Sunday, January 8, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Crack of dawn is early, no doubt. We proceeded to unload and stack 265 bales of grass hay, which took about 2 hours. I wasn’t much help, but did the best I could. Boy George got a workout today. He now knows another aspect of ranching and will probably be the first to tell you, ‘this ain’t for sissies’.
The bummer part of the day was the fact that Prudence had stopped eating again and was looking sad again. We started the Thiamine again and kept pumping her with liquids to keep her hydrated. We were really stumped as she had been doing so well for the past 3 days. She was eating, pooping, peeing and staying with the herd. Now all of a sudden she takes 3 steps backwards and is not acting normal.
Ryan returned this afternoon and he and George kept a careful eye on Prudence. They are so good with the animals. I know she appreciated their concern and love that they showed her.
Monday, January 09, 2012
George and I handled the ranch today and all was well. The big news of the day is that a truckload of hay had left Cortez, CO in the morning and would be here around 5:30. George and I went down to the corner and waited for the truck to arrive, guided them to the ranch and had them park in the middle of the driveway. Donald Sanchez and his uncle Servi had arrived safe and sound after starting their day at 4:00 am in Cuba, NM. We gave the girls a bale and watched them chow it down for a while, then went to the house and had some “gringo chili”. Don’t ask.
Sat around and talked for a bit and hit the hay, so we could get up at the crack of dawn and hit the hay.
Sunday, January 08, 2012
If you’re wondering whether we worked on the road today, you wondered right. We are still hammering away on it and it keeps getting better, but we still have a ways to go. The tractor decided to give me fits today. We have a slight hydraulic leak and it finally quit working. I had just enough oil around to get it back to the house and then down to the barn.
We had to redo a water tank today because our girl Cinnamon is convinced that it was put there for her to take a foot bath in. Come on Cinnamon, its winter. There is no reason for you to do that except to irritate me. Sometimes she irritates me to no end. So we spent an hour lifting it up one more brick level in hopes she will find that too high to raise her stinkin’ feet. We shall see.
Ryan got his chores done early as he had to make a quick trip back to Cruces to take care of some personal business. George and I did the evening chores and put everyone up a little early so we could watch some more playoff football. Prudence ate good and had less foam without a Sodium Bicarbonate treatment. Carolyn has ordered some Carafate to have on hand.
After dinner, George and I went down to the barn, dropped some more hay, filled water buckets and watched Prudence eat. Once again she had a good appetite and we didn’t see any foam around her lips. Perhaps her stomach is feeling better and we’re hoping whatever is bugging her will subside. She is still nursing her cria, pooping and peeing and moving a lot better with more energy.
The dogs are really going off tonight. There is something out there getting on their nerves and when 12 of them start barking it sounds like a symphony. I would not challenge them, whatever you are. The puppies are getting great training right now and will be great watchdogs for their new owners. We have 5 that are ready to work on a farm somewhere, so give us a call if you are in need of the best insurance in the world, or feel free to pass this info on to anyone you may know that would benefit from owning them.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Saturday, January 07, 2012
Saturday was just another day on the ranch. Nothing special or super spectacular going on. Feeding, poop scooping and some cleanup in the shop area. It definitely needs some love. George and Ryan always seem to find something to do to keep themselves busy and occupied.
Carol went down and accompanied the guys for morning chores and got to interact with the girls. She had never been up close and personal with an alpaca before, so she was quite intrigued with them. A big breakfast followed with eggs, pancakes, bacon and toast. Carol made some dynamite wheat pancakes and everyone enjoyed them.
Liz and Carol left around noon so they could get back to Sedona at a decent hour. It sure was good to see them and I hear they are planning to come back next month to possibly bring us another dog, a beautiful German Shepherd. I hope she can get along with all the critters here, especially the chickens and cats, or her visit will be short.
The afternoon was spent doing more road work, this time the emphasis was on the road to the barn. We have to get it ready to be able to get a load of hay in. We have a brand new 12’ x 24’ hay barn sitting completely empty and we are starting to run short. More work was done on the main road as well. Then we took a little time to watch some football.
Dinner was leftovers from last night as Liz and Carol had prepared enough food to feed an army. It was even better than the night before.
The guys did a late night check on the girls in the barn on their way home and all was well. Prudence continues to improve. Thank God for that.
Friday, January 06, 2012
Today was a beautiful day with the sun shining brightly all day long. The ground is drying up, but there are still some very precarious spots. We continue to work on the road so we can get a winter load of hay in.
Prudence continues to get better and is getting her appetite back up to par. George and Ryan are still giving her doses of Sodium Bicarbonate to settle her stomach. Sometimes she foams and sometime she doesn’t. She’s always been a little nervous type and wary of people and I suspect she may have an ulcer.
Our good friend Liz and her daughter Carol showed up from Sedona and brought the most wonderful dinner of Rigatoni, meatballs, bread and salad. It was awesome. But it was even more awesome to see them. I haven’t seen Carol since I taught her in the 8th grade and she has really blossomed into a beautiful young lady. We reminisced about old times and Carol played a game or two of darts with “da Boys”.
Turned in early.
Thursday, January 05, 2012
Today was spent taking care of Prudence and road work. George and Ryan are administering a cocktail of Sodium Bicarbonate, Gatorade and a touch of Pepto Bismol right before feeding to settle Prudence’s stomach. Through careful and intense observation we have found that for now this is the key to get her to eat a good amount at each of the feedings. We also have put the girls on a different schedule, giving them less amounts of hay more frequently throughout the day. This seems to be working well.
I received a call from an old friend in the morning and was delighted to hear that she and her daughter will be heading our way tomorrow morning for a little visit with the pacas and the Fifields. It will be fun to see them, as I once was the daughter’s band and choir teacher at a small Charter School, Accelerated Learning Charter School, in Cottonwood, AZ. It’s an awesome feeling to see how your ex-students have grown and to hear about their life’s adventures since you last had contact with them.
The afternoon was spent trying to get some road work done with the tractor. Man, that was a toughie. I knew the ground was still too wet to get the job done, but we went for it anyway. “da Boys” each got a short intro to “the Big Red sumbitch” and then I turned them loose. Up and down, back and forth, they took turns driving and working the Gannon with a shovel to keep it from packing up with mud. Those guys got a workout, ‘cuz mud is heavy and not very cooperative. Bottom line is that we made some progress and even though it was harder work than they are used to, they tackled it with gusto and great attitudes. Around here, attitude is everything. We refuse to let anything kick our butts.
It really feels good to get back to blogging about our adventures here at High Country. The fact that I have the time and mental capacity to get it done is a testament to the great team we have assembled here. Thank you Carolyn, George and Ryan. You are the best.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
First, let me apologize for not blogging for the past few days. We have literally been working nonstop day & night since Sunday. We have been fighting a tough battle here with the mud and another sick animal. On the up side, we are winning both battles, slowly but surely. The mud is drying up to the point that I may be able to get some road work done tomorrow. And our sick girl turned around today and is hopefully headed in the right direction.
Our sick girl is Prudence and she is the 3 year old daughter of Sugarbaby, the sweetheart that passed on the 29th of December. Immediately after losing her mum, she went into a funk, lost her appetite and started the downhill slide. With the guidance of Dr. Steve Hull and the diligence of George and Ryan, we saw a turnaround today. Slowly but surely she is starting to eat and regain her strength. Tonight she surprised us by really getting with it and chowing down. Yay!
I spent part of the morning helping a new neighbor with a small crisis. They had just moved onto their land in a 5th wheel, had run out of fuel in their generator and had spent the night in their truck. They had buried the truck in mud up to the rear axle and were stranded. I just happened to meet Tyrone over at the land office as he had hiked over to try to get some help. He had left his wife Patricia back in the truck, so we got in our Jeep, went and rescued her and brought them both back to our house. Then Ryan and I ran them into Quemado where they had a room at the Largo and we took advantage of the trip to pick up a few supplies. It was nice to meet them and do the neighborly thing to help them have a better day. That’s what we do.
Early night for all of us, as the events of the past few days tend to take their toll on us.
Tuesday, January 03, 2012
No entry today.
Monday, January 02, 2012
No entry today.
Sunday, January 01, 2012
No entry today.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
** EDITOR'S NOTE: I am going to try something new to make it easier for the readers to follow the blog. I will start posting each daily blog at the top of the weekly page so that our daily readers won't have to scroll down so much. Another change will be that the blog for each week will start on Sunday.
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Saturday, December 31, 2011
Herd health all day today, getting weights on the girls. Everyone had a significant weight gain except for Prudence. She is still nursing her cria Sadie, so we will be watching her very closely and have made a goal to beef her up. We administered 5g of Probios Gel and 2cc of Ivomec just in case she is having a worming or digestive issue.
George and Ryan did a great job of running the girls through the chute and getting them on the scale with the help of grain. But there was a Kodak moment for sure. Neesa, one of our more cantankerous girls was somehow the last to get weighed. The guys herded her into the back area and she immediately charged through the lane, over the scale and back into the herd. OK, let’s try this again. Back she goes and in the chute lane a little slower this time. Ryan is at the scale head and George turns around with his butt to Neesa to edge her onto the scale. In the blink of an eye she does her famous 1-2 left right leg kick and connects. The first kick grazed George’s leg, but the second one caught him square in the ass. “Ouch, ouch”, verbalized George, and then the laughing began. Ryan and I both saw it, but George felt it. We laughed for a good 10 minutes
We are still battling the melting snow and the mud it creates. It is not drying out as quickly as it usually does. The sunny is melting the snow but we could use a little wind to help dry out the roads. I definitely will have some road work to do with the Gannon as soon as the dirt turns that magical light brown color.
After herd health, the girls were moved back to pasture, poop was scooped, everyone got fed and the guys went to the bunkhouse to chill for a while. They came back to our house later, had dinner and we watched the New Year’s celebrations on TV and played some darts. But none of us made to midnight, we were all bushed. So from TEAM HCAR, here’s wishing everyone a Happy & Prosperous New Year.
Friday, December 30, 2011
Today was a muddy mess and we are looking forward to it drying out. George and Ryan managed to empty, clean and refill all the water tanks. No easy task, but they had to be done and they went about it just like they handle all the tasks around here, with a smile and a song.
We fought and won the battle of the melting snow trying to make its way through the barn. Water diversion around here is an art form we have practiced from day one. We are trying to get a load of hay delivered that will take us through the winter, but no vehicle is going to be able to get in until we get dried up.
We also moved 3 pups in with Kit & Willa in the Juvi pasture. We did this to lighten Fred’s load in the Macho’s pasture and to evaluate Kit & Willa’s training capabilities. We believe in pasture rotation for our LGDs so they don’t get bored or complacent in their jobs. It’s really interesting and educational to watch the elder dogs train the newbies. George and Ryan are learning all aspects of alpaca ranching. There is much to learn.
We have also made the decision to start doing our own fecal testing, so I spent a good part of the day researching the needed equipment to be able to monitor our parasite load. Dr. Steve Hull from Timberlake Farms in Oklahoma will be mentoring and training us so that we will feel confident in this all important task. Dr. Hull and I also talked about future seminars here at High Country Alpaca Ranch that will benefit present and future alpaca owners. He is well known in the industry and puts on some great seminars, so we are really excited about the possibilities.
We ended the day with George and Ryan bringing over dinner, which consisted of some awesome tamales and beans that they had brought back from Las Cruces last week. Hats off to Ryan’s Dad. They were the bomb and a perfect ending to the day.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
8/31/2005 – 12/29/2011
Forever in our hearts. Thank you for touching our lives. You will be missed.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Wow, what an exhausting day. We started at daybreak discovering that Sugarbaby had not improved and was going downhill throughout the day. We made a quick call to Dr. Steve Hull, gave him the rundown and started to treat her from his advice. Fluids to get her hydrated were first. Her body temp was low and we moved her into the office, blanketed her and turned up the heat. This seemed to help a bit but we could not get her temp where it needed to be. It was apparent her body was shutting down and we attempted to get her in the Jeep to rush her to the Vet. The Jeep was the only vehicle that would make it out of the mud and ice. But the attempt to get her in did not go well and stressed her out to the point that I had to make the decision to try and get her back in the barn. She laid at the back gate for a good ½ hour staring at her herd mates before she could muster the strength to stand, step down into the barn and rejoin her crew.
I think that we all realized at this point that we were about to lose our favorite alpaca and a very good friend to anyone who ever met her. She went into the #2 pen and slowly cushed with a very faraway look in her eyes. Tears were flowing from mine and Carolyn’s eyes and the boys were saddened as well. We covered her with blankets and made her as comfortable as possible. She got up before we left and cushed in front of the feeder as if to say she wasn’t done yet. We all went to the house to eat, as none of us had eaten a thing all day. All we could muster were some cheese crisps because even though we were hungry, none of us really had an appetite. We decided if Sugarbaby was still with us in the morning, we would make another effort to get her to Grants to the vet. Carolyn and I went back down around 8:00 pm and she was still cushed with her head very erect. I administered Fortified B Complex with Thiamin and prayed for the Lord to do his will. Sometimes you just have to let your faith guide you through times like this, and that’s what I did.
We had all talked at the end of the day about the realities of owning livestock and the ramifications of having a seemingly totally healthy and happy animal suddenly and unexpectedly have a failure to thrive episode that goes south in the blink of an eye.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
The day started out great. I met Ryan & George down at the barn and talked about some of the things I wanted to get done today. We also talked about their trip to Cruces for Christmas. They said they had a good time visiting with friends and family, but they were glad to be back on the ranch. That gave me a good feeling and told them we were glad to have them back.
We then started by digging the trailer out so that we could use it in the near future to run to Show Low to get a load of hay. The weather is supposed to be sunny for the next 10 days at least, so we have to be prepared to take advantage of it. Then we checked all the electrical in the barn office as it has been acting up lately with all this cold weather and moisture. George and Ryan then changed out some burnt out fluorescent tubes up in the ceiling of the barn and now we have full lighting again. Very important to have good lighting as we were soon to find out.
“da Boys” cleaned the pastures while I went down the road to get the mail and then broke for lunch. After lunch we worked on moving things around in the office and gave it a quick cleaning. That brought us up to feeding time. When that was done we were taking a drive by the pastures to do a final check and I noticed that one of our girls was cushed, not eating and did not have a good look about her. This was not like her and we got out to check on her. It was Sugarbaby, Carolyn’s favorite alpaca. We got her up, but she didn’t want to eat or stay up. I dropped the guys off at the bunk house and told them dinner would be ready at 6:00. I went to the house, told Carolyn about Sugarbaby and she went down to check on her. She returned very concerned and I called the guys on the radio and asked them to meet us in the girls pasture. We all met and checked on her. Her temp was normal. She just seemed a little out of sorts and not interested in food, so we went up to the house and had dinner.
After dinner we decided to move the girls to the barn so we could better evaluate the situation with Sugarbaby. She still did not join the others in the feed troughs and just wanted to cush. I gave her 5mgs of Probios gel and then 5 mgs of ADEB12 paste. She then started to gag and looked like she was having a hard time breathing. We rubbed her neck in a downward motion and could feel gaseous movement in her throat. She coughed a few times which helped to clear things up a bit and she began to breathe normally. We stayed with her for an additional hour to make sure she was as stable as she could be and decided to let her be and place her in God’s hands for the night. We took the boys back to the bunk house and agreed to get up very early and check on her and the rest of the herd.
We have been very fortunate to have very healthy and happy alpacas over the past 2 years, so this was very abnormal for us. Even though we are a little freaked out and even more concerned, we both are grateful that we have George and Ryan here for moral and physical support. On the positive side, this incident provided another teaching moment.
Monday, December 26, 2011
Today was just a normal day in the ranch, feeding animals, filling water tanks and water jugs, etc. I stayed busy most of the day in the barn and pastures, while Carolyn did her thing in the house. She came down to the barn towards the end of the night chores and pitched in to help me finish early.
There is still plenty of snow here and the driveways and lanes are still snow packed, with patches of brown showing through in spots where it’s starting to melt. The next week is supposed to be warmer, so we will have mud to look forward to. It’s always so much fun here when there is mud involved. I just hope the roads dry up fast as we have to get in a hay run pretty soon to fill up the new hay barn, which has been sitting empty since the day it was delivered.
“da Boys” are on their way back from Cruces, so the real fun will start tomorrow. We have a lot of projects to get started on that will keep us busy over the winter. Our biggest project is going to be the interior of the store. We have to insulate it, put in the electrical and lighting and finish the inside walls. It’s going to be a fun project for sure.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Merry Christmas to one and all. It is a very peaceful day on the ranch. It is just Carolyn, I and God knows how many critters. Maybe today would be a good day to take inventory and get some pictures and videos while I’m at it. First though I need to call my mother and wish her a Merry Christmas. I speak with her by phone at least 3 times a week.
Well, I pretty much just puttered around the barn and pastures, not really getting too serious about anything. I can see we need to get the barn cleaned up since it has been let go the past couple of weeks. I like order and clean. The barn needs a little of both right now. I plan to get started on it tomorrow.
George called tonight to touch base and ask how things were going. He said they were headed back tomorrow as planned and would call before starting out. I’m calling it a day. Hope everyone had a great Christmas.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
We woke up to “old man winter” lashing out at us. Ryan and George were on it early today bringing everyone to the barn side. Juvenile boys went into Stall #1 so the Huacayas could help keep the Suris warm. Then we moved all the girls into the barn and paddock area and kept the gate to the juvi boys pasture open so they would have access to heated water. Fed them all with some Orchard and Alfalfa and went about putting a tarp up on the back of the barn to block the wind.
I spent the rest of the day and into the early evening plowing snow. George rode with me on the morning run and I showed him some of the patterns I use and explained where and why I pile snow. Two years ago I invested in a Snow Sport Plow and it was probably some of the best money I ever spent. This bad boy will flat move some snow. Needless to say, I was very happy to have it today because we got a lot of snow all day long. We were right on the edge of that big storm that moved across New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. It could have been worse, but we definitely got our share.
Because of the configuration we have the animals in for today and tomorrow, chores were a lot easier and got done in a flash. George and Ryan have caught on quickly and are very conscientious about caring for the animals.
“da Boys” and Alisha came over after dinner and watched the first half of the Steelers and 49ers game, then called it a night.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Woohoo, all about snow today for sure. After plowing all day yesterday, I woke up to find more snow for us to play with. The guys called on the radio this morning from the barn with a plan. They wanted to move all the girls back to their big pasture and return the juvenile boys to their rightful spot. They said they felt the little boys were getting antsy and they needed to get out of the pen and go play in the snow. It does my heart good to have two young people with such good heads on their shoulders who continue thinking about our alpacas as if they were their own.
The afternoon was spent cleaning up snow around the barn and hay barn. It’s best to move it or the consequences are mud, mud and more mud. The guys also played in the snow with Ryan taking a flying leap off of our grass deck into the yard below. He landed on 2 feet but couldn’t stick it, so he barrel rolled in the fresh snow. When we went over to Carolyn’s work to clean off some steps, Ryan christened the virgin snow with a snow angel. Oh to be young again.
During evening chores, little George the dog, gave big George the human a thrill. Little George was digging frantically in the field below the macho’s pen and flipped a digger squirrel into the air. It totally freaked him out and he wanted no part of it. Molly, our old black lab was not afraid and as the squirrel stood up and made a ninja move, Molly took it out in one swift move. She then turned and trotted off like it was no big thing. Molly 1, squirrel 0.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
George and Ryan fed everybody this morning and then came up to the house to make a plan. We decided to leave everyone where they were for the time being, as they all seem to be doing well.
We then took the Jeep to Quemado to do a little shopping, gas up and stop at The Largo for some coffee and Chili Cheese Fries. Then we went to the new hardware store in Quemado and picked up some dog food and alpaca pellets. From there we stopped back at the ranch to check on the animals and then headed out to Fence Lake to get them set up for mail delivery. The sun is actually peeking out and brightening things up a bit. Is this the calm before the storm?” Or are we going to luck out and not get slammed again? Only time will tell.
On a positive note regarding the weather, Ryan and George are getting an education on the effect that weather can have on raising livestock. Although alpacas originally come from the higher elevations of the world, specifically Peru, Chili and Bolivia and generally do just fine in cold weather, they still must be watched and observed during inclement conditions for such things as hypothermia, listlessness, runny noses, etc. Knowing your animals by carefully observing them daily will give you a heads up when something may be going wrong, or about to go wrong. “da Boys” definitely display an affinity for all the critters they are entrusted with, which will absolutely be essential to be successful shepherds.
After dinner we watched the finals of X-Factor. On the way home, the guys checked all the pastures and reported that all was well and the animals still had plenty of hay to last them through the night.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
One word describes today: SNOW.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Guess what we woke up to today? You are a genius if you answered SNOW. That’s right, about 2 bazillion tons. It’s beautiful to look at and play in, and we darn sure needed it, so no complaining here. I plowed all morning and was just about finished when I buried the Jeep. Ryan & George were at home eating and relaxing when I put the call out on the radio, “I’m stuck over by the tractor”. They replied “be right there” and they were. We put our heads together and got it out, but not before Ryan ended up on his belly in the snow. That was his second time today to crash. The first one was hilarious, as Carolyn and I witnessed it. These guys are so much fun.
We were going to move the girls temporarily this afternoon so we could move the Juvi boys inside for the night and I could finish plowing “Lover’s Lane” while the lane to the barn was closed up. Kit and Willa, our newest additions to the security team, took advantage of an open gate and bolted. These two are famous for that and are very sly about catching you off guard. Ryan grabbed a couple of bones and little George tracked them down to the office that Carolyn works out of. Ryan snagged them and brought them home and they were put in time out for a couple of hours.
Ryan’s favorite alpaca right now is Harmonie’s Mae. He is starting to work on a bond with her, which should be interesting to watch, as she has always been aloof and keeps her distance from the 2 leggers. He is using grain and she seems to be a little smitten with him. Is it him, or is it the grain? We shall see. George is in love with Sugarbaby. He just realized that she is the friendliest and sweetest alpaca on the ranch. And of course, she is and always has been Carolyn’s favorite alpaca.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Today we finished putting all the snow where it belongs, in big piles. Holy cow, we got spanked this time. But fear not, the HCAR team can handle anything. George & Ryan made some changes to the security team. Lucy went back to her pasture with Ricky. She really misses her girls and she needed a break from the pups. We left the pups in the macho’s pen with Fred. They will train with him for the next 3 – 4 days. He really knows his stuff and is great training newbies. The escape artists, Kit & Willa were moved to the Juvi boys pasture where they will be easier to contain.
“da Boys” were super helpful today getting things ready for Carolyn and I while they are back home in Las Cruces for Christmas. It didn’t look like they were going to be able to get out and on their way, but Mother Nature cooperated early on in the day. We all came to the decision that they should go now while the opportunity was there. We played a game of darts on the new board that Carolyn got us for Christmas and had a great time. It’s to go in the future store, but we just hung it in the living room for now. Had to take Geronimo’s picture down to accommodate the board …. He was down with that.
Faith and Harmonie stopped by around 4:30, visited and had pizza with us and “da Boys”. We opened gifts, what there was, as delivery was hampered by the weather this week, and just had a wonderful visit with people who are very dear to our hearts. After dinner, there were hugs and “thank you” exchanges and we were left on our own for the next few days. We certainly have taken to the “Cruces Duo” and will miss them, but it’s all good, because they will be back.
Our “Ultimate Mentor Program” is going very well and we know in our hearts that it will only get better.
Team HCAR wishes a Merry Christmas to one and all. Celebrate the birth of Christ by loving each and every one of God’s creations with all of your heart every minute that you are alive. Peace on earth, goodwill to all.
Monday, December 12, 2011
* NOTE: I've decided to change this to a weekly blog, publishing a whole week per page. I will update the weekly page daily, so you can still see our daily progress, but will start a new page each Monday. So here ya go.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Another good day on the ranch, spent teaching and assisting George and Ryan learning the routine. One of the joys of ranching and raising alpacas is knowing that you are your own boss and when things pop up, you just analyze the situation, figure it out and make it happen.
We had planned to go to Grants this morning to get the guys the rest of their winter gear and possibly a truck load of hay. Then it began to snow while we cleaned a poop pile from last week’s storm. Ok, a change of plans was in order, so we moved the juvenile males into the barn and I showed “da Boys” how to weigh the animals and trim toenails. We finished that exercise and then I showed them how to catch, hold and release an alpaca. They both practiced that for a bit and took the little boys back to pasture.
We were about to start cleaning pastures when we noticed a few of our boarding Suris were shivering from the wet snow on their backs. Ah, another teaching moment had presented itself, so we sprang into action and immediately moved all the girls to the barn. We did this so we could separate the Suris from the Huacayas, get them in a pen, feed them some grass and alfalfa and get them warmed up. Once they were all settled, we went up to the house for lunch and a warm beverage.
Back to work to clean pastures, top off waters and get ready for nightfall. It comes early around here this time of year, so there is no time to dawdle, just “git-r-done”. And that’s just what we did. We discussed what was best for the animals with the upcoming predicted storm and snowfall, made the decision and all worked together to make it happen. Put our girls back to pasture, penned up the cold girls, put up wind blocks and finished chores.
George and Ryan weighed all the agistors at the end of the day. We then closed down the barn and headed for the house for a little dinner prepared by Carolyn. The guys did their Facebook thing, watched a little TV and headed home to relax and get ready for another fun filled day tomorrow.
That’s what we do around here. Peace and love to all.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Pretty uneventful day. I stayed in the house all day catching up on stuff that had been pushed aside while George and Ryan handled everything outside. We were about to get started on a classroom assignment, The History of Alpacas, when the weather began to take a turn for the worse. George and Ryan decided to get an early start on the afternoon chores because it looked like it might snow.
They no sooner hit the pastures when a whiteout ensued. Game on. They finished chores quickly and proceeded to have a ball playing in the snow. You would think they had never seen snow before. Oh wait, they really haven’t. They’re from Cruces. Doesn’t snow there like it does here.
They finally climbed the mountain behind the house and made it to the top. Carolyn stepped out of her office and could hear them up there somewhere in the trees having a good time. They came back down the mountain with wet pants and big smiles on their faces. Priceless.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Today was all about snow. It snowed another couple of inches last night, so plowing the ranch was in order. I got out about 8:30 and put the plow on the Jeep. Then I had to sweep the snow off of the Jeep as it was completely covered, defrost and deice the windows and get to moving snow. I plowed for about an hour while Ryan & George took care of the critters.
I ended up plowing the main road in our subdivision, including our friends and neighbors (Phil & Mary) driveway and around their barn. They live down the road a couple of miles and are really great people. When I returned to the ranch, I observed “da Boys” working intently on something next to a big pile of snow I had previously pushed. “OMG, they’re building a snowman”, I thought to myself. Nope, wrong again fat guy. I pulled up to where they were busy at work to find that they were building an igloo doghouse for George, our little heeler dog here on the ranch. Little George is actually named George Harrison, from the Beatles. Anyway, George promptly thanked them for their hard work by peeing on the side of the doghouse as soon as they were finished. LOL
The afternoon was spent cleaning up some more snow and moving the majority of the pacas into the barn for the night, as it is going to be cold tonight and we didn’t want to take any chances with hypothermia. After chores Ryan went for a run, George played on the computer and I sat down to write this. Plans for tonight are dinner, X-Factor and lights out. Another busy day here at High Country. Oh yeah, we stay busy, like little bees.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Today was spent doing normal duties, cleaning, feeding, water tanks, etc. Neighbor Phil stopped by in the morning and met the guys. He told them he had heard lots of good things about them and asked them if they had ever ridden horses. He has 2 big horses, Crash and Burn, and I think he is going to take the guys riding when the weather settles down.
We moved Lucy and her 6 puppies into the macho’s pen and they had a ball playing in the snow all day. We left Fred, one of our older, more experienced male Pyrs with them to help train and protect them. They all seemed to bond just fine and Fred even let them cuddle up to him for nap time.
It is still very cold here with lots of snow still on the ground. “da Boys” are getting a “Baptism by Fire” for sure. They seem to be handling it just fine and keep saying that they like it. Go figure. Oh, to be young again. One thing is clear to me, that we are truly blessed to have George and Ryan on board right now. They are such quick learners, so full of enthusiasm and just a joy to be with. One can tell immediately that they had a superior upbringing with familia that really had a hand in who they are today. These guys will be successful in whatever they choose to do.
We finished chores early, got everyone fed and settled because we went to Quemado to watch the JV and Varsity boys and girls basketball games. We left about 4 PM and didn’t get back until almost 10 PM. I introduced them to some of the town folks and we saw 3 really good games. One lady I know who, just retired from the school looked at George, shook his hand and was sure she knew him already. Of course she didn’t, but we all had a good laugh over that. When we got home, we all went down to the barn, did welfare check on everyone and retired for the night.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Today was a pretty standard day, starting with welfare check on everyone, feeding the screaming puppies and moving our girls back to the big pasture. We also moved the Suri boys back with their Huacaya mates and they were happy about that. We are keeping the Suri girls and little Kirill in the paddock area with access to all the feed they want in the barn.
George and Ryan also moved the big ugly dog house out of stall 3 and put it in the machos area just in case the pups and their mum want to use it. They never used it while it was in the barn, so who knows. This breed seems to thrive on nasty weather and low temperatures, so we shall soon see.
Evening chores included putting the girls up in the barn and feeding extra hay and alfalfa. We all had dinner together, watched a little college football, welfare check on the barn and retired for the evening.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Today we left the girls in the same configuration as yesterday, with full access to their pasture, heated water tank and lane open to the barn. We are teaching the guys to analyze the weather conditions and implement the best configuration for the herd. They are picking everything up so quickly and taking responsibility for all the critters. It really feels good to see their daily progress.
We had a visitor today from Las Cruces. Alisha, a friend of Ryan and George drove all the way up to check out our ranch and see where her friends had so suddenly left town for. She didn’t get to see much today because we all loaded up the minute she got here and hit the road.
The morning weather report looked pretty ominous for the next few days, so we took advantage of a clear day and made a trip to Grants to pick up the rest of their winter gear. First we went to Chaffin’s, one of the feed dealers we frequent, and got cat food for the barn cats, chicken feed and 3 bales of alfalfa. Then on to Radio Shack to order WildBlue internet and Direct TV for their house, but they were closed. Carolyn said who’s hungry for Chinese? Everyone was up for that idea as none of us had eaten a thing all day. So the next stop was Canton Express for the buffet. Yowza.
Last shopping stop was Wal-Mart where we picked up stuff for their bunk house, winter gear for work and groceries. Final stop was for fuel and we headed south 58 miles down Hwy 117 for home. Unloaded, went to the barn and fed and then called it a day. Looking forward to tomorrow.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Today was a pretty laid back day, just taking care of business and slopping around in mud. The snow is melting so there is mud everywhere. Yuck! Got the burn barrel going and burned trash all afternoon. We moved the girls back to pasture as the night time temps are not projected to be that bad.
Cody, Cassy and Harmonie came over from Springerville to visit and have dinner with us. Lots of laughs and a good time was had by all.
It looks like a heck of a storm is headed our way so we will go into survival mode first thing in the morning. We hope we don’t get the brunt of it because from the looks of things, it’s going to be a doozie. From the preliminary forecast, we may get hit by the edge, but the Eastern and Northeastern part of the state are supposed to get slammed. It’s been a crazy winter so far.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Today was quite productive, yet laid back. In addition to taking care of all the animals and doing chores, we got all the musical equipment moved from what used to be the music barn to George and Ryan’s bunkhouse. We also moved a few pieces of furniture that we had stored in there.
We started integrating the puppies with the herd and the chickens, getting them ready to be sold. Each day we will work with them more and more so they will be ranch ready when they go to their new homes. Ryan and George are both great with the puppies and the older Pyrs. You can instantly tell these guys are real animal lovers by watching the way they interact with all the animals on the ranch. Yesterday I could have sworn we had a new hen in the coop until I realized it was just George having a conversation with a hen laying an egg.
After we finished moving all the equipment and furniture, I set up and wired the PA equipment and sound system and tested it. The guys were real happy with their new “boom box”, but even happier when I set up the drums. Rumor has it that Ryan played his first stage show concert to the whole State of Wisconsin. Wish I could have been a mouse in the corner for that show.
George came over after supper and watched part of the Giants and Cowboys game with me, but left early in the fourth quarter to shower, hit the sack and get ready for tomorrow. Ryan didn’t make it. He was too tired from rockin’ Wisconsin. You go Ryan!
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Today we made a quick trip to Springerville for supplies. On the road at 7:30, first stop in Quemado for breakfast at the Largo Café. Biscuits and gravy, Largo style. Umm, umm good.
We picked up Cody in Eager so he could meet George & Ryan and help up get some muck boots that he had found at Allred’s. Then we had a quick stop at Western Drug for a few items. Form there we went to Cowboy UP to look at hay. Nothing there that looked good, so on to Spur Feeds, where we scored 6 bags of dog food and 2 bales of some decent alfalfa.
We got back to the ranch around 1:00 pm and TEAM HCAR went right to work taking care of business. A quick lesson on the different types of hay was in order so Ryan & George could start to understand how we plan the pacas dinner menu and feeding schedule. I then went to the house to get ready to go to a neighbor’s for the 3rd Annual Holiday get together at the Walker’s.
Carolyn and I left around 2:30 and stopped by the pastures on the way out to say goodbye to da Boys, who were busy doing chores. Carolyn said on the way down the lane that she was going to mess with Ryan. She looked over at Ryan who was busy scoopin’ poop, pointed down by the fence line and said “Hey, you missed a bean over here”. He knew right away she was teasing him and in typical Ryan style, he flashed a huge smile and replied “I’ll get it”.
We drove away and couldn’t believe how good it was to have these guys on board, knowing we could entrust our animals and ranch to them after only being here for 3 days. What an incredible feeling it was to be able to leave the ranch for 4 hours and know in our hearts everything was going to be OK.
Thank you George and Ryan.
Friday, December 9, 2011
“da Boys”, as Carolyn affectionately calls them, were on it this morning. Headed right down to the barn and took care of business. After welfare check, feeding Lucy and puppies, George & Ryan are spending time in the shop putting things in order. George tried his hand at catching a young cria to remove her coat. He finally got her, but we had some good laughs in the process.
Afternoon went really well, and quick too. The guys loaded the van with music equipment to move to the bunkhouse so we can begin construction on the interior of the store. They’re jazzed about having access to the drums, keyboards, PA system, etc.
Afternoon chores went very smoothly. These guys are fast learners, very serious and conscientious. We were done before we knew it, an hour early. Ryan got baptized while feeding the girls. Seems one of our lovelies decided to spit in his ear. The look on his face was priceless and we all had a good laugh about it.
After chores, Ryan & George went on a hike exploring our land and taking pictures. Rumor has it that George almost fell out of a tree they had climbed up into to get a better view of the terrain.
Carolyn was in Albuquerque for 2 days and is returning with Subway for all. Another great day at High Country.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Today marks the first day of our new Ultimate Mentor Program (UMP) and things went really well. George and Ryan are two of the nicest, most genuine young people that I have ever met. They are as excited to be here as we are to have them. They are energetic, quick learners and a pleasure to be with.
George and Ryan arrived last night about 7:30, unloaded their possessions and came over to our house for dinner. After dinner they got up to go to their new home for the next year, thanked us and then asked if it would be alright if they stopped by the barn and checked on the animals. Carolyn and I looked at each other and said to ourselves, "YES".
Today they went down early, checked the critters and immediately went to work. We ran through a lot of the basics together for the rest of the day and ended with a nice "breakfast" supper cooked for me by them. Folks, it don't get no better.
I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow will bring working with our new additions to HCAR.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
The time has come to kick it into gear and get the 2011 shearing season scheduled. We are presently looking at about 1000 alpacas to get shorn in 5 states so far. The interest in Cody's services this year is very positive and a clear indication that he did a good job last year.
Cody schooled with Matt Best of Best Shearing last year at Magical Farms and then traveled with Matt up and down the East coast and New England area for 2 months as an apprentice and head man. Working and traveling with Matt to some of the best alpaca farms in the country was an invaluable experience. He got a great education, met some wonderful people and came home with some great stories. He paid his dues, so to speak.
Cody was only on the train about an hour, on a 2 day trip home, when the phone here at High Country Alpaca Ranch started ringing. It seems that another shearer had left several alpaca owners out west, shall we say "high and dry" with little or no notice. Word spread quickly that Cody was on his way home and by the time he arrived I had booked around 450 pacas that needed shearing.
With one day of rest and a truck full of new equipment Cody headed out to "save the day" and get his feet wet in his new career. Thanks to all the people that gave the rookie a shot, Cody was able to gain even more experience and make some wonderful new contacts. That, and his dedication to the pacas has given him a super jump start on the 2011 season.
Cody will be joined this year by his cousin Michael, who will be reporting here shortly from Michigan. Michael was very instrumental in the birth of High Country Alpaca Ranch in 2009 and is now raring to learn the shearing business. These two guys are a great team and will be very successful this year. They are serious about their mission, have a great sense of humor and will make your shearing day a wonderful experience.
If you are in need of High Country Alpaca Shearing's excellent service, please contact us via phone: 505-495-9232 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org If you are not in need this year, perhaps you could pass on our contact info to friends who might be in need of all we have to offer. We would love to hear from you.