Monday, February 21, 2011

Ella Ventures Out in the Snow

It's another day of snow.  It's a light but steady snow. The alpacas have stayed "indoors" in the barn most of the winter, and they venture out when its sunny.  However, today, many have come out into the steady snow.  All of sudden, out ran Ella, following her older sister, Allegra.  She ran up and down the narrow shoveled lane. She suddenly ran back into the farm, but quickly came running out the other side of the barn, surprising her mother!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ella, Our Winter Surprise

It is a beautiful sunny day and Ella, our 2 day old curly fawn cria, went out side with her mom and other alpacas.  Chrissy, Honey's 6 month old cria, followed Ella wherever she went and tried to keep her to herself - even to the point of trying to separate Ella from her mom.  Ella was a little overwhelmed by the attention, but took it in good stride.
Ella is beside her mother here, and Chrissy who is all white is right behind Ella.
From front to back, you can see Midnight (5 mo old black cria), Lee-Lee (left), Ella (right), Chrissy (behind Ella), Arabella, and Chocolat (use the french pronounciation) (6 mo old cria of Arabella). The snow is so heavy and hard from 2 ice storms that we have only been able to shovel narrow lanes.

Friday, February 4, 2011


I (Bobbie) work in an elementary school as a school psychologist. My first appointment of the day was two wonderful little boys. Naturally, I shared my exciting news about the birth of a cria the night before. The boys asked many questions about the new baby and about alpacas in general. Suddenly, one boy said, "It's my turn to do share in class today.  Can I use your story as my share?"  I was surprised and honored by this request.  The answer was of course Yes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Big "little surprise" In the Barn

Len came home  this Thursday evening late because he had a meeting at work.  It was about 10 p.m. and he went down to set up more heat lamps because it is supposed to go down to -5 tonight.  He got to the barn and could not believe his eyes - there was a newborn cria walking around! He ran back to the house to tell me and we went down together.  We finished drying off the baby with a hair dryer and set up an nice area for mom (Lee-Lee) and new cria to bond in.  It is a girl with the exact coloring of Lee-Lee. It is a strong, feisty baby and was walking beautifully when we found her.  She started nursing well with no help.  We put 3 cria coats on her and put her under two heat lamps.  Also, we cut the toes out of some old socks and covered her legs...this worked well. We are both in a state of shock because we are not sure how this happened.  Lee-Lee is a very very shy animal that we now co-own with Serena Granbery. We had held off mating her until we knew if someone was going to buy her who wanted to do their own mating. That did not materialize and Lee-Lee was very obviously miserable not having a new cria by her side like all the rest of the girls.  Well, I guess, somehow, she solved that problem.  What a surprise! We still cannot believe it.  We will be checking on them through the night to be sure that the cria is warm enough and nursing regularly. Wow, Lee-Lee...what a time to decide to have a cria, in the middle of the worst winter we have had in years!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Kingdom of Cambodia

You are probably wondering why I bring up Cambodia on our alpaca website. One of our 3 sons is adopted from Cambodia.  He is a survivor of the holocaust perpetrated by the Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. We are so proud of him because he has rebuilt his life, getting a good education, getting a good job and starting a family of his own. At times, he is understandably homesick for Cambodia.  Len and I hope to go with him to visit his homeland.  The tourism websites say that “There’s a magic about Cambodia that casts a spell on many who visit this charming yet confounding kingdom.” ( 

Cambodia is still a very, very poor country but is trying to revive its tourism business. Siem Reap, the cultural home of the Khmer people, is revitalized, is Cambodia's fastest growing city and serves as a small charming gateway town to the world famous heritage site of the Angkor temples.  It has several modern hotels and B&B’s. Within the city of Siem Reap there is the Angkor National Museum, one of King Sihanouk palaces and many shrines and pagodas. I also has an Old French Quarter, with its Chinese-inspired architecture, the Tonle Sap lake bird sanctuary, rice paddies, traditional Apsara dance performances, and the Old Market's craft shops and silk farms.

Angkor Wat, just outside Siem Reap, is the world’s largest religious building and considered the Seventh Wonder of the World. Wats means Buddhist temples. The Angkor Archeological Park is a huge place, having more than 40 major temples within the park, and many others outside it.  Every wall of Angkor Wat is covered with bas-relief and decorations, including Aspara dancers, gods, demons, soldiers, kings, and more. There is a long causeway to the main temple with reflecting pools on either side.

Angkor Wat is THE  temple to visit in Cambodia, but Angkor Tom is a large temple complex near Angkor Wat. The Angkor Thom complex has an area that is much larger than the Angkor Wat complex, but unlike Angkor Wat, it houses several small temples instead of just one. The name translates to "Great Angkor" or "Great City” (Angkor = great, Thom = city). I am particularly looking forward to seeing the Elephant Terrace.

Between Angkor Wat and the south gate of Angkor Thom is the Phnom Bakheng Temple or "Strong Hill" Temple, one of the earliest mountain temple in Angkor. Elephants take you from the bottom to the top of Phnom Bakheng Mountain. I want to do this too!

Also just outside Siem Reap is Tonlé Sap, the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia. The area is home to many ethnic Vietnamese and numerous Cham (Muslim) communities, living in floating villages around the lake.

I’m ready, Sam, let’s go!

Cocoa Charges

I took the dogs (Daisy, a lab, and Jack, a Westie) to the barn while I did barn chores.  The pacas are a little used to the dogs, but still wary. At first the girls plus the 2 minature baby doll sheep ran out the other side of the barn. The paca boys didn't even pay attention to the dogs so eventually the girls and sheep came back inside the barn. Cocoa (her nickname is bulldozer because she pushes hard to get to whatever she wants) took exception to the dogs. She lowered her head and charged the 2 dogs! The dogs just stood there confused. Cocoa's version of charging is hopping forward...bounce, bounce! She also made a funny little grunt.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


The phone rang at 5:30 a.m. and sure enough, we have another snow day off from school. I suspect tomorrow will be off too because of the size of this storm.  I couldn't do back to sleep so I turned on the computer to check out email, Facebook and ebay. I got to Facebook and what did I find?!? Our son in China was on chat.  I held my breath and wrote,"Are your there?"  Sure enough he was and we had a great conversation. He had been in Xian only a day and a half, not giving him enough time to see the famous Terracotta Warriors. Now he is in Zhengzhou and will be there for the Chinese New Year.  Zhengzhou is the capital of Northern China’s Henan Province, and has a long and interesting history. Located in the center of the province, it borders Luoyang to the west, the Yellow River to the north, and Kaifang to the east. It is one of the 8 ancient capitals of China and this region was the center of Chinese civilization for centuries. Zhengzhou is an old and beautiful city with wide roads lined with tall trees towering over quaint shops. It was 7:30 p.m. my son's time and he was getting ready to go out to eat dinner. Later this week he'll start touring around to see the birthplace of Kung Fu (the Shaolin Temple-also an important Buddhist shrine),  Henan Museum, Zhengzhou Museum and maybe the new zoo and botanical gardens. Other famous attractions of Zhengzhou include the Song Mountain (Song Shan, now is a World Geopark recognised by UNESCO), the Yellow River and the birth place of Huangdi (recognized as the ancestor of Chinese people). Tai Chi started in Henan Province too, and our son should see people practicing it in the parks.  I can just imagine it all in my mind. For once, I wasn't upset with being awake at 5:30 in the morning.