About a Pig

Our miniature pig, Finnegan, has arrived! He is 8 weeks old and is the cutest little thing! We’ve had him just over a week now and so far he knows his name, is litter trained and has had a bath. No small feat. He doesn’t like to be picked up, but has learned that grapes make everything better.

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Finnegan

So we’re all adjusting to this newest addition and having fun doing it!

Living Alpaca Loca,
Teresa

Autumn on the Farm

With the weather staying warmer and only two light dumpings of snow, we’ve managed to get quite a lot accomplished around the farm this fall. Work on the house continues – new doors are in and we’re waiting on windows. Some of those small, yet surprisingly annoying, items are being crossed off (like being able to finally push the fridge back into its space after our contractor refitted some upper cabinets) and the main bath wallpaper has been removed with new paint in its place.

We’ve fenced in the winter pasture for the girls and winterized the chicken/duck coop. We’ve had new water lines installed to the chicken/duck coop and big barn with an automatic waterer for the girls. We’ve started stacking the woodpile that Brian just had to bring from our house in Waterloo and have burned brush. Brian has also built a new deck off of the back of the house so the dogs have an easier time of getting outside and the goats can see in the door (not planned, but they’re liking it!).

Fourteen of my 33 hens are laying eggs and all five of my ducks are laying beautiful eggs as well. Rooster is having the time of his life – so many hens, so little time! The goats are doing well, although they’ve gotten a little chubby, so we’ve backed off on the animal crackers until they lose a little weight. The rabbits are doing well – Moo Moo is off to the vet today to get neutered. We’re hoping to find him a rabbit friend, even though he seems quite attached to Boris (the cat) we feel he might like to have one of his own kind for companionship.

All-in-all we’ve settled into a nice routine and everyone is healthy and happy. So now, of course me being me, I have to stir things up and introduce a new critter to the mix. Introducing “Finnegan” our newly adopted miniature pig. He’ll be coming to the farm around December 9th all the way from California. I’m looking forward to this little piggy!

Finnegan

Enjoy the reprieve from winter we’re having (at least here in Wisconsin). Until next time . . .

Living Alpaca Loca,
Teresa

Where’d summer go?

Even though it feels like we had a very short summer, it was a good one. We spent a lot of time outdoors either working on one project or another, or lazing about . . . after all, isn’t that what summer is for? Well, it is if you don’t live on a farm.

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Here’s a flashback of all that’s happened this year . . .

Purchased seven alpacas.
Purchased 16.5 acre farm with oodles of space.
Purchased three rabbits.
Purchased 10 ducks.
Purchased 15 chickens, but ended up with 34.
Purchased two goats.
Purchased one Maremma – livestock guardian dog.
Had a friend come from Canada to help with new fencing for the alpacas – thanks Richard!
Mowed more lawn in one summer than I’ve mowed in my entire lifetime.
Planted and harvested a garden.
Planted 10 maple trees, three blue spruce, three cherry and two apple trees.
Sold my Reiki practice in Madison.
New pavement from driveway to barn.
New water lines to big barn and chicken coop.
New doors and windows are going in the house along with a new front porch.
Repainted and upgraded main floor bath.
Installed farm sign and landscaping.
Hosted five Open Farm Days and National Alpaca Farm Days.
Learned how to trim Bijou’s beak and nails (saving money and an hour’s drive!).
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

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It’s small wonder that I feel so exhausted . . . but in a good way!

I’ve enjoyed getting up at the crack of dawn to prepare food for the rabbits, ducks and chickens. To cleaning out the coop and filling water buckets. To treating my goats and Loki to animal crackers and dog biscuits. To learning how to halter and lead our alpacas and cleaning the pasture. But mostly I’ve enjoyed the presence, and the antics, of these amazing creatures. All of them! They’ve all imprinted on my heart and I’m pretty sure Brian feels the same.

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And now as we move into fall, we’re making preparations for winter. This, my friends, will make us or break us. We’re pretty tough though because in our hearts, we were born farmers!
 
 
 

Living Alpaca Loca,
Teresa

Whirlwind Romance

Wow! This last month or so has been a whirlwind of activity! We brought the girls home to the farm on July 25th without too much trouble. However, Alice did not fair well in the beginning, showing signs of extreme stress. We managed to situate her in the front of the trailer which seemed to help the rest of the way home. It’s a blessing that we thought to stop and check on them or we may well have lost her. Once home, we unloaded them and because it was so hot, decided to give them a good spray from the hose, which they thoroughly enjoyed!

bringing girls home

20150814_072128We managed to integrate the first flock of chickens with the second flock without too much ado. We can still see the separation in the flocks, but the second flock is growing fast and soon we won’t be able to distinguish them by size. It’ll be all in the feathers! I hadn’t planned on having 34 chickens, but it’s not much more trouble and for now, all is well. We did end up with one rooster and I’ve decided to keep him . . . as long as he doesn’t cause any trouble and doesn’t become aggressive.

The rabbits, ducks and goats have all settled in nicely. The only real trouble comes when the ducks decide to take a bath in the water in the chicken coop creating quite the mess. Yesterday I had to clean out the chicken coop three times . . . not my idea of a good time.

On August 1st we welcomed “Loki” our livestock guardian dog to the farm. He is a Maremma, a breed that originated in Italy. He is already showing signs of “guarding” . . . when he’s not in puppy mode! LOL!

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Tomorrow we’re hosting our monthly “Open Farm Day” and we hope that you’ll join us. You’ll have a chance to see the farm and all its inhabitants running through their daily activities. See the Events page for more information.

Living Alpaca Loca,
Teresa

It’s a farm life for me!

Brian said to me the other day that never in a million years would he have thought to have seen me on a tractor. Nor I him, truth be told. In our almost 25 years of marriage, we’d talk now and then about how much we’d like to live on a farm and now, we are living our dream. Someone pinch me (but not too hard!).
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We’ve been on our farm just a little over two months. In that time we’ve welcomed rabbits, cats, ducks, goats and chickens. In just over a month we’ll be bringing our alpacas to the farm. Five out of six of them expecting crias (baby alpacas) next spring. We’ve also purchased a Maremma puppy who will be coming to the farm at the end of July. As much work as it is – and believe me, it’s a lot of work – I am really enjoying our farm and its inhabitants. I’m in my element, grateful each morning when I rise and in the evening when I lay my head down, that the Universe saw fit to grant us this wish.
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Our farm is open to anyone who wishes to visit. Bring along your water bottle and camera and stay while.
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Living Alpaca Loca,
Teresa

Cayuga Ducklings First Swim

Our Cayuga ducklings are growing so fast! Today they are two weeks old and are as cute as ever. Last night we decided to give them their first swim in the bathtub. It was so much fun watching them race around in the water, although I was sure to be careful if they showed any signs of stress or chill.

This week I plan on getting the Duck House ready for them. They won’t be going out for another month or so, but I want it to be ready for them. Once we start getting some nicer weather – in the 80s – I’m going to let them outside to forage and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.

They are a joy to behold!

We’re expecting our chicks around the beginning of June so I’m preparing for them as well. We’re also having our alpacas bred and as soon as they’ve taken, we’ll be bringing them to the farm. Our Great Pyrs should be arriving sometime in June as well.

This week our friend is coming from Canada to help with fencing. It’s going to be a lot of work and we’re sure grateful for the help!

Living Alpaca Loca,
Teresa

Shearing Day 2015

We had an awesome day at Dougherty Creek Farm shearing alpacas! My time was spent collecting the blankets and bagging them. The fleece was so soft and cozy I could have dived into the bin and taken a nap!

I must admit I felt a sense of pride as my girls walked up to the holding pen . . . they were so well behaved. When it was Olivia’s turn to be sheared you’d have thought it was the apocalypse. I was rather concerned as she screamed and went into a long draw . . . a warning signal to the others. Rather late in the game, they were all done!

Our first experience with shearing day was a good one. Our thanks to Kim and Linda at Dougherty Creek Farm and to Brent, our shearer, and James, his assistant and teeth cutter. Now, off to the co-op with the fleece!

Shearing Day

A short video of me collecting a blanket . . .

Living Alpaca Loca,
Teresa

Growing and growing and . . .

It’s hard to believe that our Cayuga ducklings are just over a week old. They’ve grown so fast! They moved from their condo of three 3X3 boxes taped together to a box that is 4X4 feet which gives them more room to run around. They are so cute and we’re looking forward to their first swim, their first outdoor adventure and their first foray into the Duck House. Stay tuned for many duck adventures to come!

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Living Alpaca (and duckie) Loca,
Teresa

Cayuga Ducklings

My Cayuga ducklings arrived last night. A big shout out to the ladies at the Beaver Dam Post Office for staying until I could arrive to pick them up!

They are the cutest little things and do everything as a group . . . eat, drink and sleep! Apart from one almost choking, they are all doing fine. Thank goodness for a husband who keeps his head in a crisis and knows what to do!

At three days old they’re already very independent. I’m enjoying watching them and am looking forward to their first swim! Enjoy the following cuteness!

ducklings

Living Alpaca Loca,
Teresa

Trees and Fences and a Cat named Boris

We’ve been busy outside while the weather has been nice planting trees. Three cherry trees and two apple trees in what will be my fruit and vegetable garden and ten maple trees lining the driveway. They all look like sticks right now, but after two or three years they should be looking like quite something!

Brian also ordered three raised garden beds for me. Once they’ve arrived and are built, installed and filled with dirt, I’ll share pictures.

We also adopted a cat from the Juneau Humane Society. He was adopted out as a barn cat because apparently he sprayed in the house. He’s the sweetest thing and is getting along well with our bunny “MooMoo”. Marge, the cat we inherited, isn’t quite sure about the goings on in the barn, but she seems to be getting used to the change . . . and the wet food we put out for her every morning. There’s nothing like good food to bring an animal around to your way of thinking . . . well at least partially.

We went for a drive to visit our girls yesterday. It had been almost a month since we saw them due to the move. They are all well and of course, remembered us, or at least the carrots we brought for them. We are looking forward to shearing at the end of this month, breeding in June and then bringing them to the farm sometime towards the end of June, early July.

Life is good on the farm!

Living Alpaca Loca,
Teresa