Thursday, April 1, 2010

Second Trimester- Burst of Energy

Happy April 1st everyone! I started my second trimester of pregnancy this week and have already seen a noticeable difference in my energy level which is great because the weather has been awesome and it is time for spring cleaning around the farm. Just a few weeks ago, I felt like a drugged zombie. When I wasn't at work, I was laying by butt on the couch and rarely made it out to the barn for food time, let alone barn cleaning. Luckily, Noah was a good farmer and picked up more of the chores. Now I am really feeling good and energetic and am in the cleaning and organizing mood. Yesterday and today after work, I came home and headed straight out to the barn to get some much needed cleaning done. Noah cleaned up 7 tons of rubble this week from our barn fire (thanks to the handy tractor) which cleared up a lot of space that once was our catch pen. We have had all the alpacas moved around since the fire last November to avoid the fire damage. Now that Noah got the old catch pen area cleaned up, we were able to put up temporary panels to almost create the same size catch pen that we once had, so the girls now have more room to hang out around the barn. We opened up more stall doors leading into the barn that we had nailed shut for the winter to keep drafts out and took down tarps that were also helping to keep it warmer in the barn. It felt nice to have more light in the barn and a warm breeze sailing through. I moved the hay box and water buckets outside and hooked up the good ol' hose. Although we don't have far to haul water as the pump is right in the barn, hauling buckets all winter does get tiresome. I was happy to have the hose out again (although I had to go searching for some hose as most of our hoses burned up in the fire lat year). I scrubbed and washed the summer buckets since they had been sitting all winter and I did the same with the heated winter buckets, which I then put away. I took down the tangle of extension cords we had running all over the barn for heated buckets and put them away. I moved the chickens' and ducks' food and water outside, so they don't need to come in the barn to eat anymore. I had Noah help me rearrange the bales of hay we have left and stack them more neatly since they seemed to be spread all over the place. I cleaned up the kitty's area and bed and dusted off our desk, books and medical supplies (luckily this year, I didn't find any mouse nests in the desk drawers). Lastly, I swept a winters worth of dirt, dust, bugs, hay, and straw out of the barn. The only thing left to do is clean all the straw out of the alpaca stalls and catch pen, which I will leave for Noah to do next week with the tractor. We also have lots of piles of poo out in the pastures to clean up, which I will again leave for Noah. The alpacas watched me clean for a while, then got bored and wandered out to graze. Our grass is starting to grow and they are already munching it down. Our post hole digger attachment should be here in the next week or two. Once it comes in, we plan to split our large pasture, so we will have four pastures to rotate to promote grass growth and to help manage parasites better.

On Wednesday night, we decided to try putting our two young boys Riphaeus (11 months old) and d'Artagnan (9 months old) in with our herdsire Smokey (7 years old). Smokey has lived on his own most of his life, so we weren't sure how he would do with the boys. Last spring, we put two young boys in with him; Jolly Roger who is his son and was born on our farm and Comanche who was boarding here at the time. Jolly was very submissive and Smokey didn't seem to mind him, but Comanche was aggressive towards Smokey even though he was little, so we had to separate them so he wouldn't get hurt. Well, we put the little boys in and all 3 of them started running around, kicking up their heels. They looked like they were all playing together and Smokey was not being aggressive at all towards them. Both little boys put their tails up and their head down in submission. Smokey then started orgling and chasing Dar around trying to mount him. I am not sure if he thought he was a female, or if Smokey was just showing him who was dominant. Eventually, when we were in cleaning, Dar kushed and Smokey attempted to breed with him. Noah quickly put and end to that; he made Smokey get up and Smokey started screeching. After that, he left the little boys alone. Strange that Smokey seemed to take an interest in Dar and ignored Riphaeus. The little boys follow Smokey around. It is so cute because Dar is Smokey's son and Riph is his little brother. So far, the little boys are doing well. Sometimes they will stand with their heads through the gate crying for their mamas (well, its mostly Dar that does this), their mom's just ignore them and they eventually give up and go back to grazing. I am glad that they are all getting along so well.

After two long days of work, I ended each night by sitting out in the pasture, watching the alpacas graze and the chickens and ducks waddle around as the sun set. I am so happy to be feeling energetic again and for spring to finally be here!

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