Saturday, May 27, 2006

Star Valley Ranches House

Some of you may know that in January or so Mike got a call from a guy who was an American working in Iraq. He had been there 3 years, was getting ready to come back stateside and had bought a vacation house online (sight unseen) in Star Valley Ranches ten miles south of us. The house was finished on the outside but completely unfinished on the inside and he wanted someone to finish it before he got here in May. He got Mike's name from our mortgage broker.

So this was a great winter job for Mike and a pretty big job for him to do by himself, but all in all it was perfect. Last week was the deadline. The Guy was coming to town on Friday and going to lay eyes on his finished house for the first time. This was pretty stressful, especially to pick out all finishes and colors by ourselves. And truthfully Mike could use another 2 weeks. When I was in Albuquerque I could tell Mike was stressing out pretty bad so when I returned last Wed, Thurs, and Fri, I put all else aside and we both cranked on the house.

We got it reasonably done and cleaned about 1/2 hour before Lee showed up with the moving van. Lee was thrilled. Mike still has finish up work, which unfortuately includes gyp.boarding the garage, which will be difficult to do around all the stuff. But did I mention Lee was thrilled?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Our Website is live! Check it out at Comments and feedback welcome.

Alpaca Initiation

Well, I've been initiated into the alpaca world. We had a happy hour this week. Thought we might do that regularly to introduce people to the alpacas. We've been advertising for people to "touch the alpacas", so obviously they would have to be caught, something we hadn't done since bringing them home two weeks ago. When the first few guests arrived we went out to the alpaca corral, Sophia proved to be the easier to catch, although she wasn't too happy about it. So we decided to catch Serena when the others got there later. Serena is much less friendly and with everyone making a fence and giving her very little room, I successfully caught her, only to be tripped up against the fence and thrown to the ground... feet flying through the air, dress torn, glasses flying.. guess it was quite the entertainment for the guests. Then with more resolve I headed back for her, but Serena is the kicker. Her aim was true (I should have known better than to get behind her) and she gave me two swift kicks, right in the spot that was scraped up from the fall! Finally we used the horse panel and penned her in and got the halter on through the panel, so she did not get away with it. On the brighter side the secod time Sophia just stood to be caught and I caught her again today and fed her hay out of my hand, Serena's just not as friendly. Sophia is the spitter though, and so I guess you can say Lila was initiated too!

Monday, May 08, 2006

The girls come home!

Well once again too many weeks and too
many events have gone by since my last post. In the last month we went to Oregon/Washington for Alpaca training and Tulip viewing (visiting seven ranches, some of the most successful Alpaca ranches in the country); we went to Missoula to see Mike's son, Dan, in a Lumberman competition (unfortunately he came down with the stomach flu and could not compete); and I took a business trip to Rhode Island (where I have never been before). I'd love to tell you more about those trips, but I'd rather talk about the trip to the big Alpaca Show in Denver.

We were invited to help a ranch near Denver that we are working them show their alpaca at the Great Western Alpaca Show, one of the largest shows in the country. We were also taking the opportunity to take home our alpacas from this show. While the first of April still found 3+ feet of snow in our yard, April brought the summer. Last weekend we persuaded a neighbor to clear all the horse manure out of the corral and shelter, and then we put up our fences for the Alpaca yards. Wednesday night after work we headed for Monica's house getting there about midnight.

At the beginning of April we had an alpaca shipped from GA to Denver to await our transport home, unfortunately she lost her pregnancy on the trip, AND broke her toe getting out of the transporter's truck. The break was at a joint and had a large chip broken out. (Click on the photo to enlarge.) The chip was the part of the bone that all the ligaments connect to and so things were bad enough that the vet (and the five other vets I consulted) thought surgery was necessary. Thursday morning we ferried one of our alpaca from the hotel the couple who brought her from Albuquerque were staying at to the Tapply ranch for safekeeping during the show. Then we took Crescendo to the veterinarian hospital for her Surgery. The rest of the day was helping the Tapply's load up, transport to the show, vet check all the animals, color check the animals and get checked into the show. Then we went to the evening seminar on Fleece, which included dinner.

Saturday morning we picked up Crescendo from the hospital and took her back to Tapply's ranch where she will stay until she is healed and perhaps until she is re-bred. She is apparently doing great. The surgery will protect her from excessive pain as she gets older, and hopefully prevent her from becoming barren (yes, from a broken toe), a possibility without the surgery that we could not afford.

Friday and Saturday were show days. We met a lot of contacts, went to a few educational seminars, shopped for alpaca products and needs, and watched some of the show ring. We thought we might help take an animal into the ring, and so were prepared but the opportunity didn't really come up. The Tapply's had a great show with a fourth place, a third place, and two first places on their animals and a first place on their fleece entry. It was great seeing many of our other new friends doing well in the show also.

Loved the opportunity to visit with Monica and David as well and to see the operation of their new Dog Boarding Kennel first hand. Sunday we had breakfast with Monica and Dave before going to the Tapply's to load of two of our females and head for home. The boys (Cracker Jack whom we bought in March (see previous post), and Ko-Chise, a companion gelding for Jack that we bought at the show) will be delivered to the ranch later in May. Pepper Fire will stay in VA for the rest of the year and Crescendo will stay at Tapply's until October or so.

Now that I've passed out a lot of business cards at the show with our web address on it, guess I'd better get my Webpage live soon. Maybe in Albuquerque when I go there this week!