Monday, October 10, 2011

It's here!

Well, after a long trip from California (can you believe that???), this little guy was tired and worn out. He was "chosen" at the Waco fair by Hailey's Ag teacher for her to use for her FFA project. We picked him up at the Plano Ag barn this afternoon after school. He's sunburned and scratched up. It must have been a rough weekend!
This little guy wasn't so sure he wanted out of the truck. He squeeled and squeeled and squeeled! Man, are they LOUD!
Hailey made sure everything was set in his new home...a horse stall. See the shavings? Believe it or not, that is like his kitty litter box! Tee hee! It's supposed to cut down on the amount of shavings we'll go through.
Hailey uses some gentle persuasion to get her new little guy into his stall. He wants to make a run for it!
Ok, honestly, we were expecting this adorable little "Wilbur" pig. This guy... well, he's so ugly he's cute.
You can see the scratches on his side from the other pigs. Hmmm... kind of like a cat fight? Kitty litter box? I'm sensing a theme here...
Our new little "Wilbur" settled in pretty quickly and even ate some feed out of Hailey's hand. He's got a nice 10 x10 stall, with shavings, food on demand, and water. He sure likes snorting at Tysin, our LGD (livestock guardian dog), too. They really checked each other out through the hog wire. So, now you know what the surprise was. Betcha didn't think of that one, did ya? Ha ha! And the adventure begins...

Sunday, October 9, 2011


It's been a long, long time since we've seen some of this! I am praising God we have finally gotten some rain. Seriously folks. The cracks in our pasture look like they go down about 4 or 5 feet into the ground. This can cause some serious damage to an animal who's foot gets caught.
Ah! Looking out onto the pool, you can see the rain coming down. It is such a beautiful sight!
The alpacas stayed under cover while they waited for the rain to end. However, it rained for a good portion of the afternoon. So...they were under the eaves for quite a while. Not that I am complaining!
The chickens are a different story. Usually, when it rains, they stay inside too. However, this time, most of the chickens stayed outside during the rain. I don't know if they are expecting worms to work their way up or what! They were running like crazy from one section of the pasture to the next. Maybe the grasshoppers were more prevalent in the rain? I don't know. They sure looked funny running around in the rain, though!
Ok, here is a hint for tomorrow. It's coming home in this... ooh! The excitement is building!

Friday, October 7, 2011

New animals abound...

I am sooooooo enjoying this fall weather! I head out anywhere between 6am and 8am to do my chores...when it's still just a tad bit chilly. I love it!
The alpacas have finally come out of their stalls to enjoy the new, cooler weather. They've been spending the majority of their days inside the stalls under misters and fans.
The chickens have finally come outside, too. They are enjoying their "dirt baths" in the pastures and have been sunning their feathers. See, even the chickens enjoy the sunshine!
Our cria from early summer is growing by leaps and bounds. She's begun eating grain and has even been known to push the larger "moms" away from their feed bowls. Soon, she will need to be weaned off of her mama's milk.
Our cria aren't the only ones growing up around here! I had to put a shameless mama picture in here of my youngest son. He's seven years old now. I can't believe how fast time goes.
Our oldest son is in Senior High going to homecoming, our daughter is in High School getting ready for her first fall dance, and our youngest is getting THIS BIG! I don't want to even begin to talk about my age. I still feel so young, though! How in the world is it possible for me to have children this old??? Pinch me before it's all over and I've missed it all. Take loads and loads of time to spend with your kiddos. Before you know it, you'll be an empty nester. I know I can hear an AMEN to that!
Upon heading through the pasture, we stumbled upon this particular weed. It's just an ordinary weed of MANY in our pasture. You can tell all of the grass is gone. The drought this summer has left us with nothing except for some sturdy weeds that seem to grow without any nourishment whatsoever. Amazing, huh? Anyway, there was something peculiar about this weed. Upon further investigation, we determined why. Do you notice anything? Look closely...
There is an entire nest of baby bunnies here. We found five baby bunnies nestled closely under the weed bush. What a great place for the mama to hide her young! Last year, you may remember, a mama rabbit laid her young inside one of our hay feeders. NOT a good idea. I believe only three made it out of ten in that one. All five of these bunnies have survived and have finally left the nest. We see them hopping through the pasture some evenings when we go out to do our chores. They are soooooooo cute!
I also want to mention we have had TWO baby opossums in our pasture lately, too. What are the odds? Everything is coming up for food and water! Don't worry! No animals (opossums) were harmed in the catching of these animals. All animals have participated in a relocation program... relocated out of our pasture! :o)

I haven't been the best at posting things lately, but will need to post again this coming Monday. We have a surprise coming? Wanna know what it is? Check back in on Monday to find out how the saga continues... (hint: Hailey is taking on something new) Don't you hate cliffhangers????? Smile....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Summer days...

Whew! I think we may have actually made it through the hottest summer on record, yet, in Texas. The record heat and added drought made it really hard on the alpacas. I, for one, am so thankful that the heat is subsiding. My daughter and her classmate are working on a project for their art class. They took pictures all over the property and opened my eyes to things all around me every day that I tend to take for granted.
For instance, we have the most beautiful trees in our yard. When I drive into town, I don't find many trees like this. Areas are completely flattened, all trees removed, before neighborhoods are begun. So, most of the trees in town are rather small. We are blessed to have many, many big, large trees around our house.
I am so very blessed to have my alpacas. They have such a calming effect. This is a picture of Charlene Tilton. Oh how I love this alpaca. She is quiet and beautiful, with a determined spirit.
This is one of MANY large cracks on our property. When you have acreage, you don't water. It simply isn't cost effective. Due to the drought, we have cracks that look as if they go down 4 feet. Really... we could lose a chicken in these holes! Pray for rain!!!
Ah, manure. Yes, we have it every day, every where. I clean the stalls every evening, but leave the pastures to work sometimes once every month or two (depending on the heat!). Here is some wonderful compost just waiting to be used in those cracks! Tee hee!
Here is a wonderful picture of my rusty trailer. Yes, it really is that rusty, but I love it! Do you know of anyone who can strip down an old trailer and restore it? Cheap???
Ok, seriously. If you had an eye booger, I would tell you about it or I would help you remove it. My daughter and her friend just take a picture of it! This is Belle, our handicapped, Rocky Mountain horse. She was born on my birthday years ago. I simply love her. She is spoiled ROTTEN!
Here is a picture of one of the cedar trees in our pasture, along with some horse manure also waiting to be picked up sometime when the weather cools down a little. Actually, I don't pick up the manure in the pasture. I drag it with a harrow. It's much easier... :o)
T-posts still sitting in the pasture waiting to be put up. I have all kinds of ideas, I just need assistance implementing them... LOL.
Well, believe it or not, these tires are actually good! Good for training alpacas on obstacles, that is! No, they won't work on the horse trailer anymore, but they still can serve a purpose. When was the last time I used them for obstacle training, you ask? Uh.... I'm working on getting our FFA students out for that. My alpaca whisperer has been busy taking pictures of the property (see above pictures). Gotta work on that, too. There you have it. I'm not very good about keeping you up to date with all that's going on with the ranch. For that, I am sorry. I tend to volunteer for too much, thus, reducing the amount of time I have to work on my own stuff. Yes, I realize it is a problem. God is working on me. Sometimes, I'm just not a very good listener. :o( I am praying each of you are having a blessed week. Happy trails until we meet again...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Precious delivery

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Are you reading this picture?

We had bred Charlene to Mt. Everest last year, along with Cotton and Lucy. Cotton had a beautiful male cria that only lived for seven days. We thought that Lucy and Charlene had either miscarried or never got pregnant. Charlene never did spit off before Everest had to return home.

About five days ago, I started thinking I was seeing "activity" on Charlene. Then, three days ago, I swore I saw a leg pushing out of Charlene's side. After feeling her belly, we felt movement and just knew she was pregnant.

Charlene was at 360 days gestation when she finally delivered her little female cria.

Can you see how much this little girl looks like her mother? She is cute as a button!

Blessings abound here at the ranch. We are praising God for His tender mercies, after the loss of the little male cria. What a blessing indeed...

Monday, May 23, 2011

A loooooooong story...

It happened again. While collecting chicken eggs out of the nesting boxes, my daughter found another egg eater! These darned rat snakes love to feast on chicken eggs. As you can see, this particular snake is BIG!

Tim had me take various pictures to show a friend of his how you know a snake is not poisonous. If the head is triangular, the snake is generally poisonous. If the eyes look like cat eyes, it is generally poisonous. See how the eyes on this snake are not "cat like"? See how the head is not triangular?

A blunt tail indicates a poisonous snake. The tail on this snake is pointed. So, it is not poisonous. This is a rat snake. They generally feed on mice and rats. So, they are good to have around....unless you have small chicks or eggs around. Yes, they will eat small chicks. We've lost a few to snakes.

As you can see here, my daughter does not take after me when it comes to snakes. I will touch it's back when someone else is holding it, but that is as far as I go. Someone else has to catch it. If no one is around to help, I kill it! My husband believes in the "catch and release" program for snakes. We have friends that raise horses on their property and they love for us to give them the snakes. It keeps their rodent population down. If we can't get by their place, we simply release the snakes in a field far, far away from our property. We have a no return policy here at our place.

Monday, April 25, 2011

And then there were none...

Wow, what a weekend we had. I spent all last night much that my eyes hurt and I have a headache this morning. Excedrin Migraine, kick in please.

It all began Saturday night. Our precious little cria didn't want to take his bottle. Was he beginning to finally latch on to mama? Was he beginning to get enough milk from his dam? We weighed him and he hadn't lost any weight. Yeah! Maybe this was the beginning of a good thing...although we would miss bottle feeding this little guy.

You see, for the past week, we have been supplementing our little alpaca with milk replacer via a bottle. When we begin walking to the pasture, we are almost knocked over by our little cria running across the grass to meet us with an expectant "Hummmmm!". He would let us hold him in our arms and love all over him while we gave him his bottle. It was the highlight of our day.

The next morning, Easter Sunday, our little guy was a little wobbly on his feet. Was he weak from not enough milk? We offered him a bottle, but he again refused to eat. We weighed him again. The same weight. Hmmm... he wasn't losing any weight, but he wasn't gaining either. We were heading over to my mom's house for Easter brunch. We would swing back by and check on him, offer him a bottle, and weigh him again before heading over to Tim's family's house.

At 2:00 pm, we knew something was very, very wrong. Our little cria was wobbling much more. He was having a hard time standing now. His temperature was 102.3...not too high, but not normal either. We placed an emergency call into our vet. Dr. Lane was on duty. Thank you, Jesus! He is the only vet in the clinic that has experience or will even work with alpacas. He figured the shaking was from a low sugar balance. We were told to get some Karo syrup down him and get him into the clinic. So, I loaded up and began my trek to Farmersville, praying the whole way.

We made it! Dr. Lane arrived shortly after our arrival and began checking out our little guy. His blood sugar was great! His red cell count was normal. Everything on him checked out, but he still had a fever and shaking. His lungs were clear, but there was a heart murmur. Apparently, this is normal in alpaca cria, and can resolve itself within three weeks of life. However, sometimes it doesn't, and the animal doesn't survive. That would be something we would have to get re-checked in three weeks. Dr. Lane gave our little baby a shot of antibiotics. He figured he had to have some sort of infection...maybe the onset of pneumonia or something else. Dr. Lane said if he still had a fever in four days, to come back for more antibiotics. There was nothing else he could do, since everything else checked out ok. He was very concerned about the cria's continued shaking. He said it was either from the infection or the heart problem. Oh boy... here we go.

After arriving home, our little guy continued to shake worse and worse. We brought him in our house and placed him in the bathtub with lots of blankets. We held him and stroked his little neck, telling him how much we loved him. I prayed and prayed for God to answer my prayers, to save this little one. At one point, the cria died. He went listless, stopped breathing, and lost all color in his gums. I continued holding him, crying, praying. In a few long, long seconds, he gasped for air and came back to life. Oh, thank you, God! We were going to experience a miracle! I just knew it! He began humming and looking at me. He was still breathing really hard. His temperature was raising higher and higher and was now at 104.8. We were spraying his belly with tepid water, trying to bring his temperature down. We got it down to normal. However, his breathing was still very labored. Tim and I watched and waited, hoping for God to heal this little precious baby. However, it was not in His plan. Minutes later, he began gasping for air. Very slowly, he gave up his life.

You know, I began thinking, how must it have felt to watch Jesus dying on the cross? What would it have felt like from His mother's perspective? What about all of his disciples and followers? What must they have felt? To watch the One in whom they had loved, suffer and die?

I admit...I absolutely love animals. It is extremely hard for me to watch an animal die. It is even harder for me to watch my loved one's die. I have witnessed both...numerous times. It is excruciatingly painful. How much more to watch my Savior die? It is too hard to imagine. But that's not how it ends! Jesus rose from the grave and conquered death, giving us the promise of eternal life, for those who believe and put their trust in Him!

I believe God loves animals, too. I believe that it grieved God to watch my little cria die. I believe God felt my pain as I watched him die. However, I have faith that God works all things together for His good and perfect will. It seems only fitting to end with this...

I believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.

I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

May you experience God's peace, comfort, and grace today and every day. God hears our cries and feels our pain. He experienced it all...everything. I read in "Our Daily Bread" the following:

"Living forever means living out the thought of eternity that God has placed in our hearts; meeting again one’s believing loved ones, lost through separating death; living in a world without sorrow; seeing our Lord who loves us and gave everything to unite us to Him forever.

But I see another meaning. Since we have this life and the next, we don’t have to “have it all” now. We can live in broken and ruined bodies for a time; we can endure poverty and hardship for a while; we can face loneliness, heartache, and pain for a season. Why? There is a second birth—life in heaven forever." —David Roper

Praise be to God the Father! There is a second life... life in heaven forever.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Baby cria: Day 2

Well, of course I had to post some more pictures of our little cria. He seems to be doing well and is keeping up with mom.

As you can see, my kids just love being around him and holding him. Hayden wouldn't let me catch him in a photo. He's too cool. :o)

Have a blessed day!