September 16, 2013

It's that time of year again....

          Sharon and I took Serena and her friend Ginger to the Binbrook Fall Fair this weekend.  This is a lovely fair that we really enjoy being part of.  Ginger turned out to be the star attraction as she is unusually friendly for an alpaca.  She let people scratch her head and rub her neck and liked to nuzzle Sharon's neck as Sharon sat beside the pen with her knitting.
          Serena stood in the middle of the pen - just too far for people to reach her and acting like the princess she is.

Ginger wants the goats to play with her....

April 8, 2013

Maggie had a baby!  Meet Hunter -

In Canada most alpaca babies are born in the summer months which means alpacas are bred in May, June or July.  But sometimes there are surprises..........
In April of 2012 a windstorm blew over a gate between some of the adult females and six of the adult males.  No one noticed it until a few hours later when Maggie sauntered out of the boys' pen with a smile on her face.
Alpacas are induced ovulators which mean that if a female is not pregnant when she is around the males, they will mate and she will more than likely get pregnant.  Their pregnancy lasts approximately 11.5 months so we started keeping an eye on Maggie in March.  She got bigger and bigger and a little cranky so we knew it would be soon.  Because we knew it would be too cold for the baby to be born outside, John and Sharon built a lovely birthing room inside the barn and kept Maggie in there along with Serena for company.
At 7:00 am on March 21st Sharon went out to the barn and heard a new humming sound from Maggie.  Sure enough a baby was standing beside her - a lovely 17 pound male.
He has the white face and socks of his mom with a black neck and brown back.  Out of the six potential fathers, one is black and five are white so we can't be sure who Hunter's dad is and only a DNA test will confirm that information.

Here are some more photos of Hunter and Maggie along with Serena.  He and Maggie enjoy the sunshine but the winds have been cool, so Hunter wears this stylish coat:

September 25, 2012

My Mom

Marion Lawrence
1927 to 2012

July 10, 2012

Shearing Serena

Some photos from shearing day.

Isn't this lovely?  It's going towards a sweater that is taking three years's worth of Serena's yarn to create - hopefully it will be finished this fall.

While the alpacas are on the shearing table we take the time to trim their teeth if necessary.  This is the first time Serena has needed hers trimmed.  She didn't like it.

You can almost feel her relief in having this experience over with.

June 6, 2012

Shearing Day 2012

Forty-seven alpacas were sheared last weekend and I was lucky enough to be the sorter again this year. 

The Hamilton Spectator did a story and video on what we were doing and you can watch it by clicking here: Alpaca Shearing | Video Zone

May 28, 2012

Alpacas in PEI

A very sad side to alpaca ownership is that some are neglected, abused or abandoned.  Fortunately there are many, many wonderful farmers like Heather Jones of Alpaca Bay Farm in PEI.  We dropped in to say hello and found Heather and her sister in the midst of shearing some alpacas they rescued this spring.

Some of them had not been sheared for three years and were in distress but felt better once the mats and tangles had been removed. One of the rescues had a baby the day after being sheared.

Thank you Heather - and all caring and generous alpaca farmers - for the extra help you give to the alpacas in need.

May 15, 2012

Visit to The Meadows

This is a visit I've been really looking forward to as my uncle lives in this charming LTC and I haven't seen him and my aunt for more than two years.  It's funny how in their eyes you're still the gawky 12 year old - I guess they just don't see the grey hair and the extra weight. Here are some special pictures of some special people plus Serena making new friends.

April 17, 2012

Alpaca Ontario Show 2012

The 2012 Alpaca Ontario show took place this past weekend in Orangeville and I was able to join in the fun with the folks from 'Alpacas from Eighth and Mud'. 

Beautiful Emily Carr won first prize in her class and you can see by the look on Amanda's face that it was a special moment:

Here's Sharon holding Lasalle while the judge makes a thorough study of the little guy:

Some of the alpacas are a little reluctant to take part:

And some like to really strut their stuff:

Debbie and Doug from 'Alpaca Jaks' in Cayuga showed one of their adorable grey girls:
It's a crying shame that alpacas are not judged on cuteness - this little girl would have won for sure. 

July 8, 2011

How We Roll

I'm often asked how Serena is transported to the various places we visit and people are surprised when I tell then she just pops into the side door of the mini-van.  Here's a photo:

It really makes me laugh to watch peoples' reactions to this.

June 9, 2011

Hamilton SPCA

The Hamilton SPCA invited us to be part of their Junior Humane program  for children aged 7-12. Through fun lectures, hands-on time with animals, guest speakers and their animals, crafts, journals, games and contests, the kids get an excellent introduction to pet care and knowledge.

It was a great experience and the kids had really good questions for us.  Here are some photos of Serena with the 10 to 12 year olds:

Brant Centre Visit

We love meeting the seniors at The Brant Centre in Burlington!

Scenes From the 10th Alpaca Ontario Show

Yes, that is my scarf - and my second-place ribbon.  Yay me!

Another great show put on by Alpaca Ontario and the incredible volunteers who make it happen - well done!

May 1, 2011

Alpaca Ontario 2011 Show (and the best Ring Steward in the world)

Alpaca shows rely on a lot of volunteers to ensure that events run smoothly.  Owners, handlers and alpacas can be easily stressed by what is expected of them.  One of the key volunteer roles is that of Ring Steward.

The Ring Steward works under the direction of the judge and has an incredibly responsible job.  He or she has the authority to remove unsportsmanlike exhibitors from the ring; they are in charge of and control activities in the ring; they convey the judge's directions to the exibitors and answer questions the exhibitors may have.

They also help with restraining unruly alpacas so the judge can complete the evaluation in a safe manner.  The Ring Steward also lines up the alpacas in the correct order.

I know from first hand experience how much the exhibitors depend on the Ring Stewards.  They provide a comforting presence in the ring to those of us who are inexperienced, nervous, unsure of what to do, and they offer their expertise in handling when necessary.

I witnessed a Ring Steward at the Alpaca Ontario 10th Anniversary Show a couple weeks ago who absolutely epitomizes the best of all volunteers.  Nobody in the ring was aware of what he did, except for one scared little alpaca.