Jen Pietsch
Orcas Island, WA

I love spending time outdoors, gardening, running and raising my fleeced friends!
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

postheadericon You say Amish, I say Polish, Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

Well I trust you all had a great Christmas (yes, I did use the C word, I am all about Christmas)

I have, believe it or not, had 4 emails (about the blog, I have had numerous other emails just nothing about being a farmer!) since the end of the 24 days of alpacas- three were begging- not just asking- begging- pretty dramatic huh? me to continue my adventure in blogging.

The other email was just asking me to learn how to use commas better- jerk.

So today we had a couple of sets of visitors.

One of Garett's crew coaches had family in town, with young children. He was looking to spend a little time on the farm. Wow, we had a great time. You really don't appreciate how special and wonderful your life is until you get to share it with others. If you think I ramble when I write, you should get me in person.

The visiting family was great we spent over an hour getting to know all of my friends- Adelaide, a little darling three year old was particularly taken with the chickens. For some reason everyone is. I always think of them as flowers that walk around my yard entertaining me. She got to hold Quetzal and pet Frank our big rooster. One and Two even produced a couple of eggs for her and her brothers breakfast tomorrow.

Marika and Pink lady both gave rides and all the alpaca are well fed. I am almost glowing with optimism that usually holds off until the daffodils com in March. I am so glad they came.

After the hub bub and excitement of Martin and his family I settled down to get some other work done. I was sitting in my office/exercise room/feed storage/ medicine room/ store storage/ everything room and I see Luke walking by with a couple of other visitors.

Where are these people coming from? Don't they know it's winter? Anyway, Luke was up and running with a farm tour. I briefly tried to take over but he waved me away and the visitors didn't seem to want me either-imagine?

Later, when we were having dinner Luke was re-capping his day to his brothers. "I even gave a tour to some Amish" I heard him say. My head whipped around so fast- Amish? Luke? I spoke with those visitors, they weren't Amish. "Yes they were." I had to doubt him in front of his brothers which I try not to ever do but... "Honey, I think they were Polish" I said trying to contain a laugh. "Oh, that makes more sense, they didn't even have beards" Luke said

We all busted out laughing so hard. I now have a sore gut.

Happy almost New Year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

postheadericon The First Shall be Last

I know you are all going to get teary that today is the last day of the 24 days of Alpacas! Don't worry tomorrow we will celebrate the birth of Christ so you'll be too busy to read anyway.

So do you want to know who is the last Alpaca?

So do you have any guesses who the last alpaca is? Well I won't keep you in suspense it is (drum roll please) our very own Autumn Diva!!! aka Muncho, Martian, Sweet Breath, Baby Girl, Carmen's girl or what some tourists call her- that brown one.

Here she is the day she was born with her mom Carmen.

Here she is today!-

Autumn has been a farm favorite since the day she was born. She was sooo dark that she literally stopped traffic for the first few weeks after her birth.

We aren't sure if it is nature or nurture with her but she is curious to a fault. She is forever up in my face checking out what I am up to. She has pulled things out of my pockets while I was tending to other things in the field. She is a lover.

She has a few other names- big surprise. We usually call her Muncho- not because of her eating habits- though they are hearty- but because it is short for Munchkin Martian.

The first time she was shorn and each subsequent time, she has the biggest giantesst head.
I tried to capture the fullness of her head here but it doesn't do her doo justice.

Muncho is the best alpaca ambassador on the farm. She is first to greet and visit with everyone. They don't even need to bring her food- though it doesn't hurt.

She has visited with school children, seniors, and all types of tourists.

I don't want you to think she spends all her time being an ambassador. She is also busy winning ribbons at shows. She is our most award winning- so far.

Isn't she the full package? She is our very own Angelina Jolie (without that pesky Brad Pitt) Muncho doesn't know she is beautiful. She just is. That's part of what makes her who she is.
Thursday, December 23, 2010

postheadericon A Penny for your Thoughts

Do you know how when you throw a dinner party you sometimes invite an extra couple who will probably be able to get on with the others invited? At our home we call them The Buffer. The buffer at our house is usually one of our best friends- they also usually know they are the buffer.

Here is our herd buffer none other than the biggest- size wise not attitude wise- boy on the farm. He is the easygoing ever-so-handsome and debonair,


In addition to being the largest, easiest to get along with guy around Penny has a secret--- he has amazing fleece. One of finest on the farm- what makes this great is that he is so large that he makes tons of it - figuratively of course. He actually sheers about 8 pounds of white gold.

Don't you just want to jump right in there?

Oops I didn't mention this- I try to forget- Penny doesn't belong to us- here he is with his owner soaking up the love. She is coming for a visit next week so I'll put up some more photos of the love fest that I am sure will ensue.

Here is our buffer getting on well with the big boys.
He even welcomed flat Stanley for a visit and shared his grain
Always first up for shearing and always reassuring his buddies!

Penny has as of late been hangin' with the little boys and keeping them in check, although I am pretty sure he would like to be back with Chaska living the high life. Here are a few facts about Penny you don't know.
  • He loves to eat laying down. Hay or grain it doesn't matter.
  • He needs his top knot trimmed about monthly it is always growing.
  • He is fluent in three languages- okay not really.
  • He will not walk across slippery mud or squishy sand.
  • When we moved here he wasn't halter trained- now he walks like a dream.
  • He startles easily when you get behind him- he has a great reach with those back legs- ouch!
  • He has been the first animal shorn on shearing day for the last two years.
  • He is easygoing but not a pushover 'nobody puts Penny in a corner'
  • He tends toward foot rot in his front right foot- don't know why.
We love our (I know he isn't really ours) Penny and are glad to be able to have him at our farm.

Thanks A.C.

postheadericon What you didn't see

Yesterday I stole off with farmer Jeff's camera and tried to take a few shots. I posted some of Clackama but I thought I would share a few of the pics you didn't see.

What is that I see on the horizon?

Here she comes with that Camera again.

Run Frank!!!

How is the grass over there Ember?

Are you looking at me?

I said, are you looking at ME?





Wednesday, December 22, 2010

postheadericon Day 22!- Almost Christmas! Clackama!


How do you say his name? Can you spell that?
In a word NO.

Clackama? Klacama? Klackama I am going to need to figure this out before I register him.

To solve the whole problem I just call him Phoebus' boy. He is the spitting image, no pun intended, of his sire Phoebus. He has even inherited the Phoebus top knot- thank goodness for my newest male Adonis! (if you say that fast enough it rhymes or maybe I am just getting punchy)

Clack is one of the luckiest cria, has pretty much two mothers. Manhattan is his 'real' mom but big sister Summer is right there to teach him the ropes...and keep him from getting too big for his britches. The three snuggle up every night together. Manhattan and Summer with Clackama tucked in between the two.

He was our first cria this year so he was able to soak up all of the only child attention for a few days before Holly, Ranger and finally Pippi made their respective ways into the world. The herd loves to dote.

Here are a few shots of our man today- It was a sunny beautiful day- almost 50 degrees. For December I'll take it!!

Clackama and Ranger looking for MILK!

Ha... I am onto something here!



Time for a nap!

See you tomorrow!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

postheadericon She has Bette Davis Eyes!

Move over Bette- there's a new girl in town ...

Va Va Va Voom it's

Doesn't the name just reek of glamor and class. Manhattan is the full package.

I know you know but, she is another one of my absolute favorites- I mean it this time.

Manhattan is Ember's daughter by that handsome male Chaucer. They really got it right with Maddie, fleece, good looks, mothering ability, friendly and my god those eyes!! She has these little curls that come down around her face and her kohl smudged eyes that make you want to give her anything she wants. Grain, oh I would love to give you grain Maddie, hay, oh let me get that for you too. Back rub? New car? sure what ever you want darling.

The eyes have it!

Maddie for all of her beauty only went to one show. By the time we moved to Orcas, Maddie was only eligible to show one more year. I took her and Brooklyn. You can read how that turned out for Brooklyn here.

Manhattan the glamorous beauty... got the gate. We were set up to not do well from the get go. There is always a story huh?

The show was Alpacapalooza and there were three show rings being judged at the same time. Manhattan was in the middle ring with activity brewing on either side. The activity wasn't a real distraction until the ring closest to where she and I were being judged started an obstacle course portion of a class that some shows have. I don't want to judge, but why stop now. I am not sure why one needs to make an alpaca walk through hula hoops while someone dressed like a clown honks a horn and throws confetti. But I am not bitter that my alpaca couldn't even be close to the circus that was taking place not 10 feet from us. (Well that was a lie- I am a little bitter.)

I have moved on from that experience and Manhattan never cared anyway. She has given us two gang buster beautiful cria- Summer Thyme and this years bucket of yummy- Clackama. You haven't met him yet so stay won't be long there are only a few more days until Christmas!!

Pretty and a great Mom- the real deal !!

Keeping a close eye on Summer!

My favorite girl crush Manhattan!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

postheadericon Oh the Weather Outside is Frightfull

But inside it's quite delightful- but there is a Tinkerbelle sized spot in the run-in because she is happier outside watching the wind blow.

Anyone in my family will tell you that Tinkerbelle- aka Tinker-belle, Tinker, or Stinker if your feeling funny, is one of my 24 favorites!!!

She is so funny that if there is one alpaca that defines what it is like to not be an alpaca, she is it!


(Please note: Her fleece is out of hand here- we had a bit of a communication problem with farmer Jeff and the sheerer) Please don't tell Tink I posted her on a bad hair day!

She is curious like all alpaca, but takes her curiosity much further. She will happily separate herself from the herd to see what is going on in the world. The chickens are her favorite--all those pretty colors and their voices, captivating.

Here is an example- my camera is still on vacation in Oregon so close your eyes and imagine- except well then you can't read- so figure it out yourself.

The weather has been really wet here. Wet like we could go rafting in our pasture wet. When it has gotten like this in the past I have set-up a temporary fence for the animals to have a pasture on the hill to keep their feet dry.

Let me go further to say that when it is too wet for the animals to effectively graze- you know find enough to eat- I give them hay to eat and make them happy...and frankly in many cases fat. Do not call the ASPCA they are not starving.


Tinkerbelle, who is one of Trina's daughters, is more fond of hay than any grain you can put in a bowl at feeding time, however, she will forgo most anything for the promise of an adventure.

During the past day I have been setting-up a temporary pasture for the 'pacs to enjoy. Tinkerbelle is steadfast in her interest. I love when she is paying attention. Her eyes are amazing- kinda like satellite dishes- in the most attractive sense. They really poke out of her head.

Well, poor planning farmer- or maybe super-plan-ahead farmer I am making the temporary pasture a little bigger and a little more permanent than in times past. I plan to leave this one up until early spring. In order for this to happen I need more fencing materials.

I decided to do what I could with what I had and then get the rest of the supplies and finish the job tomorrow. I was able to get the pasture half fenced and then had to stop to purchase more supplies.

Tinkerbelle was facinated. Not only was I out mucking around in the field more than usual. I was pounding fence posts in grassy areas! Meals would come and go, hay would come and go and Tinkerbelle watched the soon to be new pasture. Talk about pressure. She was pacing at the gate.

I'll be picking up the rest of the fencing supplies tomorrow when they come in at the hardware store and will put Tinkerbelle's suspense to rest. She will be in her new pasture before the sun sets tomorrow. All will be well in her world and I will no longer be under such close supervision.

For more information on Tinker like when she had her baby last year click here!

Tick Tick Tick Christmas is coming!!!

TINKERBELLE!!!! with better haircut!

We think she looks a little like Sara Jessica Parker but attractive Sara Jessica Parker has a unique look some might call U-G-L-Y, Tink on the other hand is drop dead gorgeous!! Sorry Sara you just can't compete!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

postheadericon Hi Ho Silver!!!

It's a bird, no it's a plane, no it's Minnie's boy


Oh my god I love this little man!!!
(and well, what's not to love what a bundle of alpaca loveliness
doesn't he just look ready for the show ring?)

This is our boy Ranger. Okay it is really Minnie's little guy. Ahhh what to say?

Minnie lost her baby last year so we were paying very close attention to how her pregnancy and labor progressed this year. Do you notice we don't really have any of those 'birth' pictures like we took of Carmen and Autumn?

Ranger is just like his Mom very easy going. He loves to explore and see what the 'little boys' are up to and even enjoys a little cria fighting with Maddie's boy Klackama. What I find most interesting about our Ranger is that he and his sister- Holly B have a very close relationship.

Holly and Ranger have the same father, Onyx de Mico. We have other 'pacs that share a parent but don't really have a 'relationship' like Holly and Ranger. They are often together and mess around like brother and sister. They love to explore-but only together. They also enjoy ganging up on Klackama.

I know it is unheard of but I have- only on one occasion- caught Ranger nursing on Prada- I am not sure if this is because Minnie was MIA but you should have seen the hell he caught from Prada when she realized what was going on!

Here comes the best part of my posts--- the pictures!

Welcome little one!

Where is the milk?

Me and My Mom! x2! What a great day!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

postheadericon Carmen and her many stories

Luke and the Pug Train!

After farmer Jeff did a guest blog the rest of the family decided they wanted in too. As happy as this makes me I still miss the opportunity to put my own two-cents in.

Today's guest writer is none other than my very own Sunshine Bunny, Lucille, the fun son,

I am now going into secretary mode:

Smile Carmen!


Carmen has many smiles-funny-happy-sad-and annoyed. When Carmen smiles she likes to hum- her whole family is a chatty family. Carmen loves to eat. She will budge her way in to get food first. She will follow whoever is putting the grain bowls down. Even if she knows you don't have food in your hand she'll still check.

Carmen will run to the barn whenever she hears the trash can that we hold the food in make a noise.

Carmen is the color of caramel. ( We even call her Carmelita) We call her family the brown family. Whenever it is rainy or snowy or windy the entire brown family except Tinkerbelle head for cover. I won't say much more about the Tink - to- the-bell- to -the- Tinkerbelle because Garett will write about her tomorrow.

But back to Carmen. When Carmen had her baby, Autumn Diva, she was one of the best mothers. She would hum to her to get her inside when it is cold. She called her when it was time to eat. She let her nurse, unlike her sister Brooklyn and her cria Pippi.

Carmen Training her Daughter

Carmen helped her daughter the Martian a.k.
a. Autumn Diva learn to walk on a halter. Carmen is a great halter-walker. She can walk to the mailbox on a halter- She is a great walker.

That is the many stories of Carmen!

Friday, December 17, 2010

postheadericon White Hot

Well we are getting right down to it huh? I have been trying to figure out how to write about our next alpaca. I usually gush about how cute and yummy they are right? Well this one isn’t what one would call classically cute or yummy, classic beauties rarely are, so when you read about her, know that I love her at least as much as all of the others. Even though she is usually too busy to notice.


She is the biggest female we have on the farm and she knows it. Ember stands head and shoulders above all the other girls and well, truth be told, all but one of the boys- and he is her son. When we first moved, anytime I would go out Ember would be right there pretty much in my face. It took me a couple of weeks before I realized that she was not ‘the queen bee’- that as you know is Trina. Ember was on duty.

Ember’s job in the herd is Chief of Security. She probably fell into this because of her size and height We live on an exposed corner. Ember has an obvious height advantage. She can see over anyone’s head to find danger. She is in charge of alerting all alpaca including the boys of any danger headed their way.

When our girl Ember senses danger she stands up tall- very tall, and lets out a warning call. (Beeep Beeep Beeep- which doesn’t sound like it would be a call to action but it is.) All motion in the field stops and all eyes are on Ember. ( I am having a flash of a vision of Ember in a Superman cape with the wind blowing her beautiful hair, while all of the citizens of Orcas Moon look to her to save them) Each pasture group pulls closer together and waits for the next command from the top. Ember takes her job very seriously.

We have no predators that would harm the herd, but our dogs would love to get in there and muck up some trouble. Our neighbor Sherry across the street just got a new service dog and really enjoys taking him out and putting him through his paces. Our other neighbor has a spunky little border collie we call Shep.

On more than one occasion we have had one of our dogs slip into the field. Nothing slips by Ember- she is on alert and heads over to tell those pugs where to go. If walking towards them while looking big doesn’t scare them away. Which usually it doesn’t. (Pug is another name for dumb like a rock) She will try and stomp them. This only serves to make the dogs think she wants to play. Wrong. They then run and chase while the humans chase and yell at the dogs begging for them to stop literally fearing for their little dog lives. Our dogs are fearless and stupid and I hope it doesn’t come to this but if they get stomped by Ember she was just doing her job.

Ember is much more than the job she does- Of all the Mothers we have on the farm- she is possibly the best. She delivered her last cria, Sage Prince, and wouldn’t let us near him- not even to weigh him- he was about 20 pounds- we were weighing on the run so it is approximate.

Milk- She has it, plenty

Discipline- her kids tow the line.

Looks- Hello, have you seen her children? They are a chip right off the old block! She is a classic beauty!

We love Ember.


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