Harvest Season


It's that time of the year - the garden is finally producing all those vegetables we've been longing for the rest of the spring and summer.  The tomatoes and okra and bell peppers have been coming in heavily for at least a month now (I'm so happy for the okra, it's been at least three years since I had any), and the cantaloupes and watermelons just started ripening in the last couple weeks.  Caleb and a couple of different sets of helpers (meal-bringers, and my parents) got the Painted Mountain Indian flour corn harvested.  Over the weekend we all got it shelled out, even the boys helped quite a bit.  It was our best harvest, coming to over 3 gallons.  I'm hoping to sell most of it as flour through the farmer's markets.  The second planting of corn, the Hopi Blue, is tasseling now, and I think should have plenty of time to fruit and dry before frost in late October.  The carrots are still coming out of the hoophouse, and we need to get another set planted in the outside garden in this next week. I also need to start planning the fall/winter gardens and hoophouse, so I don't miss any planting windows.  I should probably be getting fall brassicas started soon as well!  

My bad news is that - yes - we've lost another alpaca.  Same as last year, one of the moms choked, this time Snowball, Bonnie's mother.  She went down briefly, and was choking, coughing, drooling, etc.  We gave her a shot of Banamine, which helps relax muscles, and she seemed to improve.  Within half an hour, she was back up and letting Bonnie nurse, walking around, and generally looking recovered.   From what I read online, that is the usual progression of choke in alpacas.  Then, two days later, Caleb found her dead first thing in the morning.  All we can think is maybe she did aspirate something into her lungs, and got pneumonia?  That's awfully quick, but our only real theory.  It's especially frustrating that not only was she one of our few females, but she has a cria right now, so we've got another bottle baby.  And Bonnie's the opposite of Kenny - not too hard to catch, but once you do, she won't take the bottle for anything.  Caleb is trying twice a day, and is managing to force-feed her maybe an ounce each time.  She's only 7 weeks or so, not nearly old enough to be weaned, so we should really be supplementing her for another 2 months.  We got some calf manna for the mamas and crias, and have them separate from the boys, with Katydid the milk goat, to be getting the good feed.  Bonnie is old enough to be actually eating feed, Kenny will be increasingly utilizing it as he grows, and the more nutrition the better for the mamas' milk production, which can only make our job easier.  The calf manna has fenugreek as a major ingredient, which as most nursing mothers know is a classic for promoting milk.  The good alpaca news is that it looks like Loretta will not need supplementing, she's been gaining weight nicely.  

The other good alpaca-related news is that I finally finished cleaning up that sheep fleece, and got both this and last year's fleeces of Joey's skirted as well, and I'm working on some white neck and leg second cuts.  I have so much more to do, but every little bit is something else done!

I am getting some things done while still taking it (fairly) easy but I'm afraid that right when I'm getting close to being back to normal, things are going to change - I'm officially starting school for Liam this next Monday, the 29th, and that may take a lot of my time until we work out the kinks and settle into a routine.  It really helps that he has, over the last 6 or so weeks, fully learned to read (he's been able to read 3-letter words for 3 years now, but had no interest in more) - mostly by reading Calvin and Hobbes books for several hours every day!  That ability will be tremendously helpful for his schooling.  We'll see how things go otherwise - wish us luck with this new phase of childhood!


good news, bad news

So, so sorry to hear you lost yet another alpaca--esp. a momma!
And tickled to hear Calvin and Hobbes is spurring my grandboy's literacy :-) A favorite in our house as Caleb was growing up, how wonderful another generation appreciates Calvin's humor and sensibilities!

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