Monday, November 28, 2005

Cria photo

I downloaded photos from my digital camera today and found this cria picture.

This is FTHL Regal. His dad, Regal Escubo, is an award winning rose grey alpaca. Although all of Regal Escubo's other crias bear his signature rose grey spot on the side of the blanket, this one has his mom's silver markings. I suppose we should really wait until Spring when he's shorn though. It's always interesting to see what the true markings are after cria's first shearings so we may indeed find Regal Escubo's marking on this boy as well!

Doesn't he just live up to his name? He's truly the most regal of the summer crias. FTHL Regal lives at Wayne and Eileen's ranch.

Kimberly, off to find more cria pictures...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Saying Goodbye is a part of life

One of my favorite alpaca females was delivered to her new home recently. Aurora was owned by Foothill Llama and Alpacas and now lives in Idaho. You can see her in my March 2004 post on ranch chores. She was one of my favorites because she epitomized the "huggable investment" alpacas are touted to be. I don't know who coined that phrase because if you've spent any time with these beautiful animals you know that they really don't like to be hugged. Really, they don't even like to be touched. But once in a while, you find one who takes a liking to people. Aurora always greeted people in the pen. The first thing she would do is inspect your feet. Then she would follow you around like a puppy dog soliciting pets and back scratches. If the herd "witch" tried to harrass you, Aurora would put herself in the middle, and even one time turned to spit at the grump as if to say "hey, mind your manners around my friend".

Now even though Aurora liked people, there was a caveat to that: she had to not be pregnant. When she was pregnant, she was your typical "don't bother me, human" alpaca. I remember being pregnant and I can't say I blame her.

As an alpaca rancher, saying goodbye is part of the business. Sometimes it's hard because the animal sold is such a lovable animal. Aurora's new owner is no doubt enjoying her. We wish them both well. I am happy to say though, that we at Foothill Ranch already have a candidate stepping up fill Aurora's shoes: Jamie.

Monday, November 07, 2005

North Fork renovation work

Right after DS's baseball game on Saturday, we drove up to North Fork to do some more work on renovating the house. It was chilly when we arrived so we set about starting a fire in the wood stove. Our first discovery was a long-dead bird in the cavity of the stove. As I shoveled that out, I then discovered the level of ash was, oh, about 6 inches deep. When was the last time this stove was cleaned out? 1898? Sheesh. Back in June when we were cleaning up the property, we wisely saved any tools we came across. The all-metal axe came in handy as Ken chipped away from a log to create some kindling. It was awfully hard on the hands without any handle padding. (I've added "axe" to the list for next trip.) In about half an hour, we had a roaring fire going. The amount of wood we went through that night and the next morning was a bit surprising. Even though we have what we thought was a good size wood pile, it's clear we're going to have to cut a lot more for future trips. (Adding chainsaw to the list too.)

Another discovery is the winter temperature. Boy oh boy does it get cold at night INSIDE the house. And there isn't even any snow yet! I kept waking up because my nose was freezing. I had already planned on adding whole house cooling to the renovation but after this past weekend, we'll be sure to be looking into heating solutions as well. The wood stove needs to be replaced anyway (not up to code).

The last time we were up there working, the kids discovered a scorpion. I didn't even know there were scorpions up there! I figured it was too high of an elevation. According to another rancher up in the area, there are small and large varieties in the area. Lovely.

Renovation work is going along slowly but surely. We've removed all of the wallpaper the downstairs rooms except the bedroom we slept in. On our next trip, we can tackle that and be ready for texturing the walls downstairs. The current job is getting a contractor to replace every door in the house. All of the interior doors except for one have a hole(sometimes holes) in them. The front door has been busted in one time too many so the jam is nearly useless. The back door is exposed to the weather and looks it. Nearly all of the surface has flaked away. The back French doors were destroyed by the previous owner's dog. I would have like to repair those because they're really nice doors but a woodworker says they're too damaged. And the master bedroom door is missing. Gone. It wasn't even among the junk we disposed of this summer. I'm hoping we can get this work done before Christmas.