Ten Minutes

A lot can happen in a short period. Trust your instincts. Mind your peripheral vision.

I was preparing to head into town this morning, getting into the ute, when I looked up and saw Tessa on the ridge, about 100 meters away. My instincts immediately said something was up. It is not unusual for heavily pregnant females to “act funny” in their last month or so. They groan. They stand in strange postures. They lie down- often in weird positions. They get that “this enormous parasite inside me is squishing my organs and kicking my bladder” look. In this case there was just something different about Tessa, so I went up and checked. Sure enough, she was in labour.

So I call Maggie, as her oldest daughter Maria (age 10) wants to grow up and be a vet, and this is a great time to see something “agricultural” and learn lots.

I go back up to check on Tessa, and while I am staring at her, Evita walks by, with a head sticking out! Seems she is in labour, too!

The two gave birth 10 minutes apart. Though Evita had a head start, Tessa managed to get her baby on the ground first. Maggie and kids arrived a few minutes later- so the kids got to see freshly born alpaca, see a placenta drop, and generally learn lots about newborns. (And they loved it, as far as I can tell.)

Two girls! In ten minutes! Woot!

And I think Tessa’s new cria, Raavi, is probably the cutest cria we have ever had. Her little white boots, they slay me.

Raavi with her boots and locket Raavi Corsiva with Evita

But that’s not all. It has been a busy couple of weeks. On Friday the 11th, Sugar (one of Bruce’s animals) dropped a lovely white boy, with the temporary name of “Saccharine”.

Sugar and her cria, who hopefully will get a better name soon

Then on Sunday the 13th , Cindy went into labour just as we were finishing up the matings and preparing to shear. It was very endearing, she wanted us there for the birth. She followed us around, and if we both tried to leave, she would hummmm most insistently! She gave birth to a lovely little light fawn girl! A Pinocchio cria of our own!

Helvetica and Cindy

Then on Wednesday the 16th Boo gave us a brown girl! (Another Fred cria this time.) I ended up having to help pull the little girl out, as Boo didn’t seem to be trying that hard, and the labour had gone on long enough. After losing Yale 18 months ago, I decided to take no chances and began feeding little Marlett plenty of colostrum. In the days that followed, I switched her over to milk, and continue to provide plenty of supplemental nutrition. This will be Boo’s last cria, it’s off to the retirement paddock for her.

Marlett Marlett has her supper

And finally, this evening we delivered 3 pet boys to a couple up the coast! Pointer is off to a new life, along with Kusunagi and Ridill. While the place is smaller (only about an acre of paddock for the ‘paca), I hope that the new owners will get in the habit of taking them walkies around the neighborhood. I expect everyone, human and camelid, would find that entertaining!

Merry Christmas!

Business Time

So, the crazy-time is upon us. Cria are dropping. Dams are being re-mated. And shearing! Yes, we are doing some of our own shearing, so when the weather is fine (which seems a rare occurrence these last few weeks) we try to shear a couple of animals.

On top of this we are also selling animals- using Trade Me once again. You can definitely see that the market has slowed considerably since last year. When we put the advert up last time, we had multiple calls within 24 hours. This time it is days or weeks before calls, and we are getting many more tire-kickers.

That being said, we have sold 3 boys to a couple up the road in Pukerua bay. Contract has been signed, and delivery is just waiting for them to do a bit more work on their place (removing a few ornamental plants that are known to be or might be toxic). We also sold our first female! We delivered Topsy to a lovely woman over in Mangaroa on Tuesday night. And then yesterday Topsy dropped a beautiful little brown girl. Lucky purchaser! She instantly gets a female cria- and a Pinocchio offspring to boot! (His first one! We have 5 more due to him this year, hopefully we will get a few girls, too.)

We also sold some stud services (with Hyouki) to the woman who purchased Topsy. This is also nice new business.

Once we finish shearing our own animals we will probably do some hearing around the district. There used to be 3 local alpaca-shearers. One moved away. Another is not shearing this year, as she is super-busy launching a new business. That leaves Brent, and he is booked solid. Shearing might be a great way to get to know other local breeders, and maybe sell a few stud services, females, or more pet-boys along the way.

Cria-lanche

It’s currently raining boys.

Courier, born last Friday:

Courier, Isra's cria

Courier, whose mother’s name means “Travels by night”, has the distinction of being the first ever cria from two “Rampant” parents — Isra and Hyouki. He looks just like his dad !

Baskerville, born two days ago:

Baskerville, Miniya's cria

Baskerville (Sharon inadvertently picked the name of this one) was born at 10.25 kilos — 6-7 is more usual for us. He’s a *big* baby. Stephen had to give Minnie a bit of help getting him out, and is helping out with the feeding a bit as well, since that’s a bit much for a new mum to keep up with. I swear, he makes me think of those fairy tales where the child “reached the age of twenty years/ when others aged but two”. At 24 hours old, he was already bigger than Wingding and running and playing with the other boys. He’s got a really… odd face for a cria, too. Like, he has smallish ears, and smallish eyes, and this little narrow muzzle with a little black nose — all on his big bullum head (though maybe that’s just because his fleece has started out so long?). I’m not sure what he looks like, but it’s not quite a cria.

Finally, Cotton On (actual name pending), born today:

Cotton's cria Baskerville, checking out the new(er) kid

Cute wee thing, from one of the agisted girls.

Thanksgiving, AKA "Thankful for Gluttony"

Did the Thanksgiving shindig again this year, last Sunday. (We pick a weekend over Thursday, as an entire day is really required to reach the maximal gluttony threshold.)

Locals have certainly gotten into the spirit of the holiday, stuffing themselves with Turkey, the trimmings, and pie, pie, pie!

We had 19 people in total this year (3 had to drop at the last minute), and if we keep growing at this rate we will need the (hopefully soon to be built) barn just to hold the event.

The Spread

I am glad Kerry brought her experimental beer-basted chicken, as the two Turkeys (one from me, the other from Alan) would not have been sufficient otherwise.

We had 5 pies for 19 people. Desert ended up being a multi-course meal all its own.

My mothers “candied sweet potatoes” were, as always, a great hit. I changed the butter with Canola spread, which made them dairy safe. They were, however, very *not* pancreas safe, so diabetics beware. Best description of them was “it tastes just like warm sweet-potato ice cream.”

And the weather-gods were even nice enough to give us a fabulous day for it, a nice break in otherwise quite grey and rainy weather.