. Remember our military,and their families, for they are the ones who make sacrifices everyday for our freedom.

More later.......

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ode to Pronghorn!

This is short, but here goes........
It is 6am, all are asleep. The winds, even THEY are slumbering this time of the morning, summoning up the power to ravage the plains, for the remainder of the day, sucking the life out of us, a little bit at a time. The livestock guardian dog, stretched out on his side, only a flicker of an ear, gives away that he is indeed alive, and dreaming of the coyotes that pillaged his property during the night, is oblivious to what is going on behind him in the back 30 acres. As stealthily, a lone Pronghorn buck slowly grazes his way through his territory. Out my window I can see the one lone Pronghorn antelope buck, majestically lifting his nose to test the air currents.....then lowering his head, tufts of grass cling to his antlers, black as coal, and ramrod straight as if paying homage to the powers above, as he rubs his scent glands on the grasses of the prairie, sending out his invitation to all available females, and a warning to other lone bucks. His scent glands are like his physical to the world, giving his testimony to others of his kind, his age, his health, any vulnerabilities he may have. His tiny tail switches occasionally at unforeseen pests,as he walks off munching some of the delectable lush spring grasses, getting fat, the building up for his stamina, for the fall rut, so he can claim a harem of his own, come breeding season.
Last year, this buck would show up on our property with 15 females, ever attentive, and watchful, then 1 by 1 his harem dwindled to only a few. Then only he was left. No doubt his harem was won over by a stronger/younger male, or they no longer needed his services, his purpose for being was fulfilled. Ensuring in nature that the survival of the fittest genes get passed on to the next generation.

We occasionally see small groups of bucks this time of year. We have been keeping lookout for the baby antelope as no doubt they are already born. East of our place just a short distance away, we can see tons of antelope, living the antelope life. And of course the herds that come through the back of our property. They seem to be particularly interested in our 4 female goats. Dennis says that they are sometimes called "speed goats" I think he called them.
Just wanted to show you a picture of two, and what I think about when I see the mystical creatures, and to share our land with them.
As always, if you left click on the picture, it will enlarge the picture.
More later.........

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

alpaca shearing, 2010 harvest.

We spent this last Sunday with our annual alpaca shearing day. It was not with out its "edge of the seat" excitement for us as usual. One of our helpers, let the dogs "slip" past her, as she opened the gate, which is easy to do as they are so fast. She went after them, Lulu jumped in the back of her vehicle, but Dennis had to run down the road after Bear. I did not know anything about this(thankfully) until I saw our friend drive up with Lulu in her back seat. Sometimes I think those dogs are two rambunctious teenagers, and we are the aging "easy to pull the wool over our eyes" parents.!!!!
We ended up putting them in the two kennels(chain link) that we have over by the barn. Of course they dug out, and Bear dug out in record time.
The alpaca are laid out on their sides and legs secured outstretched, and the males, particularly, like to squeal when they are subdued this way. It has got to be a testosterone thing.

Bear thought that we were hurting them so being the good guardian he is, wanted to come to their rescue. Lulu followed suit, but it was harder for her to get out, since she has the Elizabethan collar. I always hate to lock up these Livestock guard dogs, as they always figure out a new way to escape. Next year we will have to hire a dog sitter when we shear. Dennis ended up having to keep Lulu on a leash with him, and Bear was patrolling about going from sheared/unsheared alpaca, making sure everyone was safe. Once no one was coming through the gate, everything was OK dog wise.
Here is a picture of my fleeces laid out on the basement floor.
This is Rock Star's fleece

The alpaca were still damp, as we had a quite ferocious storm here the day before, with rain and hail and also a tornado touch down not too far from here. I was oblivious to the weather, as I was with my Red Hat friends touring Celestial Seasonings tea plant in Boulder. The weather there was beautiful! When the fleeces are dry enough, I will skirt them,(pick out the undesirable things in the fleece, second cuts, fleece that is coarse or not the same color. You want the fleece as uniform as can be.) and then wash them.
This is players fleece, you can see I laid some lighter belly fiber on his blanket, this all needs to be skirted out, to get a uniform color, and texture.

Here are some pictures of the sheared alpacas. Alien looking aren't they?

We did not shear Sara Lee's baby, she is only 2 weeks old, but the saying is "if it is born, it is shorn" but I prefer to wait a bit with the little ones, and will hand shear her with my Fiskars. I still have not come up with a name for this little girl.

My two male alpacas, Prize is the white, and Player is the fawn.
They say that the difference between a good haircut and a bad one is two weeks, we will see. You can see the clipper marks, but that will fade in time. Our shearer was gentle, and no animals or humans lost any blood this shearing day, so we were all happy.
After they are all sheared and let out to pasture, they look like a bunch of popcorn popping all over the pasture as the alpaca jump and kick up there heels with the pure joy of being freed from their pounds, and pounds of fleece they have been growing all year. Just imagine a bunch of kids that have just heard the final bell of the school year, and are beginning their summer vacation! A spectacular sight indeed!

And here is Little Orphan Annie, saying "Whew, I am glad that I don't grow fleece!"

More later...........

Monday, May 17, 2010


I just spent the entire day yesterday looking after my little grand baby Lili. Ryan took some very nice pictures that I just had to share. It is so hard not to keep kissing on her.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mothers Day, It's Official! Baby Chicks

Happy Belated Mothers Day! We spent our Sunday constructing a garden gate made out of cedar. Ah, spring was in the air, the birds were singing, the bees were buzzing, and nary a breeze to cool us off. The sounds of spring were all around us, there is nothing like the sound of a husband and wife, working together, with both different ideas of how to construct this gate. The gate should weather to a gray color.

When all was said and done, Dennis took me out to Nunn cafe for dinner. We did not want to go too far, as Lulu is still in her Elizabethan collar, and we did not want her home alone too long.

Dennis being the "task" oriented person he is, wanted to get the compost pile moved into the garden before the big storm hits on Tuesday.

The dogs always want to get in on the fun, especially when it involves manure! Lulu is seen here with her collar, she is very good at maneuvering with it on, and can do just about everything, except play doctor and remove her staples!

And dumping into the garden to be used for mulch between the rows.

Well it is official! Ryan came over on Monday and put in our last 5 fence posts. We are so overjoyed, doesn't take much to get us going. It was a cold blustery cloudy day, I was unable to go out and take pictures as I was inside taking care of my granddaughter.
I was going to write this blog earlier this week, but we had a spring snow storm on Tuesday, going into Tuesday night and on into Wednesday. Wednesday morning, we awoke to a blanket of snow, and freezing to boot. Our power had went off at midnight, and we did not get it restored again until the next morning until 11am.

We received our new chicks in the mail today. They are an assortment of utility breed chicks, meaning egg layers/meat breeds. So they will be large. We have figured out that we probably have leghorns, barred rocks, production reds, and sexlink red and golds, and I hope a Buff Orpington or two. We also bought 8 Bourbon Red Turkeys. We have never had turkeys before, so the jury is still out on that one. We could not pick them up from the post office today until noon, as our power was out again. It was out until 3pm, so we needed to keep them in their shipping box, so they would not chill.

You can see here the turkey baby. They have a little thingy on the bridge of their nose. The turkey is in the center of the picture. If you left click on the picture, you will see the little thing on its nose.

Friday, May 7, 2010

LuLu with Accessories!

Well, if you read my blog from yesterday, you know that LuLu's incision is opening. It was open 1/4 inch deep this AM. So we loaded her up and took her back to the vet. Now LuLu has 5 staples to her incision, and is now wearing an Elizabethan collar, to keep her from pulling them out. Vet said, no signs of infection and the muscle layers are all stitched OK. She will need to have the staples in for 10-14 days. Yikes! But that goes fast in dog years, doesn't it?
I hope she will forgive me for this.
More later.......

Thursday, May 6, 2010

LuLu, Lily, baby alpaca and gardening

I took LuLu to the vet Monday morning to get spayed. Of course the trip was not without its usual "edge of the seat" excitement for me. I had to have her there early, between 7:15 and 7:30, which meant that I had to leave the house by 6:30 at the latest. I told Dennis that I would take her myself, so he could sleep in, that is just the type of wife I am. Well anyway, it was hard for me to heave that 80# dog into the front seat. When we got to the gate, Bear slipped out and took off down the road and would not come when I called him. I had to call Dennis on the cell phone to come and catch Bear. He was now in the neighbors back yard, which is all fenced, and probably could not figure out where their fence out, was. I then took LuLu out of the vehicle, for bait, and walked her some down the road, it did not work.
As I saw Dennis coming out of the house, I again hoisted Lulu back into the vehicle and took off, so I would not be late. Long story short, Bear came up to Dennis, and LuLu made it to the vet on time. She did have some bouts of nausea and vomiting after she came home from her procedure from the general anesthesia, and has done fairly well. She did start to open up some(the incision) yesterday, so I had to wrap her with an ace bandage, and covered the incision with gauze to keep her from over zealous licking to the area. Here is a picture of her with her new bandage.

When I first started my blog, I spoke of doing chores on a cold winter morning as being a spiritual experience. Well I have found a new one, my little granddaughter Lily. As I was rocking her to sleep after she finished her bottle yesterday, looking into those sweet little sleepy eyes, I was overcome with so much love for that little girl! Not to mention those cute little toes and fingers, and little nose! Of course, I get to go home when mom shows up!

Sara Lees little cria is growing like a weed. But I am having a very difficult time coming up with a name for her. Her Mother is Sara Lee, and the father is Pulitzer Prize. Any suggestions?

We had gale force winds again yesterday, necessitating putting up wind breaks around the north west side of the garden. We got about 40 pallets from a neighbor to use, not too pretty, but hopefully will cut down on the wind somewhat.

Dennis has the garden all tilled up, again, just itching to get in and start planting. Last day for frost here is May 10Th. Here is also a picture of Rhubarb, which we received from my friend Linda. It is doing beautifully! Dennis calls it pie plant, and can't wait for Rhubarb pie. A lot of folks who are native to Arizona have never heard of this plant, so I have included a picture for my AZ friends.

I have been busy making a quilt for my niece's new baby boy. I have had a lot of fun with this quilt. Her colors are light blue, yellow and white. I figured he will be a "star" in their lives, so thought that this was fitting. I am quilting it with stars, which I have had some difficulty with, especially when I make them backwards. But here is the back which is white and if you LEFT click on this you should be able to enlarge the picture and see some of my quilting. Quilting holds a quilt together, preventing the batting which is inside from bunching up.

Will get this mailed off to her, after I show my quilting buddies, of course.