Saturday, January 27, 2007

Joe Blog's interview

Hi there!

Well, I guess I've made the big time LOL. See me featured on Joe Blog's blog and read my in depth interview.

Thanks to everyone here for reading, it is greatly appreciated and I have met some really and truly wonderful people. What would I do without all of you?


Thursday, January 25, 2007

of Alpacas and Kings

Aren't I cute??

BMAR's Fanny Bryce 19 months old- she's for sale!BMAR's Heathertoes- 7 months old

BMAR's Rosie Cotton-4 months old- smiling at you!
BMAR's Quickbeam (formerly known as Little boy- also 4 months)- "Is this thing on??"
A beautiful picture of a colt taken by my friend Holly Zech who breeds Fresians (someday I'm going to have one!)

So today I thought I'd share what picture taking is like on the ranch. Oh, and some other stuff too I am sure. Taking pictures of alpacas is always a challenge, as you can see there are many types or alpacas. There are the hams- take Quickbeam for example and his eyeball. He gets as close to the camera as he can, and then I can't get a good shot of him. Or he stands there with his ears down and it looks like he's some kind of weird earless alpaca or something. You can just hear them singing "I'm too sexy for my fleece, too sexy for my fleece, that's why I'm such a tease...." as they pose and prance around. (oh great.... now I'm gonna have that song stuck in my head all day.... yikes!!)

There are the ones who love to get in the way. Osita comes to mind... nobody better get in the way of her and her buddy- me- when I'm in the pen. Lovely sentiment Osita girl, and certainly I feel the same way dear but it makes picture taking extremely difficult when your big butt is in the way, or you are chewing your cud breath in my face as I am trying to get that perfect shot... of somebody else.....

There are the alpacas who would rather eat nails then get close to a 2-legger, fortunately I don't have too many of those. They require the zoom lense and a steady hand... and Osita nowhere in the vicinity.

Then there are alpacas like Hally, who can't stand still for more than a minute and always move at the last nano second from the perfect pose to the utterly ridiculous. Mouth askew chewing, bulging cheeks regurgitating cud, one eye open and shaking their head, etc... My boy Luxor comes to mind. I don't think I have but one good picture of him- and he is going to be 8 in February. He looks like a total dork in every picture I have.

Some alpacas are just naturally photogenic- like Rosie Cotton. She looks cute in every picture I take of her. She even smiles for the camera!

The other day I was having a bad day. I have been having so much trouble with my neck and back. In 2004 I was in a serious car accident that left me with hematomas in my chest, the ligaments that hold the ribs to the chest wall torn, three discs bulging in my neck, a fractured tailbone, bruising that went all the way to the bone in my chest, torn ligaments in my shoulder, two front teeth chipped, a slight concussion and kept me completely out of commission for 6 months. I was driving 55 in cruise control and someone made a left turn in front of me. I didn't even have time to hit the brakes- I just hit him. Literally I was saved by the airbag. After physical therapy for almost a year, the pain became manageable- albeit constant- and I was just starting to get back into the routine of being able to work out, be outside with the alpacas, and um, sounds silly, but carry things. Then in August of last year someone hit me again. This time on my own dirt road for Pete's sake. It flared up everything, injured my neck even further, and has made my life difficult (said with teeth gritted) again.
Having a neck injury is really a pain, er, in the neck! I'll never forget what the neurologist said when he got the MRI results back. "I have some good news, and some bad news. The good news is- it's not bad enough for surgery. The bad news is, it's not bad enough for surgery." See, surgery can fix the problem 99% of the time. If your injury isn't bad enough for surgery (although there is a high probability that with a neck injury that is non surgical, it will require surgery later down the line) then you just have to live with the pain, and hope you don't hurt it further. So here I am back in PT again and now my low back hurts too- just to shake things up a little LOL.
I don't say all this to get a poor Rachelle response, just to give you some insight into how badly my life was disrupted and how much I missed doing the regular things I took for granted before the first accident. Like carrying things, lifting, vaccuming..... okay, that- not so much.... sitting and standing, walking and spending loads of time with the alpacas.
So, back to the story- bad day, I go outside to take some pictures of the paca crias and in 5 minutes I forget all about myself and am immersed in them. Their smells, the way they crowd around to see if there are carrots hidden in my pockets, the way the crias come over to sniff me bravely then run away shouting, "Ha-ha!! I touched the 2-legger, bet you can't do it!
I forget all about having no money, the car trouble, the neck pain, the teenager worries, everything, and just become Pacamomma. Don't know any other job in the world that will do that for you. Cool beans.
Right now we have one alpaca for sale. We didn't want to have to sell any for a couple of years, but with Codi needing some medical tests, our roof still having a hole, and us still trying to rebound from the last layoff- we have to. We agonized about who to sell, I hate selling anyone! But we have sold 10 animals in the eight years we have been in business. It doesn't get any easier, let me tell you. We decided to sell Fanny. Fanny is a special girl to my daughter. See, two years ago we had every one of our girls but one deliver early. It was a terrible winter, so much rain, and it was impossible to find good hay because everything was ruined. We let everyone out on our seasonal grass as often as we could, it is possible there was some fescue in the grass mix that caused the early births, I don't know for sure. Although everyone's crias came a little early, my Osita girl delivered a beautiful big, black female cria 6 weeks early- by far too early. She had no teeth erupted, her ears were tipped down, she was down on her pasterns, and wasn't interested in eating, with no suck reflexes- classical preemie. We did everything we could, supplementation, plasma, antibiotics, milking out mom and trying to get her to latch on- but nothing we did helped and at 7 days old she died in my husband's arms as we were rushing to the vet in the middle of the night.
Codi had really bonded with this little one, and she was going through such a hard time with her own medical troubles, and feeling so crappy herself, we broke with tradition of naming after Tolkien and let her name her after her favorite character in a movie; Fanny Bryce. When Fanny died it broke Codi's heart. The wonderful community that we belong to (the alpaca one that is) rallied around Codi, sending her cards, letters, and pictures of their crias to help her through.
Enter this Hally, whom we originally named Eowyn. She was her momma's first cria, and mom's milk didn't come in the really well until the third day- often happens with first time moms. So we supplemented with colostrum and goat milk until it did- or should I say, Codi supplemented. She bonded with this little one and begged to be able to name her Fanny- in memory of the one we had lost. So that's how Fanny got her name. And that's why it is so hard to think of selling her. But you know what? I could tell you stories about each and every one of our alpacas, so like I said- it doesn't get any easier. All we can do is make sure they go to good homes and stay in contact with their new owners. Which is why my favorite customer is Holly- who has the Fresians. She is totally awesome in so many ways, but especially in how she keeps me a part of my Catalina's life, and I sold her to Holly 5 years ago! I know about every cria, and every moment- it is wonderful.
I am so truly blessed to have these extraordinary animals in my life. They are so healing, so peace inspiring, and so beautiful. Everyone should have some!
With my neck trouble, we talked about seriously downsizing. It broke my heart to even think about it! I had to say no. So now we are just trying to sell one a year. This is the first year we will have 4 of our own females due with crias. Also, we have seven females total- a record for us! I can't wait for cria season to begin!
So, I will close now with this thought. Even Al, who was a rescue alpaca with the personality of a demon possessed badger when he came, and has a face only a blind mother could love has found his way into our hearts. With training he has come around to understand that he won't be hurt, and doesn't have to be a butthead to get what he wants.
We like to call him: The King- (duh-duh-duuuuh..duh-duh-duh- ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building) because he expects us to treat him like royalty- and so we do.
Happy alpaca dreams to you!
Till next time,

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A letter to my daughter

So little at Uncle Jamey's wedding!
Playing the fiddle at the Scottish Society Clan Picnic
On the whistle last year at the Scottish Games
Your "big brother" who really does love you :))
This is for "The Bug" Aka: Codi
From the day you were born, I have loved you. No, I loved you from the day I first knew of your existence, and probably long before that as well.

When I was pregnant, I got an ultrasound and they asked me if I wanted to know what I was having, a boy or a girl. I found out when I was pregnant with Cameron he was a boy, so I said yes this time too.
Afterwards, the ultrasound technician said, "I have no idea." and showed me pictures of your cute face with nothing identifiable. So I never knew! But I always thought I was having a boy. For whatever reason, perhaps because it would just be too good to be true- because ever since I was little I wanted one boy and one girl, I just knew you were a boy.

So when the doctor said you were a girl, and brought you up to me for a kiss, I just cried and cried. I didn't believe him at first! When he finally convinced me, I was just so happy I couldn't stop crying. When I held you in my arms that day for the first time, it was love at first sight. Since then I have been completely and totally happy. Labor was tough for both of us- 18 hours of hard labor and back labor from the very first contraction- and no dilation. Then the decision for a c-section. When they weighed you in at 10 lb 7 oz- boy was I glad!! I mean, big babies run in our family but you broke the record.

You are a wonderful young lady, a sweet and tender spirit that our Father in Heaven chose to entrust to my care for this mortality, and I am so very glad for the blessings you have brought into my life.

From a little baby, your nickname has been "Bug". Lady bug, Bedbug, Snuggle bug, or Stinkbug, whatever fit the moment, that was you. Always fair, always the peacemaker, you bring joy into my life daily.

I can't believe you are 13. It seems like just yesterday that you were going off to your first day at preschool! You have grown into such a beautiful young woman. Remember how we found you outside stuck in the tomato cage? (forgive me a wicked chuckle) Tee-hee

Your journey hasn't always been easy. The health problems you have experienced over the last few years would be challenging for an adult, but you have dealt with them bravely and I am proud of you. You are much stronger than you realize!

You are much more talented, lovely, graceful and wonderful than you realize as well. I am very proud of the accomplishments you have made in music and school. The fact that you taught yourself how to play the fiddle totally amazing. Your whistle playing skills have just blossomed and you bring a delightful element to your Celtic group.

Most of all, your innate kindness and sweetness is what I love. Never lose that, please. Humility, beauty in spirit, and a kind nature are characteristics sorely lacking in the world today. Remember, the world is full of vulgar, crude woman- be a woman of grace, the world needs more virtuous woman; just like in that talk you wrote and gave so well at church! "Her worth is far above rubies..... she stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yeah, she reacheth forth her hand to the needy.... strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.... she openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her." Proverbs

I love you my bug, and hope that I will live up to the honor of being your mother.
Love, Mom

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Brain Freeze

You know, sometimes I stop to think....
then forget to start again.


Icicle in 2004- and my Hally-Boo in full fleece in Spring

Okay, so I have strange heroes. I know I was supposed to finish writing the letter to my daughter for her birthday and post it tonight, but today's stupidity completely shut down the muse. (note: this actually happened on 1/14, but is just letting me post it now, go figure)

Today was yet another brilliant example of the human mind at work. It has been very cold at our house the last few nights. We were told it would get cold, we knew it would be cold, very cold. So we put our boxes around the standing hose bibs and pipes, and we made sure all the chickens and cats were in the house. Extra food for the pacas, and coat on my Mithril llama boy. Usually we get maybe three or four nights with temps as low as 18 degrees, but this was different. It was 19, then 17, then 15, then on this night it was supposed to get even colder. Strangely, it has been a very dry winter so far- so not even some really cool icicles for pictures.

This morning I got up to find ice making a lovely window frame in my bedroom.... on the inside.

So I go to check the temps and it is 10 degrees outside, and that is up against my house on the no wind side. Brrr!! I go to put on the teapot, no water. Okay, pipes are frozen. Wow, that has never happened here before!

I go outside to break the ice on the pacas water- can't. It's frozen about 3" thick. I go to turn on the hose, oh yea! No water.

So I think, I'm gonna have to boil a LOT of water so I return to the kitchen where I actually take the teapot to the sink again- but, alas, no water.... so I proceed to go outside again with the hatchet and break up the ice.

I come back in the house thinking, "Sure glad we all took showers last night for church!" and decide to make hot cereal. I get out the 10 grain and grab a pot and take it to the sink, Oh yea, no water!

I wake everyone up from their mummy bags (we only have one heater in the house and it's in the living room) and then, ** WARNING grossness here** you know that stuff that's in your throat each and every morning that you just have to hack up and spit out? You don't? What, you don't have allergies??!! Anyway, I go to hack in the sink where I can wash the offending goo down into the septic tank, I turn on the faucett- oops.... no water to wash said goo down with..... yuck.

Then I think, "Why don't I just brush my teeth while I'm here!" I dole out the Listerine and turn on the tap....Oh yeah, no WATER!!
Then I start getting the family up for church, and inform hubby and son (daughter is at granny's) that there is no water so time your toilet flushes accordingly. I consider making a 'flush chart' but decide to just tell everyone no flushing unless you need to go, well, you know.

In 5 minutes flat everyone has flushed away all of the water in the tanks. Oh boy... since there's no telling when the pipes will not be frozen, this could be a problem. (and later, it certainly is..... double yuck)

Sure enough when we return from church, no water. And, instead of my wishes for water when the pipes unfreeze, broken pipes. Hubby starts muttering about Flux and other technical stuff and takes a road trip to the ACE Hardware up in Frazier, where he joins the throngs of people desperately grabbing up all the pipe insulation in the store. He darts in, gets the last three tubes of insulation, and then has to lose the granny who is on his tail after it.

After ditching her in the paint section, where she gets momentarily distracted by a dazzling wall display of paint samples, he stealthily makes his way to the checkout counter where he is relieved not to find granny. He comes home with Flux (what the?? is my intelligent question) and said tubes and goes to work.

4 hours later, he gets the pipe rerouted and patched, turns on the water (where an electric heater has been defrosting it the whole time) and SPROING!! another leak.
Poor hubby, he is out there in the freezing cold with his bad knees and no end of cracked pipes in sight- I should make him a cup of hot chocolate! I go to the faucett..... oh YEAH!!!!!!

No water.

Meanwhile, I am thirsty- and I mean, powerful thirsty. And yup, you guessed it- no water.

Okay, I'll drink milk- no milk. I'll drink juice! No juice. In fact, there is at this time absolutely no liquid of any kind in my house except for tomato juice.

Don't get me wrong, I like my V-8 as much as anyone else, but it's thirst quenching capabilities are sorely lacking.
Soon the thought of my thirst is all consuming, I must have something to drink, NOW!

In sheer desperation, I break out the 1 gallon bottle of distilled water that's hidden way in the back of the pantry for, erm, I don't remember what.... triple yuck....

But I manage to choke down half the bottle in a single gulp.

Then, *fanfare please* my delightful hubby comes back in the house with icicles coming out of his nostrils, and announces- the pipes are fixed!!

I run to the kitchen put on the teapot, wash the dishes, brush my teeth, make hot cereal for the neighbors, do three loads of laundry, water the plants and drink a quart of water. Then we start making apple cider for the pacas.

Isn't it funny how we come to rely so heavily on modern conveniences? I mean, we really get it ingrained into our psyche. How many times did I go to turn on the water?? 10?? And I knew there was no water. Surely I don't have that bad of a memory.

What were we talking about??

I think everyone should go a whole day with their pipes frozen so you can learn what I did.... um, okay, so really you all should so you can suffer like I did.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Woe is me.....

A walk on the green

My Sandpiper's cria- Avalon

Hi there,

I am having some technical difficulties with Blogger right now, so I apologize for being so incredibly boring and mundane. I promise to be my entertaining old self as soon as Blogger lets me.

Here is a cute picture or two to tide us all over until whatever wild hair is preventing my last post from coming through burns in the fires of you know where.....

Have a nice day! Don't you hate it when someone says that- in a voice dripping with sarcasm of course.

Here's hoping this one shows up!


Monday, January 08, 2007

brag, brag, brag... that's all she ever does....

(Photo by: Russell Orrell)

Yup, that's all I do. Because my kid's first CD is in the BAG!!

It's done, oh yea, it's finished, hooray! - doing the happy dance -

It's perfect, and wonderful, and..... well, marvelous! In the case and looking great.

I am so proud I think I'm gonna bust. I can't wait for their second one- it should be done by the end of this year. In June they are playing at a BMW sponsored rally at my hubby's cousin's ranch (Rawhyde Adventures) for between 500 and 1,000 people. The biggest audience for them yet. Next I want them to open for the Wicked Tinkers ha-ha (sans alcohol if that's possible for the Tinkers)

At his wedding, he had some folks from the show Alias there as guests, the kids played at the wedding, one of the stars fell in love with my son and his playing and talked with him all night. It was so cool. Too bad we don't have TV- Cameron had no idea who she was!! HA!! Too funny....
Guess he's a bit sheltered huh? LOL- perhaps that's a good thing, it didn't go to his head.

So, anyone know how to add an MP3 or something so you can hear it? After that happens, I will offer them for sale here (can I do that, anyone know??)

My next blog will be a birthday tribute to my lovely daughter- she is turning 13. Oy.
I think I'm gonna cry..............
Proud mama- Rachelle