Thursday, September 10, 2015

Alpaca Shearing completed!

Mr. President came out again today to get some more alpaca time in.  We only had 2.5 animals left to shear.  One of the brown animals had half his body sheared two weeks ago.  Mr. President asked me if the alpacas spit on people.  I said no, they just spit on each other.  I was wrong!  Our first customer of the day did not want to go into the shearing area.  He kept pulling back on the harness then bunny leaping forward.  We had him near the tarp and suddenly he spits right at Reagan.  Luckily, he turned slightly.  He says the smell was worse than the taste!  His whole left arm and chest and face were covered with the most foul smelling green slime ever.  That same alpaca tried to spit on him one more time.  The alpaca ended up with a goatee because I forgot to shave under his chin.  I told Reagan that was in honor of him as he is sporting a wanna be goatee.  Maybe the alpaca just doesn't appreciate facial hair?  My shearing times are way better now.  The first animal we did it took us three hours to shear him.  I was able to shear these last three in 30 min or just under.  I was able to trim toes and teeth in under fifteen minutes also.  If I could keep it under an hour for each animal that would be great.  I will build a shearing table next spring and I think I can get my time down to 20 minutes.  I don't see it getting any faster than that.  It is totally acceptable at that time frame.  We cut lots of fighting teeth out of the alpaca.  Only one animal had fighting teeth cut, they were obviously flat and only two had their toes trimmed last year.  Now that everyone has had everything done it should be easier next year.  When I was trimming the lower leg on one of the brown alpaca I found a fighting tooth lodged in his lower leg!  I took it out.  I am hoping without the teeth they calm down, at least they cannot do as much damage. 

We then got the maple tree planted in the front yard.  The thing had totally dried out and I had asked Annmarie not to water it so guess where this is going if the maple tree dies?  We also planted the ground cover and bunch grass on the front hillside.  It was looking worse for the wear also.  Lots of water poured on them and a sprinkler set up over the whole area afterwards.  Mr. President brought over three loads of gravel.  I finished the short rock wall next to the old cat picket fence and then put in block under the gate.  I think there are enough blocks left to run across the gravel just like we did on this end to separate the gravel and grass.  I dropped a very large rock directly in the middle of my left boot toe.  It hurt a lot.  I hoped around on one foot hollering obscenities.  I then shook the foot in the air to get some circulation going.  I quit picking up rocks and had Reagan move the one I was attempting to carry.  He is coming over tomorrow for four hours to move gravel with the tractor.  Not very complicated or hard labor, but it needs to happen.  I will have to do it after dark at the rate I am getting to it.  Finishing the elevated garden and back deck area is now a priority.  I have to do the hydrant plumbing soon, but that is something I can do alone. 

We set up the mesh electric fence to keep the designated victim from escaping his safe haven.  He keeps sneaking out.  I am going to have to drill four holes with the mistress (tractor) and put in railroad ties on this side of the ditch.  One set on the corner will be set five feet apart, I will take one 16 foot panel and cut it into three pieces of equal length and create a U-shaped enclosure attached to two railroad ties at the opening that crosses across the irrigation ditch.  This will allow the alpaca to get a drink of water and not sneak out.  I don't know that this idea will get implemented this fall.  More important projects are jumping to the front of the list. 


Back yard starting to get gravel.

Horse area all ready for winter.