Thursday, June 30, 2011


 Bleeding Heart
Pronghorn Antelope (Photo taken early spring)
Don't know the kind of flower this is but I love the tiny shiny wax like pedals. (I've found the best flowers to put in your garden are not purchased from the greenhouse but given from your neighbors. You know they will grow in your climate and soil. )

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's Moving Day

Get in gear, hurry, hurry, hurry, it's almost moving day. There's so much to be done. The truck will be here on Tuesday and it's driver won't be smiling if we aren't ready

Admit it. You thought I was talking to the bees, didn't you. Nope, I was talking to myself. You do that when you get older. It helps keep your creaking frame you punished when you were young, moving. My Monday and Tuesday were extreme rush days for the weather man had me pressed up against the wall. 

The clock may rule your day but weather rules mine and after months of cool temperatures, summer is throwing her hand in the mix and all of a sudden ninety Fahrenheit temps are knocking at our door. 

That means:
1. Eleven Cornish chickens had to be processed just in case they didn't survive the heat and I got nothing in return for all the feed I put into them.
2. Bess's fence had to be secured for yaks occupation, since she can handle the heat and the yaks aren't suppose to be able to, so they get her shed for a few days. Yes, we've yet to build shade for them.

3.Two goat gates needed to be rebuilt before company arrives on the fourth of July for they will for sure want to go through them and see the goats. I'd rather not impale them in the process.

4. We needed some clean clothes and hence, seven loads of laundry awaited my attention.

5. The drain pipe that broke on Sunday had to be replaced.

6. The lawn and garden needed watering before the high heat arrived.

And there was no way I could do it all myself, especially the drain replacing and gate rebuilding. ( I don't weld and I don't do plumbing.) Kirk agreed to take Tuesday off from work to handle what I couldn't do.

So first thing Monday after livestock chores, I began on the Cornish. Then washed and hung the laundry on the line two loads at a time while the sun was hot and dried them quickly. And finally, come evening, I began working on the hives. 

The first order of business was to shrink the hives down to three boxes, not five. That meant taking the extra boxes off and brushing each boxess's nine frames with a soft bristled brush to remove the bees and deposit them near the hive. The extra boxes full of partially filled cells of honey were then set aside to be moved separately. Three boxes is quite enough weight for our aching backs to lift.

 And as I brushed, the sun shining through the golden yellow wax, I couldn't help but think of stained glass windows. I caught myself smiling, feeling very calm and homey. 

No, not homely, though some may say that too. 
When I had gotten down to the queen excluder on each hive, I stopped and replaced the inner frame and lid. Wondering what a queen excluder is? See, I know what your thinking. Well, some of you anyway. Just because I anticipated that question, I took this picture of one. It excludes the queen but not the workers because the queen is bigger and can't fit through.

 In the spring, a queen typically starts laying in the upper boxes because heat rises and it's warmer up there. Can't really blame her but it does cause some problems. So a month ago in preparation of moving, I began carefully shifting the frames with brood on them down into a lower box, hoping the queen was with them. In one hive she was and in the other she wasn't. I knew because I found brood in one of the upper boxes when I checked a week later.

 Kirk asked me why I didn't just look for the queen. I do know the difference between a queen and a worker and no, she's not the one wearing a crown. She's is wearing the same outfit as the worker bees but she's a bit bigger, longer, and has a  more pointy butt. So you see, she doesn't exactly stand out in a crowd so you have to look very carefully and sometimes for quite some time. This is why when you buy bees, you can often request to have your queen painted with a white spot on her back to allow for quicker identification.

My don't have that.

Kirk might have half the day to look and look through hundreds of milling bees, hundreds not thousands only because the queen is most likely to be somewhere near the brood or eggs but I didn't with spring planting heavy on my mind.

 Me, I'd rather not mess with the frames too much and take the chance of squashing her by accident. Besides, she has been known to go off gallivanting on rare occasions and be where she isn't suppose to be. like on the edge of the box where she likely will be one of those bees that will loose it's life.  Instead, I just moved a few frames and left most of the boxes in tack. I planned to visit again a week later and just peek to see if there was brood where I didn't want it.

Brood is usually laid in the center frames first and with a glance if a frame has sealed brood, you can spot it with out even taking any frames out of a box. As for eggs, they are so tiny, you have to look up close and careful. By a week, I'd be seeing plenty of brood so if it wasn't present, I could feel confident and take out a few frames to check more closely for eggs and I'd be good to go. 

There are three problems with going through a hive too often.
1.You might kill the queen.

2. You are bound to kill bees, though I do use my manners and call out, "Excuse me, coming through. Get out of the way, I'm putting a box on top of that spot." But inevitably, not everyone listens and  a few crunch sounds can always be heard. 

3. Bees seal things together with wax and propilis. (It is a natural nummer and you can suck on it if you have a sore throat to deaden the pain.) If you continue destroying their work, they spend time repairing the damage that could be spent fulfilling duties that leads to a higher yield of honey production.   
I also had to fasten the remaining boxes together so that they didn't shift in transit, releasing the bees all over the countryside. That is what the hive staples are for. You put pound one end into the lower box and the other end into the upper box securing them together. Then I taped the lids on.
 After the sun went down and the temperatures had dropped significantly, when Kirk and I were wishing we were snug in our beds, we went out with head lamp and flashlight to put window screen over the openings. You have to be a bit careful and try not to shine your light directly onto the openings, as the girls think its a burglar or maybe that it is sunrise, I'm not sure which, they are talking, but for either reason, they try to come out. Since we want them to stay in, we have to work quickly. The fine metal screen keeps the bees in and still allows the passage of air.

 Early Tuesday morning we headed out wandering on a two-track road through field of grass where sheep placidly grazed and a couple hawks soared overhead. 

 Their watering hole would now be a tank serviced by a wind mill twirling in the breeze - instead of a dog dish. I couldn't help but envy them, no, not the part about drinking out of a water tank, but the view. Oh how the view spoke to my soul and I ached near to tears wanting to someday be like them. Somewhere where I too could wake up every morning and look out on large expanses of fields. Where man's footprint was light and nature was the  prime decorator.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You Have Been Sequestered

By opening this blog, you have here by been sequestered before Rexroat's high court as a jury member in a case of abuse.
No, you can't get out of it and don't give me any of those mamsy pamsy excuses. You popped into this blog with the intent of reading it and thereby you have the time and means necessary to pronounce judgement upon this case.

Besides, I think it is clad tight. In part, because would any self respecting chicken go around looking like this if they didn't have to?
Self respecting chickens that is, that are not molting and are thereby fulfilling their duty to the best of their ability by laying eggs. I'm only bringing this case before you, all knowledgeable ones, in case there is the slimmest of chances that I'm wrong, that these four fully feathered hens did not do the dirty deed. That they did not torture seven - one year old hens by pulling out a feather or two at a time with their beaks (Ouch!) until they look like they are running around in their red winter underwear. 

So I ask you ladies and gentlemen, are these four - two year old, fully feathered hens guilty of abuse?   

What shall be their punishment? I'm leaning towards - off with their heads. No, I have not be reading Alice In Wonderland to the grand daughters.
 I did just processed eleven Cornish chickens for the freezer yesterday, since we've skipped the eighties F. and gone to the nineties and I feared the Cornish chickens won't survive. As you can see, they were plenty big enough, making it time for these meat birds to  journey where they will remain nice and cold. 

Possibly, the memory of how much easier chores were to do this morning with out them ,has me thinking in that direction. So jury-- this is the moment to vote. Are these four - two year old hens guilty of torture and do they deserve the death penalty? 

I need each and every one of your votes so if you have trouble commenting on this blog, please fill free to e-mail me your verdict to I'll be anxiously awaiting their fate.

Friday, June 24, 2011

THAT Subject

Yes, it is time for THAT subject again. You know the birds and the bees. Only today we are only going to cover the bee part. Yes, I've been reading up on the sex life of a queen. It's so much more interesting than who's sleeping with whom in Hollywood, which I could care less about.

My concern is the survival of my two hives. I'm a bit worried for them. You see hubby says they'd better start producing honey and get off welfare. Yes, due to drought, plagues of grasshoppers and the like, the girls have been having their groceries delivered, not going out and shopping for them themselves, and fixing their own meals. 

I love my bees and in the interest of keeping them, I might be going just a tad bit far. I knocked on their door one cloudy, cold day last week to check on them. It was just a howdy do call as I wasn't dressed for a formal visit being just in a sweatshirt and jeans, not my jumpsuit and bee veil. The butler just told me to go away, they were busy cleaning house and promptly turned around and went back in. She made me feel guilty for my house needed cleaning too. 

At least she wasn't cranky about it for she kept her voice soft with a pleasant hum. I think it was because I knocked softly which is very polite. One doesn't want to stir up trouble especially if one isn't suitably dressed for the occasion. Cloudy days can make them irritable. Cabin fever you know. 
I'm a bit worried about what they are eating with all the rainy days we've been having and the fruit trees are done blossoming and the lilac blossoms are starting to wane. All they have left for the most part is some flowers on the prairie. But soon it will be moving day and they can feast on alfalfa. And as for me, I'll be at a loss because almost every day I spend a few minutes just a foot from the hive watching to see what color of pollen they bring in and guessing where it comes from. 

 What one can't help but observe is how different in appearance the bees are despite the fact they are all Italian and have the same mother. Why so different? Well, that is the part where things get spicy.   

Not one to give a hoot for romantic stories I find a bee's love life fascinating. Well, actually on second thought you probably couldn't call it a romantic story, more like an orgy. Yes, I said orgy - get over it. We are talking about insects after all.

I guess I'd just better tell you the facts of life before you get your tail feathers all in a whirl. The queen when she is mature, goes on a maiden flight. She starts out a virgin and whoa does she get busy. The next few days she has one fling after another with drones from other colonies. Enough to last her a lifetime.

The price for such a good time with a queen is death. Dead drones tell no tales. No they aren't killed by assassination like in the case of many vicious female spiders. Instead, they leave their mating organs inside the queen and that kills them. Ouch! 

The queen puts all this to good use though and stores all this sperm inside a sac in her abdomen known as the spermatheca. Every time she lays an egg, and mind you she lays over a thousand a day, she secretes a small amount of sperm from this sac.

The result of the queen's mating flight is the same as all the tom foolery our barn cat Callie does before she has kittens. "Oh that pure black tom is so... handsome I think I'll just have a little fun with him." And a few minutes later she's saying the same thing about the grey tom, and the tabby colored tom, and the Siamese one, and before you know it she's so ladened down she can hardly stand. Like she was doing this morning. Yup, the result of such tom foolery will be a litter of kittens with an assortment of colors. 

The same result happens with bees. I want you to scroll back up and take a good look at this bee collecting pollen on a dandelion blossom.

And this one on the onion blossom.
And this one on the thistle. Note the dark color or light as it may be, along with the width of the black bands. These bees are not all from the same hive but they could be. The one on the dandelion blossom and the one on the onion blossom are. I just needed some good photos to prove my point so I threw in the thistle one too.

This means that some bees in a hive are full siblings and some are half sisters having the same mom but different dads. The same can be said for the drones, only they would be brothers.

The differing fathers add strength to the hive by their genetic differences. One lending genes for superior endurance, another the canny ability to find pollen in a hurry, etc. 

So there you have it the bee part of the birds and the bees story.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yarn Stash and Yarn tips for Crocheters and Knitters

 I vowed within the next year I was going to go through every storage container I own. Now that is a lot of storage containers as I've 13 grade levels of home school books that my husband insisted I keep and the containers full of fleeces to spin. The overflowing large box of tax returns with is probably way over ten years worth. The boxes and boxes of fabric. Well, you get the idea. And with this going through, I'm going to toss and toss and better organize the rest.

When my temperatures plummeted to the high 93's Fahrenheit, I knew I was in trouble. Especially since I took my temperature under each arm and my tongue to see if they were the same. Not hardly. They  have continued to be two or better degrees difference.  In a normal body, they are close to the same with just a few tenths off. I know I had that once. That is what prompted the, "Your weird." comment from my doctor. Said with a laugh of course because we both know how strange this body of mine behaves and though medical books go to great lengths to describe the human body, mine when faced with these well researched facts replies, " But I don't wanna."

What does that have to do with too much in the storage department of our home. Well, since my family kept saying, "Holly your really purple colored." Then, "Your really red now.", and a little later, "Your really pale.". Know that they weren't describing my clothing. It was a bit disconcerting so I decided that being a chameleon probably wasn't good and low hypothermia temperatures weren't either so you'd be proud of me, I took a sabbatical from work.

Okay, your right, that would be a lie. I didn't really. I did sit on my hiney and watch movies for two days. All except the time to do a bit of quick cooking and livestock chores, the essentials. But to the shock of myself and my husband, I sat on the bed and watched movie after movie while I organized left over garden seeds, and uncluttered my yarn bins. Yes, I said bins as in plural.

I have not gone through them in years and after the fiber fest weekend where I included watching some videos on spinning, I was itching to see what treasures I squirreled away years ago along with some fiber I'd bought a year ago but managed to forget I had. Don't tell me I'm the only one that does this.

What I discovered was a mess. I had a lots of bobbins and many of those had a single ply on them but no mate to which to ply to. So I took them off on to toilet paper centers creating a center pull and an outer pull and plied the those two strands of single ply yarn together forming yarn. I've still two to go. Then there was the scads of balls of yarn which is not the proper way to store it. So I made them up into proper storing skeins. Why not store in balls? Well, it distorts the twist and stresses the yarn. So those in balls had to be rewound and sat in very hot water to relax the fibers. Those are the ones on the clothes line and in the bathroom.

Then there were those in small loops when I was spinning a great deal but had broken my kniddy noddy, (the thing you wind your yarn around). So they had to be rewound. I'm still doing that.

 What I discovered from the relaxing the skeins in water and some just tucked in the bins, was skeins with a balanced yarn like in this picture. See how it hangs in a perfect loop. That means I spun the singles and equally plied two singles back on themselves with equal twist so they balanced out.

And I found this wa....y under plied skein which I redid on the spinning wheel. No, I didn't take it a part but just added more twist in the proper direction. This is a good picture to show you. Look at the left hand side of the loop and how it twists to the right. Because I spun the singles with the wheel going to the right and plied with the wheel going to the left. If it is under plied the twist will be to the right.  

This skein twists slightly to the left which means it is over plied  just a little. One expert likes her skeins this way because she calls it energy and did you know that depending on whether you are crocheting a project or knitting and whether you are a continental knitter or a thrower, which way you should spin your yarn? I didn't but I did know that years ago when I crocheted if I didn't buy a yarn that haD a tight twist, I frequently split the yarns with my hook. A very frustrating thing. It is because you are untwisting the ply a little with the motion of crocheting said my daughter and the video I'm waiting on.

So if your project is crochet then you should do your single plies with the wheel going to the left and ply with the wheel spinning to the right. That will solve the untwist problem. Now most commercial yarns are made for knitters so beware what you buy. Look for a good solid twist, not an open yarn because remember you will be untwisting the yarn slightly.  

Commercial yarn is great for a continental knitter but not for a thrower knitter because the later style untwists the yarns slightly also. Blow me away. I learned so much in the first few minutes of this video that I had to have it. What video you ask? I don't know but when it comes I'll show you and remind this brain that was so over filled our fiber fest weekend which one it was. There is another one on color I can't wait until it comes out but it isn't ready for sale yet. 
I found in my bins, white yarns from different fleeces because they had a slightly different color and look but of what type of sheep I wasn't positive. Yup, should have labeled. As I spin up more of the fleeces in the basement I'm sure I'll figure it out so I tied the two different types together.
 Lastly, I put the balance and really closely balanced yarns in their proper twist storage shapes and labeled them. Very, very important. Though I could tell for the most part exactly what each skein was by sight and feel, there were those few mysteries. This organizing also allowed me to see how many skeins of each color and type I had so I knew whether I had enough to make hats, scarves, and mittens, or if there was enough for a sweater or vest. I confess, I spin far more than I knit and that has got to change. As for combining colors, it would be only possible with yarns of the same diameter. I'm spinning finer yarns than I once did and now I'm going to start making three and four ply yarns all because of this video I can remember who did it or what the name is.

Some of my yarn I knit for socks but now I've found out that you need a little silk, mohair, or nylon in the yarn for socks to give it a longer wear factor. So I'll be spinning yarn with silk or mohair from now on for socks. 

Stay tuned because I've asked my daughter to ask her friend who knits socks as she walks in the mornings. You heard me right, she knits as she exercises. Not only that but she knits all the socks she wears. That's impressive!!! What I want to know is 1. What types of fibers or combination of fibers she choose. 2. How many plies she prefers? I doubt they are two ply like all the yarns I prepared to make socks with for I've since found out that in a two ply yarn the fiber moves outward from each other. In a three or more ply, which is more likely her choice since it is rounded and the fibers turn inward. Mutiple plies makes the yarn stronger and more water resistant. It takes less yarn to make a garment from a three or more ply than a two ply. Did you know that? I didn't until the video. Cables should be done with a four or five ply yarn to make the cables stick out more pronounced for the four or five ply creates a very rounded yarn. See, I've just got to have this video for I'm paroting it when I talk about two and three ply or more yarns.

But, wait I was talking about socks. I want to know from this gal 3. if there is a favorite stitch for the heels and toes that aids in making them last longer. If anyone should know, this gal will. My goal is to make socks in the next year from the toe up because I've already make six or so from the top down with two ply yarn. I'm going to change to three and four ply and I want to do ones where you make two on one large circular needle at the same time. That is if only I can follow the instructions in the books. Not my strong point.  

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tomato Cages

 I know this doesn't look like a gardening picture but hey, if you can't show off your grand kids on your blog then what good is it for? I promise I'll get to the garden but first, this is our youngest and her mother, what was she thinking, put her in the Little Miss Wright Days contest.

She won her category and has declared to everyone that she is a princess. No she didn't win for her twirling ability.

 And NO..... it wasn't because she's a can can girl from Los Vegas. 
 It's because she is so.... cute. LOL She leaned into the mike and sang, "There were three in the bed and the little one said roll over, roll over, and they all rolled over and (she tilted her head cute to one side and then sang) one fell out ( after which she put her hand over her mouth and feigned an Oh My expression.) I had her sing just the three verses, though there are ten, but I figured if that didn't push the 'oh how cute' button then more wouldn't help. This photo made me laugh just like this sweet little girl does.
Now to the gardening part of my blog.
See these nasty little beasties? Just when I thought I was going to get plums these arrive and I fear for the lives of the sweet juicy purple fruit. I've waited years for once only a foot high plants to become a small tree and get their acts together. For the three years my two plum trees never bloomed at the same time. Always one and then the other, weird things after all they are the same age. When they finally both blossom together, tiny plums forming, grr.....along comes these aphids. I'm lousy at killing the things. Not that I have any sympathy for them and would mind putting out an extermination order. No sirry, this is war and casualties is the name of the game.

Only in the past aphids have defeated me over and over again when I've tried to eradicate them in the basement while growing tomato plants under lights. That is why I no longer use soil from outside for my pots. They always hitched a ride and though I never saw them in the garden, presto, there they were on my tomatoes in the basement.

Now, I've been spraying these things with soapy, oily water, and I've tried organic sprays from the store and non organic sprays on my tomatoes in the basement. Nothing worked then and I'm not hopeful now. So if you've some good advice like the newspaper on the grass, lay it on me. I've a feeling I will be desperate soon. I did have some success with diamtemaceous earth once when I had a greenhouse. Hm... it has stopped raining and the wind isn't howling today maybe I'll dust the small trees with the powder.
Now I wish to discuss tomatoe cages. The best ones I've found are these I built out of tore up cow panels. I cut three small sections with bolt cutters.

I've tried four sections but the wind catches them broadside and blows them over. I used wood stakes pounded into the ground to keep them upright and they still ended up listing badly to one side.
Dropping them to three panels helped but they still couldn't stand on their own with plastic around them until I cut the bottom horizontal bars on the lower section. Now when the wind howls, as it often does, I'm not woken up in the night worrying whether my cages have collapsed on top of my tomatoes, breaking them off. Pushing the bottom section down into the ground stabilzes the whole thing. The triangular shape channels the wind to the side, deflecting its force, and I've a renewable cage. The livestock are so kind, NOT, and occasionally bend panels to the point they have to be replaced giving me an unexaustable source of cages.  So if you already use cow panels, then try the waste not want not theory and turn them into tomatoe and pepper cages. The plastic I duck tape around the cages is off the hay stack.
And the string I bind the cages together with is baling twine from the livestock hay. All I had to buy was duck tape to tape the plastic.

The baling twine I also use to mark off my garden sections. Saves buying string. This is two bean rows planted just inside each string length.  If you look carefully you can see two pea rows to the left with a shortened cow panel for them to adhere to. The bottom sections are cut out just like the tomatoe cages. Peas need a little more than each other to stand up to our wind, hence the trellis.

Tomorrow I'll tell you what I was doing during the long silence of Monday and Tuesday. You'll either be shaking your head while chuckling like my doctor was when he said, "You are so weird." He means it in a loving way. Or you'll be reaching for the Kleenex. Intrigued? I hope so.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Producing Onion Seed

I'm feeling nervous. Maybe you are too. This whole thing with Greece's economy and our own government's spend, spend, spend mentality. It can't go on without dire concequences for everyone. Economies around the world are so interconnected. Out of curiosity, I looked up this morning what the Great Depression's unemployment rate was in the USA, - 24.9 at its height. Greece's is presently at 16%. I believe in order to right our country and our world, it will have to undergo a painful period of time where hearts are changed and budgets readjusted to where we spend what we earn. But you are probably wondering what all that has to do with onion seeds because you know it does somehow, or at least I think it does or I wouldn't have mentioned it? 

It is in part why I'm working on becoming more self-sufficient. This unrest about the economy and the moral decay of our nation has kicked it into a higher gear. One of the skills I see I need is to learn to produce part of my own garden seeds.  In my ignorance I thought you could just grow a pumpkin, dig the seeds out, dry them, and plant them again. You can but what you'll get I've since learned is a mystery for there is inbreeding, outbreeding, wind pollination, insect pollination, and a raft of other things you need to know in order to make sure you will have a pumpkin seed produce another pumpkin just like it's parent.   
And since I'm partial to my food, that is one area I'm working on the hardest. I've several seed saving projects planned for this summer. Onions are one them.

This is one cluster of onions that are in the process of producing seed. Onions grow the first year and then the second year they produce seed. That complicates things because you are suppose to save your loveliest onion and plant it again the next spring. Problem is I've no where to suitable to save it. Oh how I wish I had a cellar. So when I found a few volunteers underneath the tall grass invading my garden. I enlisted them into my learning adventure. Now these are small onions that didn't get enough moisture with my poor care last year. The transplanting of three very small children into your life will do that. So they didn't grow very big. The few onions that did grow to maturity and weren't harvested but lost into the tall grass rotted over the winter. I found a couple small beets trying to sprout in the tall grass also. This has me wondering if I can purposely exploit this trait? It does leave the draw back of not knowing exactly what the plant would look like at maturity. You are suppose to pick you very best for the good reason that you want all the offspring to be like the parents. What you should do and what I'm going to do nare shall meet since I've no cellar or cool place that won't freeze. No, my garage is not an option. When it gets to eighteen below zero F. it freezes in there too.      

As you can see in this photo this is the stage right before the unveiling of the flowers.

But one does what one has to in their circumstance, so here I go. I transplanted the onion volunteers to the new onion patch. Yes patch, for I'm not growing onions in rows this year. Remember the lesson on plots? You can grow over double the amount using plots over the row system in the same amount of space. With limited space, I need maximum number of plants. Most of my garden this year is taking that approach. I'm hoping to work out a good watering system for next year that conserves water, but for now, I'm just patching my plants and figuring that out later. I'm lucky, it has been a good year to do so because we've had lots of rain.

Onions are inbreeding plants, which is the breeding of two genetically similar parents. This makes the project easier because it isn't like the beet volunteers which will breed with every cousin in a five mile radius. That will be interesting keeping the little sluts contained. I wouldn't be doing that project just yet but there were volunteers. What could I say when they raised their little reds heads up and hollered, "Pick me, pick me. I want to grow and produce seeds." In Wyoming, volunteers are not taken lightly.

So it is my understanding, according to the book, that these onion flowers will open over the next month being pollinated by bees and the like.
 Then it will dry up and the seeds will fall. That's where I have to catch it first. I have four plants all blooming. I wonder if it will take all summer to gain seeds? Take into consideration we have a very short one here at 5000 feet way up north and you can see all summer isn't a terribly long period of time.  
Just because I have such a beautiful picture. I'm going to share with you the wild onions on the prairie. Wonder if they are going to breed with my domestic onions? Hmmm... the book said my onion wouldn't breed with chives but wild onions it forgot to inform me about. Alas, the hazards of being ignorant.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Paco- Vicunas

Those eyes... they draw you in to their deep dark pools and mesmerized you. Llamas are interesting but alpacas and paco- vicunas are entrancing.  

But what is a paco- vicuna your wondering? Well, they are a cross between an alpaca and a vicuna (which is a wild llama from Chili, Argentina, and Bolivia). The vicuna does not handle captivity well hence, the crossing of the closely related alpaca. This gives better adaptability along with the luxuriant fiber qualities of the vicunas.

This gentlemen, with a South American accent, works for Switzer-land Farms out of Estes Park, CO where they raise these doe like eyed animals. This is a group hug prompted by the girls. We were invited to come and visit their ranch and I hope to make the trip with Kirk sometime this summer. They are a fascinating animal. I've always wanted an alpaca. We've had lots of llamas that people wanted to give us but not an alpaca. Alas, llamas don't interest me. I'm not even fond of spinning the fiber of a llama but alpaca wool is one of my favorite fibers. This interesting

These are also paco-vicunas but the side profiled animal is a Vicuna /Suri cross. The one on the left a Vicuna/ Huacaya cross. Note the difference in their wool. That is because there are two different types of alpacas, the Suri and the Huacaya. The longs silky locks are Suri and a Huacaya has a puffy look because their hair stands out on all ends. The Huacaya is the most common and world-wide makes up 98% of alpacas with Suri only 2%. So it is a good thing I like the looks of a Huacaya over a Suri because they are way out of budget range.

Now I've put off rototilling the last section of the garden long enough and I've got to go out and get it done before the rain starts. Wheww... get this done and I will finally have my garden planted. If I hadn't of had to spend so many hours pulling grass this wouldn't of taken so long and I wouldn't feel like something the cat drug in.