Sunday, September 16, 2007

Good day on the farm.

Today was a good day. Weather was beautiful at high 70's with the changing leaves all around us. Today just had a good feel to it from the start.

Both Neil and I were up early and motivated to get some things done. First off I needed to do chores but I also wanted to shear some of the fiber off of our llama, Neffi, and I knew that would be easiest to do in the cool morning while she was eating. So, I told Neil my plan and we both headed out to the barn before breakfast.

The first thing I do now in my chores is getting Cherry Blossom up on the milking stanchion and she has come to expect this already so she was waiting for me. Once on the stanchion I gave her a quick brush over. Then this morning I took our milking training to the next step and washed and massaged her udder with a hot wet towel. This not only cleans the udder and teats but it causes her to "let down" her milk. I had also brought the milking pail with me this morning just to introduce the pail to the equation. Well, the hot towel did the trick. Cherry Blossom was much easier to express milk from the morning! I got about 1/4 cup in the pail. What I learned was that I need to work on my aim again! But I am encouraged that I might get a little milk soon to supplement the store bought. We go through 1-2 gallons a day here so it will be a while before we work up to that amount... even after Riona calves this fall.

After the cows were feed and sent out to the pasture I took a moment to give the donkeys their morning cookies. I always give them two cookies each in the morning and in the evening since they don't get anything else but pasture to eat. It is a bonding time too and on most mornings I spend a few minutes to give them scratches all over.... but not this morning. It was off to feed the alpacas next.

I got the grain ready for Gigi (our new mom as of two days ago) as she is in her own paddock with her new cria. Then I got the grain for the rest of the alpacas, Neffi and the food for the LGDs. As the dogs and the alpacas were eating we rounded Neffi up into the catch pen and got her tied up the post. Yesterday we went and borrowed shears from our closest neighboring alpaca farmer at This was my first time shearing a camelid of any type but it was very similar to sheep, which I have some experience with. Neffi wasn't into the shearing thing at all at first and it was surprising how strong she was. But after a few minutes she cushed down and I was able to give her a descent "barrel cut" in about ten minutes. It is getting cooler at night now so I didn't want to give her a complete cut but just wanted to get some of the heavy fiber off her blanket area. I didn't turn out half bad considering it was my first attempt.
Once we cleaned up after Neffi's shearing I finished up the chores by feeding the goats and then the rabbits and then all the poultry.

Once back inside I made homemade banana pancakes for breakfast... yummy!

After breakfast, Neil started on his major project of the day... cleaning out part of the porch which included moving the old wood cook stove out. Once everything was cleaned off Neil took the tractor down to the tractor-trailer out back and picked up our refrigerator that we brought with us. It doesn't fit inside the kitchen right now so it will live out on the porch as an additional fridge while we continue to use the old fridge that was left here as our main refrigerator.
After that task was done we did a few other odds and ends about the place and then relaxed the rest of the afternoon. It was a good day and we got lots done to boot!

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