Friday, October 30, 2009

Ugh....No More Rain!

The weather has been very crazy here is Michigan for the last year. We had a miserably cold winter last year. Then spring finally arrived and never seemed to go away. The summer was unseasonably cool and rainy. The alpacas didn't seem to mind the moderate temps, which hovered in the 70's for most of the summer. Now mother nature has decided to skip fall all together and jump right into winter. This fall has been 15 degrees cooler on average daily than the normal temperatures and it seems like we have had non-stop rain. This week Wednesday, the temps actually got into the 60's and it was sunny. It felt so glorious to have the sun beating down on my face. The alpacas seemed to enjoy it too as they were all laying out on their sides sun bathing when I got home from work. Our respite didn't last long as Thursday brought torrential rain showers and grey skies. Luckily I got the camera out and snapped some pictures of the alpacas and farm on Wednesday when all the beautiful leaves were still clinging to the trees because the whipping wind has stripped them all bare already and as I sit here and look out my window, I see a dismal pallete of grey and brown.

I heard on the weather report this morning that Grand Rapids got 2 1/2 inches of rain overnight. As I stepped out the door this morning to head out to the barn, I noticed our pond was overflowing much like it does in the spring when all the snow melts. I made my way through the rain to the barn to feed the alpacas, barn cat, chickens and ducks (the only ones who really seem to enjoy the rain). I have started feeding the alpacas their grain in the barn lately because our catch pen where they normally eat is a muddy swamp. I avoid crossing it at all cost for fear of loosing a boot in the soupy mud. While some of the older and wiser alpacas will sleep in the barn when it is raining, most of them prefer to lay outside. They all looked like drowned rats this morning. When haucayas get wet, they stay dry on the inside of their blanket near their skin (which keeps them warm), but the outside gets drenched and hangs more the suri fiber is wet looking locks. They also make horribly pathetic faces. They put their ears back and look at you with huge sad eyes as water drips off their noses. I noticed that they all had red, orange, and yellow leaves plastered to their sides and necks from the wind and rain. Our little true black girl Rosco looked like she was a beautiful fall leaf collections with brightly colored leaves pinned all over her gorgeous black fiber. Poor d'Artagnan had a goldish-green leaf pasted to his forehead, right between his eyes like a star. I encourage them to take refuge in the barn by putting their hay box in, but some just prefer to stand out in the rain. You can lead an alpaca to a dry barn, but you can't make him take shelter I suppose (unless I lock them in, which they really don't enjoy). Oh well.

Fortunately, we are renovating our barn to make more room for the alpacas during the winter. Our barn was originally designed for horses, with four separate dirt floor horse stalls that have doors that enter our catch pen. We have decided to take out a few walls and combine 3 of the stalls to make one large walled in area. We are currently using the forth stall as a storage area, but will be able to use it as a maternity stall or weanling stall in the future if we need to. In addition to making the area larger, tomorrow morning we are having cement poured. Having a cement floor in the alpaca area will make for much easier clean up, especially in the winter. Normally in the winter, when things thaw out (which usually happens every few weeks here in Michigan), the indoor dirt floor turns into a mushy, muddy, poopy, hay/straw filled mess that is hard to clean without digging big holes to muck out the stall. Sometimes it would get so messy and flooded, we would have to move the girls to the hay barn until it dried up or froze again. We hope to avoid this mess with the new cement floor. Noah is also angling the floor slightly so water, rain and pee runs out towards the catch pen. Luckily, he had to take a lot of dirt out of the barn to make the floor smooth and level for the cement and he was able to put that dirt in our catch pen to make the ground a little higher and less lake-like. I hate to say it, but I would almost rather have snow than this wet sloppy rain. more rain!

1 comment:

Randy Bancino said...

Ahhh, the life of farm folk... :)