Sunday, December 22, 2013

Yet another winter snow storm

Santa and his reindeer should have no problem delivering presents Christmas Eve here in Northern Michigan. We have about 2 & 1/2 feet of snow on the ground, and it is still snowing. Doing chores in this weather can be trying. Gary & I go outside no matter what the weather, to take care of them.  We find things like this poor chicken that we rescued from being buried alive in the snow.
I think she was rather happy to see us.
Our Maremma Sheepdogs have two coats of fur and do really well in the snowstorms. They all have dog houses to cuddle up in and stay warm. This pic is Meadows condo.
The next pic is of Meadow trying to catch a mouse under the snow.
The snow has piled up against the girls fence. We will have to try and move the fence feeders. 
As you can see, the Alpacas fiber keeps them warm and dry underneath all of the snow.
I also wear my Alpaca's fiber to protect me from the winter elements. I spun and knitted this ski mask from Thumper's fiber. 
Well tomorrow will be another day of "digging out" of the snow. N. MI is truly a winter wonderland.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snow, snow & more snow

Here it is Dec 15th. Not officially winter yet! We have over a foot of snow on the ground. Below normal temps with wind chills below 0. This cold weather came so fast, there seemed to be no time to adjust to it. I know the rest of the nation has been dealing with the arctic cold and snowstorms too. We have lost a lot of our old chickens. They just don't do well in cold weather. We also have lost two of our older Alpaca gals. They were a part of our original Alpaca herd purchase.   R.I.P. Abbey & Plum. We now have added Probiotics to all of the Alpaca & goats daily diet. Along with their grain, minerals & hay. Next we will start growing fodder to supplement their diets. Hopefully this will keep the rest of the herd healthy through winter. I have some pics I took today of the Alpacas & snow. Enjoy! 

The gals
The two crias

The guys with Gary trying to clean the snow out of the fence feeders.
Meadow one of our Maremma Sheepdogs. She doesn't mind all of the snow.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Our New Alpaca Farm Store

Well it finally arrived last Friday.  Here are a few pics of it delivered & being unloaded from the trailer. This building is 12 ft. x 24 ft.

The next couple of pics shows how he moved the building from the road to the pad of gravel and sand for the building.

 Now the building is ready for us to get it ready for a store. The inside is unfinished . We have left it this way for now. We plan to work on it this winter once we decide how we want it to look. I am thinking of tongue & groove cedar.  It will not have electricity. We are installing a sun tunnel, which really brings in a lot of light when the sun is shining. When the sun is not shining I purchased RV LED lights that run on a battery. I also have an inverter that will run the cash register and open sign. We also have a flexible solar panel to help keep the battery charged.  Green is good! The next pics are a few of what I have inside the store.

I also have a lot of knitting needles which I am working on putting up on a display.  We also sell pasture raised eggs. Next year we will add fresh produce to our store. We do not have a "Grand Opening Date" set as of today. At this time we will have the store open for private tours that we offer here at the ranch.  Also weekends or days that we are here and are available. We will place signage on the roads and announce it via social media for the time being. With that being said, this Friday & Saturday is National Alpaca Farm Days. We did not plan an Open House this year. But we will be down at the barnyard working on projects. The fall weather is beautiful here and the colors are starting to turn. So if you are out for a drive and want to stop by and visit the store, alpacas, goats, chickens, turkeys, dogs and of course us, please do.  Just follow the signs. No particular hours. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

We are back!

Hi Everyone,
A  long time with no posts. It is a very long story.  I changed over to Google apps and when I did that I could no longer access this blog as it is a "personal" blog.  I became frustrated with it and just let it slide for most of this year. I am also working on a new web page with a blog built in, so I will eventually be just blogging there. I do not have time to maintain two different blogs with the ranch, fiber arts, shows and other things that I do. I do manage to tweet & Facebook pics of the animals here at the ranch. I love my smartphone as it makes it simple and easy to do some of these tasks.

Here is quick update as to what has happened here at the ranch this year. We have two new female crias born this year.  Lady Liberty & Dimples. Here is a current picture of them.

I am currently working on canning foods. Some from our garden, but not much this year as the deer devastated it. So I have been buying locally from my neighbors and attending the farmers market to buy what I need. I am currently working on tomatoes. Ran into a problem though as my pressure canner was leaking during processing. I managed to order a seal for it online and it will be here today. I was afraid it would not get here soon enough to finish canning the tomatoes before they spoiled.  So far I have canned spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes & green chillies, and will be doing tomato & basil soup. Anything left will be canned as stewed tomatoes. I also have canned pickled beets and fresh dill pickles. Next after tomatoes will be applesauce.

Our goats are doing good. Sadly we did lose Eva, one of our does this spring due to complications with the delivery of her kids.  We do have some of our dwarf goats ready to kid any day. I will be glad to get back into milking again. We also welcomed a 3 new Nigerian & Nigerian/cross dwarf does to the ranch. Here is a pic of them.

We are also currently working on a farm store here at the ranch. I will blog about that in my next post. It is supposed to be here Friday. We had it custom built and it is being delivered finished here to the ranch.

I will also plan a post of all of my fiber projects that I have been working on or finished this summer.
It sure is nice to be blogging again.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Tale about Pan's Tail

Some of our younger girls
Brrr... old man winter is blowing a lot of frigid air our way. The next few days we are going to be in the single digits for few days, with wind chills below 0. Our alpacas will be fine with this weather. But our other animals, we have to keep a close eye on.
 Our Maremma Sheepdogs, have two coats of fur and do not mind the cold. We make sure that they all come in and get warm in the house once or twice a day when it is this cold outside. We brought Pan inside this morning after chores. Somehow he lost some of his fur off the tip of his tail. We do not want his tail to be frost bitten.
Pan's tail
 I had knitted a finger puppet from my hand spun alpaca fiber. I had not put a face on it yet. I thought this would fit the tip of his tail perfectly. But would he keep it on?
An unfinished alpaca finger puppet
 So we put an old sock over it, then taped it on. He has not taken it off. I am keeping my fingers crossed that once he goes outside, that he doesn't lose it in the woods while he is on patrol guarding the alpacas.
Pan's tail
 The finger puppet being made from alpaca will keep his tail nice & warm. Maybe I should patent this? ;>)

Yes, he can still wag his tail