Fall is upon us but we had one of the most beautiful Octobers in decades with a late warm and dry weather system over us. Oregon had little summer with a lot of rain so it was fun to take a couple of road trips under a blue sky after our “baby season”.
Our cria for the year have been delivered and there are now 20 Suri and 11 Huacaya growing vigorously. They play with abandon in a run close to the house to which only they have access. It gives them the opportunity to socialize with each other and become independent while getting the important exercise now that the animals are “off pasture” until Spring. It is hard to believe that time passes so fast and the breedings we planned less than two years ago are now ready to begin their halter training. Oh boy, are we ever going to be busy! I am very thankful for dependable help to work with me especially since I have acquired four animals this year that are not halter trained and it is not easy once they are over a year old! I want to thank profusely those breeders from whom I purchase animals that are trained.
We just completed our annual pasture application of composted manure. The mix which includes discarded hay and 25 tons of sand has been routinely turned for two years before we used it. This is the completion of the process known as “manure management. Let me explain the process: We “clean poop” with a rake and shovel in the loafing areas filling a wheelbarrow which is then unloaded into the Case Loader behind the barn. It is then moved to an open area beyond our old and very big “manure shed”. That “shed” currently houses all the equipment to manage our manure and it includes an UltraVac which was engineered and built by John. We use this awesome machine weekly during the summer to vacuum our pastures. The exquisite mulched material from this vacuum is unloaded in a private area for exclusive use in our flower and vegetable gardens. John’s newest acquisition, a Komatsu Excavator, should complete the fleet of manure management tools for years to come (I hope). We now use this excavator to turn and move product instead of the backhoe. November of each year the well aged manure is loaded into the International’s 13 yard bed and trucked to each pasture where it is dumped into piles. The Backhoe is then used to load it into the manure spreader which is pulled by a Kobota tractor and the compost is flung over most of our 14 pastures. A 3-gang hydraulic harrow (another of John’s inventions) is pulled with another Kobota tractor to pulverize and level the clods while lightly thatching. We then over-seed with orchard grass and again drag the harrow to cover the seed. Yahoo, a multi-phase job done until next year! Yes, it is labor intensive and takes several days due to daily routine chores but John, Salvador and I all have a part in doing it. It’s really fun to use all the equipment and of course, there is the pride we feel the next year when the grass comes up lush and abundant! Also, we have very happy and healthy alpacas since the pastures are chemical free.
John has been keeping busy year round manufacturing his wonderful watering system, The Frank Fountain. We now have 22 of them in use and I cannot imagine being without a single one. The alpacas have one in each stall and one accessible from each pasture. The horses have one in each of their stalls and one outside of their barn. The chickens and canaries each have their own trough coming from a fountain in their condo. John has even set one up for the wildlife so they have access during the freezing weather. We are blessed that he is an engineer as his inventions have saved us thousands of hours of work over the years.
We wish everyone a HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON filled with many blessings….Lona