Wow. I'm watching the men's team gymnastics on Canadian TV. China v. Japan. Those guys are crazy good.

Anyway. There's too much to catch up on. It's been brutally hot and humid, but we've had a break these last few days. We worry a lot about the alpacas, but so far they're dealing with it. We spend hours every morning making sure that they all have cold water to drink, their pools are filled, and everyone has been sprayed with a hose to their hearts' content. That last is the real time hog. Some of the alpacas could be (and have been) sprayed for 30 minutes at a time. We don't begrudge them a minute of it, either.

I'm only good for the morning chores. The heat and the sun put my lupus in overdrive, and I'm out of it for the rest of the day. Dar is out there, though, for as long as it takes. Because of her chiari, heat and humidity can be deadly for her. I worry about her a lot, and she did have a few days where things got scary for her. I'm so ready for summer to end.

We have seven crias running around out there being all sorts of adorable. Unfortunately we lost one. Ripley's little girl Inara was born septic, but the vets didn't pick up on it and prescribed the wrong medicine for her. It actually made the infection stronger and spread farther. She died three days later. Dar worked tirelessly to save her, and the little cria fought as hard as she could, too. The vets felt terrible. We don't blame them for this. It was a tough call. They're having a rough year, too. They said that there have been an unusually high number of problem births across all species this summer, and we've certainly seen it on our farm and our friends' farms. Welcome to the new climate, guys. We still have six more births to go. Or is it eight? We're hoping for the best, of course.

Our fiber collective rented a stall at the very popular St. Jacob's Farmers Market, and we've been there for a month now. It's going pretty well, considering that we're brand new and we're selling nice, toasty-warm alpaca products in record-breaking heat:) We get a lot of people stopping in, and we do the education thing about alpacas and their elite fiber. The word is spreading; people are promising to come back when it gets cooler, and I believe them. What is selling well are the yarns that Dar has hand dyed. They pull a lot of people in. The knitters that come by are all squeeing over our products and telling their friends about us. I see some impressive sales coming up in the fall and winter.

I have fun while I'm there. I love talking about alpacas; for as strong an introvert as I am, I'm quite happy to chat up complete strangers about our herd and our products. Plus I'm meeting some interesting people from around the globe. Seriously, St. Jacob's Farmers Market is a very, very big tourist destination. It's a long and tiring day, but it's more than worth it.

I'm woefully behind in posting pictures. My new (refurbished) laptop is wonderful, but it's running the latest version of Mac OSX. Which is good, really, except that none of my camera software is compatible now. Being a newfangled machine, though, my laptop has a memory card reader. Yay! Except it's a bit more complicated to keep track of things, and I'm only motivated and alert in the morning. Which is when I run errands or do the alpaca chores. Hence - I am woefully behind in posting pictures :) I'm trying to catch up with it all, though. And I will.

Ummm. I'm watching very little TV during the summer. I don't go to the movies. I'm not reading that much right now. Man. What the hell do I do with my time? Ha! Seriously, I have no idea. It just seems to go screaming by.

I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. I usually don't; I'm not much of a fan for the big productions. (Hate Superbowl half-time shows. Hate!) Then I discovered that a lot of journalists I follow on Twitter were posting very funny comments about the fail that was the NBC commentary. One woman in particular (Laura Seay @texasinafrica) covers the news in Africa - which is a continent, not a country, right? - and she was having a verbal stroke over the misinformation and blunders and borderline racism of some of the commentary. It was pretty entertaining. And educational.

Oh! Somewhere, somehow, the chemicals in my body went waaaaaaaaaaaaay out of whack. I spent a couple weeks with my tongue swelling more and more until I couldn't really bite down because it was covering my bottom teeth. Then it started to hurt a great deal; it felt as if it had been burned with blowtorch and then sanded with grit. It was also an ashy red. Very unpleasant. Along with that, I've had a metallic taste in my mouth for months now. Dar figured out that I had a folic acid deficiency. I started taking 1000mg of folic acid daily and another 600mg in my multi-vitamin. Tongue goes back to normal. Yay! Metallic taste completely takes over my mouth to the point that most foods make me gag, and I can't sleep because of the terrible, constant, overwhelming metallic taste in my mouth. Dar figures out that I now have a zinc deficiency because I'm overdoing the folic acid. Now I'm cutting back the folic acid and taking zinc, but there is a prominent warning everywhere zinc is mentioned that I could throw off the copper in my system. I'm afraid to look up what those side effects will be :) So I need to make an appointment with my doctor to get some blood work done and find out just what's what with my blood composition. The zinc is helping. I still can't eat most foods, but the metallic taste is more muted. I'm thankful for that.

There's a lot of stuff going on, but it would take too long to go into it tonight. I'll try to get it out here, but the weather needs to cooperate. In the meantime, here I am, surrounded by cats. Just the way I like things.
that's sure what it sounds like out there. And according to [livejournal.com profile] darlong, that's what it felt like, too. Tons of damage everywhere. She and our friend Skye had to wear bandanas over their noses and mouths while doing chores because the dust and dirt was being blown around relentlessly. Deb has damage to the mill. In Kitchenere/Waterloo (biggish urban area 25 miles east of us) easily ten traffic lights were blown off their lines. Either dangling into the intersections or just dropped onto the ground. Trees down everywhere. Surprisingly, we didn't lose power, but I had the bathtub filled just to be safe. Crazy, crazy weather.

I had 2 1/2 hours sleep last night, so I've too loopy to do much of anything today except page through the internet and stare into space. I'd have been a danger to myself and others if I were out in all of that strong wind, so I stayed in. And did not sleep. *headdesk* I'm sure a lot of you know how you reach that tipping point where your body just will not shut down. Yeah, I waved at that as I zoomed by at around, oh, 7AM.

Anyway, this is not a posty post because - loopy. But it is pic spam of our tent boys. I took these a few days ago. I don't know - are three pics equal to a spam?

A few of the boys )

Jaguar_0293, originally uploaded by maystone1.

Dar's son just bought an old Jaguar. I'd have bought it just for the hood ornament.



Overly aggressive bird and very interested cat. )

Pixel2_0174, originally uploaded by maystone1.

Pixel want to show you our tree, because she's thinking it might be coming down tomorrow.


Rocky_0175, originally uploaded by maystone1.

Rocky wishes you a laid-back new year.


Alpacas Dar_0795, originally uploaded by maystone1.

It looks as if the alpacas are checking out Dar's butt, but they're really trying to figure out what she's going to do. The one on the left is the alpaca who was sick (he's all better now.) The one on the right is supposedly blind, but he was very curious about my camera case there on the grass. Not blind at all.



As I said, this place is a mini zoo. Half of the animals were moved to a pasture farther down the road (the goats were bugging the hell out of the llamas), so I didn't get to take any pics of them. These people love their animals, but they're not all that keen on naming them. The donkey's name is . . . Donkey. When we asked where Donkey was, the owner replied, "Oh, he's down in the pasture with Horse." Hee.

Cats, dogs, chickens, roosters, goats, and pigs. Oh, my. )
We've finally had some warm weather, and that means filling up the pools for the alpacas. Most prefer just to get sprayed with the hose, but we have a handful who are just fools for the pool.

Surf's up! )

Cria butt_0203, originally uploaded by maystone1.

It is as soft and fluffy as it looks.



They're growing so fast. )

Ezra and Harley_0134, originally uploaded by maystone1.

Ezra (left) is a week old; Harley (right) is two days old.



Cria madness! )

Samson Arizona_0810, originally uploaded by maystone1.

Samson took a liking to this little suri girl named Arizona. She seemed to like him, too. The flirting went on all weekend. Love in the show ring!



Best in Show for suris )
Our friend [livejournal.com profile] liquidize is a very, very talented knitter. Deb asked her to see what she could do with about a half dozen various-colored 100-yd skeins of alpaca yarn, and she created this beautiful bat-wing shawl that took not only First Place in its class of Fibre Arts entries but also won the Judge's Choice award for best piece entered in the show. And there were a lot of entries, believe me. The pics don't do the work justice, and the shawl is folded in on itself (it's large and lovely) for display reasons. The second photo is of the judges' note awarding her a perfect score. The handwritten note reads, "Beautiful use of fibre and colour."

Congratulations, honey!

It feels silky, too. )

Day 43 - Flirty Huacaya, originally uploaded by maystone1.

This picture is actually four years old, but I'm posting it for [livejournal.com profile] clarionj, who could use a dose of cute right now.


Dyed yarn_0289, originally uploaded by maystone1.

Hand-painted yarn. I love the colors. These were among the first batches to come out of the mill; I really want to learn how to do this.



Night moves )

Pixel basket_0561, originally uploaded by maystone1.

Wherever she hangs her butt is home. Dar had the impudence to actually put some fruit in her usual bed (the fruit bowl in back), so she commandeered the little baskets that we keep fleece samples in.



And a few alpacas just hanging out. )

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