Friday, April 30, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday - Friendship and Fiber Arts

I am writing this blog in the early morning hours before I leave for the Michigan Breeders Show in Davisburg, Michigan where I will be taking three of my Alpacas to compete in halter competition.  I plan on this being my last show of the year mainly due to finances.  I will use the remainder of my budget for fiber festivals in the fall.  Anyways, my thoughts have turned to the great friends I've made since I learned to knit and spin. 
 Oh, I didn't spin or knit these...they were a gift.

I am blessed to have so many amazing people in my life.
I've officially been spinning a year...on a drop spindle. That's me, last April.

I used to have a friend.  Yes, used to as in past tense, who wanted to charge me for everything even to learn how to knit.  Can you imagine that?  She thought have a few bucks was more important than spending quality time with a friend having a common interest.  I learned quickly that our "friendship" was one sided.  I would do anything for her and she would invoice me for whatever she did.  Yeah, not cool.

Well, I had another friend, Dee, who is a wonderful person.  She said that I needed to meet her friend Holly who loved to knit and was totally awesome. She didn't tell me that Holly was married to an Ogre, mother to three little pigs or that she knitted with snot and slayed zombies...those just happened to be bonus features in my new friend.  The fact that she came with a whole knitting group of awesome and that they also were fabulous knitters and spinners, well that was just the hand-whipped topping on the most delicious cake you can imagine.
It's been a year now since I picked up my first drop spindle that I won at a National Kidney Foundation Fundraiser made by Shannon aka SpinSanity.  It's officially been a year since I met the Zombie Prom Date Knitters and learned that you shouldn't have to enjoy fiber arts alone, that we are all women who need an outlet to talk, vent, laugh, play, live, and that we need to look beyond ourselves and help others by volunteering.  We occasionally also have to be girls and work through little issues, but hey...that's what great friends and great knitting groups are for and we help each other work through our problems one stitch at a time.

Sometimes I think I miss that "friend" but realize that she actually did me a favor by being a jerk.  Her selfish behavior led me to the most amazing and talented group of friends.  Our group meets almost any day of the week depending on who's available but every Tuesday we meet at the Koffee Klutch in Galesburg.  I normally don't get to go because of work but this week I was able to.  It's been three months since I last went to a Tuesday gathering.  Although my morning started out slow and a bit grumpy, it quickly turned to giggles, laughter and kinship.  We shared our projects and our stories.  Holly's Dad, Sir FrogsAlot aka Marty, knitted me a pair of socks.  I LOVE KNITTED SOCKS!  I have yet to knit a pair of knitted socks.  The only knitted socks I own are ones that were made the wrong size for other people.  I'm a size 9, by the way.  WINK WINK
 SirFrogsAlot made me a pair of socks in colors I adore because he knew I was having a rough time lately dealing with my Dad's death, being sick and stressed, etc.   I LOVE THESE SOCKS!
SirFrogsAlot and the WonderWhyGal April 2009
I love the fact that a pair of knitted socks totally made my day and the fact that an adorable man cared enough to knit me socks.  Thank you, Marty xoxo.  So that's my melancholy submission to FAF. What started this train of though...Marty and my socks along with Holly being my Wonder Intern for yet another Alpaca event.  Friendship and Fiber Arts go hand in hand, stitch by stitch, twist by twist...You get the point.

I am meeting with some amazing Fiber Artists that reside right here in Michigan at the Michigan Breeders Show and I plan to interview them and take pics so I can share some hidden treasures right here in my neck of the woods for future posts. This week I spun a bunch of my Suri and knitted a Cowl, tore apart said cowl then knitted a shawl which ended up childsize (I really need to investigate this knit gauge thing people talk about).  I'm taking my Lendrum to the show so I can demonstrate my awesome spinning.  Wow, it's hard to believe I've only been spinning a year.  What a year. What adventures in Fiber Arts did you have this week?
Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!

To participate:

  1. Submit your blog article to the next edition of fiber arts friday using our carnival submission form. Remember to submit your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
  1. Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  2. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these cool blogs:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Lego Meets Suri...Alpaca Yarn


 
You can purchase this roving at the Etsy Shop of Wonder
Spin Into Spring With Suri SAL is currently in progress.  
Join in and experience the Wonder of Alpaca!
Beware of the Dog - Mine loves Alpaca Yarn and Roving

Monday, April 26, 2010

...and on the farm she had some chickens, E I E I O

The Wonder Why Alpaca Farm is all about the Alpacas, of course, but we also raise chickens and turkeys. We have quite a few layers who give us between 12-18 eggs every day. We don't "get rid" of the chickens during the winter months like some farms do so we have farm fresh eggs year around.

Chickens don't start laying eggs until they are 19 weeks old. They live 3-8 years if they are not in a factory. Those only will live about two years. It takes about 24-26 hours for a hen to lay an egg and as she gets older, the eggs get larger.

It takes approximately 21 days for an egg to hatch. This year we didn't want to rely on our hens brooding so we took a couple of eggs each day and put them in an incubator. Of course this means that we will have 2-3 chicks hatch each day. Once a chick is ready to hatch it takes about 24 hours for it to totally break through the shell and I didn't believe it until I patiently waited with the kids for those chicks to start hatching yesterday.

There are about 200 breeds of chickens and we probably have about 15. We decided to try different breeds to see how they would adapt to our Michigan Winters plus to see what kind of eggs they hatch along with the fact that they are much prettier to look at than the standard egg layers. Our decision has given us lots of pretty brown, green and blue eggs with very few white.

We should have another two chicks born today. They started poking through their shells yesterday and we can hear them chirping. It's a fun experience for our whole family. By the time these chicks, hoping they are female, start laying eggs our current egg layers will be at the end of their egg laying life...ah, the circle of life.
In celebration of our new chicks hatching we had eggs for dinner last night. The kids are learning about irony.
 E I E I O

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Donor Drive 2010 - I'm registered, are you?


“I am only one, but I am one!  I cannot do everything, but I can do something!  And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do!”  Edward Everett Hale
Signing the back of your drivers license DOES NOT make you an registered organ donor.  
I haven't been industrious looking up quotes lately but as I was reading a blog from a very wonderful heart transplant recipient, Angela, I had seen she changed her header to show this quote.    If I were to list all the people I interact with on a social basis the number of people who are in the Alpaca Industry and people associated with Organ Donation would fill 90% of the list...ok, maybe 99%. 
  This is the lung pillow Dad got from Henry Ford Hospital after his transplant. I've decided to take it with me when I speak. I also take my scrapbooks from the two National Kidney Foundation Games I've been to with Team Michigan.
Thursday night I spoke to a group in Coldwater on behalf of Gift of Life Michigan and the need for registered organ donors.  It was the first time I had spoken officially on behalf of Gift of Life Michigan since my father died.  He had been asked to speak at this dinner last fall.  I was asked to take his place.  I don't know if I'll ever be able to take his place.  I don't think I'm strong enough but I am part of him and I share his passion for life.
I misplaced my outline that I use when speaking to groups so I had to make a new one...yeah, that worked.  The focus of the evening was my dad.  I shared our transplant story and why it's so important to be a registered organ donor.  I explained that it's not just the organs that are noted, it's also tissue and corneas.  The Gift of Life Michigan also works with the Michigan Eye Bank. I spoke about our hero, my dad's donor, who we have never met but who gave our family the greatest gift we could ever get.  I told them about other people who I know who have had their transplants and about people who are waiting for their chance for a transplant while their organs continue to weaken.  After I finished speaking, I let them ask questions.
 The first question asked was, "Will a doctor save my life if I'm a registered donor?"  That question always gets asked.  I always reply, "Yes!  You are the patient and the doctor will do everything possible to save your life but in the event that the doctor can't then the transplant team will come and make the decision  if you are a viable organ donor candidate. There are two separate teams of doctors that make these decisions."  
Another question asked is, "I'm on a lot of medications and have issues, am I still a candidate to be an organ donor?"    My answer, "Register to be an organ donor.  The doctors will decide when the time comes.  What may not be viable now might be 20 years from now.  If you are unsure, contact the Gift of Life Michigan.  I am not in the medical field and I can't answer these questions like they can."
"Am I too old to be a donor?"  My answer, "Register to be an organ donor.  Age is irrelevant.  It depends on the health of your body and your organs and the doctors will decide."  
I hope my answers to those questions helped you with your decision to be an organ donor.  It's a topic people don't like to discuss because it means that they have to talk about their own mortality but the problem is is that people need to talk about this with their families.  The best part about being a registered organ donor is that you get to use the parts the rest of your life but take good care of them because they will save lives.  Yes, that's plural because one donor can save many lives. For more information regarding frequently asked questions, please visit the Gift of Life Michigan website for more answers.

"Live Life then Give Life!"
My display table

Michigan residents waiting for organs

In 2009, the generosity of Michigan organ donors resulted in 862 transplants and saved hundreds of lives. Transplants so far in 2010 total 189. Michigan patients waiting for a transplant as of April 1, 2010.

Kidney 2,381
Liver 322
Lung 44
Kidney/Pancreas 43
Heart 88
Pancreas 12
Kidney/Liver 27
Kidney/Heart 2
TOTAL 2,936

I made it through the evening without crying although their were a lot of tears in the room.  That wasn't my intention but I can't talk about organ donation without talking about my dad.  When you visit the Gift of Life Michigan website to register to be an organ donor, check the box that says you heard about it from a volunteer then enter my name, Andrea Morrison.  My goal is to register 212 new registered donors this year.  Look that the numbers I just listed.  2936 people in Michigan are waiting for the Gift of Life.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday - Spin into Spring with Suri

Happy Fiber Arts Friday!  This week I have been busy spinning up a bunch of new yarn.  Unfortunately I haven't taken pictures of most of my creations either because they are still on the bobbin or drying.  I received 30lbs of my Suri Alpaca Roving back from the mill last Saturday and I wanted to spin up some samples.  I've now decided that I should knit up some samples too.  When am I going to find time to do this?
Yarn from my new Lavendar and White Suri/Merino blend Roving.  
Hand Spun on my Lendrum.  

I have mailed out two skeins of my yarn to Nationals which will take place in May down in Fort Wayne.  I am submitting a skein of 100% Suri cleaned, combed and spun by yours truly and also a skein that is my Suri but processed at the mill then spun my me.  I think it's good that AOBA is finally starting to realize that the Alpaca industry is built on animals that grow amazing fiber.  Instead of the show just having a halter class and fleece class they now have a fiber arts class.  Many of the states have already been doing this.
 Skein of Suri that I am submitting to Nationals
What many farms don't realize is that no matter how beautiful an Alpaca is out in the pasture that the way it's fiber is sheared then processed is what really matters.  I have some roving from some amazing award winning Alpaca that was made into awful roving due to the way the mill processed the fiber.  We can't always make the decision of picking a mill because it's less expensive, we have to make our processing decisions based on the most economical way to make quality product.  Farms need to take control of their fiber and research what mills have the right formula for Alpaca.  We need to talk to the mills and start a dialogue.  We need to talk with our shear teams and let them know that second sloppy cuts are unacceptable.  That fiber is our business.  Argh!  I'm on my fiber pedestal again.  It pains me to see fiber sitting in basements or barns.  It breaks my heart to know that some people throw it away...especially the Suri because they don't understand what to do.

Since I am in a spinning mood, I am going to have a contest.  It will focus on Suri.
  This photo is on page 15 of  the PURELY SURI HERDSIRE Edition 2010
Spin into Spring with Suri SAL (Spin Along)
I will post Suri Roving on my Etsy site, WonderWhyGal, for you to purchase between now and April 30.  I will ship out your Suri Blend Roving and you will have until the end of May to Spin up a beautiful yarn.  You will post your creations on my Ravelry Group, The Wonder Why Alpaca Farm, where I will have a secret judges checking out your yarn.  Encourage  friends comment on the yarn too.  The more popular your yarn, the more points you get plus the judges opinions.  Post before, during and after photos.  Remember that your yarn is being judged by a photo.  The winners will receive free 4oz Wonder Roving, an Alpaca Teddy Bear or a pair of Alpaca Socks.  Some yarn will be the beautiful 4oz bumps you see on my Etsy site and some may be beautiful batts.  You can blend my fiber with your own or spin it as is.  Use your creativity and Spin the Splendor that is Suri.


Obviously I have decided to promote my Etsy site this week.  Please feel free to promote yours this week or next.  Let's show our readers the Wonder of Fiber Arts.
So what fun fiber adventures have you been on this week?
Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!

To participate:

  1. Submit your blog article to the next edition of fiber arts friday using our carnival submission form. Remember to submit your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
  1. Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  2. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these cool blogs:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Guaranteed Quality Parts and Service

I have the Gift of Gab...yup, I'm a talker.  Anyone who has met me knows that.  One of my favorite topics, besides Alpacas, is the Gift Of Life Michigan and Organ Donation.  Here we are almost done with the month of April which is also National Donate Life Month.  Every month is Organ Donor Awareness Month for me, I always tweet, blog, update status and talk about my experience with the transplant program.  This week will be the first time in quite awhile that I will be speaking in front of a group on request.  Yes, I stress the "on request" part since I quite often change the topic of discussion to the Organ Donation whenever I can.

I will be speaking to a large group of people down in Coldwater, Michigan  for a special dinner.  This will be a difficult talk for me because this will be the first time I have talked to a group on request without my Dad being with me. 

I have been stressing over what I will talk about because they want me to speak 25-30 minutes with no video, pictures or slides.  Many of the people in audience will be people that my father knew for many years.  This will be the first time I will be speaking on behalf of the Gift of Life Michigan since my dad passed away.  I know I will do great...I am an excellent public speaker (it's that whole Gift of Gab) and I never have issues meeting the targeted time to speak.  I actually have to cut my speaking time down.  I am just concerned about having a meltdown.  I've been having a lot of emotional breakdowns lately.  I miss him so much...

Today I received a special gift in the mail.  It as a t-shirt from the Gift of Life Michigan for promoting Donor Drive 2010.  I will take the t-shirt with me Thursday (I'm supposed to wear a dress) as a show and tell...maybe as a door prize too although I really don't want to give it up.
I will tell my transplant story and the importance of being a registered organ donor.  I will tell the audience what a hero my Dad's donor is to our family and what it means to a recipients family...to be a recipient family (not every person waiting for an organ transplant makes it to the recipient list do to the lack of viable organs).

I know Dad will be there with me like he's always with me.  He will encourage me to speak and motivate the audience like he has always done. I'll hear his laughter as something fun is said and I will see his smile letting me know I did a good job.  I can still hear his voice in my head and in my heart...and I cry.  He is the reason I do all of this.  The lungs he received  seven years ago and the struggle of needing those lungs are the reason I am so vocal about organ donation.  Someone's gift saved my Dad and gave us extra years we would never have had.  Now to tell people about it without crying.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pseudomodus, Thiamine, My Dad and Alpacas

Yesterday I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Cheryl DeWitt, DVM speak about Reproductive Challenges and Management in Alpacas.  This class is a great expansion lecture on her full day Neo-Natal Seminar.  Our friends, Mike and Shelley Sullivan at Schoolpond Alpacas in Delton, Michigan were our hosts.  I learned more than just Reproductive Challenges from Dr. DeWitt...a whole lot more.

I had already been in contact with Dr. DeWitt about one of my fiber boys, My Pedro, on Friday because my Friday had started with Sister Bear going out to the barn about 7am to feed the herd and finding a sick boy.  She came in and said that Pedro hadn't eaten and just stood their coughing and looking weird.  I went out to the barn and their he was just standing their drooling then hacking.  I gave the boys some hay and thought he would get happy about the hay like he always does but he just stood there.  I quickly moved him into an area by himself and dialed my cell phone.  Of course I kept getting voice mail, no one was available and I was freaking out.  I ran into the house and checked my Dr. Norm Evans Alpaca Field Manual.  I couldn't find what I was looking for and I was so frustrated.  I wanted to be able to take care of herd health on my own without needing help but I did need it so I called Don and Cheri Parks at Wind Walker Ranch.  They asked me about symptoms then sent me back out to the barn to check a few things.  The first thing I did was take his temperature.  This was the first time I had ever taken a rectal temperature without help.  I did so without difficulty and Pedro's temp was 100.3 which was within normal.  They had me check the inside of Pedro's mouth to make sure something wasn't affecting his eating/hacking because of his gums.  They were fine.  Then Don instructed me to pretend to punch Pedro to see if Pedro would flinch.  He didn't.  My boy was going blind.
I need to preface that Pedro has been sick since I got him over a year ago.  He was one of the first boys I had ever bought.  He has always been underweight no matter what I feed him and he always has parasite issues when the rest of the herd is fine.  He is a beautiful boy with an unhealthy immune system but is playful and active with the rest of the herd.  I barely had him a week and we were dealing with Rickets. That was the start of our time with this boy. The last fecal exam that I had checked showed no signs of problems and that was a few weeks ago.  Yesterday was different.  As soon as I called the Don and Cheri back they immediately thought Thiamine Deficiency.  Of course I didn't have any Thiamine at the farm.  It was time to see if the local vet had it since my vet is 45 minutes away.  During this time Dave Bates, from 4 Musketeers Alpaca, who co-own Midnight Magic's Mystery with me called to let me know that he had Thiamine but suggested that I head to the local vet with Pedro in case he needed I.V. treatment.  My vet was out of the office.  I got my boy there and they were concerned with his stomach and thought possibly M-Worm because of his long term weight issues but definitely agreed that a Thiamine Deficiency was the culprit so they gave him an amazing antibiotic.  It was a shot in the ear that lasts four days.  They sent me home to treat with Thiamine since I already had Panacur and Ivermectin.  I gave Pedro the big doses and waited.

Later that evening I got to talk with Dr. DeWitt on the phone since some of the farms were having dinner with her.  She is one amazing lady.  She dug deeper with questions and found out that I had recently treated with Corrid and said that it supresses the Vitamin B in the body which can cause the Thiamine Deficiency.  She had me increase the dosage but not use the ivermectin since M-Worm was not the current issue.  The next morning I woke up to find a boy who could see and was alert.  Both the local vet and Dr. DeWitt agree that he has some neurological problems and there is definitely something wrong with his gut.  He has a weird walk that I don't remember him having before.  For over a year I have battled his weight and something is keeping him from being healthy. I have had the docs check him every time they come for herd health and I am always turning in fecals to be examined.  Ultimately we have to decide how much treatment do you give to a fiber boy.  That is a tough problem to figure out.  The local vet wants to ultrasound his belly and Dr. DeWitt wants blood samples drawn and sent to Oregon which cost a lot of money and both procedures don't help his problem, they only educate us on something that has been wrong with him since he was a cria back on his home farm.  What to do?  I hope my explanation helps anyone else who might run into a similar problem.  I didn't do anything wrong and that's the hard part.  All treatments and herd maintainable have been done correctly but this boy has still managed to be sick.

Well, somehow I digressed from my original topic of the Reproductive Seminar but I'm all about educating and until it happened to me I didn't understand when other farms talked about their Thiamine Deficiency problems.  During the class I learned a lot of amazing information regarding breeding, birthing patterns, the reproductive cycle of alpacas and what vets see when they ultrasound females.  One thing that triggered me into to tears...yes, tears, was the infection called pseudomonas.  Now why would an infection that affects alpacas bother me so much?  Well, it's the same infection that made my Dad sick a good deal of the time.  Do you want to know how many times I heard that word yesterday?  Well, it was enough times to poke stabs of pain in my heart.  I went to the class to learn about reproductive issues in alpacas not relive painful memories of the diagnosis that would put Dad into the hospital.  If she had said that Alpacas are infected with Aspergillus I would have lost it.  Of all the topics and issues that could be discussed yesterday why that infection?

This weekend was full of medical education for yours truly.  I now have a better understanding of issues that can affect my herd both reproductively and neurologically.  I have a boy that I know will definitely have to be handled with extra care and know that one medication that might help him in one way might cause problems another way.  Whew!  That was a lot to take in, wasn't it?

My Pedro with Sister Bear 2009
I LOVE this picture




 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fiber Arts Friday - Ba Ba Black Sheep Have You Any Wool

Alpacas on the brain.  Alpacas in my heart.  Alpacas in my sleep.  I love my alpaca farm.  I am constantly searching for the best ways to process my fiber to make the best roving and yarn possible.  I keep researching mini-mills to process my fiber into roving and I have recently became a member of the NAAFP which has the best commercial alpaca yarn that I have ever seen.  As much as I love my alpaca, I know that blending it with other fibers allows for more end product potential.  I don't like dying fiber all one color, although I have to experiment.  I like the natural color of the alpaca (they do come in 22 colors) with a twist of color and I have bringing the color in via wool.
My black Suri blended with Fin wool dyed by KnitsInClass.
Wool?  Yes, wool.  I must preface my new obsession with wool with the fact that I really raced right through the sheep barns at the 4-H County Fairs I went to in the past.  I just didn't find them interesting.  Maybe it was the goats.  Maybe it's the fact that by the time I would go to the fair the sheep had already been sheared.  I just didn't find sheep interesting.

That's all changed.  Once you learn about one aspect of natural fiber you can't help but get addicted to anything and everything fiber.  So, I am been searching for books to help.  I have also been quizzing people who know about different breeds of sheep about anything and everything I can find out.  My best resource has been me.  I have bought different wools from various Etsy shops to test how they spin with both my Suri and Huacaya.  I have even tried dyeing some to see how their fiber absorbs the dye compared to Alpaca.
 I also bought the Knitters Book of Wool.  Is this the best resource book?  I don't know.  Has it given me lots of information so I can make informed decisions about what wool I want to experiment with?  Yes, it has.

So far I have spun up Merino, Romney, Cormo, Blue Face Leicester, Finn, Mohair and Yak to name just a few.  It's neat to learn the history behind how these breeds were created and what their purpose is.

Learning about the different wools and sheep breeds is helping me understand Alpaca better too.  I have to admit that I don't think I would ever want to look out to a pasture full of sheep.  I love my herd and I love the pure beauty of Alpaca.  Not only is Alpaca fiber unbelievably wonderful, the animal itself is amazing, graceful, smart and phenomenal. With that, I have been knitting a beautiful shawl from a pattern I found in the Spring issue of Knitters called Wave and Ripple.  I am knitting it with yarn from NAAFP which is a blend of Huacaya, Suri and Soy Silk and it is delicious to work with.  It is the best Alpaca blend yarn that I have ever got a hold of and I like it and the other products the NAAFP produce so much that I have become a member and started my Certified Sorter Apprenticeship to help make more of this fabulous product.  I am using a Rose Gray and Fawn yarn.
My goal is to have this shawl done by the end of the month. Tick Tock, Tick Tock.  I am on row 20 of 100 with 382 stitches in each row.  So what fun fiber adventures have you been on this week?
Fiber Arts Friday Blog Carnival!

To participate:

  1. Submit your blog article to the next edition of fiber arts friday using our carnival submission form. Remember to submit your current blog address NOT your complete blog  i.e. you would submit 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com/2010/02/e-i-e-i-doh.html  
NOT 
http://wonderwhyalpacafarm.blogspot.com
  1. Link back to Fiber Arts Friday from your post so that your readers can come and see everyone else’s projects! Text link to  WISDOM BEGINS IN WONDER!   
  2. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what helps us all connect!
Check out these cool blogs:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sounds of Spring

I wish I could let you hear what I am listening to right now...it's a mixture of cranes, geese, ducks, birds, chickens,  frogs and miniature schnauzers at play all covering the humming of alpacas.  I am loving the early Spring we are experiencing here in Michigan.   I'm not complaining about having to scoop poo because all alpaca farms know that scooping poo on a nice 60 degree day is heavenly.  Really!  You are in the midst of your herd and they are enjoying you hanging out in the barn longer than normal because during the Winter, it's too darn cold to be spending hours in the barn.
Don't worry, the alpacas are sunbathing.  Freaked me out too the first time I saw them lay like that for a few hours.
I took my knitting out to the barn yesterday.  I was going to sit down and knit the alpaca shawl I started this weekend while I watched the herd playing in the pasture but...the call of barn chores scream to me, "GET TO WORK!"  so I cleaned the barn plus my darling husband was busy working hard with the post hole digger putting up more fencing so we can split our pastures again. Wait, maybe it was Grumpy yelling at me to get to work.  Nope, he was in his construction zone.  I do love that man, especially when all he asks for is his October/November to deer hunt and his May to turkey hunt then I go and schedule alpaca events during that time. 
 Our goal is to get all the heavy duty fence and pasture chores done during this warm April so we can enjoy the summer.  Oh, there will always be chores to do but if we can get the worst of the work done now then those hot days can be spent at the pool.

Now to enjoy the sounds of Spring a bit more before the bears come home from school.
Wait, as I am typing do you know what I now hear?
 An Ice Cream Van playing music.

Now if you have never visited you might wonder why I think this is crazy but if you have you'd understand.  I live out in the middle of the country where it's not on the way to anywhere.  Yikes!  The Ice Cream business must be getting bad if they have to come out my way for sales.

Ok, back to the beautiful spring sounds of nature....ahhhhh