My week has been busy with weeding and pruning. Wild raspberries, grape vine and cherry trees threaten to engulf our small farm each year. If I am not vigilent, my flower beds quickly turn into a jungle that only the resident rabbits can penetrate.
I moved several bales of old hay from the girl barn over to where the boys live. Our pastures are so rich and plentiful this year that the alpacas only need the hay for roughage, not to satisfy nutritional requirements. The boys are obviously not pregnant, so the old hay is perfectly fine for them. Because the hay has been stored in a barn, the bales are well-preserved. The old stuff no longer has the aromatic smell of freshly harvested Orchard grass, but the boys still like to eat it.
Our white male, Traveling Man, actually prefers the old bales. He is the least fussy eater of all the alpacas on Stormwind Farm and always "cleans his plate." Traveling Man—we call him T-Man—once consumed an ancient bale that I had designated to go in the compost bin. None of the other males touched it, but T-Man devoured each flake with great gusto over the course of two weeks.
Work is progressing on our new pole barn. I helped my husband David set two very heavy poles into the ground. Later, I finally took the time to level the soil mounded over a newly installed water line. I used simple hand tools. Because heavy machinery compacts soil, I don't want it on our pastures unless it is absolutely necessary.
More important, experience taught me that men become positively euphoric while working with large equipment and often dig or stir up more soil than a job requires.
While working peacefully with a shovel and a rake, I paused occasionally to enjoy the presence of the seven adult alpacas and the two new crias in the pasture. Most grazed energetically. Mariah and Sanibel were stretched out flat on their sides, taking a sun bath.
Ingrid Wood is the author of The Alpacas of Stormwind Farm.