Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup clear Karo syrup
- 1 cup peanut butter (I use Peter Pan Plus to add vitamins)
- 6 cups rice crispies
- 12oz. semi-sweet chocolate morsels
- 12oz. butterscotch morsels
- Melt butterscotch chips, then add chocolate chips. I use a double boiler for this.
- Add sugar and Karo syrup to large saucepan. Heat on medium heat, stirring frequently, until it is clear and bubbles begin to form.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in peanut butter.
- Stir in 6 cups rice crispies.
- Grease 13x9 pan. Spoon rice crispy mixture into pan.
- Spread the melted chocolate mixture over the rice crispies
- Allow to cool completely and set before cutting.
- Store covered. Enjoy!
See ya on the other side of Tropical Storm Faye.
Friday, August 22, 2008
With regards to heat, we were told by our mentor to buy alpacas from our region when we were getting started. We followed that advice to a certain degee. But after a few years in the alpaca business, with some experience under our belt, we bought a herdsire from Maine. We brought him home after the AOBA National Conference in June. The next morning after we returned home, I opened that back door to go check on our new macho.
A wall of heat and humidity hit me in the face. I thought that I must have killed this poor alpaca to bring him down here as he was used to a much cooler and less humid existence. Panicked, I ran out and found him sunbathing in the field. For the rest of his life that boy loved to sunbathe and never appeared to be affected at all by our climate. We have also had a couple of alpacas who were born and raised here that don't like the heat. So you never know. A few look at me plaintively in the summer with nostrils flaring, their eyes saying "Can't you please do something about this?" I wish I could. Summers can be miserable here. For those gals I just pray that when they sell they go to cooler climates. For more on keeping alpacas cool in summer, here's an article on Preventing Heat Stress in Alpacas. Hang in there, it's almost over!
Got comments and/or tips for keeping animals cool in summer? Share them with us!
About a year ago a Super Walmart joined our town. It's about a mile and a half from our farm. Since it is on the way to everything we do, we go there alot. Unusual I know, to have a farm so close to such a big box store. Our town is really growing. Farmers are being slowly squeezed out of the picture. I still go to Bruno's every couple of weeks just to do my part to keep them in business. We really don't want Walmart to put the other grocery stores out of business so they can jack the prices way up.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Having a farm is an excellent opportunity for us to instill a good work ethic in our children. They should work and learn the value in it. At the same time, I can't see myself making them do all the work. I don't want them to resent the farm where they are growing up. Plus we do have a full time farm manager, and I need to keep him! (For me, over 40 alpacas required a paid employee if I was ever to be able to leave the farm, even to go to the grocery store once a week.)
One example I love is a family with twin boys who have been required to help their parents on their alpaca farm in whatever way was age appropriate since they were about 5. The father of this family and I were talking this summer and he gave me an idea. His boys were working for $5/hour so they could buy a wii and games for it. The lightbulb went off in my head, and I put my son to work for $5/hour. He usually makes $35-45/week. Quite the builder, he buys legos. (You wouldn't believe the places we find tiny legos and arms of lego stormtoopers.)
This summer my seven-year-old boy has gotten to know the majority of our alpacas. He is perfecting the art of watering tummies of hot alpacas, and learning the ropes on how we run them out to graze at night and inside to sit in front of the fans during the day. To keep him from getting bored we let him do lots of different tasks rather than having to fill up 15+ water buckets day after day. He feeds, scoops poop, and helps herd the alpacas. On the weekends, he is even instructing his 5 year-old sisters how to do some of the farmwork. He is our resident expert on how to administer electrolytes. The above picture is of him and Caesar playing one summer evening.
Those of you who were raised on a farm or who are raising kids now on a farm, please leave some comments/thoughts/suggestions! How many chores are enough or too many? Should they be forced to do work or be paid? On a related note, should allowance be given or earned? I look forward to hearing from you.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
When we first got the alpacas, my first child was three and I was pregnant with my second. Very pregnant. The only way that I was able to convince a vet to work with alpacas (remember this was several years ago) was because he felt sorry for me because my huge belly made me a sympathetic figure.
The fencing wasn't complete and the barn wasn't completely finished when the first 2 alpacas arrived. The couple we bought them from was nice enough to deliver them on their way to visit their daughter in TX for Thanksgiving. But we couldn't move the Thanksgiving holiday just because our barn wasn't ready. So the alpacas arrived and we put them in a stall on the end of the barn that was already finished. Problem was that we had a nice stall in the barn, and one nice fenced pasture on the other side of the property, but they weren't connected. To keep them safe from predators we wanted to put them in the barn at nigt. (We don't do this anymore.) You should have seen me eight months pregnant running, chasing, trying to herd 2 alpacas from out in the huge field into a door of the barn. Um, they weren't having it. Thanks to alpaca Joe for the advice to use ropes on t-posts to create a temporary alleyway for them to pass from pasture into barn. Alleyways are so key. Whew! That wore me out. I remember walking in and immediately popping in Marty McGee's video on handling alpacas, thinking I had so much to learn!
What makes someone want to continually take on this kind of life? In psychology there is the hope of healing. Without getting too involved in self-analysis, I believe that I found my calling in life when I became a mother. My desire to be a nurturer is stronger than my desire to heal others. In the book, The Contrary Farmer, author Gene Logsdon describes farmers as nurturers. They tend the soil, the flocks, the way a mother does her babies. Farming has traditionally been a socially acceptable way for men to be professional nurturers. It makes sense that this profession calls women to it. And once we see an alpaca, with that adorably cute face....are you kidding? We are hooked. Personally, I never stood a chance.