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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Rainbow Hat Original

Alpaca yarn in super bulky weight is rare and when blogger/crafter Sarah Mauragis found it at our booth at the Michigan Fiber Festival, she knew this was just what she wanted to make a warm snuggly hat. In fact, she was really excited and promised that she would send me the pattern.

Good to her word, she sent not only a link to the pattern, but also shared her dying instructions to make your own rainbow hat. You can find the dying instructions and pattern at this link.
http://variousexpertise.blogspot.com/2015/09/rainbow-sherbet-alpaca-hat-dyeing.html

You can find Vianca's Super Bulky Yarn in our store!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A 10 Cria Summer

Big sister Kaitie

Big sister Kaitie

Time to update all of you on our population explosion at Country Lakes Alpacas.

We have had ten crias born since the end of April, 5 boys and 5 girls. Every year I wait the long 11 to 12 months gestation for the arrival of the crias only to spend weeks watching mothers-to-be in the field and doing twice (at least) daily "butt checks" to see if a baby is imminent.

The first little girl, Kaitie, was born on our shearing day and needed some extra help to get warm. Then came her sister Palee with no drama at all. Our herd sire Jet Stream was the father to most of this year's crias so the first boy, who was born during a thunder storm, was appropriately named Storm. Carrying on the weather theme we added Thunder and Lightning and the weather god Thor.

To even out the numbers we had a bundle of fawn fur named Tracey Ann, a curly black cutie, Sarah Jane, then Sky King, a boy, and Genny, a blue-black little girl. There may be a couple more on the way but these girls might just be conning me for extra food.

Several of the moms are for sale and the new baby goes with them at no extra cost! Contact us for more information.

Palee

Palee

Storm

Storm

Thor

Thor

Sarah Jane

Sarah Jane


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

A Quiet Morning

Today is the day I dream about all winter. An early summer morning on the porch with a cup of coffee. So quiet, even the alpacas have not yet stirred from their cool barn.

No farm visitors due today so I can plan on getting to some projects. Fleece to be carded, maybe bring the spinning wheel out here later and watch the crias playing while I spin. How cool, I love it. I realize that this was not just a winter dream but my lifetime dream - time, fiber, animals, it doesn't get any better.

Soon the border collies will want out, the cats need to be fed, hubby will be looking for company at breakfast; but for now I've made another memory to hold me through the next cold Michigan winter.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

ABCs of Alpaca Ownership

Just finished our first ABCs of Alpaca Ownership seminar and it was a blast. You know I love talking about alpacas and sharing my fur babies. Thanks Lorrie, Diana, Tom, and Sandy for making this such an enjoyable session. We talked about the why and how to of owning alpacas and then spent some time getting to know them. Want to know what it takes to be an alpaca mom or dad? Send me an email and I'll fill you in bettysoltesz@yahoo.com.

Monday, May 25, 2015

And a Good Time Was Had By All!

Open Farm Day at Country Lakes Alpacas was held on Saturday, May 23rd and nobody was happier than the alpacas! There were about 200 visitors, including many children, who got to visit up "up close and personal" with our alpacas. Everyone was interested in learning about these docile, beautiful animals and discovering their friendly temperament.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Miss Kaitie shows up early for the party!

Kaitie and Mom Raeka

Kaitie and Mom Raeka

Shearing day arrives and you have everything covered, space cleared, bags labeled, food prepared, helpers lined up, and then you get a call from the barn. "There's a baby here."

Ok, first of the season and a little bit early. Once in the barn we found the new little girl (we found that out later) resting comfortably with her mom. Dried her off and all good, on with the shearing. But as time went on the baby didn't get up, didn't even try, and eventually slumped down on her side. Oh oh! Well, she is a little small and it is a little cold, we better check her out.

For quite a time we couldn't get the baby's temp, digital thermometer just said LO. What does that mean? Finally a reading 92.3, bad news. Break out the hair dryer, no rise in temp. Consult with vet on warming plan and into a warm tub she goes. Hours later her temp registered 100 and we tried to feed her with a colostrum replacer. That gave her a little energy but it was night and cold out, better stay in tonight.

That was the first of four nights Kaitie spent in the bedroom with us and three border collies. She had her own dog bed and didn't stir much. As time went on she spent days in the pasture with her mom but was still too weak to stand long enough to nurse. We got used to 3 dogs and an alpaca following us out of the bedroom in the morning, an alpaca watching TV with the dogs, and baby bottles on the kitchen counter.

By the last night I was so sleep deprived that when she laid down with the dog I thought he'd be a fine babysitter. By day five she suddenly was giving sharp tugs on her mom as if saying "when is this milk bar gonna open?"

Country Lakes Kaitie is three weeks old now and has nearly doubled her birth weight of 13 pounds, bounds off with the rest of the herd and shirks me off like a good little alpaca should. One more for the books!
Custom bed

Custom bed

Watching TV

Watching TV

Babysitting

Babysitting

Standing on her own

Standing on her own


Monday, April 13, 2015

The Alpaca Whisperer

Our grandchildren were visiting and 5 year old Joey was anxiously awaiting meeting the alpaca that had been named for him. Unfortunately, his namesake was our shyest animal, a rose gray male who ran from everyone. Joey approached the alpacas slowly and silently. After a while he put his hands out to them. He was rewarded with a hand sniff from Country Lakes Joey. In the picture he looks like he has all of them under his control!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ready for the crias!

Delivering a cria

Delivering a cria

We're expecting 12 or more babies (crias) this year and I wanted to make sure I could handle any birthing situation that might come up. We've had 13 crias born here at Country Lakes without a problem but being prepared is comforting. I recently attended an alpaca neonatal clinic with Dr. Cheryl DeWitt, a nationally known vet who gives clinics preparing breeders for alpaca births. I learned a lot!

After a morning of discussion on breeding, anatomy and traits of bred alpacas, we headed to the "lab" to birth some crias. We all walked in thinking "i don't know nuthin" about birthing no babies" but left confident that we can help our alpaca moms when they need assistance. Alpacas rarely need help giving birth but sometimes an elbow get stuck or the head is turned. I still plan on checking with my vet if a situation looks troublesome but it's good to have an idea of what's happening.

So, beginning April 30th or sooner, we'll start welcoming this year's batch of crias. Stay tuned!
Delivery of a cria

Delivery of a cria


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Alpaca Farmer or Olympic Champion?

Viewing my path downhill to the barn yesterday it looked like a precarious walk. In fact, it was slick and shiny and looked like a toboggan run. Ah ha! My grandchildren's coaster sled was handy, wouldn't that make for an easier downhill trip?

So, I perched at the top of the slope and carefully seated myself on the purple circle. Immediately I was off and sliding. Picking up speed, I'm sure I reached Olympic qualifying time. Mostly backwards, I sped over bumpy ice, a recent dog poop pile, and across the final slick expanse before the fence and POOP PILE!

The landing wasn't graceful and, thankfully, the poop pile was frozen. Flipping out of the coaster I regained my footing and considered the wisdom of my endeavor, not something I'd try again even if it becomes an Olympic sport-downhill barn approach poop pile jumping!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rainbow babies

I wasn't sure my 6 month old crias needed coats but when the temperature dropped below zero I was glad I had these on hand. It was worth it just for the picture!