Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring time fun: alpaca shearing

 Ahh, spring is here!  We all seem just a little more thankful for the warmer temperatures after the snowfall last week.  Snow in late-April is a bit of a trial for people desperate for warm temperatures and time outside.  It also adds a layer of complications to shearing alpacas.

Last Tuesday, we were scheduled to join our friends on their farm for shearing day.  This is always a much anticipated day and involves a lot of logistics to trailer our animals back and forth.  I had to work and we made arrangements for my mom and dad to help my husband.  They are experienced alpaca shearing day helpers and really generous with their time.

At 5 a.m., we started prepping.  I needed to be in the shower by 6 a.m., so we got an extra early start.  We haltered all of the animals and put them in the trailer in the middle of a wintery mix of precipitation.  We were hoping that the snow would pass us by and if not, the trailer would keep everyone dry.  Worse case scenario?  We would get everyone sheared and put all of their fiber out to dry on tarps in our garage. 

I left for work and called my husband to say that the roads were wet and starting to get slushy.  By the time he left, the roads were really slick.  He saw several car accidents and decided that he needed to turn around. We ended up postponing shearing until the next day.

What to do with the alpacas?  If we took them back to the barn, they were going to need to somehow dry out.  I was too cold to use the fan that we use during the summer to keep them cool.  My husband sent me a text to say that he had a plan!  He built a makeshift pen in our garage and put them up there for the night.  They ended up drying out and staying out of trouble.

The next morning, we loaded everyone up again.  The day was cold in the morning, but the sunshine warmed us up.  I am still a wimp; I wore three layers of pants and three layers on top, including my huge winter chore jacket.

Once we got there, everything fell into place.

 Four farms came together for this shearing day.  Read about last year's shearing for more about the process.
This year we had three guys on the shearing crew from New Zealand.  They work very quickly and do a great job.  It is an added bonus to get to hear their accents.

1 comment:

Home on the Range Exchange said...

Shared this with Dirt, Denim & Diamonds blog and on facebook.