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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What's in a hum ?

Grace & Hope = beautiful, HMM?

Grace & Hope = beautiful, HMM?

If you have ever spent any time near an alpaca and happen to be like myself, one of the first things you may be intrigued by is the sound they make. Not an overly boisterous noise, like a bleeting goat or sheep, more a simple, soul-soothing hum.

There are a few definititions of the word hum ranging from; to emit a continuous low sound - a blend of sounds (like traffic or a swarm of insects) which lends to definition of state of busy activity, as in traffic is just humming along, or to produce a tune without opening mouth - sometimes what I do when I forget the words to a song. So a hum isn't always a pleasant sound, if you suffer from a hum in your ear or hear a swarm of bees, or an abnormal hum from something mechanical it may be a warning sign. Likewise a hum in an alpaca herd they may be similar meanings. Yet, there is nothing quite like a happy little hum.

Alpaca crias just about come out humming. The little newborn cria makes the cutest little hum and typically it's mother seems to hum right back. This is thought to be comforting, one of the ways they identify and communicate with each other in a herd. Alpacas seem to hum when they are content, hum when they are curious, stressed, bored (ho-hum, just for the hum of it)

I recently visited an alpaca farm where they were talking about a certain mom who just must have the best milk in town because throughout her motherhood, everyone around from newborn to orphan, to even a weaned, 1-year-old wants to nurse off of her. My mind wonders if maybe the hum got out?

Maybe one day I will be able to capture an image of two of my favorite things, an alpaca and a hummingbird - that could be a hum-dinger !

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

All things learned

Short disclaimer there are first attempts at many things in life. This is my first attempt at a blog and I wrote it, in my vanpool on my iphone, yes typed it with my thumb---

At risk of sounding like complete imbeciles I thought I would offer up a few alpaca adventure stories for the main purpose of not necessarily sharing topics of educational information, more or less just sharing a laugh at our lessons learned. In doing this, was thinking that I may need to revisit some James Herriot classics like All things Wise & Wonderful, a title came quick to me that I hope it's not already in print somewhere. Here goes, "All Things Unwise & Uncanny".

See, our alpaca adventure basically started with just a simple "pet"purchase as alpacas showed up one day at an auction my husband frequently attends. I thought maybe an over-sized standard poodle showed up in his arms later that day at our house. Absolutely adorable, but I knew nothing about alpacas other than what I read on a very basic care sheet. In our quest to find a companion for "Annabelle Alpaca" we were informed of not only the importance of not having a "lone" alpaca but the unique compatibility issues of opposite sex (another blog possibility forming)

Fast forward to our first trailer delivery of moms & crias (baby alpacas). In my defense, may I point out this is essentially my first time handling anything larger than a Labrador. The quick learner that I am, I noted after first alpaca came hopping out of trailer onto Tracy's toes, that it might be beneficial to stand a wee bit to the side for the following. By this point in the unloading process, I have gotten over the oh my gosh look how cute this brown cria is, how cute this black cria with the white spot is and lost track of names but am fairly certain it was an alpaca we have named "Windfall " that equated to my fall that not quite knocked wind out of me, because I think when it happened something punny like that went through my brain. Any how, unloading her looked something like, Windfall Alpaca scared to jump "oh no! Not my turn to get out of trailer, after other alpacas did. That is a great big scary foot-high jump down out of trailer, how frightening. I can't jump I'm too scared" I, Tracy smart pants have this. Step to the side first (see not right in front, remember the toes) then coax said alpaca from trailer, "come on you can do it" direct eye contact is almost the last thing I am sure of. Windfall instantaneously "okay catch meeeeeeeeee!" Some what like a toddler jumping from pool deck into pool to be caught by the adult. However I haven't quite painted the scenario, 1) rocky, dirt lot, instead of pool, and 2) Windfall weighs 175 pounds unshorn (no she doesn't have a hundred pounds of fleece to cushion my catch). Hold on, this isn't the humorous part I am trying to point out yet. Though being instantaneously flattened by an alpaca might give at least a chuckle to the casual observer, I am not sure how to capture that mental picture on paper. Lets just say after the failed catch, I didn't quite bounce up, didn't quite stagger to my feet. I recall that I got up and was still holding alpaca on lead - touché - Alpaca may have taken me by suprise but I didn't let you get away. So, I dusted myself off a little, felt back of head to make sure it was still with me & thought surprisingly nothing hurt, no blood, broken bones, not even a real surge of adrenaline so carry on - and that I did.

Flash forward a few more months. We have now sold quite a few mom & cria sets as was the plan and honestly have to say nearly every prospective purchaser that asked about buying Annabelle was aswered with "No she is not for sale" All the while thinking she was our very first little sweetheart. Her name had special significance to me and I featured her on our Christmas Card with a simple "Fleece Navidad" that year. Meanwhile my business head was saying, she isn't the quality or pedigree in our limited space I should be keeping and just because she is sweet and cute doesn't mean we should keep her. Those of you that can relate to that heart, head dilemma where common sense and sentimental value don't always match up.

Well how quickly things can change. Sometime after shearing (shoot another blog possibility that would look something like me splattered witha bit of green) On a bit of a glum day since my dear grandmother of 97 passed away, I had come home early for the day. Feeling like I needed time to think, I went out to the alpaca pen for peaceful therapy. As I am sitting there somewhat sniffling, I notice Annabelle has something underneath her. Just what is that? Are my eyes deceiving me? could it be? Oh my - Annabelle is really Anna Balls! Sorry for the unexpected shift in this predominantly PG blog, but that is what came to my mind. Are you kidding me? All these months of strictly moms and babies as our focus because we got companion for our "girl" alpaca without a close look under all that beautiful extremely fluffy fleece, was really a boy's anatomy. Oh my! How my husband had been taken at that auction... Moral of story, don't just go by what someone trying to sell something tells you when making a purchase. You may want to take a closer look becuase things are not always as they seem.

If this blog was amusing to you, feel free to let me know and maybe I could take some writing courses in the near future and keep them coming. Trust me, the stories are there and if you can't laugh at yourself, I think you may be letting the trials of this life get the best of you.