Saturday, November 14, 2009

Back in the (Alpaca?) Saddle Again

Over a year since I last blogged--grieving is a process. I still grieve the loss of Brad, but my life is back on track. So much has happened this past year:

  • I learned how to drive standard drive, one-ton Dodge Ram pulling a trailer!
  • I retired from my 10+ years at the University of Idaho at the end of July (although, as my friends know, I kept working, working, working part-time)
  • I become a full-time alpaca farmer!
  • Managed to direct the shearing of over 55 alpacas in two days, the crew cleaning the animals, bagging the fiber, taking pictures, trimming toenails, taking care of teeth, giving vaccinations and worming shots.
  • We had 20 successful crias born between May 30 and October 2! (more boys than girls this year :( but they're all beautiful! This is a headshot of Miguel, one of the last ones born.
  • Drove to and from WSU veterinary school how many times??? taking in crias and moms for exams and a few difficult births.
  • Went to the PNAA Alpaca Show with some great friends I couldn't have done without--took third place in "Breeders' Best of Three."
  • Worked very hard on the Obama campaign--hoorah! It kept my mind off my own troubles last fall.
  • Sold knitted items, yarn and alpaca roving at a booth at the UI's Women's Works in December.
  • Gave a sermon at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Palouse on grieving that was well-received
  • Worked with the Purple Paisley Quilters to hold a successful service auction at UUCP.
  • Harvested tomatoes, beans, zinnias, squash, corn and strawberries.
  • Accepted a position on the UUCP Board of Directors.
  • Purchased a greenhouse, which is still being erected--hope to sell produce down in Troy next summer.
  • Purchased a spinning wheel--of course, I still have to learn how to use it!
  • Became a part of the Troy Creative Co-op and began giving some knitting lessons.
  • Took 16 alpacas to an auction in Nebraska, getting stuck in Chugwater, Wyoming, waiting for the blizzard to stop and the roads to open, but leaving Nebraska in 70 degree weather!
  • And got back to knitting again!!!
Still much to do--I want to reduce the number of alpacas on the farm and have a reasonable number so I can still play with fiber and watch these wonderful gentle, lovable, curious and intelligent animals. My favorite thing, I always say, is sitting on the back porch with a glass of wine and watching the crias play!!

It snowed for the first time yesterday and everything was lovely, white, and peaceful today. And besides the fact that I locked myself out of my bedroom until I figured out how to unscrew the doorknow, I'm feeling pretty good these day!!