Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Around Mid September, Mike's sister Debra started campaigning to get everyone to come out for Thanksgiving to Salt Lake. She didn't have to twist our arms very hard. Mike has missed living closer to his parents and needed a visit anyway. Mike's sister Nancy also came out from LA and her son, Wyatt, from the bay area. Mike hadn't seen her in years, and had barely met her husband. I had met her in California last year, but not with Mike... So that was great to all be together! Oh yeah, all Mike's kids made it except Dan (who was thrilled to stay home and do nothing for Thanksgiving since his job takes him on the road every week of the year!). And all Mike's sister, Vicky's, kids made it home and brought boyfriends. Debra's husband's daughter did not make it, as did my kids, but the crowd was merry!

We had 22 adults (and 4 grandkids) for dinner and made one long table to get us all in. Mike and I flew in Thanksgiving morning and were able to stay the weekend, coming home Monday. Besides Thanksgiving we mostly visited, although I did steal a moment to practice my motorcycle riding skills on Jed's motorcycle! And Sunday night I went out with Vicky's whole clan and Debra to the zoo, to see the light show they had going there. Man, we jumped from Thanksgiving to Christmas fast!!

This was the first year in many I did not spend it with my girls, but Kelsey's job (at the snack bar at the skating rink) does not allow anyone to take holiday weekends off. So she could not get away, and in fact will not be able to come up for Christmas either. But Kelsey and Sara got to have Thanksgiving with their Dad, which was also a rare treat for them, so I guess that works for me.

Once home I started working on my Christmas card (none too soon) and found the program "Smilebox". It's pretty fun, and using the free trial I created my Christmas card and the Thanksgiving "Photo Album" below. (Mike's sister, Nancy, did not allow any photos, so she is mysteriously missing, as is her husband Joe, but I think I got decent shots of everyone else there.)

You can click on any photo to enlarge and use the pause and arrows to move through at your own pace. Let me know what you think.

Click to play Thanksgiving 2008
Create your own scrapbook - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox scrapbook

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Visit from the Girl Scouts

Last spring we met a girl Scout troop at a function we were at that wanted to get involved in Alpacas. They planned to go camping on our property and learn a bunch about alpacas. The weeks kept going by but finally we settled on Nov 2.. And they ended up coming up for the day (Camping.. Burrr!!). AND confusion resulted in only half of their troop of four couldn't make it.. So we had two girls and a leader for the afternoon. It was fun none the less and we taught them all they wanted to know about alpacas. We taught them to catch and halter, trim toenails, and had a small mock show that they participated in. Then we skirted, carded, and felted some soaps for a craft project, and to round it out we cooked foin dinners on our wood burning stove (deciding it was much more comfortable inside, rather than outside around a campfire. It was a fun day for all, and they will be back.

After that we had our last baby for the year, Branson, a dark brown boy. Almost matches Juno. That makes 5 and 5 for the year, no complaints with that. And for once all the animals are healthy (for the most part.
Because all the babies were born, and everyone was healthy, we were able to go out to Salt Lake for Thanksgiving, but I'll blog about that after I get my photos in order ;-).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Motorcycle Safety

I always hate to write these blogs that I have no photos for! But oh well. I wanted to mention the Motorcycle Safety Class Kelsey, Sara, and I took a couple of weeks ago. This all started when last year Kelsey was considering a motorcycle as transportation at college. Being easier to park and cheaper to drive (not to mention fun) she was thinking this was a good option. When I discussed this with Mike he recommended the Motorcycle Safety Class in New Mexico. So she was still undecided, in the meantime discussion continued. Mike's boys ALL now have motorcycles, and Mike is jealous. So I started thinking he ought to get another motorcycle (not high on the priority list but sometime). Then I thought if he got a motorcycle, I ought to learn to drive it! Then Sara got the bug. She's just driving age now, but LOVES those toys with motors (snowmobiles, 4-wheelers). So we decided to all take the class together.

In September and October when I was in Albuquerque, Mike's son, Josh, took us out for a lesson. Once in the parking lot at the mall and a couple times where they like to dirt bike. Aside from the fact these bikes (the dirt bikes) were uncomfortably tall for me and made me nervous, it was wonderful to give us just a bit of experience and prepare us for the class.

The class is designed for those who have never been on a motorcycle before, so it was VERY basic. Which was excellent. Anyhow, in the end all three of us passed and now are licensed to ride a motorcycle! The class unfortunately did nothing but bury that bug in our brains... Now we NEED motorcycles!!

Last weekend Mike and I went to Ft. Collins for the Fall Colorado Alpaca Show. The show turned out not to be our best one (maybe even was our worst one). But of course made the best of our networking opportunities. It was good to be there.

Anyhow, waited long enough to write that I do have a picture, Bonita's baby, born today (girl). Healthy and strong, just in time for the cold weather here in CO.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Camping and Alpacas

Well, I was trying to decide if the new me was going to write blogs or not, but so many people tell me they enjoy it, and I love letting others know what we're doing I guess I'll keep it up.

We had a great month and it seems life is looking up again. I got home from the month of being gone just after Mike finished his detox. It was AMAZING and has made a big difference in his health and therefore his attitude. His elbows which have hurt for 5 years solid no longer hurt and he thinks he may be allergic to milk, which in itself is not good, but may cure his migraines, which is fabulous! I'm starting the detox next week, and am excited and nervous all at once. Mike was so faithful to the letter of what he was told to do, that it's going to be a tough example to follow!

Just after I got home we had planned a backpacking trip, but Mike still has a lot of dietary restrictions so this became a camping trip. We spent the first night up near Leadville and fished the Arkansas and it tributaries at its source. I am dedicated to becoming a competent fly fisherman and we had a lot of fun. I also knitted a lot which was fun too. The last morning Mike was so psyched to get going that when I pulled back the tent flap he already had his waders on and was stringing his rod. I sent him on his way and held back for a cup of coffee (and slimfast) before I started and thus we ended up fishing separately for the morning. The significance of that is that I caught 4 fish when he was nowhere in sight... That to me is significant! I caught a couple more, one 16 incher or so, after we got back together. So the trip was a success and it was great to spend a little time together without having to rush to take care of an animal ;-) We need to do that more often. Mike also has a buddy nearby that he has been fishing with a few times so getting out more often, a couple times a week, is really helping his peace of mind. I think last week he caught a 24 incher.. amazing!

Up North on the Arkansas

Our Campsite the first night

Campsite the second night.. Not nearly as picturesque and the highway was too close, but the fishing made up for it!

Mike fishing on the Arkansas

There is also a lot of gold mining in the area and we met a guy who had a claim on the river right where we were fishing, so we learned a lot about Gold. He says he makes about $1000 an hour during his two week window when the conditions are great. We met another panner the next day who confirmed the story. Apparently it pays well. Now Mike is hot on my honing my gold panning skills instead of my fishing skills. He's going to buy me a pan so when we go (I mean he goes) fishing, I can be panning and pay for the trip!

My sister Monica came down the next weekend for a visit and to be a spectator at the Society for Creative Anachronisms event being held that weekend in Canon City. She brought a friend with her for the night. I went down to watch a bit also. The costumes were fun. These photos were taken at the wine tasting event... the best part of the day. Monica learned to sew and bought a sewing machine in order to make this dress!!

After that we swung into full gear to get ready for the show in Albuquerque last weekend, and ranch days coming up next weekend. We needed to get marketing paperwork done for the animals, health certificates, fiber products to sell finished, ads in the paper... etc. It is a full time job for the two of us! But it was really nice to focus hard on the animals again, as we had pretty much put them on the back burner during the summer. On the way to the show I dropped off 5 fiber boys that we sold! Yeah, 5 less mouths to feed and they should be great animals for the ranch that bought them to start their fiber herd.

Now we have new babies due again, as fall kicks in. If anyone is looking for a trip to Colorado come to our ranch days this weekend. We are having an animal kinesiologist (muscle testing) coming to do demonstrations and test our herd. Should be fascinating! Read more about her on our webpage (

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Summer has come and gone...

Summer has come and gone and I haven't blogged yet again. Sara started school (high school) last week and Kelsey anxiously awaits her first college class next week! Obviously they are both back in Albuquerque after another summer up here. They spent a week at Monicas helping take care of the ranch (while they went to Europe) and got in a concert or two, and we did go to a Society for Creative Anachronisms event at Monicas house, and a day at the water park... That pretty much sums up the summer.

I've been trying to raise the bar and live up to a higher potential, and that is more what the summer has been about. Pretty exciting to me really, but nothing much to Blog about, especially since it is going to be a long process, as changing your life always is. But as of today I'm down 25 pounds and no loss of motivation, we've turned off the TV, and have vowed to try to spend more of the next year together.. preferably at home. I think the kids are satisfied with the summer although my inspiration has been uncomfortable for them as well.

Mike has caught a bit of the fever and addressing some health issues he has had for many years. He has started in a program with a local Chiropractor/Acupuncturist/Kinesiologist and is currently most of the way through a 21 day detox where you take lots of supplements to help purge your organs of toxins and eat like a bird. It's been tough, and most days fairly uncomfortable, but I think he's on the other side of the hill and starting to feel better than he has in a long long time. We are both very encouraged. Can't wait to start it myself ;-)

All four of Mike's boys are going to be visiting this weekend (starting tomorrow) and going fishing. His daughter, Sara, was nearly able to come as well, but at the last minute had somethings to attend to and could not come. You can imagine Mike is flying high right now. It's been a rare occasion that they have all been together (if ever since I've known him). I'm missing out as I'm in Las Vegas for two weeks of training, but I suppose the Moser boys deserve the time alone anyway... They will have more fun with no spouses or kids to be thinking of. I'm very excited for them.

Mike and I, to address our goals of spending more time together, are going backpacking the week I get home. I'm honing my fishing skills and we are planning to slow down our fall. That's about all I have to report right now... no photos to add either. Hope summer was great at your house.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A new month - Lots of life changes!!

Well, once again a couple months have passed and lots of change has accompanied!

First I wanted to mention the death of Mike's Aunt June. She died while I was out in Illinois where I last blogged. Mike's Mother had 7 sisters (and a brother that passed away about 12 years ago) an d they are very close, in fact the ones still living in Ogden have had lunch every Friday for years. June died of pancreatic cancer and so had been very sick for about six months. She will be missed. Mike drove out to Ogden, leaving the day I came home from our long trip east. He was glad to be with his mother at this difficult time, and had the chance to spend an evening with his kids too.

Mike's Mom is back row Right (in Black). Aunt June is middle back.
Sharon in the center front died 6 years ago, Jeanette (front left) died about a year ago.

When he returned he went straight to Monica's house and is back there this week, hoping to finish that job up very soon. You can see the latest photos and progress on that on Monica's Blog (

While he was at Monica's, Mike and I took a day and finally got to take advantage of an offer one of the Doctors at CSU's vet hospital gave us and we spent a day there learning to use our microscope. Now we can do our own fecal exams and avoid some of the dependency we have on the lab.

Next we went to the alpaca show in Denver, our local organization's show and our last one to show animals this spring. I was ribbons chairman, and Mike ended up volunteering twice for ring steward, and once for score keeper, so we were both very busy the whole show.

Kelsey flew in to help out Saturday and Sunday and then she and I drove back for my monthly week in Albuquerque. That week ended with Dad's Birthday, Mother's Day, and Kelsey's graduation from High School. Yep, she's now all grown up! She is planning to stay at her Dad's for another year and go to UNM, before heading out to California for school.

That same weekend Mike was home shearing at two out of four ranches that we had collaborated with for 2008 shearing. He was at one ranch Saturday and sheared 42 (or so) animals, another ranch the next day with 50 or so, then I got back for Monday at a third ranch where we sheared 55 animals, and finally our house was on Tuesday with 33 animals. Each house was responsible for coffee, snacks and lunch and then we all helped out at each ranch where we each had a job. Along with the shearer and his helper (from new Zealand), we hired a Certified Fiber Sorter, who sorted the fleece as it came off the animal, so that you get an evaluation with feedback on your fleece before the end of the day, and your fleece is graded so it is ready to send to the mill and assure the best quality products. This was a very successful way to do shearing for the year and we will probably do it again.

And FINALLY : I also started full time employment with a company called CFI (Computerized Facilities Integration). They are headquartered in Southfield MI, but I will be supporting the west coast office, in Los Angeles. It is a relatively small company (than I have been used to lately) but they have more Tririga contracts than any other partner, and I am excited that I will be doing the same work, but will be able to support ALL aspects of integration of the product. They will also support me to get certified in Tririga, something that would have been useful while trying to get contract work. I am a bit nervous about working 40 hours a week on a regular basis and keeping up with the ranch, but Mike is going to be supporting the ranch end of our partnership and I'll be focusing on making a living. My contract work had been dwindling and made this step necessary to keep up with our debts. Last week (after Shearing) I went out to Los Angeles for three days to meet the rest of the team and "be oriented". It was a great trip and I am pleased that it seems a good fit. I will be able to work remotely from home and set my own hours, and have very limited travel, so from that perspective it will feel just like consulting, except I get medical benefits ;-).

While in Los Angeles Jackie Zev came downtown and joined me for dinner one evening.. So that was a good opportunity as well. Unfortunately, her Dad has been in the hospital for the past month and a half and is not doing well. I hope this job will allow me to get to California more often and visit friends a bit more.

Oh no, one more finally! This weekend I am going to Salt Lake City for the Alpaca National Convention. I'll be staying with Mike's sister and not attending any seminars, but going for a quick trip to network and see those people form the rest of the country that we don't see often. (And go to the new IKEA). I had hoped Mike and I could both go, but it turns out we have three babies due in the later half of May. So only one of us could go, and I got the short straw. Both of us are pretty tired of being away from home. Perhaps that will all slow down again after the Salt Lake trip. (HA!)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Stanleys

Another ranch (Fiber of Life) and Aardwolf Alpacas got together this spring so that we could hit more alpaca shows and get more exposure. Last month Fiber of Life (FOL) took out animals to Phoenix to the show. Two weeks ago I went to Missouri (FOL animals did not go, but that is another story), and last week Tracy (of FOL) and I took off across country for two shows in the mid-west, leaving our menfolk home to tend to the ranch.

The first show was in Fort Wayne, Indiana. On our way to Indiana we had the opportunity to stop at a popular fiber mill in Kansas for a tour and to drop some fleece off. Tracy and I recognize our limitations on driving too far in one day and so that first night we stayed in Omaha, NE and got to visit Dave Parker.. an Air Force friend from Tucson and Germany days, and his wife. This week we had the opportunity to visit the Stanleys, my Dad's side of the family.

The original plan was to stay with my Aunt Winnie (my Dad's sister) in West Lafayette, IN, on our way to Fort Wayne and our way from Fort Wayne. But on Thursday when we got there I was surprised to be met by my cousin, Beth. It seems Winnie had fallen on Tuesday and broken her Femur. She was in the hospital. Beth's son, Dale, lives with Winnie, and Beth had come in from VA to take care of things. Friday morning we went by the hospital to visit Winnie before we headed on to the show, and she headed into surgery.

Because of the troubles, my cousin, Ken (with his wife and daughter) drove down from Ohio to visit for the weekend. They happened to go right through Fort Wayne, in fact just past our motel, just as we got done setting up for the show and were ready for dinner. So we ran out for a quick bite and visit with them. Another bonus.

At the show we met and saw lots of people we know from this side of the country, good, but the animals didn't do anything worth reporting, not so good. Sunday after the show we headed back to West Lafayette, arriving in time for a card game and bed and visiting Winnie again in the morning at the hospital. She was getting released into a rehab center that afternoon, and once rehabilitated is going to move directly into her new retirement apartment in the same community. This community is on Purdue campus and associated with the university, and thus has LOTS of amenities to offer. (At least on the brochure everyone looks very happy). Looks like a great place.

This week we are staying in Peoria, IL, and this weekend attending a show here in Peoria. Since I worked a few times in Peoria while with Washington Group, I know a few people here too, which is fun. Sunday/Monday after the show we will embark on our last 1600 miles heading for home.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Babies, and more babies!

We had a baby last week. We had thought she was due and had been watching since Jan 24th. So by this time we are getting tired of watching. Subsequently we found out that we had the due date wrong and she wasn't due until Feb 8. When we found this out, she was still overdue, but perhaps less concerning. One thing to remember though is that Alpacas can have viable pregnancies with terms from 11 months to 13 months... so no real concern yet, it could have been that the weather was cold and she didn't want to have her baby. Well finally last week (while Mike was gone) Barbara went into labor. I watched her close and something seemed strange. Alpacas usually birth easily, in fact some people say they can be eating at the hay bin and drop babies. So when she was laying down, and up and down and up and down again I got concerned. When I got out to check on her the baby was just just beginning to be born, and the head came out but no feet. In alpacas this is bad. The feet need to come out the same time as the nose, in fact the toes need to be in front of the nose. I had to reach in and find and pull out one leg, but when I went in to get the second, I could not reach it. The vet had to come out and get that second leg out. Once the second leg was in position, it was not 10 seconds before the baby popped out! She is totally black, and a girl.. our favorite kind! And she is the biggest strongest baby we have had to date. She was walking within 30 minutes. Her mom was pretty sore for the next few days, but otherwise all is fine. Baby's name is Zia.

We also were waiting for Cupid to have HER baby. She was also a few weeks overdue (Due Feb 4). She had a little beige boy last Friday (Leap Day). I was gone to Las Vegas (training) so this time Mike was all alone! At first it looked like we were going to have a repeat performance (the whole class was watching on the barncam from Las Vegas) but finally a nose and feet popped out. The birth was textbook after that. He also is a strong large boy, his name is Boston Elite.

The Son

So, I'm behind on my blogging, but this week I am in training and finding myself with a little more time so I'll blog a few topics in between lesson topics.

Mike's son Dan spent the month of January with us. He arrived on Christmas night and he and Mike took off on Dec 27 to hook up with two other sons, Jed, and Josh, and they went hunting for Quail in Arizona for a week. Didn't find many quail, but I don't have to tell you how Mike was in heaven that week, quail or no quail. Unfortunately the camper and truck presented them with lots of unexpected problems, but all survived.

Dan came back after the hunting and spent the rest of January at our house. He tore into our jobs around home, and they have now built us a front Closet, and divider for the living room, and enlarged the soon to be laundry room and moved that door, also modifying the pantry... So this is the beginning of the new and improved main house at Aardwolf Ranch. Certainly lots of relaxing also took place during that month, and I was amazed at the numbers of jobs they came up with needing to do that required the use of the new tractor or 4-wheeler. Dan also rode the horse a few times. We wished he could have stayed longer but eventually his job called him back to Missoula. As a forester his Winter season is slow... perhaps he'll be back next year.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

An Interesting Visit from the Farrier

Our gelding horse, Sonny, has come down with Selenium Poisoning, not sure if I had mentioned this previously. Anyhow, the first clue was in August when his mane fell out, then in September when his tail fell out, also he was getting thin and laying down a LOT. Neither time the vet knew what was causing this. The Farrier came out in October and with one look immediately knew this was Selenium poisoning. The vet concurred. The Farrier told us that his hooves would be sloughed off and he'd have to grow new hooves before this was all done, about a year he told us. There was nothing to do but support Sonny the best we could be keeping his hooves trimmed up as much as possible to relieve any pressure as they came off, trying to keep his weight instead on his soles of his feet. So for a few months that is what we did.

Earlier this month we noticed Sonny getting VERY thin again, and so it was time for another Farrier visit. Last week he came out and told us Sonny was in the last stages of having hoof wall left and recommended we remove the rest of the hoof, and build a synthetic hoof for him. He called another Farrier, a national expert that lives in our area, and he also came out and the two set to work. They removed the remaining loose hoof and cut a piece of 3/4" plywood the size of his hoof for the bottom. This they epoxied on, gluing the wood to the new hoof which had grown about half way out. They also put a spongy material on the frog to give him some comfort and support. Then they screwed a smaller piece of 3/4" plywood onto the bottom, giving him the ability to rock a bit, instead of a completely flat bottomed foot.

They decided the back feet were doing well enough, so after taking off the old hoof on those they just left those alone. Sonny immediately showed signs of being more comfortable. If we can keep those on for 3 months or so we should be well on the way to recovery. Now he is moving around quite well like anyone learning to walk on inch and a half spike heels!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Alpacas in the Honda

I've gotten a number of comments about Alpacas in the Honda (as well as a new camera for Christmas), so I thought I ought to share a few photos.

It really is not so different than a large dog.