Friday, September 29, 2006

Picture of our newest arrival! Born yesterday, on my birthday the smart girl- and a lovely little thing she is.
All in all it was a great birthday, I got a female cria- and hubby got a job! Woo-hoo and pass the sparkling cider!!

This is the last cria of the year for us. And just in time for fall- which can get mighty cold up here.
I thought I would share a couple of funny email stories I have shared with others over the years.
As for the sari incident referred to here, that will have to wait for another day :))

This happened last year- seriously...
Okay Kat, so I will share yet the latest story in a series of embarrassing moments in my life...
The other day, the dogs start barking and my daughter says she sees a truck in the driveway. The main driveway goes all the way around our house, and we get lost people at our place all the time. Usually they pull up to the beginning of the drive around, see the house, and say oops! Then back down the road they go. Sometimes they drive up, see the alpacas, and decide to stop and looky-loo :)

This time they drove to "The Blind Spot"- the one spot on my driveway not visible from any windows in the house. So I go out the front door, after throwing on some thongs (in my jammies), and start the walk down the drive. No one there! So as I start walking back, yes, I was just WALKING, I promptly do some strange foot-slip-off-the-side-of-the-shoe thing and down I go.... all the way to the ground. Not one graceful bone in my body have I, and when I go down, it is a sight to see (so I am told, having just done a face plant - literally- off my bike in the stream a couple of days ago riding with my daughter...)

Seeing as how I was really surprised, having let out a whoop that made the machos in the boys pen run away in fright, and not too sure I was all in one piece, I lay on my back just making sure there were no compound fractures, and thinking "Boy, I am sooo glad there wasn't anyone here!" when a shadow falls over me, and this very tall, very handsome guy, trying hard not to smirk too much, asks if I am all right... Seems they got out of the truck after parking around the other side of the house. See, they saw the 'llamas' from the road and just decided to drop by.......

This wouldn't be too bad if I already hadn't lived through the wasp in the sari incident, or the visitor at the sliding door with me in my towel incident....
I have decided I have suffered enough humiliation and embarrassment in my life and falling down is getting to be too hard on my body at my age. My children can't believe I say that! I mean, where will they get all their belly laughs if not from their clutzy mom???

And this one, written last Spring after I quit my job -and in response to someone else who just had- to raise alpacas full time:
Why Chris of course you are a nutcase!! We all are! Don't you listen to/read everything out there about alpaca owners? You have to be nuts to spend every penny you have on a bunch of fuzzball long necked sheep!!!
We are all looney to spend hours laying on the ground just to get a glimpse of a preggo's udder.
Crazy we are to await our cria births with as much anxiety as we (the women) did our first born child!
Bonkers we are to call and write to everyone we know telling them about the birth of our first (or 100th) cria!
Off our rockers are we who, instead of pictures of our own flesh and blood, carry multiple photo albums with 'baby' pictures of our herd!
Wacko are we who, instead of working our tails off at some high paying job drop everything to live the alpaca lifestyle!!
Yep, I quit my day job Tuesday, it is official, I am certifiably a nutcase.

Here is one that was a bit more serious. Asked why we do this by an actual breeder who was going through some trouble at the time, the original email sparked a furious debate among other breeders and wannabe breeders about the pros and cons of alpaca ownership. This was my response- also last year right about this time:

Hi all,
Just back from an exhausting turn at the Kern County Fair. The older I get the harder it gets to hold up well at these long events :)) Reading all of the anxiety and questioning of everything and everyone, so thought I would share some thoughts, forgive me if I ramble a bit.

After setting up our display tables, hooking up electric fans for our displaced mountain pacas (got down to Bakersfield and the heat was back up to 100 degrees, well, they call it Bako for a reason.. LOL) hanging up product, putting out educational literature and the ever present all time favorite editions of Alpacas Magazine, trying to answer attendees questions at the same time, I again get my fix of what this business is all about.

Never mind the drunk guy banging on the panels calling to the alpacas, when he started spitting at them he crossed the line and I had to let him have it, politely of course. Never mind the hundreds of times I had to say: "No, they won't spit at you. No, they aren't baby llamas. No, they don't bite. No, they aren't camels (exactly). They don't like to be touched on the head. Please don't climb on the panels. Please don't feed them anything but our pellets." (the last 2 were lessened a bit by signs we made and placed all over this year)

Never mind the heat, the stress, the expensive food, loud music, rodeo dust, and bleating sheep, allergies and asthma, the losing of one's voice from speaking to thousands of people.... let's get to what it's really all about.

Getting to spend the days hands on with my best group of paca boys, with one new 'trainee' in the mix is worth it. Rebonding with my boy Gil-Galad, first cria born on the ranch, and best PR paca in the world. We share a special bond he and I. He is able to derive comfort from my presence, to calm himself and ease any anxiety he might be feeling, and I too am calmed by his presence. Our routine is for me to ask him to stand still so I may approach him, then he nuzzles my neck until he is ready to go on and be handled by the public. If he doesn't want to be handled, he will turn himself away from me after the nuzzle. Sometimes I am able to turn him around by a series of command and touch sessions (I ask him to touch, he puts his nose in my hand, repeat) but, there are times when he has had enough and it is someone elses turn, I can respect that.

To think that he remembers this routine even though he might sometimes only attend 4 or 5 such events a year is astounding to me. That he respects me enough to trust me totally with his care and handling at noisy, crowded, stressful times like these is something to wonder at. That he is such a good example to the other pacas there, who try as hard as they can, but just can't quite be as good as he is at this, is amazing. That he responds so well that he moves into the exact position I ask him to without even touching him is amazing to me.

Perhaps something rubs off, our new suri boy went to the fair for his first event, he too was able to derive comfort from me and bolster himself for all the attention. By the end of the event he had even stopped being so 'kicky' and enjoyed head rubs from everyone to the delight of all the very young children who really think they are just big doggies. Our youngest 14 month old Earendil was able to stand for me without running 4 out of 5 times, good odds for only his second event. Rewards are offered of course for good behavior. Time outs and a 'talking to' for anyone who gets spitty when it is time for kids to feed.

Sitting in the pen with my boys cushed all around me is one of my most favorite things. Hmmmm............... Better than crias pronking all around me? Hard to top sitting with my home girl Osita and having her labor at my feet and give birth right next to me. The sight of a special needs child so afraid to touch a paca, finally reach out and make that first contact, then the joy spreads over their face at their accomplishment. The toddler laughing hysterically as one of the pacas eats pellets from his stroller tray. That new cria who braves the fierce and wild jungle house cat and chases her out of the pen to leap and dash back to tell mom, "See what I did mom?!" The young man we met at the fair this weekend who came back day after day, asking new questions all the time... he wants to start FFA with a paca, he was hooked. That man who spent an hour perusing through AM, asking great husbandry questions and talking with me about breed standards and the crazy fads the cattle and sheep industry have gone through. "Not that I'm gonna ever have any, but what about....?" he would ask, over and over..... yep, he's caught the fever, he just don't know it yet! Seeing all your moms nursing and clucking to their crias all at the same the dinner bell rang.... pretty cool stuff. Wouldn't trade it for anything, not blue ribbons, not a full page spread in the FRG, not the Binford 3000 sure shot grand champion maker, not nothin.

Someone asked, why are we doing this? I'm sorry you don't know already, and I will rejoice with you when you figure it out.

Okay, enough for now. LOL, this is getting to feel like a "best of" show and I am certainly not talented enough for that!

This has been a very trying week. Someday, when my heart is healed a bit more, I will share the story, but for now, thank you for being out there, and letting me share a little bit of my life with you.


cozmic said...

Happy Birthday, and I am glad that your husband has found another job. You have a excellent way of writing, of bringing people into your world in sharing the ups and downs of your life I am sorry for the heartache that you keep inside for now.
The little cria looks absolutely wonderful. I read the other day in something or other, can't remember what it was (memory going) that someone in england is starting an alpaca farm (is that what they are called?) Now forgive my ignorance, but are they raised for their coats? is it like a sheep for the wool? I am fascinated by these creatures.

Rachelle Black said...

Hay Cozmic,
Well, thank you very much!
That is totally my intention when writing.
This life is so cool, I just want to share it! I am glad you are riding the rollercoaster with me.

How about I write my next blog all about why we raise alpacas and what we do with them? Besides love them I mean. I should have written about it in the beginning, thanks for the great idea!

There are a few breeders across the pond there that I know of. One even in Ireland, one in Italy I believe as well.
Cool beans :))

Gattina said...

Lol, nice stories ! Especially when I immagined how you felt down. That's not very kind of me I know, but in these situations you only see the funny side.
Unfortunately I have no herd, and therefore no pictures in my wallet, but four cats and from them I have one.

Jamey Morrison said...

Congrats on the new baby.Sorry about your loss as well.I'll be in town Oct 14th to Oct 16th at Halloween Haunt at Knotts.I'll be staying with mom.Talk to you again soon.Love you

PS.Sign my guestbook on my website and take a look at it.There's NO bad words in it.I promise LOL
PPS.You REALLY need to get Yahoo Messenger so we can chat regularly

mousie said...

rachelle, I missed your birthaday, I'm so sorry...when I sit near you it's just as if I had always been there...I quite understand how you feel...One christamas night in my parentsin law farm, a baby calf was born...and really I felt so close to the cow giving birth...we were just two females watching each other...having something in common, giving birth...Happy birthday love and many many babies in the herd.

Rachelle Black said...

Sure Gattina, laugh all you want :))
I know, I exist solely to provide entertainment for my family- or so it seems.
Glad to be able to amuse others as well!

Rachelle Black said...

Dearest Mousie,
Thank you for the belated birthday wish, as we get older, we would like to forget all about our birthdays.. (why am I using third person plural??)

Someday I will share stories about my Osita- who will only have her crias when I am there with her, and labors at (or on) my feet.
It is a precious thing!

Anonymous said...