Sunday, February 14, 2010

Alpacas & Ducks

Last year's babies are still with their mom's at the Ziraldo's alpaca farm.

I dropped by for a visit and to help walk the alpacas.

[Sorry, this post from back in the winter didn't go live so I'm posting it now.... but since we've had such hot weather I can now view the snow thinking I'd like to stick my sweaty feet in it....]

We put halters and four of them and lead them down the driveway and around the house, making the circuit 4 or 5 times until they relaxed and got used to being lead.

It was a cold and windy day but it was still nice to get outside and get some fresh air.

As we stood at the fence the alpacas, though shy, couldn't resist coming over to sniff us, especially the alpaca scarf that I was wearing.

After getting home and looking at the photos I always struggle to remember all their names.

Their fibre is unforgettable. About 4 inches thick, you can part it with your hands and see the lovely crimp and the warmth of the animal underneath.

They certainly aren't cold outside in the snow.

The males must be kept away from the females because they would constantly be wanting to mate with the females, or fighting amongst each other.

They've got lovely eyes, that are very large and dressed with long lashes.

At the Ziraldos, everyone is well taken care of.

Even the ducks have a heated water dish and a home, er a dog house.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Progress ... at a Snail's Pace

A few days ago I had an unexpected opportunity to evict Jeremy squirrel.

The day before I heard him gnawing on the wood inside and I knew that it was time to get him out. He wouldn't deliberately make trouble and do damage, but a squirrel's teeth are like a rabbit's and never stop growing. He's got no choice but to chew on things to file his teeth down and that can make for some real damage to the real estate.

I'd entered the garage when he wasn't in his nest and caught him by surprise. As I approached I climbed the ladder he was hiding behind which left him not much choice except to go down to the floor and then out the cat door.

I had been thinking how to get Jeremy into the new squirrel house that dad built for him. That way when he was evicted he'd have a place to go. The house was too big to attach to a tree and the ground was too frozen to have a pole put in. I did a little brainstorming.

This is what I came up with: The squirrel house stuffed with alpaca fleece, angora fibre combings and a few sheep's skin scraps I had on hand. Then I bungee corded the whole thing to the top of my ladder. Then of course I seeded the whole thing with peanuts, one on each rung of the ladder, a few on the stand and two or three lobed inside.

That should be a real luxury for a squirrel that was living in a nest of leaves and chewed up plastic bags... and one set of cotton curtains.

When I got home that evening, all the peanuts were gone. No one has moved inside yet, as far as I can tell without disturbing it. Time will tell.

Other progress is my knitting. The Heather Hoodie Vest is coming along but slowly - a row here and there in between other projects is about all I can accomplish. The pattern has cables and it's pretty easy to follow, no complaints.

I haven't mastered the technique of reading and knitting at the same time. At least not yet.

On the kitten front, Whisper has been adopted and the family is very happy with him. George is still waiting for adoption but in the meantime he's enjoying the other cats in his foster home.

I still miss them all very much.