Monday, June 29, 2009

Monsoon has returned. We haven’t had any storms as of yet, but the heat and humidity are upon us. It was a chilled 86 degrees when I let the dogs out this morning at 4:00, and it will only get hotter. Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, we topped out at 113. I heard the average first day at 110+ is June 20, so we managed to hold out a little longer than usual this year. I just hope we don’t have a run like we did two years ago when we had 110+ degree temps for over 30 days. That’s a long time to be that hot. As the humidity goes up, the temperature will come down slightly, but that is little comfort as the air just feels thick and hard to breath. The good news is, we only have to deal with this for 6-8 weeks or so, and then we can go back to bragging weather.
The alpacas spend most of their time sitting in front of the fans. We go out periodically and hose off bellies to try and help them stay cool, though sometimes I wonder if this really helps at all, as once I’m done spraying, they all run right out into the blazing sun and start sunbathing. Maybe it would be better just to leave them along so they stay in the shade. I have the overflows from the swamp coolers going into water buckets, so most of the alpacas do have access to chilled water though out the day. We started doing this last year and I really think it helps.

I’ve been slow to get back to my loom. I warped a project with some thread I got from the guild, and it has issues. After just a couple of inches of weaving, I already had four breaks. At the rate the threads where breaking, I was spending more time repairing the warp than weaving. I finally decided to heck with repairing, I was just going to weave until the darn thing fell off the loom. Wouldn’t you know, I haven’t had a break since. I may end up with a usable length of cloth after all.
The exciting news at the office is they finally started cleaning up the rubble across the street. Now we’re waiting to see if they take down the condemned building next to the rubble while they at it.

Monday, June 22, 2009

snakes, floods and Father's Day

Some weeks, nothing much happens. This is ok, I don’t really need a whole lot of drama going on, and I kind of enjoy a rut once in a while. This week was not one of those weeks.
Nothing huge happened, just a whole lot of little things so that I never had a moment when I wasn’t engaged somehow. The major happening was the axe fell at the day job. We all knew it was coming and in light of the recent economic news, it really wasn’t as bad as could have been. Benefits are soon to be a thing of the past, and our hours have been sort of cut. The boss asked that we self police and if we know our hours aren’t billable, could we please consider not working. Well, of the thirty hours I worked last week, only 5 were billable, so I gave myself Friday off. Unpaid, of course.
It was such an odd feeling to be both completely content as I worked on the yard and out in the shop on fleece, and kind of worried all at the same time. The worry comes more from the fear of the unknown than from any real inability to pay the bills. But I’m a worrier, that’s what I do.
Anyway, I got a lot accomplished with my extra time. Maybe I’ll actually get some landscaping done this year…
Saturday we did some modifying to our hay storage area to make life a little simpler. The hay is stored in a portable stall. It’s under cover, tarps on the sides keep the rain and sun off, and for the most part it works out well. The drawback is the bales have to be brought in one at a time because the door is narrow. Brian’s dad made a frame for the front of the stall to support the roof and he and Brian removed the front panel. Now the hay can be stacked on pallets, brought over with the fork lift and placed right into the storage area, thereby cutting our work in half (and by our work, I mean Brian’s since I can’t lift a bale, much less stack them on a pallet)

Much to my dismay, we found another rattle snake by the hay. I have to remember to bring the new ‘snake club’ out to the barn and have it ready to go in case we haven’t seen the last of the rattlers. That’s four we’ve had so far this year between us and the neighbors on either side of us.
We also had a resurgence of Lake Klaus as the water hose to the boys ruptured, pouring a couple of hundred gallons of water on the ground. (maybe we got lucky and all the rattle snakes drowned…) The girls where happy as the hole was on their side of the fence and they got to play in the water squirting out. Of course this happened while Brian and I were out enjoying a lunch date so there was plenty of time for the water to flow.
After I got a temporary fix on that, I broke out the camera to try and get some current photos of Jack and Sunny.
So now I know that Jack is a total camera hound, happy to stop and pose, and Sunny has a knack for getting someone else between him and the camera. The only clear shots I got of Sunny, where in the few moments before he would see me and run over to see if the camera was at all tasty. I have a lot of blurry close ups of his nose. I also managed to get a nice shot of Kinesis,
the female we’re leasing. I’m really looking forward to the cria she is carrying and am all ready driving myself crazy with thinking about how much longer I have to wait!
Sunday I got to chat with my dad for a while (why do men never want to answer the phone) and we had a nice relaxing Father’s Day with Brian’s family. A nice way to wind down an eventful week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Flagstaff wool festival

Whew! What a busy weekend. Brian and I headed up to the cool pines of Flagstaff for the 18th Annual Wool Festival. We had a great time catching up with old friends and making new ones. We made one special friend in particular. Laura, the granddaughter of one of the vendors, spent quite a bit of time with us. She was a huge help in getting a fleece carded that I had brought with me.
On Sunday, she was even giving instructions to other children on how to card! I think we have a future fiber artist in the making. Still it was good to come home after it was over.
Just remind me I said that when we finally go over 110 degrees here.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


So, yesterday I go out to the barn with some fresh minerals, la dee da. I step up into the barn and almost step on a rattle snake! And not four feet away are my four yearling boys sitting in front of the fan!
So I grabbed my herding stick, that was right by the door and beat the snake to death (take that you stupid snake!). Ok so, they actually tell you call someone to come relocate the snake if you come across one, but I have realized a couple of things. One, the snake is not going to stay put until someone comes for it. And two, I’m not going to try and corral a live snake. So sadly, the snake had to give up his life.

You think that's the end of the story? NO! As I was walking into the barn, I noticed Stormy (mature male) sun bathing over in his pasture.
Killing the snake then walking it next door to Jim and coming home took about 20 minutes. When I get back to the barn, Storm hasn't moved.
I take out the hose and start cooling ever body down. I do the girls, I do the younger boys, I start the older boys. Storm hasn't moved this entire time, not so much as an ear flick. I call out to Storm. Nothing. I drop the hose and start walking over to him. As I get closer I can see his lower lip is drooped and crusted with dirt. I scan his side for breathing. Nothing. I start to walk faster, getting a bit scared. Now I can see his whole head and his eyes are open and there is still no sign of motion. I think "crap! The snake got him." I get right up to him and he suddenly LEAPS into the air. I think he squealed, I know I did!

There needs to be some sort of law against alpacas sleeping with their eyes open.

Last Sunday we had a Fiber Fun day over at Pat’s. I brought some dyes and did some hand painted yarns.
We had about 25 people come out throughout the day. Some brought spinning wheels, some brought knitting, some just came to hang out. It was a good time. We even (finally!) got our friend Arline to come out. Her husband took the photos; I especially love the one of Sly trying for a kiss. Don’t be shy Arline, he’s just being friendly!