Sweet Harmony Farm blog

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Posted 8/31/2010 8:25am by Mona.

Dan has been working most of the summer to build a lovely set of stone walls just opposite the paddock and barn.  Our land from our back yard to the barn slopes downward gently and it’s along this line that he has been creating a(nother) place for me to garden in.  The top portion is flat and we’ve discovered it is a great place to make a little patio and set up a picnic table set to sit and watch the alpacas.  For now, we’ve placed a folding mat and some chairs from our camping days onto the freshly leveled dirt at the top of the new wall, and sip coffee.  The alpacas don’t seem to mind us watching them and go about their quiet ways.

Brunch with a barn view

Posted 8/21/2010 8:19am by Mona.

Some mornings when I go into the barn to check on our alpacas, I start wondering ‘what goes on in here at night?’  Their fan is pushed over onto its back blowing air up to the ceiling, the hay bale feeder (i.e. heavy) is pushed several inches over sideways, the outside feeder is also pushed sideways, there’s water on the floor under the buckets, there’s fresh spit on a wall or post or someone’s neck, a post for the temporary fence is bent over, the poop-shovel-and-rake is knocked down, and their communal poop piles are well, not so communal.  In the summertime we usually have all the windows in the house open and our bedroom balcony door also faces the barn; you’d think we’d hear if a ruckus was going on.  Yet apparently they’ve made up because all the alpacas are cushed together!

Tags: alpacas, barn
Posted 8/18/2010 9:27am by Mona.

tomatoes!

Last evening I picked this fabulous assortment of tomatoes ~ roma, celebrity, and cherry.  Also in there is one fabulous hot pepper and one fabulous bell pepper.  Teamed up with my parsley, fresh salsa for sure!  And look at that purple basil!  The plant is huge, and along with my other basil plants and flavorful olive oil, I'll be making pesto.  Yes, folks, the white-kitchen-trash-bag-tied-to-a-stake trick has successfully kept away the deer this year.

Hope your gardens are yielding you great treasures too.

Posted 8/11/2010 8:40am by Mona.

Coty and Arlo playing

Another wonderful thing about having male alpacas, especially the younger ones, is they play a lot!  They chase each other, climb all over each other, roll around together, nibble each other’s ears and toes, and other general good-natured wrestling.  It’s always fun to watch, another simple joy of alpaca life.  They usually play in the pasture but sometimes in the paddock or barn.  Like most other alpaca activities, it’s pretty darn quiet out there.

alpacas playing in the barn

As they mature this playtime occasionally turns into a bit of actual fighting.  We’ve had our lovely little herd here for just about a year now and up until recently it’s all play.  Julio and Guinness, our geldings, are both 7 this year and watch the goings-on between Bo, Coty, and Arlo in bored amusement, if they watch at all.  Bo is a year older than Arlo and Coty and is now starting to define his place in the herd.  His intentions are usually directed at Coty, who is one very tall alpaca.  I’ll hear the scuffling and heavy breathing associated with playing and go to the window to watch.  Suddenly, it gets serious with loud squawking and grunts and serious rough-housing, complete with pushing and shoving and real biting.  Then, in true alpaca form, some serious spit starts to fly.

Oh my god, my alpacas are fighting!  I holler out the window “Hey boys ~ play nice!”  They’re alpacas and therefore ignore the crazy, hollering human.  I run outside with Stella underfoot, put on my barn boots, and in my hurry usually trip over Stella or my own feet (happens every time!).  As I’m running down the path to the barn I continue to call out to them “Bo ..... Coty ..... No fighting!  Stop that!”  By the time I get to the fence they’ve usually stopped.  I go in anyway to give them a stern stare and remind them that this is a nice farm; we only play nice here.  Thankfully I’ve never had to physically pry them apart and the fighting has only happened a few times.  Coty will look at me like “what did I do?” and casually start eating grass or hay.  Bo will stand there with his lower lip down, drooling green slime and unable to move his mouth for a few minutes; it’s the camelid reaction to spitting.   It’s not pretty.  I remind him that he could be eating hay too if he just stopped being mean to Coty, and that he looks silly and undignified with his lower lip hanging down like that.

Other alpaca people have told me not to interfere, that it’s normal behavior and the boys need to work it out amongst themselves.  And there I am running outside at the first sound of a possible fight hoping to nip it in the bud.  Oh well!

Posted 8/3/2010 8:59am by Mona.

It’s August, and those lazy, hazy days of summer are upon us.  Humidity and afternoon showers and thundershowers are here.  Considering the past few years, I feel a bit odd saying this ..........we could use some rain!  Not a lot, but the gentle showers we’ve been getting are refreshing and most of the rain is happening overnight, creating a picturesque early morning fog.  Things are starting to green up again in the pastures and all the boys are out grazing in the cooler mornings and evenings.  The hot afternoons are what we now call ‘siesta time’ where the boys cush in the barn and paddock areas in the shade and take long naps.

We set up our farm so that we could see into the barn and pastures from the back windows of our house.  It’s such a beautiful and peaceful sight for us, watching our gentle alpacas graze the fields as the seasons change.

This is the view from our kitchen on this foggy morning:

foggy view from the kitchen

And this is what we see when we stand on the balcony off our second floor bedroom.  The fog clears up quickly as the sun comes up. 

foggy view from the balcony

Look at the beautiful stone wall Dan has been building near the fence line!  Our veggie garden is just to the left of this picture.  It’s still hard to imagine that this new stone wall and all the pasture area, and most of the side yard up from the barn, was covered in thick woods just 2 years ago. 

Posted 7/22/2010 10:33am by Mona.

I love that part of summer when you head out to the vegetable garden and seemingly overnight all the plants have grown to double in size, and also have a bud of something starting to grow.  It always feels like I’ve just accomplished something big.  And even better is finding your first tomato, well hidden amongst all those leaves, that is ready to pick.  In July no less!  Picking tomatoes in July in New Hampshire is, well, really wonderful.  So is not having the plants eaten by the deer!

First tomato of 2010

Tags: gardening
Posted 7/20/2010 12:00pm by Mona.

Some days, during the quiet times of farm life, we like to reflect on the wonderful things and the simple joys that have happened and continue to happen to us.  We sit back with a big smile and thank God and the Universe for all of our abundance.

Being thankful is a simple joy.  Being thankful is good karma. 

Rainbows over our farm

To some, we seem to have so much; to others, we seem to have so little.  To us, we are just grateful, and continue dreaming of a wonderful future full of simple joys and that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Posted 7/15/2010 6:59pm by Mona.

I  happened to be listening to National Public Radio this afternoon, when on the 4:00pm news they stated this:

    'The ... oil ... has ... stopped ... leaking.'

Huge sigh, a big smile, and tears of joy!

Posted 7/11/2010 11:40am by Mona.

the alpacas cushed near the fan

This is the usual scene in the barn in the evenings when we arrive to do chores.  The tack room door is in the upper right corner of this picture, and the fan is to the right of the door, just a few feet away.  And there's the gang all cushed in front of the fan!  The fan not only helps to cool them down, but it also keeps away those nasty mosquitoes and horseflies, making their lives much more comfortable.  Happy alpacas = healthy alpacas.

Tags: alpacas, barn
Posted 7/7/2010 9:49am by Mona.

Last summer we had just one day where the temperature reached 90 degrees.  I heard it’s been about 8 years since it’s been 100 degrees.  Well, this summer we’ve had several days of 90+ degrees weather, and yesterday, it was 101 degrees here in New Hampshire!! Yes, folks, it was record heat.  The weather people are saying it will be just pretty darn hot for several more days.

Our alpacas’ barn is really a 3 sided run-in style shed with an awning that doubles the space.  The awning has really neat walls/doors that fold back but we’ve been keeping them closed to provide as much shade as possible.  And with windows across the back wall, there is plenty of cross-ventilation.  The boys have remained in the barn most of the day, but sometimes they’re silly and still go out to graze and sunbathe.  Yes, wooly alpacas lie in the sun and sunbathe!  In the afternoons, they all cush in front of the fan which we have running 24/7.

Cooling off

Yesterday was so darn miserable that in the morning we decided to try hosing them down.  The alpacas saw Dan coming across the yard with the hose, all ears went up and in a somewhat single leap, they all greeted Dan in the paddock.  They know what the hose is for!  Dan sprayed and sprayed alpaca bellies and Guinness and Bo eagerly turned around so Dan could spray under their tails as well.   Guinness and Julio cushed in the mud puddles.   Arlo was trying to drink from the hose at first while Dan sprayed his belly, and then realized that getting sprayed under the tail is a wonderful thing.  Each was trying hard to push in front of the others to get sprayed again, although Coty was a bit unsure, until Dan got him good in the belly and then he was the last to walk away. 

They were so obviously happy and we couldn’t stop laughing at their antics.  I tried to take pictures of the whole gang but Arlo was the only one willing to pose.

Tags: alpacas
Quote for Today

Never let the odds keep you from doing
what you know in your heart
you were meant to do. 

Coming soon!
Our new fiber store on Local Harvest!

 

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