Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Ranch Is Hopping!

The Ranch Is Hopping!

A lot sure has gone on this week!  As you can see, One Enchanted Evening had her baby making Troy and Kim "GranPacas"!  Congratulations, you guys!  Their first baby is a GIRL by Max and they are euphoric.  Such a great outcome!  Her name is Amazing Grace.

We had 2 other crias this week as well.  Qasani had her Jeremiah cria--and it was the first time in a long time I was immediately excited about a boy!  He is a gorgeous champagne color with that glowing, deep luster we all hope for.  He was on his feet in 12 minutes flat!  His name is Quantum.

Lucy also had a lovely boy--he is medium brown.  "Medium Brown" according to the AOA Color Chart.  Really?  How about something more poetic like....Chocolate Brown or Mahogany?  Ah well...such are the rules.  But we can make up for it with a nice name.  Because he was born really early in the morning and needed warming up, I called him Sun Up.  He's a real cutie.

Summertime at Windy Hill is birthing season.  And since gestation is 345 days (almost a year!) that means that we breed in the summer also.  In our climate that means that we have births when it's not so cold, we don't need to put coats on the babies most of the time, and the crias are well-grown before winter.  Our summers are mild and the sea breezes make sure that we cool off considerably once the sun goes down.

We breed in the evening as soon as the temperature drops below 70ΒΊ F.  Nobody seems to mind breeding, even after dark, and everyone gets to cool off as night falls.  This group was falling all over Suton, he's such a handsome guy. A week later they all spit tested well, too.

I keep my breeding records on a clipboard in the barn.  It's easy to carry out to the breeding pens.  Once the records are on the chart I can enter then into AlpacaEase, my herd software.  Someday I'll really get with the times and move AE over to my iPad so I can put records directly in the program.  Maybe next week.

I have some wonderful friends who are terrific spinners, and they have been spinning some of my roving for me.  Wow!  Hand spun is really special yarn.  It has such character compared to machine spun yarn.  I'm loving it!  I'm even considering selling some of it.  Let me know if you are interested.  Right now I have black and brown suri, and beige huacaya.  It's delicious.

We have several friends who come to help us do things around the ranch.  They are all special people, but Blue and Maui thought Linnea and Analina were particularly special last week.  I would have to agree.

The cherry tomatoes are starting to produce and they are delicious, but I think maybe we have a new variety growing-- "berry" tomatoes!  lol

And Farmer Don got a new toy-- an LED light bar on his Kubota.  Molly and Zeke say "Hi" and "Good night", and "We can't wait for the lights to go out!"

Have a great week, Everyone!


Speaking of females and crias, we have pregnant females and females-about-to-get-pregnant FOR SALE this summer.  

Not all of them are on the website yet, but I'll be happy to show them to you.   I am offering a FREE 1-HOUR BUSINESS CONSULTATION 
on how you can Start Your Own Ranch...
even if you don't have your own property yet.

Copy this into the email: 
"I want a FREE 1-HOUR BUSINESS CONSULTATION on How to Start My Own Ranch."
We can consult in person at the ranch or on the phone, 
whichever is better for you.
Let me hear from you soon!  

Cindy Harris ~ Alpacas at Windy Hill ~ Somis, CA ~ 805-907-5162

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Crias by Day, Crias by Night

As the sun was sinking slowly in the west, the buttermilk sky was glowing.  Little did we know that Kristianna, first time mother and voted least likely to deliver first, was preparing to deliver her cria.  We had all gone home for the night, eaten dinner, and settled into evening activities when Tracy decided to take an twilight stroll.  She wandered over to watch the expectant moms eating and noticed that one of them was calmly eating out of the feedbag with a cria head and legs dangling out her backside!

All Hands On Deck!  We grabbed the novalsan solution to dip the umbilicus with when it emerged, got a coat for the cria and a towel to dry him off, Don bedded the warm room so mom and baby would have a place to stay warm all night while baby was wet, and cheered Kristianna on while she finished a beautiful, classic delivery (which I caught and moved to the grass before he hit the dirt). 

BTW-- no self-respecting alpaca delivers a cria on grass if they can help it.  Dirt is much preferred.  I've learned this over the years.  Never mind the 1/2 acre of grass we keep alive for them!

Here's Kristianna and AWH Hurry Sundown by Max under the heat lamp for the night.

And here is Sundown the next day!  What a face! And look at that fleece!

Nancy came by to see him the next day and visit with Italia.  She is so excited about Italia's Max baby coming later this summer.

Sundown is lucky we were there!   Mothers who deliver in the cold hours of an Andes night or morning don't replicate themselves because the baby can't survive the cold.  Natural selection over the centuries has created the natural pattern of birthing mostly between dawn and noon.

A couple of Sunday mornings ago, Hillary Duff and her family came out to visit Ivan, their alpaca.  Their almost-2 year old sweetie, Banks, was fascinated by the alpacas and the chick that Farmer Don showed her.

Ivan was a model alpaca.  He came over to see them the minute they arrived.  I think he actually recognized them!  He ate out of their hands and gave kisses.  What a sweet boy.

Alpacas love babies and children.  Last time Banks was here she was 4 months old. For those of you who don't remember, Ivan joined their family a couple of years ago when Matthew surprised Hillary with an alpaca for Valentine's Day.  Such a romantic gift.  They hope to have their own farm someday with more alpacas.  Maybe Ivan will even get to be a Dad someday. πŸ’

We have had 10 crias altogether since Sundown was born (all in the daytime, thank goodness!).  Here we are helping Lilac Rose with her first cria--a gorgeous rose gray female by The Admiral.  And then there was Evangeline's little girl by Fromage.

The cria I am most excited about at the moment is the one that Qasani is carrying.  She is a Torbio granddaughter who has exceptional luster.  I sent her to Sue King at Big Timber Alpacas last summer to breed to Jeremiah, and she is due any day.  This is one of those times I am hoping for a BOY!

Tina brought her grandkids out to visit Almond Joy the same day Hillary was here.  They got to pet some of the babies, and take Almond Joy for a walk.

Here is Kallie sitting with me while I watch the girls in OB.  Rat Terriers apparently have a talent for catching flies-- who knew??  She's really good at it, so I take her with me when I'm going to sit anywhere for awhile. 😊 She just turned a year old-- hard to believe!


Speaking of females and crias, we have 
pregnant females and females-about-to-get-pregnant FOR SALE 
this summer.  
Not all of them are on the website yet, but I'll be happy to show them to you.

I am offering a FREE 1-HOUR BUSINESS CONSULTATION on how you can 
Start Your Own Ranch
even if you don't have your own property yet.

Just copy this into the email: 
"I want a FREE 1-HOUR BUSINESS CONSULTATION on How to Start My Own Ranch"

We can consult in person at the ranch or on the phone, whichever is better for you.

Let me hear from you soon!  

Cindy Harris ~ Alpacas at Windy Hill ~ Somis, CA ~ ~ 805-907-5162

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

June Gloom Is Upon Us-- not the political kind...

No, June Gloom isn't the melancholia that falls on us when politics and viruses and riots in the streets happen.  In Ventura County (and much of LA County as well) June Gloom is cause for CELEBRATION!

Just as summer starts to heat up at the end of May and we start to think we will all die of the heat, 3-4 weeks of overcast mornings and days in the high 70's arrive.  June--a blessed state-- one to be savored.  The alpacas especially love it.

Here are some lovely ladies with big bellies taking a nap on the damp ground 
where we just ran the sprinklers.

We did have ONE cria already!  We only have about 8 overdue, and this one made his appearance 2 weeks early.  He was a little "floppy", with a curled ear and lax tendons, so he had trouble for a day standing long enough to nurse well.  Here I am giving him a little bottle of colostrum I milked from mom.  Ilsa is a maiden mother, but she was spectacular instincts and tons of milk.  The little girls next door were VERY interested to watch. πŸ’—

June is also the season for mustard.  When the hills turn yellow we know that summer is almost here. Remember when Jesus said that faith the size of a mustard seed could move a mountain?  Mustard seeds are REALLY LITTLE, but the plants could take over the world!

I love this little planter in the yard. It sits next to a bench in the shade under some trees.  It's becoming a favorite spot to sit and reflect.  When Gardener Ellie gets done reclaiming the yard it's going to be the perfect place for a day retreat!

MacKenzie has been out to help us a lot during the down time.  She is helping Farmer Don put together a shelter for the pigs so we can have another litter of Kune Kunes.



Lucy and Pixel all help keep the squirrels at bay.  I have to make sure they spend plenty of time outside everyday so the vegetables can grow!  We have more Zucchini 
than we know what to do with!  
Who has a recipe for preserving squash?

We're getting ready to put lime in our coconut. LOL

Meanwhile, Farmer Don has set up a chick hatchery in Tracy's office.  She watches them hatch all day while she is working from home.  Noella is the chief inspector.  She is deaf, but she always knows when a chick is hatching.

And their granddaughter loves her chickens.  You should see her toddle up and swoop them up in her arms.  It's adorable!

June is almost time for peaches.  I am really looking forward to them this year.  Last year we had so many that I actually got tired of them.  Imagine that!

Last week some friends brought their boys out to visit their alpaca.  They had such fun feeding him hay and playing in the dirt.  Here they are walking up to the gate so they can see Chachi.  Mom said she loves to come out because the boys enjoy the ranch and the alpacas--that it's almost a "magical" place.  We love it when our boarders enjoy the ranch.  Owning alpacas has so many rewards.

Cindy Harris ~ Alpacas at Windy Hill ~ Somis, CA ~ 805-907-5162