Alpaca Update

Our girls (the alpacas) seem to be adjusting to their new home (our homestead) just fine.  They seem happy and comfortable, and it’s like they’ve always been here.

Moose, our chocolate lab, sometimes forgets they’re here and goes charging out first thing in the morning to bark at them.  They jump at first then rush right up to the fence to see him.  I think they think he’s a little alpaca because he and Midori are the same color.

They seem to really like me, which I love!  If I’m picking berries or watering the garden or getting water for the chickens, all of which happen near the fence, they interrupt whatever they’re doing to come to the fence to check in.  I’m sure it’s partly because I give them grain sometimes, and I spray them down with the hose when it’s really hot… and I clean up their poop… but I think they really do like me and want to know what I’m I’m doing.

They also love the kids.  They are really curious about them.  Shaleigh is still totally freaked out about that, but Braden likes to be in the fence and lets them get close to him to sniff or kiss or whatever.

I asked the kids to take pictures (since they’re not doing the actual poop pick up) – and they captured some really great, flattering moments of my time with the girls! 🙂

We are so happy to have them here!  We all enjoy seeing what they’re doing and introducing them to everyone who comes here!

 

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They’re here!

The Girls are here!  Our alpacas arrived on Friday, July 13th!

We scheduled delivery for 1 pm because we had a few “quick” things to do in the morning to be sure we were all ready.  The chains on the gates were not quite long enough and we needed different locks… sometimes you don’t know until you get it on the gate… especially when you’re newbies like us.

And we needed straw for the shelter.  We have gravel on the bottom for drainage but we wanted something cozier for them to lie on.  We had no idea how much straw we’d need.  I’d asked about straw pricing at The Country Store in town, which is generally known to be expensive and they said $12.99 for 70 lbs of straw… when I told my neighbor, he laughed and said he’d find us some straw, which was so nice!  In the end, we decided it was easier to pay for the straw in town than to have to find some at the last minute.   We ended up buying two bales of straw for $10.99 each, which was about 10 times the amount we needed, but our girls will be cozy! 🙂

 

It turned out to be a more stressful and busy morning than we intended and we JUST BARELY got everything done… but we did it!

 

We started waiting for Shirley and The Girls in the driveway about 12:50, eagerly anticipating their arrival.  Shirley said loading went totally fine.  Our girls had sort of separated themselves from her girls a few months ago… they seemed to be two separate herds.  Shirley said that the day before they came here, Zoe and Phoebe (our white girls) each gave her a nose to nose tap when she was cleaning their water bucket.  That had never happened before and she interpreted it as goodbye.  (insert sloppy sobs from me)  When she backed the trailer into the yard, the four alpacas who were staying didn’t seem to care and the three who were coming to me, were all perked up.  They were ready.  This whole thing feels so meant to be.  We are just amazed at how it all came together so seamlessly.

Here they come! Shirley backed the trailer down our driveway and into the alpaca field.
Here is Zoe or Phoebe sticking her head up to see what’s going on. She’s a little nervous, with her ears back, but calm and curious.
The kids are trying to be CAAAAAAAAAAALM like we’ve talked about for hours.
Shirley opened the doors slowly so they could look around before they took off.
There they are! 🙂
I love their little faces peeking out of the trailer. Totally calm, not nervous.
Off they went… running around to see what’s there. I think, at first, they thought they were escaping, but then they started exploring!

 

 

Shirley and Sherry stayed and visited for a bit.  We had some treats and made sure we were all okay – we were!  Especially because this feels so meant to be.  The Girls were totally fine, like they’d always been here.

 

Then it was time to introduce the dogs.  We have three dogs – one little, grumpy old man, and two bigger labs.  We weren’t sure how it would go.  We know that alpacas are generally afraid of dogs (with good reason), and we know our dogs don’t like other animals in their yard (at least not at first). We were prepared for it to be kinda messy.  We had two dogs on leash and one on the zapper collar, just in case, and we headed down.

There were a couple of tense moments where the dogs would run right up to the fence and The Girls would run away, and there was one moment when Moose, our chocolate lab, and one of the white alpacas were nearly nose to nose through the fence before one of them got scared and backed away.

 

They are so funny watching us throw the ball for the dogs and the dogs chasing after it. I love their faces!

I think it will take a few days before the dogs are completely comfortable with the alpacas… they still are agitated in the evening when they can see them down there moving around, but I think it will be okay after that.  They’ll probably just ignore each other… or maybe they’ll be friends!

Later in the evening, The Girls were grazing, drinking water, cushing down to rest, taking dirt baths, and just relaxing in their new home.

We’re so happy they’re here!

AAAAAAAND, Shirley brought me EIGHT BAGS of fiber!

I have so many plans!!  Stay tuned! 🙂

Big Day on the Homestead!

First, we had Carrie from Snohomish County Conservation District over for a farm visit.   I heard about county conservation districts at the Llama Information Day (that was Whatcom Conservation District).  They are nationwide in every county and their goal is to help property owners do what they need to do while protecting natural resources.  They provide farm maps, and help with nearly everything related to the land.   We are such newbies and we just needed a little bit of guidance on our farm and what we need to do next.  I have been particularly worried about the weeds on our property and whether they are toxic to alpacas (nope!), and the creek that runs through our woods.   I’ll write more about the visit and the awesome resources they provide in a few days… it was a great experience and I highly recommend it.

Annnnnnnndddd….

… wait for it….

… the big news….

The ALPACAS COME TOMORROW!

 

We’re so ready and so excited to have them home.  The kids and I did some last minute shopping yesterday (water troughs, chains and locks for the gates) and did some cleaning up in the alpaca area – picking up branches and garbage and dog poop, and cleaning out the building in their field to make sure we got all the old wood and nails and that it’s all ready.

Carson needs to put the final touches on their shelter and finalize a couple of details.  Our neighbor is helping us out with straw for their bedding, and we’re ready!!!  They should arrive tomorrow around 1 pm!

This little heart-shaped patch of dry grass in the alpaca field helps me know that this is right!

 

Shaleigh made a welcome sign to hang in the shelter. 🙂 Welcome Phoebe, Midori and Zoe. (We’ll work on her spelling later! 🙂

 

 

 

Crabbing

There are so many amazingly wonderful things about where we live, and several of them will be covered in this post.

First, we have wonderful neighbors who have taken us into their circle and made us part of it.  Jim and Randi have lived in Stanwood and the surrounding areas for their whole lives and have watched their small town become a bigger town and I’m sure there was some eye-rolling when they heard that we moved here from Seattle (the big city), but they never let us see it.  They have helped us with every single thing we’ve done here and they are always patient with our questions and helpful with suggestions and tips.  I don’t know where we’d be without them.

They’ve also introduced us to the river and boating on the sounds – and our very favorite summer pastime – CRABBING!  They’ve helped us get tooled up and showed us the ropes for the specific areas off Camano Island.

Opening day was Saturday and we planned to leave the house at 4 am… all of us!  My kids are early risers – around 5 usually, so getting up at 3:30 wasn’t as bad as it might have been for some kids.  Plus, they love crabbing as much as the rest of us so they were excited to get up and head out.