Friday, October 11, 2013

Hunting for Root

Ok, so you think I have been drinking the local's the mystery...

We met this man on the other side of our ridge who maintains his "bosses" vast acreage as beautiful hiking trails. First, you got to understand, quite a few people in this area of North Carolina roll their own cigarettes. Unless you catch the wind the right way, you assume it is the local tobacco they are smoking. He is a very smart man, just seems a little out there. We talk about bears, snakes and all other wildlife in between. We talk about the storm that came through the day before where the thunder rolls and rolls and doesn't crackle. Weird! We start discussing flora and he mentions truffles and a few other treasures. Then he says, when not maintaining the property, he is Root Hunting. Ok, I look at George and think....ok. We exchange e-mail addresses and move on.

Pisgah Mountain View from our Ridge
Side note - you know when you are taught in Girls Scout or survival training...never get off the trail. Well, we did...we kept going in the basic direction, but not quite getting over the ridge. Thank goodness for GPS and thank goodness that my phone and service provider did not let me down. We cut through an apple orchard....damn worst apples I ever ate. Not worth getting scratched up by the blackberry bushes. However, those were tasty.

Ok, back the the Root Hunting mystery...a day or so later, Mr. Wheeler drives up to check on things on the mountain. You have to understand that this man has been in these parts for a long time and he must be like the 5th generation. I love his dog...and his dog is tickled to sit in my arms! They ride everywhere together and I don't think his truck goes faster the 5mph. No kidding.

Anyways, we were having some small talk and discussing bear hunting season as it was getting close to the opening date. He says...well, the only hunting I like to do is Root. No way, I think...I'm just too dang embarrassed to ask. You all need to remember that I moved to this part of the country when I was 13 and I remember a lot of what the locals did, but this simply wasn't ringing a bell.

Oh, my....I had a 10 hour drive coming up and a charger to keep that phone going. I do most of my research like this. Google ~ I love Google! There, I said it!

American Ginseng (Panax Quinquefolium L) is a fleshy root perennial. It is a shade requiring plant, native to north facing slops in hardwood forests and best adapted to cool temperature climates. It grows naturally in the western mountains of North Carolina. WNC is one the largest exporters of wild ginseng to China!!! Seriously?? It is big business. Current prices are about $300 per pound, but during a shortage less than 10 years ago, it was fetching $900-1,000 per pound. There is plenty of research out there and also quite a few requirements....and by the can go to prison for stealing ginseng from private property. Root Hunting season begins September 1 and lasts until the first frost. Now mind you, it's not that easy to find and it takes about 5 years before you are able to harvest a plant. The roots must have all the prongs together. So you can't steal from another to get to your pound. This plant was listed a threatened back in 1975.

I carry my camera everywhere...and I was taking pictures of the local wildflowers trying to build and educate myself and the kids of what's around us.

 While researching, various extensions and websites list trees and wildflowers that normally can be found around a clue. This beautiful red flower is Cardinal (lobelia cardinalis) and we are passing them left and right. Yes, I know behind each one you will not find ginseng. But, almost every flower listed in the various websites were one's I had photographed. I think this will replace my geocashing. People guard their stashes very carefully! And it is illegal to destroy it!

Once you find a plant and you have established that it is old enough and will have the required roots,  you take the red seeds off, crush them in your hand and plant. Then you proceed to dig your roots.

I'm still miffed and excited to go on my next hike. I will look at wildflowers in a whole different way. My sister-in -law Heidi is brilliant with this kind of info and fun to go on walks with. She knows so much; but never shared Root Hunting. Mystery!

Rock with moss growing on it

Well, I am glad this work week is over and George is headed home. I'm happy to be in the store and studio tomorrow putting out all the new alpaca clothing that has arrived. And finishing various projects started that customers have been eyeing to buy. I especially enjoy my non-traditional pumpkins. Today's color was Plymouth Rock with a Pewter Mica Top Coat from the American Paint Company.

Enjoy ~ Alicia

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Arrival of the Chicks

This has been some week...we finished the weekend with my Zoe eating pecan/walnut encrusted chicken. We were at a party and she happily served herself several pieces and enjoyed them. Several minutes later, she says Mama, did the chicken have nuts? I asked the caterer and he confirms our suspicion. Benadryl did not work so off to the emergency room we go. In route, we had to use the Epi-pen. We hate to, but this now means a visit to the emergency room. We arrive and are immediately checked in and given a room. Because of the quantity consumed, they are concerned because it is now in her system and will be until it comes out the other end. They give her some steroids and hooked up for monitoring. Three hours later, we get to go home. Needless to say, it was very busy at Morton Plant, therefore, sadly, quite entertaining. It was quite the experience for a 12 year old.

I did learn one thing, next time we use Benadryl first to possibly avoid the Epi-pen, is to combine it with Pepcid AC. Unfortunately, due to the amount of tree nuts she consumed, this was not an option. But glad I had her Epi-pens!

 So, here is Monday, and I still have not heard from the Post Office...usually our chicks arrive over the weekend. Not this time. Get the call first thing Tuesday..."I'm on my way!" After awhile, you feel sorry for the Postal workers...the chirping does not stop. Get to the farm, gates closed, strange. Well, I knew something was up, because a friend needed our farm hand to help out, and calls and texts were not being answered. Holly crap...the animals water bowls were empty. Now, I get into "pissed off" mode. George is in North Carolina and I have the store to open. I'm in a dress and sandals. Not quite farm attire and not very lady like. I go into the first paddock and the girls just crowd me - even the one's that usually keep her distance. They were goosing me and one nibbled my glasses off the top of my head. Get them fresh water with Gatorade. Feed them and proceed to all the paddocks. I am covered in mud...but I am still more angry at the lack of responsibility. Coco, our chocolate lab, is now happy. I proceed to tend to the chickens and move some around to accommodate the new arrivals. By the way, there should be 38 in the box, not 27. So another phone call to make. These girls will not lay eggs for at least 4 months. So, I am now calmer then I was...everyone looks fine so now, to find out where my farm hand "Jesus" is. Well, they got a little intoxicated over the weekend and was, well, put in jail. Great kid....but still a kid and needs to mature. So, at least he is not hurt, maybe in jail he might have time to think of consequences. Meanwhile, muddy toes and all, visit one of our neighboring farms to ask one of their farm hands to help until George gets back and we can find someone else. Thank goodness, Tina was able to open the store. I was a mess! We are blessed in the farming community - we don't ask too many questions, we just help. We know one day, we will need help, too. Thank you Urban Acres, LLC.

On a fun note, one of the chicks had snuck out of the little coup before I had all of them in...she ran into one of the hens and both were a little shocked. I guess she thought "you are not my mother!". It was cute and brought a smile to my face!

Just like the temperature gauge on my dashboard this morning! Wow, 64 degrees, and to think that George up the cabin is 20 degrees cooler. Oh, my! I'm so jealous as are the kids.

 But, good news...we have a range and no longer have to use the Coleman camping burner. And when the kids are done playing in the mud and the spring, we have running hot water and a washer and dryer. So, not yet perfect, but what an upgrade. We continue our investment into a battery bank for our solar power. Our house is still holding steady 64 degrees which is what you would expect since we have not turned on the fire place. Once the grout cures, we will heat the house with this amazing design. It brings the cold air from the basement and filters through the channels in the fireplace. It expels it through the top which circulates through the inside of the house and back out through the shell - a house within a house. Pretty cool...if you want to take a look visit (Enertia Homes).

Well, I'm sad to say, I will be missing Monktoberfest in Asheville this weekend. If you are headed that way, it's tomorrow night. Amazing micro beers!

Here's to cooler temps and less air conditioning! Cheers ~ Alicia

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

North Carolina Adventures

Ok, I shared this story a couple of times and everyone said; you have to blog that. Our last adventure to our Off the Grid Cabin was...well adventurous! So, hope you don't fall asleep...Just before we left I was looking to see what festivals or beer fests were scheduled for our week there. Cool, Waynesville was having it's first beer fest.  Bought our tickets and we were all excited. Western North Carolina has some amazing micro breweries. Got packed up - frozen foods we had already prepared, clean sheets and towels and other supplies we have thought we needed to add to our new getaway. Drop the kids off at school on Friday and head northbound.

We have had way too much rain this year up in the mountains and it has wrecked havoc on our road. Unfortunately, the road is shared so we never quite know what to expect when we arrive. So we do try and get up there before dark. We had a few issues during our prior visits, so George has decided to relocate his "Old Mule" Dodge Dakota 4x4 to the mountains. We won't even discuss the issues with the transporter, but we finally found one and he would arrive right behind us. if we have issues with the road, we will park my Tahoe Hybrid (not 4x4) at the bottom and use his truck to get to the top. Please note that my Tahoe has been doing a pretty good job in the previous visits. So, we are now headed North and we hear from the transporter that he is having issues with his truck and will be delayed a day. Thinking positively, we continue and see what the road would be like once we got there. The weather has cleared over the past few weeks so the road should be dry.  So the road has cleared and nothing like it was in the picture. Our neighbors had just dug a well and have heavy equipment on the road. Wow, we think, they cleaned up nicely and we were all excited about all the work done on our driveway. The Tahoe makes it up the hill one more time!
George stopping the spring from running down the road

 We arrive....home sweet home...we look around and the mouse traps we left out caught a few. They smelt....spent! Hurry get them in a bag and outside. All looks good...still no running water, electricity, gas...we still have the buckets, the generators and the camping stove top. But, it's all good. Love time up there. So, we get settled in, prepare dinner and hike to our sunset spot! We have so many old logging trails that need clearing. Beautiful...back home, take a 5 gallon bucket shower, share a glass of wine and go over our plans for the next day.

Saturday we wake up to this beautiful sunrise coming over our ridge. During all of our time visiting I have yet to catch this shot. So, in a couple of hours, the original designer/engineer for our Inertia Home is coming to walk us through the house. Mind you, this house was one of his first designs and done back in 2000 or so. Mike and his wife were so excited to walk the property and see how it had held up. This was a fun morning. We learned so much about our house inside our house. So, visit over, we decide we should head down to the first Waynesville Beer Fest! We arrive and I have never seen or heard the thunder like this. Even here in Florida! The thunder doesn't just crackle, it rolls and rolls and rolls. It even startled George. Well, here we are in an open field, with metal kegs and tents. Yummy beers, but now it becomes a drunk fest. I'm leaving with water in my glass and one of the guys at the exit says "Mam; you'll have to dump your glass". I asked since when was beer brewed clear? The cop just looks at me and says...good point. Time to go to town and eat some dinner! Downtown has one of their street closure parties that evening. So roads are blocked...grab dinner and head out to do a little shopping and people watch. Gotta go to the Chocolate Bear for their dark chocolate covered peanuts. The best! Then head to Pheasant Hill to grab some of their fudge! I see a butcher block I must have. Mind you, it was built in the early 1900's and weighs a ton. So, the "boys" load it onto a little cart and I jokingly proceed to ride it waving like a queen. They roll me right passed the cop from the beer fest.

Sunset is coming so we decide we need to proceed up the hill. Yes, we got rain on our road...well, the Tahoe made it earlier....let's go again. Once, twice, three's a charm. George, ummm, the rear tire on my side is making a funny sound. Just the tire spinning he said...apparently, on go two, the muffler got unhitched from the car rubbing on a rock that the well diggers had surfaced and covered, but the rain polished it and brought it right out for us. On go three, up, up, up...nope, started spinning so back down. Now, the muffler pipe had turned and nicely did a can opener job on the tire. I'm mad...I get out of the car ready to hike. Back in's Labor Day weekend and tomorrow is the OnStar button and get a tow ready for tomorrow. Grab only the essentials and hike in the dark (with the exception of our flashlights) the two miles up the ridge. Thank you, Mr. Wheeler for letting me know two days later that he had seen a Rattlesnake earlier that day on the road. I'm only worried about the bears because we have seen fresh bear prints on our property. We've also  seen coyote and their prints.

It takes us a couple of hours to catch our breath, but neither waited to long for a rum and coke. Did I mention had the carrier arrived on Friday, my poor Tahoe would not be in this situation. Oh, yeah, carrier had more truck problems. Really, so he missed his Saturday drop off as well. Cell reception where we are is crap. So we keep them fully charged and near the one spot that we know we get signal. Not to bore you, but we finally get a tow guy. We walk back down the 2 miles and pull out that damn chopping block I had to buy. Cover it in plastic and meet our tower. Amazing tower, backs up and starts to inform us that he does not need to go more then 50 yards/feet from a maintained road. Oops...George backs up the Tahoe..I won't get it because the sound of the flat is too much for me to handle. I walk the 1/2 mile. Loads her up and then George proceeds to ask the tow guys for a ride. This is why they call us Floridiats up there. He looks at me and says ok - get in. Well, he has a seatbelt, George has a seatbelt...I don't. I grab the guys notepad and dirty gloves and hold on to. We have some small talk and he learns that I grew up on the other side of them there that hills. Yes, Asheville. He's originally from South Carolina. Ok, he's not annoyed with us anymore. We get to the Asheville Chevy dealership to drop off the Tahoe. He was to meet up at the Waynesville dealership, but said Asheville would be better. We are now to the point...whatever. We get a call from the transporter....something, something...oh, it's his water hose...can he pull the Tahoe off the rig and come get us...I'm just a couple of exits down from you. We sit and sit and sit...George, you think you should call the guy? He arrives....we left the keys in the drop box and load up the Dakota and give the transporter guy a ride. George said, so we exit at (I can't remember) 38 and he said no, it's 49 I was one exit off! Hmm, I'm not good at math unless it has a dollar sign in front of it, but 38 from 49 is not one exit! Drop him off and head to the Home Depot...we buy a few essentials and a grill!!! Stop off at the grocery store and head to our road. First time ever, but once on our drive...I was ready for a beer. We get up the hill, eat dinner and relax.

Monday, Labor Day....not going down the mountain. We decide we are going to clear the one logging trail we think will offer us western exposures (sunsets).

Here we are, prepared to tackle this logging trail. We start and we are moving at a good speed. We also want to clear this area so we can bring the wind mill down as we think it is locked. Oh....did you know yellow jackets have their nests in the ground? We are looking forward not under for snakes. George gets tackled by this swarm. I freak, not because I am allergic, but they are toxic to me. I hate people who scream like girls, but I did. It's not the fear of the beast, it's now I know what this beast can do to me. Then it hits me, I can't leave George up there swarmed. So I run back and I don't want to touch him. I find a branch and sweep these menace off of him. He gets stung three times, me one. No issues, but I have in the past. He says use the, we avoid their area and continue up the logging trail. Amazing, we reach the top...another hornets nest. We steer clear...beautiful spot. our new happy hour. 

We are happy and satisfied and head home for lunch. My wriest starts to swell and based on last time, 24 hours is worse. George says he wants to go work on our's a mini dam..and by the way, we have craw dad's in it!

 Bad day, ended well. Oh my, did you know that your pillow can be a great scratching post while you sleep. I woke George up just rubbing by bite....I woke up in pain and not able to move my hand because of swelling....well, we now have a new day. Get confirmation from the dealership that the part we need has to come in from Detroit...and won't arrive until Thursday. It's not happening...I need to be back in town to collect my kids Friday morning...they sub it out! Thank you! Car will be ready tomorrow and for about half the price. Yeah!

I came to these mountains to do some hiking and I was damn tired of the road, the truck, the, we head south east to one of our logging cuts in to someones private property, but there are no signs to tell you otherwise. We finally run into this guy on an ATV - he "manages" this property for the owners. Really neat guy...and he introduces me to Root Hunting! Without Googling many of you know about root hunting?

Had I told this story when it actually happened you would have enjoyed my anger and sarcasm...I've calmed down since!
View of Pisgah Mountain from our Ridge
Beautiful ferns/moss on a rock

 It amazes me that I was so ready to leave the mountains at a younger age. I listen to my kids tell me how much they enjoy it. And I realize, how much more time I spend with them interacting, and you know what? That is fun! Enjoy the trails.

Life has blessed me with two wonderful girls. It has also brought a partner that enriches our lives and makes these adventures annoyingly fun!

Enjoy life - somewhere I read it is a one time offer; use it wisely.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Birthing News on the Farm

Last blog, I left all with some not so happy news. This week I have something special to share. The girl which we did not think was pregnant any longer, blessed us with a male cria.

Although these pictures were actually of Valentino's birth, some of you have asked that I share.

 This is Sangria giving us a hint she is in labor and starting to dialate.

This might be what we as humans call crowning. We get ever so excited when we see two hoofs. This is when we think, ok, we are almost there. No intervention will be needed. 

 Mamma, the hardest part is done! Swoop, and cria is now on the ground. We quickly check for heartbeat...and let Mom sniff. This is usually when all the other "Auntie's" come to investigate or what I call approve. At this point Mom usually  gets some yummy supplement and delivers her placenta. We step away and watch to make sure cria is up and nursing within 30-60 minutes.

  By the way...this is Carlitos Belcher, born September 4, 2013. Can you guess why his name is Carlitos Belcher? Well, we try and keep our names with a "Spanish" twist for those birthed here. So, thanking Charley Belcher (Tampa Fox 13) for doing such a fun story on our farm and store...we thought we would name our last birth of the year after him.
Charley Belcher feeding Razz

Carlitos Belcher hanging with Catch Me
Modeling for the farm photo album
Dang photographer after me again!

 Busted! I knew I would catch Carlitos after nursing!

That concludes our 2013 breeding season. We had more boys then girls this year, but this gives us the opportunity for adding some amazing genetics to our farm. Hopefully, this will bring us some amazing beautiful fleeces come shearing season.

We have a new batch of chicks arriving over the next few weeks and the seeds are starting to get planted. I've been pulling some great leeks, basil, parsley and jalapenos from our garden.

Our neighbor across the street - Twiss Trucking, has added us to their perishable list. So, any non-dairy or non-meat freight that is damaged (literally the box damaged, but unable to deliver), he has offered to our chicks! Wow, you should see how happy they were with their fresh bread. And soon, we will have the beer mash from Barley Mow's. I stopped it earlier because is encouraged too many flies. But every day, we try and lessen ours or others foot print on our gentle earth.

So, for entertainment value, some of you have asked that I share our latest adventures in North Carolina. That will soon follow! So, to those....join our blog and comment!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mama and Baby Screech Owl
 Days on the farm can vary tremendously from days filled with the  most amazing surprises, to others filled with anger and sadness.

As many of you know, I work the farm mostly on Monday's processing fiber to sell, weave into rugs or to spin into beautiful yarns. This is the day that the alpacas know I will come visit with them and check on their well being. This includes weights, fecals and checking on their pastures.

My last day at the farm office, I was mostly watching one of our girls who has yet to have her baby. She keeps us on pins and needles because she is now, in our minds, overdue. Alpacas gestation period is generally 11 - 11 1/2 months. We just call it 340 days. Some have gone on to 365....and so our concerns continue. Will keep you posted.

Between my inspections, I did manage to snag some really cool pictures. For the past 4 years, Mama Screech Owl has been blessing us with her presence. George built these nesting boxes and placed them in various places. It took a year, but Mama found her favorite one. This day, Baby was not cooperating with my photo session (I thought). The morning light was shinning brightly on him, but the barn cast a shadow over Mama. It wasn't until I loaded the pictures on the computer, that I realized I had captured Mama as well. I enhanced the brightness and what a delightful surprise. I have not seen them since that morning, so it was Mama teaching Baby, "it's time to go". Safe travels and hope to see you next year!

Just before leaving, I was picking Basil leaves to make some Pesto sauce for dinner. I was greeted by another special surprise. Tree frogs nestled in the leaves. Days like this are special. 

Unfortunately, I do have some sad news to share....while we were gone to our special place outside of Cruso, we received a call from the caretaker at the farm. One of our Macho's had decided it was time to play Master Herdsire. Unfortunately, the old cliche boys will be boys does hold true. So, with great weight on my heart I share, Frango managed to injure and kill Oli (Oliver). There was nothing we could have done to help with his injuries. We will need to find another paddock to keep Frango in as he continuous to be aggressive. 

I cannot leave on a total sad note, so I have an update on the bananas....still doing their ripening thing....


And...this is my outside farm office....and the only one that is usually neat. I LOVE being organized, but as of late, it just doesn't seem to be me. I totally dislike it, but I don't seem capable of getting organized. One day.....

I still LOVE what I do and those that surround me! Life on the farm seems to give you a different perspective on life. Catch up soon and for all those teachers out there - A BIG THANK YOU - another year has just begun.  ~ Alicia

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Our Home Off The Grid Venture..

Sitting patiently is not one of my strengths and doing absolutely nothing is not relaxing! Saying that, I have learned that while sitting in the woods in North Carolina with just the sounds from nature to be very relaxing. This is about the only place that I have patience to wait and wait. I have sat hours waiting for the owl to show his or her face. I know it is there because it announced it's presence. So relaxing, I fell asleep until awaken, not by an animal, but my glass of wine spilling onto my lap.

We have found an amazing 23 acres in Haywood County, NC. The house is entirely off the grid - we have solar, but no battery banks. We have wind, but it is locked 80 feet high. We have beautiful springs that fill our streams, but not our toilets. The house has been left open to Mother Nature for the past 10 years or so. So here starts our new adventure.

 There was a yurt located down from the house filled with goat soap making supplies. It took George and myself more than two days to clean and take apart. We now make trips into town to drop off trash and recycling - and they know we are coming!

 This is the road to our barn. You pass the solar panels on the way. These are not up and running yet. They were once upon a time.
Solar Panels Just Waiting to get to Work
Wind Power Ready to Blow

 This is the barn that originally housed the goats. We won't have goats, but hope one day to have our alpacas there. It would be so amazing to have horses. There are so many beautiful old logging trails that meander in and out of the property. Oh, the beauty of the Pisgah National Forest. To think my childhood was spent here and so eager to get away. Now, all I want is to get back home. Like James Taylor sings..."In my mind I'm going to Carolina...."

So, this fantastic team that we have assembled will be responsible for getting this house prepped for many years of fun to come. Funny, because right now I don't hear country music, I hear Joe Satriani's Always With Me, Always With You.
Team Leader (because he holds the machete)
Fabulous Team Members 
Picture Fall Colors
So, I have immersed myself into yet another journey. I think this will be another happy one. I am always grateful for what my life has brought me and what paths I have taken. So many wonderful things....and the little one's that weren't...thank you anyways.



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Shearing and Updates

Spring has officially arrived, but is feels more like summer. We grew an amazing crop of veggies - zucchini, Kaleidoscope carrot, beans, cucumber, tomato, tomatillo and cilantro. We had some fun heirloom items that took us by surprise - Lemon Cucumber. It looks like a lemon, but it's a cucumber. First time, we managed to grow onions!

Gotta watch those squirrels

 This shot was taken from the studio. Susan and Debra stopped in for some studio time. George dropped off the latest from the garden.

Thanks to everyone who supported our produce venture by purchasing and consuming our bounty!

Just wait to avocado and lime season....

Ready to shear!

George giving Gil and Debby a quick lesson
Sporting New Spring Look
The weekend of April 13th, we were joined by some of our usual volunteers for shearing. Thanks go to my "brother" Gil and our friend Eddie and his daughter Taylor. We had some new recruits - big thanks to Debby, Debra and Susan! Somehow, I stopped taking pictures, so not everyone is included! Sorry!

We had one accident which required some stitching. La Crema healed beautifully thanks to "Dr." George. I am always amazed by George! We both have learned so much about alpacas and life in the past five years. He continuously surprises me with his gentleness and eagerness. So easy to see why I love him!
Nurses Debby and Eddie preparing to stich La Crema

 All in all, we had a great weekend and our harvest was successful. Now, to process all the fiber. And, I might have to recruit my friend Gerri to come help me. She does an amazing job spinning. I love when she visits with me. She is so full of enthusiasm and creativity. This is a hint if you are reading!
This spring our farm and yard has been an amazing place of discovery. We had a bunny birth 3 bunnies. Unfortunately, we discovered these by watering the flowers and the critters. One snuck under the flowers, so I nudged the other two to join. The sun would soon be upon them. I need to go sneak a peak to see if they are still around.

Mamma Duck incubating her eggs.
We were joined by a Mallard family and she laid 12 eggs in our Staghorn fern. Seven ducklings were swimming in the pool this morning. Three eggs still in the nest and one stolen by another animal (carcass located). One is unaccounted for. 

Mamma actually pulled her feathers and made a down cover to place over her eggs while she left for a swim.

Surprisingly, the Black Crowned Night Heron's make more of a mess around the ledge of the pool. However, this will be the fourth year that I am aware they have been coming to nest in our back yard. So, here is to our backyard being a bird sanctuary! I'm hoping the ducklings remain as courteous as their parents.
School is out at the end of this week and I am so looking forward to the unstructured schedule that comes with summer. My volunteering schedule lightens incredibly. Haley has bridged in Girl Scouts to a Junior - wow, soon to have two kids in 7th grade and one in 4th! 

Cheers to all! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Oh, the past three weeks...

 Well, we took off for spring break to North Carolina. We expected to do quite a bit of hiking and even maybe some water rafting. The weather decided for us. We had some amazing cold temperatures and the kids thoroughly enjoyed the snow. I will have to admit, this will be the third consecutive visit (Oct., Oct., and now March and each time has snowed). As we do, we always look for future land for our herd (family and animals). We thought we had found the coolest 26 acres with a house (off the  power or water company). There were solar panels and a wind mill, but we would have to see if they were operable. The owners apparently vacated back in 2000 and left everything as is...and Fannie Mae thinks she is sitting on a gold mine. I don't know too many people who want to tackle this. However, for George and me....this is a dream. Bonus....this was the kids favorite property. Will wait and see what happens. If it's meant to be....I hope. Beautiful springs and a lot of woods...and it backs up to the Pisgah Natural Forest.

Well, kids attempting to do snow angels. This was a beautiful hike onto Whiteside Mountain.

Home and back into the swing of things. Washing fiber and preparing for various different  projects. I have some fabulous spinning wheels that are looking forward to being set up (are you listening George?). Some fiber will be carded for felting and others for spinning. We have a few requests for yarn. I'm feeling confident with my spinning.

Fiber drying...this row is being prepared to go to Texas to be weaved into rugs!

Monday's are my days to return to the farm. I think I managed to wash about 50 pounds of fiber. I am so looking forward to processing. I did manage to sneak in a stash to card so I can spin. The rest will be processed and sent to Texas to be woven into rugs.

In life, there are things that enrich us in many ways. Whether it be the experience, the knowledge or just a humbling moment. Friday, March 5th, I was taking the girls to dance. George asked me to get to the farm to assist with a birth. Alpaca's tend to birth in the late morning/early afternoon. Razz did the same thing last year. Here we were again, same situation. We needed to assist - one nose, two huffs and the rear one being a door stopper. We adjusted the rear leg and birthed. Small (8 pounds) strong heart beat, but not breathing. George holds him and drains the fluid. This cria tried for 45 minutes to get up, but not enough to milk. We milked Razz for the colustrum, fed the cria. Unfortunately, just before 9pm, we lost our little boy. Honestly, I have never seen a mom affected by a loss. Razz is probably one of my favorites (I'm not allowed that, so keep this amongst ourselves), and to this day, she always holds a special spot. She is doing fine and I caught her napping yesterday under the oaks. If I could have snuck in and laid next to her, I would have been overjoyed. She always welcomes me and so loves to eat the leaves off the broccoli or carrots from our veggie garden. She once stole my banana right outa my hands. She thought she was so mischievious!

 Oh, the girls snuck into the shelter and I did not realize George had opened the door....I left the other open...not good. They ran straight into the vegetable garden....steam was so being expelled from George's ears! Ooops...

Well, we prepare to shear this weekend. My brother Gil joins us from Phoenix (I think this is his 4th year??). I'm not sure what I would do without him. Mostly, because I am not sure how he puts up with me.

Our chicks born January 27th are growing and should be laying eggs starting in a couple of weeks. Slow process, but worth every second. They feed on their feed and all of our vegetable garden scraps!

I will post pictures, but keep checking my blog and website. Our classes expand and change. I am excited to offer a summer girls craft week (one week). I will post more details, but my daughters are really excited and are amazed of the different and fun new projects!!!

Oh, another day awakens tomorrow with many wonderful surprises! I like getting up each morning...some days you know are going to be great and others will just be fine. I do know one kids rock!!!!!