Monday, September 15. 2008
What a start to the week - as someone who spent most of his working life in the City of London in investment banking today's news really is quite unbelievable....in fact I still can't quite believe what has happened over the weekend.
You might well ask what this has to do with alpacas ? ...and that's a good question. The answer is that it has everything to do with businesses everywhere in my opinion .... any business will be very lucky to go unaffected by the events of this weekend just gone.
The alpaca business is already flat compared to last year and this type of news is not good news for the alpaca industry.
Whats in a name?
Even small agricultural businesses can be adversely affected.
Monday, September 8. 2008
The local farmers and growers tell me that the weather is going to be dry and warm for at least another month. This is very good news on two fronts:
Firstly, I might well get a third cutting of hay but I think that is a long shot given I haven't yet taken my second cutting after the total mix up at the start of the season.
Secondly, The annual alpaca show in Medford on Columbus weekend should be warm and dry which makes the whole event more enjoyable. Principally because the alpaca barn and show ring are in two different buildings.
I finally got my alpaca images shipped off or should I say uploaded to the publisher so now we sit and wait to see which images if any they select for the upcoming book on alpacas and llamas....fingers crossed.
The other BIG decision I made this week is to leave my females open this winter and breed them again in the spring of 2009. It was a tough call but I can't see the market recovering any time soon. Even the biggest farms are finding life hard.
Wednesday, August 20. 2008
Every October when folks in this part of the world are busy with AlpacaMania across the other side of the country in Ohio almost a 1000 alpaca breeders from all points on the compass go to Magical Farms in Litchfield Ohio. Where for the last 9 years the Forstner family have winded and dined alpaca buyers before inviting them to participate in the alpaca auction.
Here in their own words is a small extract of what you might expect.
Yes, every year Magical produce alpacas of the highest quality, and this year they have dug deep into their breeding program to bring you the very best!
The "Magical" Pirate Ship
Quite who will play the part of Captain Jack Sparrow and who will be Elizabeth Swan is yet to be decided......all very odd to my English way of thinking...but when in Rome do as the Romans do...maybe that will be next years theme....
Sunday, August 17. 2008
AUGUST 17—CAT NIGHTS COMMENCE
Following on from yesterdays amazingly interesting piece of news about Grain Moons did you know the term “Cat Nights” harks back to a rather obscure Irish legend concerning witches and the belief that a witch could turn herself into a cat eight times, but on the ninth time, she couldn't’t regain her human form. This bit of folklore also led to the idea that a cat has nine lives. Since August is a “yowly” time for cats, this may have prompted the speculation about witches on the prowl....
Anyway the good news is I did pass my motorcycle test so now it wont be costing me $10 in gas every time I have to go down into town to buy something....unless it winter in which case I will travelling in something warmer and less economical.
Interestingly of the 12 people who took their test yesterday i would say 9 or 10 were doing it to save on their gas expenditure especially those who commuted to and from work each day.
Saturday, August 16. 2008
AUGUST 16 = FULL STURGEON MOON
Did you know some Native American tribes knew that the sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this full Moon. Others called it the Green Corn Moon or the Grain Moon...
I am out all day today taking my motorcycvle test so the alpaca farm is in hybernation until this evening.
Monday, July 14. 2008
Well that's tough because the shovelling stays - but the wheel barrow can be upgraded!
I had this great e-mail today from a company in Florida who for $1200 will sell you a power barrow. This thing will haul 650 lbs up a very steep hill.....Which is about the amount of poop alpacas 300 alpacas deposit each day. So I think we can confidently say this little baby will handle whatever you have.
The Power Barrow
I believe it only comes in Canary Yellow - so look on the bright side (pun intended) there is no chance of losing it on a foggy day. Check it out when you get a few moments.
Moving on slightly we now have the AOBA election results.......
The two open Board positions are filled by the following individuals:
• Jess Bowers, Acres of Love Alpaca Ranch, Owasso, OK
• Ian Watt, Alpacas of Carrickalinga, Morrow Bay, CA
Wednesday, June 11. 2008
As you may know there is a detailed history of Sir Titus Salt in the alpaca library
Today Ken Madl sent me an iteresting piece about the dyeing of the first alpaca sample.
Which I hadn't seen before and which i wanted to share with you as its an interesting story.
Sunday, June 1. 2008
You may well know of my fascination with Sir Titus Salt the first person to exploit alpaca fibre on a commercial scale.
Way back in the 1850's Sir Titus who lived in the UK acquired alpacas from the Earl of Derby. Before Titus died he shipped most of them off to Australia or South Africa, both part of the British Empire at that time.
I recently heard about some of those shipments.
The first arrival of alpacas to Australia was one male and two females imported from England to South Australia in 1856 by John Haigh, nephew of Sir Titus Salt. apparently he sold them to Sir Thomas Elder, best known for starting a camel stud operation 400 kilometers north of Port Augusta in 1866.
We also know that in 1844, only 3 alpacas out of a shipment of 400 alpacas from Peru survived the voyage to England.
So I am, back on the trail again trying to work out where the 13th earl of Derby got his alpacas from and where they went when they eventually left Sir Titus. I think the poor people at Liverpool library in England are sick of hearing from me.
Tuesday, March 11. 2008
March is the start of the spring burning season here in Jackson County. Over the winter quite a pile of dead branches leaves and other clutter accumulates on the ranch so once the weather is suitable its time to light the bonfire. I should perhaps point out at this point that i am a secret lover of bonfires, Not quite a pyromaniac but I have had a long running love affair with bonfires and fireworks.
Watching the flames dance....
The weather is still very warm and well in the mid 60's so the alpacas are starting to look just a bit warm in their winter coats.
But for other creatures now is a great time to come out, find a vantage point and soak up the spring sunshine. The barn cats are doing it the dogs and alpacas are doing it....
Ground squirrel checking out landscape..
The chickens are also inspired by the sunshine and have started to produce eggs as though there will be no tomorrow...maybe they know something I don't?
One or two folks have been asking me about weaning alpacas and I am old school on this subject. I separate the cria from the mother and that's it....I feel that the alternatives simply draw out the stress within the alpacas and frankly we do enough projecting of human emotions onto alpacas as it is, without inventing a long and drawn out process that could never possibly be contemplated in any other fiber business.
Although you find anything on weaning alpaca cria there are some informational and entertaining alpaca articles in the farm library.
Friday, March 7. 2008
Its interesting to see what comes your way if you write a Blog that slowly grows in popularity and then eventually attracts commercial interest from other companies.
Here is an example of an invitation I received today from a pat care web site that wants to offer you my loyal readers a discount...so I will check out the company and who knows you may be buying pet meds at reduced prices sometime very soon via this blog.
Check out their web site if you have a minute and let me know if you think I should add them to the alpaca blog...I would greatly appreciate the feedback.
I work for an online pet pharmacy, www.petcarerx.com, and I came across your blog, . We would like to offer you and your readers a discount at our store. Here is what we are looking for.
You can either place a link or a widget on your site (which we will supply) and we will send you two coupon codes, one coupon code for you and one for your readers. You will receive a coupon for 20% off your next purchase, regardless if you are a new or returning customer. You readers will be offered a coupon of $10 off $75 for new customers.
In addition, after you make your first purchase you are welcome to write a review about our site and we will give you an additional coupon as a thank you for the review.
If you are not interested in a coupon please contact me about other advertising opportunities.
Please let me know if you are interested.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
P.S. We are always looking for new ideas to promote our website using bloggers. If you have any ideas please let me know.
Wednesday, January 23. 2008
A few of my regular readers asked what are the stages to putting a Rose Parade float together and while I am no expert on the subject....someone who is, tells me that the following is a fairly typical sequence of events.
First, the Rose Bowl Committee announces its theme. The theme is always something that will appeal to a broad church and offend no one. The theme for the 2009 Rose Parade is Hats Off to Entertainment
Next, companies and organizations that want to participate design proposals for the various floats. The Rose Bowl Committee then approves or declines that various designs.
Art directors then create scale models and computer renderings of the floats that they send to the specialist float makers.
The various float makers lay out a full-scale grid on their barn floor and begin to construct the float. Welders create the structure of the float, a kind of steel 3D skeleton.
The float is built on a rolling chassis--that can carry up to 50 tons. the tires are filled with gel to avoid embarrassing blowouts or punctures on parade day.
The 3D steel skeleton is then covered in a layer of chicken wire and sprayed with expanded polystyrene foam.
Next comes road-testing. The exhibitors are under growing pressure to use animation on their floats. During road testing the animations are tested and re-tested to ensure their reliability and repeatability.
The float is painted to match the designers color scheme, and materials are chosen to cover the float. Every square inch of the float must be covered in living (or once living) materials. Traditionally, this meant flowers, but increasingly, a range of exotic seeds are used to create a variety of colors and textures. This could be where alpaca fiber comes into play.....
Last but not least, a mass of volunteers does the detail work. The actual roses are only applied a few days before the show--or in some cases the day before the parade.
Well I hope that answers the curious among you as to how a Rose Parade float is constructed.
If you want to see floats being tested before they are decorated there is a video on You Tube.
If you want to win tickets to the 2009 Rose Parade which will be the 120th parade then the official site has a sweep stake which ends in 8 days time on Jan 31st...
Good luck !
Monday, January 14. 2008
Just to be clear from the start this is a humorous entry....not a serious business proposition.... well at least I think it is!
Sheep racing today.
Some of you may well remember a Blog entry from way back when, where I talked about how sheep racing was popular at some agricultural shows in England and where the jockeys were little knitted characters. As depicted in this picture where it all looks very exciting.
So I was fascinated this morning when I discovered the following picture of some actual sheep racing with real jockeys. Again from England and I am guessing that its from maybe the 1950's judging by the clothes that the two girls are wearing. It certainly looks like the girls are having fun...not at all sure about the sheep....I am sure this sort of thing is quite illegal these days under European law.
The real deal.....
Well if you have any novel ways for using alpacas that are suitable for family entertainment let me know....
Wednesday, December 26. 2007
Boxing Day, December 26th is a holiday of particularly British origin, but in many other countries worldwide. In most years December 26th falls on the same day as the St. Stephen's Day.
The children had their wish and it was indeed a white Christmas......
Christmas Day 2007
Tuesday, December 25. 2007
"How full of the creative genius is the air in which these are generated!
I should hardly admire more if real stars fell
and lodged on my coat."
--Henry David Thoreau, 1856
Some of the very best images of Snow Crystals and information about snow crystals can be found at the Snow Crystal web site.
SnowCrystals.com was created by Kenneth G. Libbrecht, Caltech.
Thursday, December 13. 2007
The seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher took over from his taxi driver in order to make it to the airport in time for a flight, it has emerged.
Cabbie Tuncer Yilmaz watched in awe as the racing legend, 38, showed him how his job ought to be done.
"I found myself in the passenger seat, which was strange enough, but to have 'Schumi' behind the wheel of my cab was incredible," Mr Yilmaz told German newspaper the Muenchner Abendzeitung.
Schumacher, who lives in Switzerland, had flown in to an aerodrome near Coburg, Bavaria, on Saturday and taken a taxi to Gehuelz to pick up a new Australian Shepherd puppy.
On the 30km (19 mile) return journey, however, Schumacher felt they were short on time, and made a polite request to Mr Yilmaz that he be allowed to take over.
Unsurprisingly, and perhaps with a view to bettering himself professionally, the driver did so.
With his wife, two children and new addition to the family Ed, the Australian Shepherd pup, on board, Schumacher proceeded to put pedal to metal.
Famously, German autobahns have no blanket speed limits, so the driver was able to put the cab through its paces.
The retired champion gave the taxi driver a generous 100 euros (145 dollars) tip on top of the 60 euros fare.
Not Ed but Gifford the Australian Shepherd
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