Monday, February 11, 2013

Winter Clothing Sale

   The Alpaca Corner located in This Old House Antiques, downtown Newaygo is offering 20% Off all capes, wraps, shawls and sweaters through the end of February.

Also, watch for new merchandise coming in. The Alpaca Wool blend blankets are sure to keep you warm and cozy throughout the winter months!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Thanks Giving

I started to write this blog at Thanks Giving. Yikes, where does the time go! Well to catch you up on what's been happening on the farm-

We took Cole to the nursing home for a visit in November. His curious nature and gentle demeanor is always loved by the people there. I usually take a few Alpacas but this time we were in a bit of a hurry and didn't want to run late. I also took my mini van instead of the cargo van they usually travel in and I didn't want the boys to start arguing on the way there and leave spit behind! They usually never spit but under close conditions they can be like kids fighting in the back seat over who has more room.

Several people at the nursing home asked where the other Alpaca was. I'll make sure to bring 2 Alpacas on the next visit.
On our way out we met a couple in their 90's. They were great, very sharp minded and young in heart. They commented that they had never seen an Alpaca before that day and are still learning new things. Wow, how inspirational!

                                                                                                                               That same day, in the morning, our 3 little piggies went bye bye. Oh so sad but we knew the day would come and we prepared knowing that they had the best and most normal life a pig in captivity could have. Being heritage pigs (mule foot) just a few short years ago they were on the extinction list. Very popular 100 yrs ago for being disease resistant and VERY flavorful and easy to raise. Now a days pigs are mostly raised indoors in small singular quarters and pumped with antibiotics so they don't have to worry about disease, they are also raising a different type of pig these days. Less fatty, (the other white meat). Many great Chefs say we gave up flavor and taste, I just know that by raising these pigs for meat it helps to keep the breed alive. If there is no one to purchase the meat, breeders will quite raising them. I also like knowing that the pork I'm eating is natural and doesn't have antibiotics in them. I recently read an article that up to 70% of the antibiotics used in the U.S. are used needlessly for the animals that we eat. Scary if you ask me.OK enough ranting about that.


We  spent some time cleaning up and getting ready for winter. We put the Alpaca pools away, changed the water buckets to our winter heated buckets. We also partially close of the openings that the Alpacas freely enter and exit the barn into the pasture. We have most off the winter supply of hay stored at our neighbors barn but we fill up all extra space in our barn with hay to keep it warmer.

Then came the day in November that I walked out to the barn to see a new Cria! A beautiful little girl and what a surprise she was. Born Nov. 7th (election day), she has been named Little Ms. Patriot.
After 10 yrs of breeding Alpacas you would think I we would know and be watching for an impending birth. Well we just attempted breeding Maria once late in the year. We checked her a few times after that and she showed no signs of being pregnant. When spring came, we decided to hold off on breeding for a year. With Maria's fiber growing in for the winter, it's not as easy to see a cria moving within. Especially if your not watching. I even did a body score on her about a week before and thought to myself, she's getting that older lady frame at a young age. Good thing I keep good records. Now I just have to remember to look at them more often.

December was a quieter month at the farm. The Alpacas stayed warm and comfy with plenty of hay & straw. The snow held off for the most part and they were able to graze in the pasture for most of the month. We sold 4 of our chickens and had a few farm visits.

The Alpaca Corner continues to do great. We had a record breaking season and are purchasing new items all the time. We also have some nice locally made Alpaca/ Wool items for sale.  We were playing with the idea of expanding again. We just don't seem to have the time to keep up with everything know and I'm often wishing that there were more hours in the day so we are holding off at least until summer. However I am researching more sources to purchase from. Mostly local.

I'll blog soon about upcoming events and the happenings of January & February