Friday, April 10. 2009
Well its been almost six months since I was here and it feels like only yesterday. Just like slipping into a favourite pair of jeans.
I now have a marketing blog up and running at:
you can click here to visit the adrian g stewart marketing blog.
I will be calling back from time to time with news from the alpaca industry and my usual blend of humor and education.
See you around
Wednesday, September 24. 2008
Eventually I set up the night vision camera to see what the alpacas got up to after dark..
This is taken at 7.22 pm just as it is getting dark.
Taken at 8.13 pm and clearly something has caught their attention.
Taken at 8.21pm and something is still keeping their attention.
Taken at 1.08am and they are up and about.
7.58am and daylight has arrived and they have all gone off to feed.
I was hoping to see if the alpacas were nursing their cria at night, but didn't catch that on the camera. However it is pretty obvious the alpacas are up and about most of the night. These 5 images are taken from 150 that were captured throughout the night.... So lets see what happens tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 23. 2008
A day of great frustrations.
The hay that we missed last week still isn't bailed which would have been nice.....then we could open up the field.
The alpaca poop has gone while we were out yesterday!! ...I am not sure who is taking it but as you can imagine I had two phone calls from other people wanting alpaca poop.. it always happens as soon as you have none.
One gentleman wasn't too impressed to hear it might be a month before there was another load of alpaca poop ready and asked if we could perhaps speed things up as he wanted to get his garlic planted..... I explained that the alpacas do what they do and we just have to pick up what they do....
Well really must trawl through my valpaca eterinary records and get some accounts sent out and animal health records updated or we will be in a complete mess.
Macario has just called to say that it is time to pick grapes so he wont be here tomorrow....ah it never rains but it pours !
Monday, September 22. 2008
Today we had friends over from the United Kingdom. Andy, his wife Jan and their son David.
So we headed off through the Redwoods to Crater Lake which was an absolute picture.... the sun shone and the blue of the lake was just amazing. But in the shade you could feel autumn wasn't very far away....
Sunday, September 21. 2008
Saturday, September 20. 2008
The best laid plans of mice and men... having got the hay all ready for bailing we set the irrigation going in the alpaca pasture adjacent to the hay field and of course the wind picked up and we ended up with some wet hay...fortunately it isn't much and it is dry now so can be bailed next week. probably only about five bales by the time all is said and done.
Last night we attended a Wine and Wings silent auction fund raiser for the Klamath Bird Observatory and were lucky enough to come away with a night in a very comfortable local hotel... good news all round.
Friday, September 19. 2008
JP on his "squeeze"
As a boy hay making was a wonderful time of year warm summer evenings working in the fields till late with the men who smoked and told great stories.... for the most part it was hot dusty work and afterwards we would all go to the pub for a pint of bitter...I was only 16 but in rural communities no one cared.
Well mechanisation has changed that forever and JP can do in minutes what it would take grown men hours to accomplish.
JP effortlessly pops another 20 bales onto the truck.
And if you ask hime nicely he will even drop it straight into the barn for you....
The second cutting is now neatly stored for another year and the remainder sold off. In total we gathered 261 bales in the second cutting.
Once the hay field is tidy I will close the gates and let the alpacas run wild..... there is something about wide open spaces that sends them a little crazy after the typically small alpacas pastures. I can feel some great alpaca photo opportunities coming on......
Thursday, September 18. 2008
My alpacas appear to get through very little hay in the winter so I have to assume that there is sufficient forage in the pastures to keep them topped up. They have free access to hay and yet consume less than expected. I would estimate that a nursing mother is eating 1 pound of dry hay each day. So about 30lbs per month and over I will go into this winter with about ten bales of hay from last year and about twenty bales from this year.
Grain is another matter and I am waiting to hear when we will be putting in our next grain order with the local coop for our customised alpaca mix which is specially blended to contain high amounts of selenium, which is naturally deficient from grass in this part of the world.
The alpaca farming paperwork beckons and it is not to be ignored lightly. There is nothing worse than missing a key date or event because your animal health records were not up to scratch.... plus I have some cria registrations to file.
Wednesday, September 17. 2008
The 2008 second cutting
Unlike olive oil where people tend to go for the first pressing with hay grass the second cutting is usually superior. Hay analysis of my own hay in previous years shows that second cutting is slightly better than first cutting. However it is by no means clear as to why this should be. Is it the grass in a different stage of its growth cycle? Or is it simply the different weather with cooler evenings and cooler night times?
Maybe it really doesn't matter because it just is the accepted wisdom of hay making. The truth is the alpacas chow down on it no matter what I might think and do not show any preference for a certain age of hay... I guess like most animals including humans if they are hungry enough then they will eat it.
Tuesday, September 16. 2008
The weather remains good and today we rowed up the hay for bailing .
JP rows up the hay wearing his traditional bailing shirt!
Another day in the warm wind and it will be already to bale.
Exactly like last year there was a beautiful moon over the hay field last night.
Too early for a harvest moon which comes next month I suspect we will have a good harvest of second cutting hay none the less.
Today was probably the last meeting of SOJAA with me as president of the local alpaca breeders association - truly the end of an era!
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.
Sunday, September 14. 2008
Well pretty quiet on the farm today Bill came out yesterday to see how his alpacas are doing and when they will be ready to move to their new home.
He also collected the Yocom McColl fibre reports for the two alpacas Minne and Jonny, that we sheared this year.
Later today I am going to set up the night vision camera in the area outside the barn where the females sleep...this could be really interesting. One thing I did learn in the last installation was that if there are any branches within range of the motion sensor and the wind blows then.....you get a picture of the tree! Which is no big deal except on a windy night that could generate hundreds of unwanted pictures....
The second cutting of hay is drying out nicely in the hay field and I suspect we will turn it over later today and then bale it early next week.
The weather is still good and my tomato plants are still making fruit...which coming from the UK never ceases to amaze me. Back home you need a green house and hours of time to water and care for the plants here they grow almost like weeds..
Quite a bit of smoke in the air today and visibility is down so I am guessing there is a small forest fire somewhere up the valley.
Well better go set the irrigation running and check on the alpacas and make sure they are all okay.
Saturday, September 13. 2008
Regulars to my blog will know that I set up a motion sensitive camera that shoots in infra red at night. This was my attempt to see if the cougar was about on our property.
Now the chances of the cougar walking in front of the camera given the many hundreds of miles he probably covers looking for prey is slim....and indeed I haven't snapped him yet!
But here is what does gone on after dark....
A dear and a skunk at about 12.26 am
Deer and skunk again....
A deer at about 2.09 am
Well no cougar - but this is still pretty cool and being infra red it doesn't startle the animal when it takes a picture..... so I am maybe thinking I will track the alpacas at night and see what they get up to. Maybe I can answer questions I have often wondered like how often do the cria feed from their mother in the night.
Friday, September 12. 2008
Today we are taking our second cutting of hay...this is not to be confused with the second coming which hasn't happened yet....but it was looking like it could be neck and neck for a while back there.
Still I must not complain JP is here now and busy mowing...quite how he manages to wear a great thick plaid shirt all year round I will never know it must be like a mobile sauna on that tractor of his.
Green green the grass
Well it looks like a good crop to me and this weather will dry it out very nicely.
Today we had a meeting to select a new logo for the local alpaca association SOJAA all quite interesting really. Having re branded a major European bank twice in my previous life I find it fascinating that the discussions are so similar....just goes to show there is really nothing new in the world.
Thursday, September 11. 2008
My good friends at Pucara have sent out a very impressive little publication this week detailing their herdsires.
The brochure lists 13 quality herdsires, I have to assume Big Al is not superstitious!
Most are Snowmass animals and the name alone tells you these will all be exceptional quality.
Big Al floating on his pond with Dolly. What you need to know is that pool float is 8 feet long.
Some of the studs are co-owned or campaigned with Tim & Anita Beaumont of Beachwood Creek Farm. Ohio [email protected]
My day on the farm ended on a real high note when I received a phone call from a total stranger who had found a long lost colleague by searching the internet and finding him on my alpaca blog. Dr Nate Gale who was director of the Los Angeles Zoo is a neighbor and friend of ours and came by for the annual alpaca shearing last year.
Dr Gale former director of the Los Angeles Zoo watching the shearing at Mulberry Alpacas.
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