Winter has been very mild so we can expect a lot of mosquitoes and flys to begin buzzin. The alpacas are looking forward to getting out on pasture after being on the sandy sacrifice area for many months. The pastures are looking lush with the infusion of composted manure in November and the Northern most pasture is coming in well after we totally renovated it. I am now a firm believer of only lightly tilling soil after the neighbor plowed this field and every weed seed from the past was brought to the top to joyously begin life!
The yard and fields have kept me extremely busy mowing and weeding. The yard is beautiful with so many colorful flowers and a huge abundance of green in a multitude of shades. Posha has helped out with the mole and gopher problem that is plaguing us this time of year. She has learned not to bury them and now leaves them for me to find so I can put them on fence posts for the resident red tail hawks.
We built a 20’ x 60” permanent poly greenhouse where our organic garden has been. Last year the alpacas went through an open gate and dined on the corn and lettuce and chewed every Marion berry leaf off the stems. We were lucky enough to still have a few beans and several tomato plants. After several tillings to work the composted manure into the ground, I planted potatoes which are up and covered for the first time and began planting corn and beans May 2nd which broke ground a few days ago along with the weeds.
The grow ponds will be cleaned out soon so they can accept the newly imported Japanese Koi Fish that are currently in quarantine.
This year I am fortunate to have Cristiane Barboza interning with us from Brazil who is a graduate veterinarian. She came to Oregon to study at the nationally recognized Biology and Management of Zoo Animal program offered at Portland Community College. She is an amazing worker who gets down and dirty. It is embarrassing for me to have Dr. Barboza out scooping poop and digging in the ground but she does it without a second thought!
May came quickly and the annual CABA Classic was held over Mother’s Day weekend as always. We took twelve young animals and were pleased with how well they did. There were the top winning animals from previous shows and over 500 to compete against in this last show of the season. We placed at the top in most of our classes, and won the Reserve Championship in Gray Male Huacaya (behind Crescent Moon of course) and Fawn Female Suri. We had the great pleasure of winning Suri Get of Sire the second year in a row! Last year we won with Sierra Bonita’s Peruvian Zapotta and this year we won with PCAF Accoyo Kaden. We are truly blessed.
We came home and began preparing or shearing which was completed on May 14th. I had an incredible crew this year with Sean Haggerty and Dr. Barboza who are the only newbies joining Marci Alajmi, Paola Roselli, Fanita Dresner. The animals all look really good this year without any skin issues. This is probably Salvador’s last year of animal holder as he has done this for 15 years now and he isn’t getting any younger. Our shearer was Armando Victoria with his helper Noel holding the kicking end. We measured, weighed and bagged the fiber as it came off each animal and kept a sample of fleece from each. We have been doing this since we first began shearing.
We are now beginning baby season with our first .38’s Midnight Special cria, a true black female born May 2nd. We have 6 more due this month ( one at 357 days now) and the rest are due in June.