Thursday, August 16, 2012

this and that

The cat trapping went well. We caught four males and two females and had a seventh give herself up. Apparently she decided that the easy life of the orphans (food and water 24/7, ac and a soft bed) was much better than the precarious life of a feral cat. Looks like I'll be bringing her in for spaying next month with the other three kittens.
The six that we caught have all gotten over their surgeries and are back to doing whatever it is feral cats do. Now I keep seeing the few that we didn't catch. They are mocking me, I'm sure of it.
We had to break the Paca-spa out earlier this week. Another breeder south of us called to say she had a girl down with a high fever. Heat stress is an ever present fear for those of us that have to endure months of extreme temperatures. Brian was a really good sport about dropping everything and hauling the tub to the other farm. It made for a late night for us, but our friends girl is doing well and we're hopeful for a full recovery.
I've been busy with my spinning wheel (of course!). The drive band on my electric wheel is made of some type of poly. For months I've been having trouble with keeping it together. The join is a weak spot and under the pressure and speed of the motor, it tends to snap and go flying across the room. You're supposed to be able to just melt it back together, but I've never had much luck with this and have it hold for very long. I finally just got annoyed and broke out some string that Brian had. I wove one end of the string into the other making a loop and now I use that. It's ugly, but functional and I'm pretty sure it's going to hold up to the abuse I give it.
The boys have finished trimming the front yard for me. I've got them busy with the back yard now.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Weeds, Cats and Seminars

Well the boys have been diligently mowing for me. Brian set up panels so they would stay in the front area where the weeds where the highest. This weekend we will be ready to move the panels to the back yard and get that cleaned up.
This time of year is when we start really watching the alpacas for heat stress. The next six weeks will be the toughest on them. Heat stress is cumulative, what the animals could tolerate earlier in the season may be too much for them later. I find now the alpacas are spending more time in the barns in front of the fans and cools. One thing we do to help them along through the summer is place additional water buckets in the barns themselves. (most of the water buckets are out in the fields) We place the buckets right in front of the swamp coolers where the cooled air will flow right over the top of them. Now the alpacas don't just have water, they have CHILLED water. Right now, between me and Dot, we're filling two five gallon buckets, one for the girls, one for the big boys, four times a day. The little boys have a water bucket in their barn year round, so they always have cool water. Luck of the draw there.
We're doing the "great cat trap" this week. I'll be picking up the traps Weds and setting them out Weds night. The poor feral cats should be good and hungry by then, as we were instructed to pick up all the feeding dishes as of this morning. Apparently well fed cats are not overly inclined to walk into a trap. Thursday I get to do all the running around, bring whatever cats we get up to the vet for their spay/neuter, bringing unused traps back to the depot, and then picking cats back up after surgery. We'll let the cats hang out in the relative coolness of the barn until they are ready to be released. I'm sure they will be thrilled about the whole thing. The feral cat colony needs to be reigned in before they eat us out of house and home. Besides, altered cats stick around longer so they don't have to keep replacing themselves. Kittens are cute, but thirteen this last spring got to be a bit much.
Finally, Brian and I went up to Gordon Teele Farm this past weekend. They were hosting a beginners alpaca seminar and asked if I would talk a little bit about fiber and what you can do with it. It was nice to be out of the heat for a little while, and they fed us very well!