Very, very sad day! Today we delivered our last 6 female alpacas to their new home in Lexington Park, Maryland near Solomon's. I took a bunch of photos of my girls as they were eating yesterday so that I could remember them just as they were on their last day here at the farm. Here they are eating together at my farm Mount Airy Alpaca Company
Chloe kept looking up at me wondering why I was standing there with the camera watching her eat. How cute is this little fluff ball? Sooo cute! And Reinette has hose marks on her as usual because she can never totally decide if she wants to be hosed with cold water or if it's too scary.
And my girl Sheherazade (Cher for short)! The first cria ever born on my farm, the star of the Television show that National Geographic Channel filmed here, the first alpaca shown by my two children. Cher beat 2 National Show winners the first time she ever entered the show ring. Everyone who visited us over the last 7 years loved Cher and she loved them right back. She was our diva, our goddess. She is the hardest of all to give up. Here she is with funny, kooky Reinette who was named after my own mother.
My little princesses! Every one of them was very special to me.
Whenever I did chores inside the barn, Jezebel would look in the window and watch me with her solemn eyes. She loved to be hosed with cold water and she was always the first one in the barn when the fans were turned on.
So today we hooked up the livestock trailer and went up to the barn to halter our girls for the last time.
They were standing around looking at me wondering what was up.
We make the 2 & 1/2 hour drive down to Lexington Park, over the Solomon's bridge.
Here they are walking in to their new pasture. Cher leads the way as usual.
They have two people who will take good care of them now, Rose Page (Dameron Alpacas) and her brother, Ben Clark(Wishful Thinking Farm.) Both have been to our place faithfully on shot and toenail days to learn alpaca care, they came and sheared with us on shearing day. They are so ready to do this and that's wonderful. And they said we can visit our girls whenever we want so we can't ask for better than that.
Ben and his daughter bring the girls their hay.
Ben's daughter walks over to hang out with Cher and Reinette, both of whom love kids.
It made me teary to see this sweet little girl lay her head on Cher's back but so happy too. This is the love and care that I wanted for my girls.
Bye bye my pretty little girls. I'm so grateful to have had you here on my farm, watched you born, watched you grow, spun up your fleeces and worn you as sweaters and mittens and hats, watched you carry your first babies - all the times of your life that I shared are so precious to me. Now I leave you to work your magic on the lives of others.
We drive across the Solomon's Bridge and head for home feeling sad but proud to have found such a good home for our alpaca girls.
Soon we will sell our last 2 males and the breeding part of our business will be over but we will continue to do the things that we can still do lecturing, movie making, web site producing, hand spinning, knitting and judging. And, I know that the friends I have made in the business, both 4 footed and 2 footed, will continue to be a big part of our lives.
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the Great Frederick Fair alpaca halter and fleece shows are an amazing bargain and an excellent chance for small farms to get exposure and sell animals, you can still enter until August 15 so what are you waiting for? You do NOT need to live in Maryland to enter! The judges are Wade Gease (halter) and Wini Labrecque (fleece) both are Nationally known and the fee is a low, low $25 per pen and $25 per halter plus EVERY OTHER class for an additional $25!
If your excuse is that you are new and afraid that you don't know how to show alpacas, read further. I will be happy to tell you what you need to know and you'll be ready! Really! It's that easy!
The classes you can enter are:
Halter (the alpaca is judged)
Showmanship (you are judged on how well you show off the alpaca)
Obstacle (see photos below)
Public Relations (this is about whether you can keep your alpaca calm around loud noises, scary shiny stuff and groups of people touching them.)
And, Costume Class (children only)
Every judge has different tasks and obstacles that they like to set up but here are some common obstacles that you should practice:
this jump is much larger than what I consider average but Tom (my husband) has no trouble getting his alpaca over it.
practice getting your alpaca to walk up any steps and across plywood. This is my 7 year old neighbor handling!
practice putting a cape or towel on the back of your alpaca. Lift cape slowly towards alpaca, let it smell the fabric if it wants and then slowly drape it over. Don't Fling!
This one looks easier than it is because it has no sides! You have to get the alpaca over the middle or they will avoid it like the one you see here. I just jump over it myself and head right for the center.
This one I have never done correctly so ask my son at the show to explain this to you because he does know how. He's about to do it in this photo.
Always lean forward when going under! Never backwards.
Practice backing your alpaca up and note that my son's using the halter as a kind of barrier but not touching the alpaca with his hands. Walk directly towards the alpaca.
If you end up on the side of the animal in this obstacle, don't push! That never works. Step back and then step directly at the alpaca.
Try to make sure all 4 feet are inside the barrier as my daughter is doing here.
Here's one of the most important rules!!! Pay very close attention to everything the judge tells you. If, like me, you have some kind of map dyslexia, make sure you know whether to turn right or left after each obstacle. Or, like me, you may sometimes do everything perfectly but get disqualified for not memorizing the course correctly.
Practice getting your alpaca to step into a ring (could be just the garden hose) and then try to turn the alpaca moving his front legs only and keeping his back legs stationary as if he's pivoting on back legs. Do this by turning TOWARDS your alpaca or INTO your Alpaca if that makes more sense.
Teeter totter thing - this one is easier than it looks just go very slowly.
In addition to these, I would also practice lifting the front leg. Lift it with your right shoulder against the right shoulder of the alpaca and pick it up facing you.
Alpaca Showmansip Dos and Don'ts
Do try to make sure your alpaca has a nice stance when in the ring being shown! This guy Nickleby is standing beautifully and he did win 1st this day! If your guy has his feet crossed or something, try to make him take a step and stand better.
Do try to have nice posture and look relaxed when showing but still make the animal stand the way the judge wants. Also, KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE JUDGE!
Do practice showing the teeth or your alpaca to the judge.
In showmanship, do not be on the same side of your animal as the judge! Switch sides when the judge is on the same side as you as everyone in this photo has done.
Do remember to pose with your ribbon and your animal in the show ring! You will want that photo later! Also, note the clothing here. Most exhibitors wear black and white but it is not mandatory. But Do not wear tennis shoes or sloppy clothes for showmanship and some judges want black halters and leads only!
Do pose with your own customers and take their photos when they win. They'll want a copy of that and you'll want one too. Your customers successes reflect well on what you've sold them and how you've trained them and their animals. Always coach your customers in how to show! This is my friend Judy from Wildwood Alpacas
Don't take this thing too seriously and look all scared! You have to have a sense of humor about showing! It's supposed to be fun. And, definitely,
Don't have hair that resembles your alpaca's hair! This is me my first time ever in the show ring and on a very bad hair day but, in my own defense, I have to say that I believe the hair problem to be the result of a tragic genetic defect passed on from my Mother (see her photo below:)
If you think that I'm being evil to mock the hair of my dearly departed Mom, OK but she thought this photo was very funny too! We used to call these two "the hair twins."
Don't leave the show ring area after you compete. Ask a friend or family member to hold your alpaca and get ready to go back into the show ring to get your ribbon when you are called.
The judge will also ask you one question and we don't know what it will be but I would memorize the alpaca body parts for showmanship class and also know the age and birthdate of your animal. If you are asked how many colors of fleece, the answer is 22. If you'd like to show at the Great Frederick Fair and need a labeled diagram of alpaca body parts e-mailed to you, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will be happy to send you one.
Children in showmanship should be coached on what alpacas eat, (hay, water, grain, pasture) and where they come from (Peru, Bolivia, Chile) as these are common children's questions.
Do hang out INSIDE the alpaca pens with your friends so bring folding chairs, coolers etc. There is plenty of food for sale at all times at the fair. I recommend the chicken and corn soup from the New Market Grange, conveniently located a hundred yards or so from the alpaca pens. The guy on the right in this photo is Bob Lewis, alpaca halter superintendent. Go to him if you have any questions about the show rules.
Don't forget your knitting! Here are members of my knitting club knitting together at the Great Frederick Fair.
Do come and have fun with the rest of us. This is a friendly show where there is always someone to help you out if you need it.
And now you have NO EXCUSE not to show!
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Well, we knew it couldn't last forever. Today my two little visiting alpaca gals had to go home with their REAL owner, back to Red Barn Alpacas. We drew blood last weekend and, yesterday received the blood progesterone (pregnancy) results. Cocoa, who was bred to Valentino, had a progesterone level of 3.06, Cotton, who was bred to Nickleby had a level of 3.87 with only 1 try and Cassy, who was also bred to Nickle, had a level of 3.64 also on the 1st try! Good going boys and girls!
If you have heard that many alpaca people just stick their animals in their vans and take off without bothering with the livestock trailer, here's proof! Here's my friend Helen, just putting her two girls (who ARE for sale, by the way,) inside her van and taking off for home.
A little help shoving their furry behinds inside while Helen jumps out and Voila! Porta-Paca! I will miss these two though. They are sweet and lovey-dovey and were a lot of fun to have as visitors. I get attached to all "my" girls even the ones who just come here for breeding.
Part II - DIVINE RETRIBUTION????
Only a few days ago in a Previous Post I was kidding around about the Other Tom Perez (the politician) and saying that I was sick of getting e-mail and calls for him and I ordered his bumper sticker and all that. I WAS only joking, and it's not like I KNOW the guy!
So today my Tom and I went to visit our kids at Catoctin Quaker Camp, part of the
Baltimore Yearly Meeting Camping Program and who should I see standing not 4 feet away from me but THE OTHER TOM PEREZ! His kids are now going to the same camp as my kids! He is not Quaker, nor does he live in Frederick County so I am thinking that this ia a pretty weird coincidence!
The question is, is this a warning from the Supreme being not to tease others or is it just meant to be that our paths would eventually cross due to the name thing? I'm playing it safe and covering both bases. So I have now got the message and will refrain from teasing others on the blog - No, really! OK, maybe not.
Part 3 - Comments
If any of you were wondering (like me) whether or not people can see the comments you leave, the answer is No. This blogging software stinks and I am thinking that I should upgrade to Media Wiki but, in the time being, if you post a comment, I will cut it and paste it in here even if it is, God Forbid, negative. I promise.
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Here, for example is a comment from Ms. Smarty Pants, Sue Ives. YES! I am naming you as the culprit Sue - Ha! - but I will give you a plug for your own web site because I'm that nice of a person. (Laugh out Loud) Also, I am very jealous that you have a blog and seem to actually know how your own blogging software works! And the address for that web site and blog would be AlpacasofNottinghamHollow.com
SUE'S COMMENT REGARDING MY FREDERICK FAIR POST:
Great blog Kate! Now tell us what you really feel! ROFL
Thank you for sharing with us. I wish you all the success imaginable for The Great Frederick Fair Alpaca Show.
Blog owner's note: For those of you not "in the know" ROFL means "Rolling on the Floor Laughing".
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