There are days on the farm where everything comes to a grinding halt. Spring births take precedence... as do illness, injury and death. It is never good to open the barn in the morning to find an animal down, even if it is expected. Yesterday was one of those days.
Jack-jack, his given name was Commanche Jack, was 12 years old and had been battling cancer for 3 years. As long as his quality of life remained good, we were just waiting. We knew through daily assessment that his time was drawing to a close. He ended his days as he had lived many of those days, in my arms.
Jack came to us in the early days of our alpaca journey. We needed guardians for our herd but knew that the area we lived in guard dogs would not be welcome. Llamas were the perfect solution so Jack and Lorenzo came to live with us. They both were introduced to our adult male herd first. As the boys tend to do, they chased and sniffed and tried to mount both the llamas. Lorenzo didn't put up with their behavior and put an end to it rather quickly. But sweet little Jack just couldn't hold his own... We decided he needed a different herd. As I walked into the pen the next day Jack ran up beside me, I stepped in front of him to redirect the alpacas. He rested his head on my shoulder and leaned into me as if to say "I'm so tired. Thank you for intervening...". We moved him in with the junior boys and after a day of rest, Jack surveyed his charges and his territory and decided he could handle this. And he loved his little boys... Took his job very seriously. And that is where he stayed for his time with us.
Yesterday, Jack held on long enough to say goodbye. We all took turns sitting with him and holding him as he quietly slipped away. I have had many offers to buy him because he was so sweet and so beautiful. The answer was always no, he is not for sale. Jack was my special boy and he will be sorely missed. We love you so much, Jack!
Well, it has been a rather exciting week here in Tennessee. There are currently about 6 inches of snow on the ground with negative temperatures off and on all week. Not that we didn't learn to deal with that in Wisconsin, it just makes things interesting on the farm.
We made it through all the A's ...So the first of the B's is Barbosa. He is almost 2 1/2 years old. Barbosa was born at Mesa Trail Alpacas and I think he hit the ground running. Full of energy and attitude, I remember him climbing the guard llama like a little goat. He has always been up for shenanigans. Starting with his color.. Barbosa had a brother that was classic grey. We anticipated that the same pairing would give us grey again, but Barbosa does his own thing. The lovely black accents on his face and legs are deceptive since his fiber really is a dark espresso brown.
Since the weather has been so cold and snowy, we decided to go with another hat, this time from Barbosa's fiber. It will be available in the store along with what's left of his yarn (not much- we are still processing fiber from 2020 shearing).
Thank you Barbosa for the silly attitude and all the laughter it brings us!
I know moms aren't supposed to have favorites but Avalanche has been one of my favorite boys from the start of our alpaca journey. He has such a commanding presence. Tons of snow white fiber tops off this total package!
Unfortunately, Avalanche did not handle our move to Tennessee well. Abrupt change in environment coupled with his heavy coat took him down quick. Avalanche had a heat stroke!
We spent 6 weeks with intensive rehab to get him back on his feet. But once he was on his feet, he wanted to run of course. He hated being separated from the rest of the herd so whenever he had the opportunity, he tried to go back. His stubbornness is one of the many things that helped him recover.
Avalanche is as fully recovered as he is going to get with very little residual effects from his stroke. His lovely fiber contributed to to our recent Alpaca Bay blankets. After all the medical issues, Avalanche really has a lovely attitude and is so easy to handle. Thank you, Avalanche, for all your hard work and for teaching us so much!
Greetings from chilly Tennessee. As other parts of the country are getting slammed with frigid temperatures and loads of snow- here, not so much.
Next up on our Meet the Herd list is Amp. His full name is Volt's Amped Up. He is 3 1/2 years old. Amp came to us from Colorado. He was born at Pleasant Journey Alpacas with Glenn and Susan Kasch.
Marcus was at an alpaca show and Susan had Amp there. Marcus sent pictures home asking if I wanted him to bring him home. My response... Why do I want another brown alpaca? (I know- He's awful cute though)...
The next picture was the real winner... Amp is grey! Actually, more of a rose grey, but has a lovely pewter color with amazing sheen. He is a sweet tempered soft fluffy boy.
These fingerless gloves are hand knit from Amp's fiber. His yarn remains a store favorite . These hand warmers are as squishy as Amp looks. Thank you Amp for your beautiful fiber and your charm! You are a great addition to our herd!
Stacey Skildum is a nurse turned farmer, a yarn snob, gardener and fiber artist.