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!

It's a BOY!

Cotton finally delivered a male cria yesterday morning at 7:00 A.M. I, of course, missed the whole birthing! I went out at just a few minutes after 7:00 to feed the animals. When I entered the pasture, I saw that this little guy had just been born.

Cotton has been bagging up for over a week now, so I was glad the delivery day finally came! My family already had tickets for Six Flags (perfect timing, huh?), so the hubby and kids went without me. I spent the day out in the pasture, knitting a hat, while watching the cria first stand, walk, run, and eat.

What a perfect day for a delivery! The temperature was just perfect and the breeze was wonderful. It was very relaxing just sitting out in my chair watching the dynamics of the group.

It's quite a show watching the dynamics of the herd when a new one arrives. Everyone came over to sniff him out and then welcome him to their group. Lucy, who is Cotton's daughter, began nuzzling the little one right away. It was so sweet! She rubbed her head up and down his neck. When he stood, she would nudge him along, as if encouraging him to walk.

It didn't take long before this little guy was up and running with the herd! It's amazing how quickly they figure out their legs! This will be the only birth we have this year on the ranch. We've cut back, due to the economy. While I am very, very sorry we won't have more, I am very thankful for this little cutie! My kids are already working on a name for him. I'll keep you posted!

These animals are so wonderful. I feel so very, very blessed to have them as a part of my life!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

And they're FINISHED!

Today, we headed over to Don's place to shear his five alpacas. Don "acquired" these animals when he purchased his property a couple of years ago. His alpacas are more for yard art, than anything else. So, once per year, we make a trip over to Don's place to shear his animals.

The shearing was rather uneventful, with the exception of Jose, who in attempting to catch an alpaca, hit his head on a metal bar and gashed his forehead. I would like to state, though, that no animals were hurt in the shearing of these animals. :o)

It was an absolutely GORGEOUS day today and was perfect for shearing. The animals are now ready for the heat of summer. And Tim, well, he gets another year's rest from shearing.

Hats and scarves

Those are our latest "thangs" for our Fiber Day.

Donna brought in a Hummel blanket she made years ago for a Christmas present to the president of the Hummel club. It was recently returned to her for a keepsake. Isn't it amazing!?!

Anna is working on her sixth hat! Joyce, Anna and I took a break from the hats and made some new scarves out of a yarn Diane introduced us to.

Iris has finished her baby blanket for charity.

All in a days "work". We're having fun!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shearing day a SUCCESS!

I would like to send a great, big THANK YOU to each and every one of you! Wow! What an absolutely AMAZING set of friends we have! Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU! for showing up to help us out with shearing. We can't tell you how much easier it was this year compared to last year. Many hands do make light the work. Our alpacas are all shorn and more prepared to handle the heat of summer and I've got a craft room full of fiber to begin processing!

And now, since pictures are like a thousand words... Enjoy!

Baskets were setup to collect all of the leg, belly, and top knot fiber. This fiber is too course to be used in garments or other items close to the skin. This will either be turned into rug yarn or will be used to stuff pillows, etc.

The table is set and we are ready to go!

The "victims" unknowingly await for their turn on the mats. Do you see the "deer in the headlight" look? Uh huh...

Oh no! You can't make me go! I won't do it!

Well, since you put it that way... I'm a sucker for a chin scratch.

Anna was my FANTASTIC "bag lady". She pulled all of the blankets off onto a plastic sheet and rolled it like a burrito.

Peggy used to be a vet tech. She loves animals and LOVES to clip toenails... I know! Go figure! Thank you, Peggy!

Proof I was there... I was... REALLY!

Oh that luscious fiber! Jammer STILL has it! Ooo la la!

Another thanks goes out to Tim and his son, Michael. You would have thought these two grew up around alpacas. They were AWESOME! Thanks, guys!

An on-looker. "Boy am I glad they only trim my wings!"

"What are you looking at????"

The bag lady in action. I love you, bag lady!!!

Just for cuteness. Isn't she the cutest???

I can't begin to thank the Sutter family. They showed up, for the very first time EVER, and pitched in to help. They cleaned the alpacas before bringing them to the mats. What a HUGE help. Thank you!!!

Feels like butter! Really! :o)

More butter. Thank you, Ruth, for your help, too! What a great friend!

Dee and Mark were fantastic helpers, too. They pitched in on a variety of jobs. Dee is an alpaca LOVER!

Hailey became our chef for the day, making approximately 96 hotdogs. You go girl! We were really, really hungry.

After all of their fiber comes off, they really want a good hosing. It just feels sooooo good!

"Get me in my face, on my back, belly, rump, I don't care! Just GET ME!"


"While all of y'all were busy with the alpacas, just LOOK what I found!!!"

Thank you to everyone who helped...
Brian and Dawn
Gordon and Ruth
Tim and Michael
The entire Sutter family
Mark and Anna
Mark and Dee

I hope I didn't miss anyone!

Thank you to each of you for giving up your Saturday to help us out. You are simply amazing and we are humbled by your friendships. May God bless you for your blessing to us!