Monday, August 30, 2010

Gone.......but not forgotten

I knew that something was not quite right with him, when I first met him,when I went out to the barn that morning. I had to do a double take to make sure that it was not Solei's baby, but it was the wrong color. Roxie had given birth during the night, and there was her little fawn grey male, born a day after Solei's baby. We were not even watching Roxie for signs of impending birth, as she was due the end of September. Her baby was about 5 weeks early. The signs of prematurity were evident to me, teeth not yet erupted, seemed mentally impaired as he wasn't humming to his mom like newborns usually do, due to hypoxia, (not enough oxygen at birth,) feet down in the pasterns, and no suckle reflex, and to me just did not have the will to live.
After several attempts of getting him to take a bottle, with no success, I finally succumbed to tube feeding the little guy,I thought long and hard about this, maybe it is my medical background to try and save everything, but sometimes things go wrong, or rather, aren't meant to be. I really wanted this little guy to start trying. And Roxie would stand next to her baby, patiently, as I milked her out, not an easy feat to milk an alpaca. I wanted him to live. If not for my sake, for the sake of Roxie, who has done a constant vigil at his side, humming to him and wondering why her little baby won't get up and suckle her or even hum back to her. This morning when I woke up, I took the binoculars, and sure enough, there was Roxie, kushed next to her son, his lifeless little body. All alone out in the pasture.

I thought about all this as I was out in the garden this morning, harvesting cabbage, green beans and broccoli. As I was picking the beans, I noticed a grass hopper on one of the stems, I stopped that morning and really studied him. No movement from him, other than the occasional twitching of his antennae, his multifaceted eyes were studying me in earnest, as I, him. I wonder what I look like to him???? And, does he really look like, the way I see him? Normally I would pluck him off that bean plant and throw him over the fence to the waiting mob of chickens and turkeys, for they know, whenever we go into the garden, the grasshoppers will fly/jump out, and it becomes a feeding frenzy........
I see Chester and Timmy, jumping up on their two back legs, then coming down together to head butt each other, the way little buck boys play, readying themselves for being big bucks someday.
The girl goats are busy calling to me, begging me to throw over a few corn stalks, and sunflower plants to them. Beyond the goat enclosures, I see Solei out with her little baby, she is contentedly grazing, while her yet to be named offspring is running circles around her, stopping only to take a few drinks from her full udder, and then dashing off to another alpaca, to chest butt her playfully, as male alpacas do. The whole world yet for him to explore. Oblivious to the fact, that another little boy, will never experience these things.
Life goes on, there will be some grieving here today, by two legged and four legged occupants of this little farm.
We will see this little guy again someday, Roxie and I.

AUGUST 28,2010-AUGUST 30,2010 Little Boy Alpaca.

Gone.....but not forgotten.
More later................

Friday, August 27, 2010

The birthing

I had been watching Solei, a first time pregnant alpaca all day. I knew that today was the day. She had been making frequent trips to the dung pile, her vulva was elongated and open, and she had been bagged up for a few days now. Of course, it was 96 degrees this afternoon. I went out every hour or two all day, and decided at 2:30 pm to hose the alpacas down in the afternoon heat. Just their underbellies, neck and legs, that is their cooling mechanism. I was expecting her to deliver before 1pm, that is what the usual alpaca does. In the Andes where they are from, it gets 70 degrees every day, but it also drops to 28 degrees every night. Generations of alpacas give birth there all before 1pm, to assure survival of the fittest. They have to be born early in the day, so they can warm up, run around and get full of colostrum before it gets cold at night. If they are born later in the day, their survival is at jeopardy. They say that if you have a birth later in the day here, that it could be a dystocia or problem birth.
Well when I went out at 4:30 for feeding, there was Solei, kushed,(that is what they call lying down in camelids) with half of a babies head sticking out, with no toes, and baby gasping to breathe. A sign of a normal birth is to see "nose and toes". So I told Dennis, that I would need to go in and check her. I got my bucket of warm water, with soap and betadine, and cleaned her up. I keep on hand gloves that go up to my shoulders, so donned those, I reached around the head, the baby gasping all the time, and could feel the feet, but she had a shoulder lock, where the shoulders are locked at the pelvis. An easy fix, you ease one foot out at a time, past the pelvic, I then rotated the baby a little sideways to facilitate easier delivery for her. She carried this pregnancy for 348 days.
I got one of my wishes, it is all white, but it is another boy. Will be nice in a fiber herd, as both Solei and Prize, who is the daddy have great fleece. the youngster was up on its feet within 10 minutes, and shortly thereafter, running around. Has nursed, and the mom passed the placenta. Solei is going to be a good mom as she has been humming to the baby and also clucking. That is their bonding. The clucking sounds like when you cluck your tongue to get a horse to giddy-up.
Ah the life out on the farm. I told Dennis that she is going to be a sore girl, tomorrow.
Pictures of the new arrival.
Auntie checking out the baby.
Baby nursing.

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

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Neighbors pig roast, my perspective.

We only had to walk 800 feet, down the dusty gravel road. It was a cool evening, only in the low 80's. We would be OK as long as someone wasn't driving down the road at breakneck speed, raising a cloud of dust, only to be rivaled by the Atomic bomb clouds you see on TV. As we entered our neighbors tree lined driveway--lined with stately Ash and Cottonwood trees, who knows how many generations these trees have been around, and the stories THEY could tell if I could only unleash the memories in their growth rings.
The sounds of joviality fill our ears, the tops popping off of aluminum cans, the persons choice of beverage to be indulged. The sizzling of pork in the cooker. An occasional whinny from a horse, feeding time will be late for them tonight, as they watch from the safety of their corrals, switching their tails to and fro, stamping alternate feet-as a new batch of flies recently hatched.
A less than 24 hour baby goat bleats for its mama "maaaaa" as the old buck looks on-all knowing, as he has lived this many times. In the pig pen, the pigs are wondering where their companion could be. Yesterday there were three, now their numbers are down to two, but their companion is easily forgotten come feeding time, when there is less competition for food.
The sounds of neighbors and friends being, well, "neighborly". A riding lawn mower approaches pulling a trailer with 2 children,(our neighbors from across the street south west of us) with smiles reaching from ear to ear on their children's faces- in anticipation of all the fun they will have with other children, and how late will Mom and Dad let them stay up?..........

Our neighbors to the west of us had their pork roast on Saturday night. The pig was put in the roaster at 4am and we were eating at 6pm. DElicious.(sorry all you vegetarians). Dennis and I arrived their at 6pm and there was food and drink aplenty.
The cooker.

The food!

Along with good neighborly conversation, the meeting of new friends and neighbors. The good old boys, discussing the weather no doubt!

Dennis discussing feed prices with neighbors.

We also had our first horse ride by wagon from their two gorgeous Belgians, Zeus and Apollo.A picture of me alongside the two gentle giants.
here are some pictures of the team being hitched up.
As we drove past our neighbors to the south of our house, their three horses were running along with us, what a sight to behold, almost spiritual to me anyway.
Dennis and I were amazed how smooth the ride was, even as the horses were trotting. You can see I took a picture of Bear, being a good guard dog, running along side the horses and wagon. I don't think that he knew that we were on board.

some of our patrons aboard our wagon ride.
Also some pictures of some of their other farm animals.
two miniature horses that also pull a small cart

The pigs

mama and baby goat

chicken yard

Their farm was the original homestead, and we are just adjacent to them. One of the old wooden dilapidated sheds has some holes and slits to the siding, we saw honey combs hanging from these and worker bees coming and going. Only the very watchful eye would notice them, as their hive is slightly veiled by overgrown weeds. Wish that I would have taken some pictures of the bees.
We don't get to see our neighbors very often-everyone is busy living their own lives-just a passing wave and hello as we are out working in the yard or garden. But, it is unspoken that we will be here if anyone ever needs help. You gotta love small town living!!!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I'mmmmm back!

I am back from my Minnesota adventure, and have been going full throttle since the plane touched down. Well actually, I have been back for one week already. Here are some of the pictures depicting my stay up north. My parents and I made the road trip from My place to New Ulm Mn. We listened to a CD book, a murder mystery, on the way. It was really hard for us to pull ourselves away from the car, the story was so mesmerizing. It made the 13+ car trip, seem so short. This is definitely the way to travel!
One of our first stops was to visit Windom, Mn where Dennis and I started out our married life together, 35 years ago. This is a picture of the first house we bought, I believe it cost $17,500.

Our daughter Tera was born in Windom. She was the first baby born in the new hospital there. I was treated like a queen, and stayed in the hospital for 4 days for a routine vaginal delivery, unheard of these days, with the cost of health care.

Next, off to New Ulm. Yeah, sure, you betcha!
We stayed at my sister Sandy's home in New Ulm Mn for 4 nights. Sandy and her family are such nice hosts and hostesses. My nephew Seth, was just back from Afghanistan, so it was nice to see him. While in New Ulm, we went shopping for clothes and antiquing, went to a neighborhood block party, and toured Schells brewery, which is based in New Ulm.
A good luck tree in my sisters back yard. This picture is sideways, and you need to enlarge it to see what it is. You click on the picture to enlarge. What do you think the story behind this is?

pathway to the home on Schells brewery property. It was considered a mansion back in its day.

No, I did not drink all this beer. These are some of the samples that we were given, 1 inch per glass. Actually, I did not like any of the beer, not being a beer drinker, but they did have good root beer. I guess that during the prohibition, Schells brewery manufactured root beer.

Fountain at schells brewery.

pond at Schells brewery

The city of New Ulm is small town living at its best. All the old architecture and the stately brick houses, make one feel like they have stepped back in time.
Next on the agenda was to travel to MPLS/St Paul area for a family wedding.

The wedding!
The wedding was Friday night, and was a very beautiful affair indeed. The bride and groom were just glowing, and I am sure had a good send off for their lives together. The reception was held at the country club, with snacks, and spirits a plenty. And Mn is oh, so green at this time of year, made for a perfect setting.

Was really nice to see all my family, all my brothers and sisters and their families in attendance. I am hoping that Sandy will send me her copy of the family photo.
We stayed the last 3 nights of our visit at my brother Mike's home. His wife Jean and him are great hosts also. Bless their hearts, both my dad and I were ill one day, they made their home into a sick bay. I was hoping to make it to the Mall of America to see the Underwater World, as we moved to Arizona just prior to its opening. But my one day in bed prevented me from doing that.
Minnesota was very hot, and the added humidity, made it beastly for a few days. It is good to be back in a less humid environment.
Well that is it in a nutshell, the abridged version anyway.
In my absence, Dennis took good care of the animals, too good, as the goats are all fat. I will need to work on trimming them down before fall breeding season starts. Nothing will kill a goat faster than being overweight, and carrying 3 or more kids, with not enough room for food to nourish them.
More later................