Sunday, May 31, 2009

2009 SouthWest Michigan Kidney Walk


What a glorious day to bring awareness to Kidney Disease and Organ Donation Awareness. We met at the Celery Flats in Portage and walked and had a blast. Not only did my daughter join me but my friend, Lynne and two of her daughter's also walked. We had such wonderful weather. It was originally supposed to be overcast and in the lower 60's but instead it's in the mid-seventies with the sun shining, bird's chirping and caterpillars crawling. Yes, I said caterpillars. The girls were quite fascinated with all the creepy crawlies along the trail. Hey, even the critters decided that Organ Donation Awareness is important.

Well, I also received something totally awesome and special for my Dad! Holly made my Dad a Lung Lovey! Usually she knits Kidney Kozies but for my Dad she made an exception! Isn't she amazing! I can't wait to take this to my Dad so he can use it when he get's the chills. I told him every time he uses it, he'll be getting a hug from Holly. Maybe Holly should rename her Kozies/Loveys to Hugs from Holly or Knits with SnotHugs from Holly? hmmmm......I will have to work on that one.

As you can see, Holly was busy working while we were busy playing. The best part about being the photographer is that no one has to see you! Woo Hoo! Sorry Lynne, you are the superstar today! Of course, the girls didn't mind getting their pics taken.

So, while I was out having fun at the Kidney Walk, Hubby continued to work getting the gates up around the pasture. We have a couple to go and those aren't major ones....and what were the Wonder Pacas doing? Well, see these pics! They were lounging in the dirt and sand. Yes, the pic you are looking at is not blurry, it's Dude created a major dust ball which is the reason I am avoiding the bathtub full of fiber that needs to be skirted.

Oh, well.....time to get back out and enjoy the beautiful afternoon! Ok, I know you wondering about the turtle. While we were away this snapper found his way into the pasture and the boys were having a fit over it. So I got it on my shovel, after I flipped it a few times. Geez, look at that mouth and took him out to the marsh. Hubby said I should have kept him for turtle stew.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Anything you can do....I can do better!

So.......tomorrow is the Kidney Walk in Portage. I am really looking forward to it! The weatherman said the temp should be around 68 degrees and sunny! WOO HOO! Perfect walk weather.

Ok, here is the catch. My adorable eight year old, Emily, who I refer to as Sister Bear has decided that she want to turn this walk into a 5K. See, Mom has competed in a 5K for Organ Awareness therefore Sister Bear must do the same and of course she will be so much faster than her Mom. Well, DUH!

So I calmly explained that tomorrow is a W A L K and that Mom is in no shape to R U N. Got it! Obviously this is a big hint to Mom to start exercising more and get back in shape so we can be the Wonder Girls at another Organ Awareness Run. YIKES! It's already been almost a year since I competed in the 5K in Pittsburgh and boy, my body is O U T of shape!

So, Sister Bear, Mom promises to start getting serious about the exercising and we'll do a run together. Of course, I will never be able to keep up with my daughter....unless it's in a talking contest!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Shearing at Sahalie

So yesterday was the big day to get Buccaneer, Haze and Midnight Aire sheared. I got the boys loaded up all on my own, no thanks to Hubby, and was off to Sahalie at Higher Ground located in Olivet. Of course, I got all the way to M66/Beckley and realized that I left the two dozen eggs promised to Denise sitting at home. Obviously I care more about my alpacas than I do Hubby's chicken egg business.....anyhoo, we got there without it raining on us early enough so we could visit with the Sowles before shearing only to find out at 3:30pm that the shearing team was a whopping 130 miles away. Ok, you obviously have guessed that these men don't drive like me so they weren't going to get there anytime we got to visit a wee bit more!

When the team finally got there we sheared the two farms visiting from Coldwater then my three finally got sheared. Oh, I just wanted to cry watching that fine cria fleece being taken off Buccaneeer. He is still beautiful but where are all those locks I love? Oh, in a garbage bagged labelled Bucky in my bathtub waiting to be skirted. Haze, well, he is so darn handsome and his second growth was phenominal so I wasn't too upset until he stood up and ...didn't look like my beautiful boy.

Then there was Midnight Aire....whew, now I was ready for her to be sheared. Can any alpaca have more VM (veggie matter) in the fleece than this chick? I have no clue how I am going to skirt her fiber to prepare it for processing....little stinker. I sure hope her regrowth comes in better but she is so fine for a huacaya that I have no clue. Maybe I could create an alpaca bubble and we could call her bubble girl and she will be forever clean? Maybe? In a world that only exists in my warped mind? Most definately.

So, today's pics are only of Midnight Aire because the little stinker has been at Sahalie this whole time and I have so few pics of her. I was going to bring her home but she is being treated for some parasites so she won't come home until they are cleared up. Like I said, little stinker. I have been waiting since January, when I bought her, to bring her home then she has to go do this to me! YIKES! to get the kids from school then I have some major paca poo piles calling my name. YIPPEE! WOO HOO! If you are ever bored, I am always looking for a Wonder Pooper Scooper. I might even give you an official t-shirt for the work!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kellogg Bird Sanctuary Field Trip

Today was the Kindergarten field trip to the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary in Hickory Corners, just north of Battle Creek. It was my second visit as a chaperon and I know the next time I go it WON'T be with a bunch of Kindergarten kids who don't listen! YIKES!

Of course, my son was a total angel...for once!

Before leaving from the school, I met my girlfriends Jen and Lynne (along with Lynne's daughter, Jenna) at Panara Bread. Thankfully, the detour from the I94 bridge issue has been cleared up and we were able to get there with no issues. Of course, being a new business and construction going on just beside the building, it was very difficult to park. The food and the company was wonderful.

So, after that it was off to Sonoma Elementary for the drive. Fortunately, Jen drove so we didn't have to share a bus with three classrooms full of kids. Yikes! I am definately not cut out to be a patience!

We had a lovely time! It rained all the way there and thankfully stopped right before we got there. WOO HOO! All we had was sunshine and humidity. Yeah, Michigan!

So, I bet you are wondering what birds we saw. Well, don't hold your breath because they are all the same ones you see all the time. Mallards, Canadian Geese, Trumpeter Swans, Barn Owls, Bald Eagle, Hawks.....then the Australian Black Swan. It was nice to see them there with their young offspring.

Of course, being the Wonder Why Gal, all I could do was compare them to my pacas. See, I find paca males fighting over food, females and poo piles much more interesting than a bunch of birds....especially the poopy Canadian Geese.

Did you know that Kellogg actually created the Sanctuary to protect the Canadian Geese? What on earth was he thinking? Too many cornflakes in his cereal, obviously!

None the less, a beautiful day with my handsome son, who still likes to hold his Mom's hand in public....moments to cherish!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Deviled Eggs Anyone?

We raise chickens yet I can't make deviled ironic/how depressing!

Whenever we go to a potluck I always make my way to the deviled eggs. There is something about them that are so I can't see to make them. Aggghhh!!!!! My dad makes great deviled eggs. Actually, my dad is an awesome cook and baker. Anyways, every time I boil eggs and go to peel them, I end up with such a mess that the only solution is to make egg salad.

There have been countless potlucks where my intention was to bring deviled eggs but I ended up with store bought cookies because of my lack of egg-peeling finesse. I have had a ba-zillion suggestions on how to peel them correctly and each time I get a bit better...well, mark your calendars! Today I successfully made them. They aren't the best looking but they sure taste good and I have figured out a long time ago that garnishment makes everything look better.

Of course our family gathering got cancelled. Darn it! Dad is feeling a bit under the weather and little Vera, my niece, has the stomach flu. So the family cookout has been post-poned until tomorrow. At least we'll have my eggs! As an added bonus, I still had some even crappier eggs leftover so I could make my beloved egg salad!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Wonder Girls Are Home!

I made a very special trip today! I went back to Wind Walker and brought home two of my girls. WWR Morning Mist aka Misty and WWR Confetti Reign aka Confetti. They are true ladies. Unlike my boys who have to look out the windows and poop all over the trailer floor, my Wonder Girls cushed down to enjoy the ride (yes, my driving can be enjoyable) then,once we arrived home, politely got out of the trailer, looked around then did their business in the pasture. No mess, no fuss!

The Wonder Boys were hanging out in the inner pasture by the old barn, since we haven't moved them into the new barn yet and they got a whiff of the girls and went flying around the pasture to get as close as possible. Well, we are still modifying the pasture and it looks like we we definately not let the boys and girls this close on a normal basis but it was a nice opportunity for a meet and greet. One thing I did Confetti is definately ready to breed. She was flirting up and down the fence line. That's one reason I wanted to get her home. We want her to get used to the Wonder Why Farm before we take her back to Wind Walker Ranch to breed to one of their established herdsires. Don and Cheri Parks have some phenominal males that have produced some exceptional offspring and we have lucked out and purchased a few of them.

Now in case you wonder why (notice how I work my name in there) Confetti is shorn and Morning Mist isn't, it's because Confetti Reign is no longer a show girl. She went to shows and won her ribbons in 2008 and is now going to spend the rest of her life being a mother. Normal gestation for an alpaca is 11 to 11.5 months and they are typically ready to re-breed in 14-21 days after birth.

Morning Mist will go to her first show this September then a couple of shows next spring before we breed her next year. She turns a year old in July.

So, now you are wondering about my other girls? Well, Sugar Breeze will stay with the Parks at Wind Walker Ranch until after she births her cria (baby) then we will re-breed her and finally bring her home with the rest of the Wonder Girls....and my other girl, Midnight Aire, will come home next week after she is shorn at Sahalie Higher Ground.

I tell you...I have Wonderful Alpacas and I have been very fortunate to have Wonderful mentors in Wind Walker Ranch and Sahalie Higher Ground. As a matter of fact, everyone in this wonderful industry is totally awesome!

Ok, now that I have posted my pics and update...I am going back to my deck, poor a glass of wine and watch my Wonder Boys in their pasture and my Wonder Girls in their pasture and feel the blessing of the alpaca lifestyle calm me.

In closing, for tonight, this last picture totally proves the myth that women have to go to the bathroom, ok, yes, you got it! My humor needs some work, but honestly, look for girls went together whearas the boys will take turns marking over each other. See, I just made my blog educational ;-)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shearing at Wind Walker

Today I got to help Wind Walker Ranch shear part of their herd including my three girls, Sugar Breeze(due with her first cria any day now), Confetti Reign(never been shorn so had two years of fleece growth) and Morning Mist (just got a belly shear to keep her cool for summer because we are going to grow her fleece long for shows) that have been staying there while I completed my barn.

Here is Sugar Breeze is Sugar Breeze on the floor getting sheared. What you are seeing is her belly that has her first cria inside. Dave, our shearer, showed me where to feel on the belly and I got to feel the cria move......any day now I am going to get a call from Wind Walker Ranch telling me that my Sugar Breeze is in labor with our first cria. I didn't get a good after pic because she was ready to get as far away from us as possible. Next week, I promise. Better yet, the next pics you get to see of this lovely lady will be with her newborn cria!

Now here is my Confetti Reign! See her in her majestic ellegance! Look at the fiber!

Now here we are shearing our sweetie! She is a patterned alpaca, multi-colored, which usually means that the skin is pymented the same as the color of the fiber that is grown. We were really curious about what she would look like shorn since she has never been. Amazing, the before and after transformation!

It's hard to believe she is the same girl....she is though and we now need to start thinking seriously who we are going to breed this amazing girl to in a few weeks.

So, after my long day of shearing I came home to a house that had been picked up, dishes put away, children whose homework was completed and animals that had been fed. I not only have a Wonderful farm, and Wonderful friends but a truly amazing and WONDERFUL HUSBAND!

I wonder if I should take off for long days more often? Nope, I won't push my luck ;-)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Second Verse Same As The First.....

It's already the middle of May and I still haven't reached my Kidney Walk Goal!

What's up with that? Have you visited the pretty cool Kidney Foundation link to the right of this blog? know the one, you can see it in the corner of your know, the orange foot saying feed me! feed me! Well, that foot is tormenting you because you haven't donated to my walk I have also provided massive hyperlinks for you to click on in case you can't see the awesome icons to the right of this blog....I know you are looking!

Do you think I would be out there walking for the fun of it? Well, actually I am but that's not the point. The point is that I am walking to raise awareness and a bunch of money for the National Kidney Foundation so that we can help all those awesome organ recipients or people who desperately want to be organ recipients but can't because there is a shortage.

Do you want to know why there is a shortage? Do you? Do you really want to know? Ok, obviously you are still reading so you do. The reason why is because there are still way too many people that have not registered to be an organ donor yet.

I know, it's shocking! Sad, but true! What can we do to stop this shortage? Well, donate to my kidney walk fund then follow the cool Gift of Life Michigan link I have conveniently provided also on the right side of this awesome page!

Show your heart, register to be an organ donor!

Now read on: I got a bit irked today(yes, it's hard to believe) because my husband had an awful thing to tell me. There are people out there that still believe all these weird myths about organ donation....well, guess what! Visit the National Kidney Foundation website or the Gift of Life Michigan website and you will find out that myths are NOT facts for instance you can't be too old to be a donor! Duh! Register, see what happens. Let the doctors decide!

As usual, I am providing pics for illustration. The first one is of me at the 2008 National Kidney Foundation Transplant Games in Pittsburgh where I competed in my first 5K where I completed it in an awesome 41 minutes! (that's walking, not running!) The next pic is my Dad(that was us at the 2006 National Kidney Foundation Transplant Games in Louisville where he competed in the games)! Third, My Dad surrounded by all of his grandchildren...they are his inspiration. Finally, Buddy, our youngest alpaca, training for the paca 5K. See even the Wonder Why Alpaca Boys are getting into Organ Donation Awareness! You don't believe me? Well, here is my display table at the Michigan Breeders show. Please notice my Gift of Life brochure right next to all my farm info.

Ok, have I made my point(s)? Sign up to support me at the Kidney walk and register to become an organ donor!
Not only will I thank you....but you will be thanked by all the lives you will save!