Friday, January 20, 2012

Wintertime is here

Winter did finally arrive here in Northern MI. It has been a very strange winter. Above average temps and little snow. Gary & I were enjoying it as far as working outside and doing the chores. But it finally turned into winter with a big bang. We had a snowstorm a couple of days ago that dumped on us here locally about 14 inches and now it has been snowing every day since the storm. We also have been experiencing very cold temps, with wind chills below 0 at times. It is a good thing the Alpacas have their nice warm fleece to keep them warm.

I do so much love their soft and silky fiber.  You might be interested in some facts about Alpaca fiber based on a study by the Alpaca Owners & Breeders Association:

 1. Alpaca is flame resistant, meeting the standards of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission's rigid testing specifications as a Class 1 fiber for use in clothing and furnishings.

2. Alpaca is resistant to external water penetration like wool, but can slowly wick away perspiration because of its unique ability to act like cotton in moisture regain. These factors are what makes alpaca feel lighter than wool, but warmer than cotton in cool, damp conditions.

3. Alpaca is water resistant, making spills easy to clean up before water saturates the fiber allowing stains to develop. It is also adsorbent to oils, meaning that the oils do not penetrate the fibers, but merely cling to the fiber for easy cleaning without harsh chemicals.

4. Alpaca is free of lanolin, and thus can be processed without the need for high temperatures or harsh chemicals in washing.

5. Alpaca is a natural renewable fiber with a wide range of applications.

There are of course many more wonderful facts about Alpaca's fiber. You can read more here at Wikipedia about Alpaca Fiber and it's wonderful benefits.

Thumper with snow on his nose.

White Cria is Snowflake

 The girl alpacas staying nice & warm.  The standing white alpaca is our spring cria Snowflake. Baby Alpaca Fiber is the ultimate softest fiber. I just love it.  Enjoy the winter and stay warm.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A dogfight at the ranch

Well now that the holidays are behind us and it is a New Year, one of my resolutions is to post more on the blog. My personal life became very busy last year and I just didn't have the time to post like I wanted. So here is the first post for 2012.

You remember the rescue dog Chloe that we adopted last February? 

She has been growing like a weed. She has gained 19 lbs since she has been here. She now weighs 98 lbs. She is very loveable with my husband and myself.  Her job here at the ranch is to guard our goats and  the house.  She takes her job seriously and loves it.  The only problem we have is that she does not like our other dogs. Of all the dogs that we have, she only likes Pan. (I don't blame her as he is a good looking boy). 
Well just the other day, Meadow our other female Maremma was here at the house.

We were outside doing the chores and  Meadow and Pan came to visit and walk to the barnyard with us. Meadow was just sitting and paying no attention to Chloe. All of sudden I look over just as Chloe leaps onto Meadow and grabs her in the back of the neck. Chloe had broken her lead that we had her on.  She decided to defend her territory from Meadow.  Chloe didn't care about Pan, just Meadow.  We were fortunate to be outside and to be able to break them up by pulling on their tails. It causes them to release the grip that they have on each other.  But dog fights are scary as they make a lot of noise and there was some yelping going on. I do not like dog fights. After separating them and putting them on leashes, we examined each dog. Meadow had a little blood from her ear, but not a puncture wound.  We did not find anything on Chloe.  I treated Meadow's ear for a few days, cleaning it and putting some antibiotic cream on it. It healed up nicely.  Tuesday morning when we went outside to do the chores, we noticed that Chloe had some blood stains on her side. We examined her and found a large abscess under her fur that she had been licking. So a call to the vet and an appointment was made. When we took her in to the vet, we placed a muzzle on her, as she does not like our vet or any other male strangers in the vet's office.  Our vet examined her and yes he did find a very small puncture wound above the abscess.  Dogs mouths are full of bacteria so a puncture wound should always be treated with antibiotics.The other problem was Chloe licking it and not allowing it to heal.  Our vet suggested that we place a t-shirt on her to keep her from licking. He gave us antibiotics for Chloe and we wash the abscess daily and place some other medicated cream on it. Then we put her t-shirt on and duck tape it to her back. This way she can't lick the abscess.  It is working and starting to heal.  Below is a picture of Chloe wearing her shirt. I think she looks cute in the color Fushia. She even smiled for the camera.
Chloe dressed in pink.