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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hey Lady; Do you wanna Duck?

On my way home yesterday I stopped at the local market in Curtis to pick up a gallon of milk. The lovely Mandy said "would you like a duck too?". I did a double take at the poor frightened Common Goldeneye on the floor. It had been dropped off by one of the delivery people who found it on the highway. Many diving ducks mistake dark or iced pavement for rivers and unsuspectingly crash down onto hard pavement, and because their legs are set so far back on their bodies they can't move. Diving ducks are not good at walking but are damn good swimmers. I scooped the poor fellow up, brought him home and made a makeshift pond out of an 18 gallon Rubbermaid tote. I also had stopped at the bait store for a couple dozen small fish which I also put in the tub. He greedily ate every fish! Our guest spent the night floating with his bill tucked into the feathers on his back. This morning I went back for more fish, and while I was doing chores he ate half a dozen more.

I released him in Portage Creek right here in town which is the only open water I know of for miles. Hopefully with a full belly he can find his way back to his raft of comrades who are likely in the Straits of Mackinac. I stupidly left the remaining fish in the tub and left the bathroom door open. I suspect the kittens are having some fun....

During our recent flirt with Arctic air I took these photos of "frost feathers" that appeared magically overnight on the breeding sheep's water bucket. It was also very sunny that morning, so there are at least some perks to -15 Fahrenheit.


Monday, January 27, 2014


"God's Country" is what Michigan's Upper Peninsula is often called. What isn't widely known, is that the "God" in question is the Norse Goddess Skadi; the goddess of ice and winter....and apparently she is mightily pissed off!
No school today or tomorrow because of the cold (colder than the last cold snap). The kids are beside themselves with joy. The adults on the other hand had lots of barn prep and snow moving to do and we aren't looking forward to morning chores!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lady Tamar and Neha Von Hershey

Brrrr.....again. Chores were done in -11 degrees Fahrenheit this morning so little skin was exposed. I accidentally reversed the camera on my phone and took this all too real photo in my humble barn clothes.

My hair IS getting some grey, but those exposed stray bits are covered in frost!

Yesterday Will and I went on a big adventure to Menominee County (just about ten miles from Wisconsin), to visit an alpaca farm that was retiring. There were nine females left and we brought home two (showing good restraint I thought); Lady Tamar and Neha Von Hershey. They sound like baronesses from Ankh Morpork!

Neha is a black registered huacaya alpaca out of champion bloodlines. She has a sweet face and lovely black fiber. Tamar is rose grey in color and very soft too! The breeders were retiring and selling these girls at rock bottom prices. I mean that too.....Duncan could have bought one with the money he's been saving in his piggy bank ( darn! I should have asked him if he wanted one!). There was one more that tempted me with beautiful deep dark mahogany brown fiber. We are rounding out our colors and fiber types nicely with these two. I have my eyeball on a gorgeous dark grey huacaya on the Far East end and hope her price will come down as she isn't registered or breed-able. She has the longest and softest dark fiber I have ever felt.

In addition, they gave us ALL of last years clip from fourteen animals! I'm overwhelmed with fluffy goodness in a rainbow of alpaca colors. Of course it all needs to be sorted and washed and processed...

Kudos to Will for all the work he did digging out our friends trailer so we could go get the girls (and the fiber)!


Monday, January 6, 2014

I'm not complaining....

I'm not going to bore everyone with dire weather reports, because we're pretty much all in the same boat.

That said; it is eight degrees below zero with a -31 degree wind chill.

We are toasty warm inside and I hope the wooly beasts are warn enough without. They do have good bedding, warm fiber, and strength in numbers. These are the kind of conditions that sort out the weak from the strong though. But enough. I did get out to visit and snap some photos yesterday.

My beautiful Fancy Pants.
She is nine years old and is going to break my heart someday.

Fancy and Foula


Muckle Mull and his ewes

Sweet, shy Maya

I think it is the little tilt of the head that steals my heart.

Nala and Deja

Daisy is not missing out on groceries! She is half shetland and half cormo bred to Mull for lushly wooled late April when it will hopefully be warm again.