Seven days, four cria

It has been a busy week.

Last Tuesday Topsy gave us Gandiva. Then on Thursday Concetta gave us a little bay-brown boy, Gungnir. Then on Saturday Cindy gave us a medium fawn girl, Curtana.

And with that, we were free for the Christmas holiday. The next cria was not due until mid-January. So I was rather surprised today to find that Saffron had dropped a little light fawn boy. Part of the excitement came from the fact that we had them grazing the woods on the neighbors’ place. When the herd left hte woods, the little guy got left behind and lost in the long grass and trees. Saffron went back to look for him, as did I of course! Interestingly enough, Cindy heard the “where is my baby!” plaintive humming from Saffron, and *she* also went to look for the baby, with her own little Curtana following along behind. Interesting instincts and behaviors.

While the new boy is premature, he is not very dysmature (so while early, he is not under-developed). He is 7kg, mobile, and quite “together.” Now we just need to make sure he is feeding. Saffron has a mega-udder, she loos more like a Jersey cow than an alpaca. Last year it was so swollen it was painful, and she would not let Mora feed. We had to milk her out about 8 times, and tie her to a fence, before all came right (and Mora’s persistence helped lots, too).

Now we should really have a break until the next cria. Jodie is not due until mid Februrary. If she drops in 2 days, then we may have a problem.

Return of Pharmacopi-cat

Slow Top had a vet appointment on Wednesday. For the last 2 years or so he has been in slow but steady decline. Every time he was weighed, he had lost another 100-150 grams. His eyes were a bit sunken, his coat was getting scruffy, and he was sleeping lots. Between the host of drugs, the new food (switched from Friskies to Iams) and the warm summer weather, he has staged an amazing turn-around. Tam and I had been commenting in the days before the appointment that “it was like the clock had been turned back a few years.”

Indeed it had! In 10 weeks he had gained 900 grams! He is now just over 5 kg, and he has not weighed that much in more than 2 years. He is looking better, and acting much perkier. Many of the old (occasionally annoying) habits are back including demanding to drink out of the sink, and trying to wake us up early so he can get his “special treat” (the jellymeat that conceals his morning pills).

I don’t know if this will extend his life span, but it has ceertainly improved his quality of life immensly, and that really makes it all worth it.

And for those of you back in the US who know Rasputin- would you believe he has become a total lap cat? And a spanking slut. It is all so very wrong. I don’t know if we should blame Bill or karl for the spanking fetish.

It's summer

Pics of the new babies. We’ve got two boys and two girls so far — at last, the expected ratio ! Rollover for names.

Durendal and Tizona are inseparable. Clarent is Jasmine's cria, born last Thursday. Topsy's first cria, Gandiva.

So far, despite every one of them being born late in the day, they are all healthy and well-done, and their mothers — even the first-timer, Topsy — are all onto it and doing great. Knock wood.

Closer to the house, Stephen has gotten onto a gardening kick. We have raised beds of veggies, two whole beds of strawberries, a new home-built plastic house (currently hosting bell and chili peppers) and an attached netting house (blueberries !). W00t! It’s strawberry season at the moment, and we have carrots and sugar-snap peas coming online, plus herbs galore. Tomatoes, squash, and assorted other random stuff will be along later in the season. We bought some more fruit trees, and are attempting to give them better shelter from the wind and possums this year.

garden !

Oh, and we have broccoli. Lots and lots of broccoli.

broccoli ! That head is as big as mine, BTW...

Seasonal Food

New Zealand, not having California and Florida, has fruits and vegetables that are very seasonal.

It is currently strawberry season! They are plentiful, cheap, and oh-so-good. The rest of the year the strawberries are imported, expensive and tasteless. This week I scored 5 large punnets of over-ripe strawberries from the fruiterer for only $2.50. Sure, half of them were bad, but the remainder made a two big smoothies and a milkshake!

Plus our garden strawberries are now coming into season, and while not as perfectly-shaped as the ones in the stores, they are even tastier.

And then there is the Broccoli. I planted broccoli for the first time ever this winter, 6 plants. Five survived, and I harvested the first one on Monday, and it provided 3 meals worth for the two of us!  With the other plants ready to harvest, I see we are going to be eating a *lot* of broccoli in the coming weeks. Amazing how good it tastes when it is fresh and organic.

Yay! Gluttony!

This weekend we hosted our annual pot-lucky Thanksgiving Dinner. In a fit of optimistic  madness, we expanded the invite list. We now know that we can in fact fit 17 people in the dining room, around one lengthened table no less! We don’t have enough chairs- or forks- but people were warned and appropriate extras were provided.

I thought I had prepared an overkill-amount of Turkey, but I had not factored in the locust-like powers of my friends. We were all amazed how the food disappeared.

It also seems that nearly everyone brought both an entre and a desert. We had, what, 8 pies? My pancreas quivers in delight.

A very successful evening, enjoyed by all. And after digesting a bit, we got to go out and look at (and pet) some of the baby alpaca. Wheee!