I am proud of myself. I have to be because generally no one else is!!! I need support you see.
Anyway I spent a long time wailing away at the keyboard about our lack of recognition from our best ever show season and did the smart thing…I placed the post in “drafts” and went and thought about it. Much of the subject matter will be the center of our first opt in Newsletter but I won’t publish it to the “public” on our blog because it would probably give too many people too much pleasure…there I go again…bloody whiner!!!
BUT both Jude and I were inspired with some of the fleeces we clipped this year at shearing. It was a hectic time, a time I love, altho I feel pretty useless because my ailing back and feet won’t allow me to get too physical in the labor department. I spend all my time bagging fleeces by owner, sorting the good stuff, identifying animals for sale and for our auction and making sure the alpacas are sorted in color and that there are always alpacas waiting to be shorn. Oh, and keep an eye out for cria being born outside! We have to keep Eddie busy. We aim to shear 110 per day, 8am to 4pm…this year we did 342 in three days finishing one day at 3.15pm and another day at 3pm. When you have 500 alpacas to shear there is no time to dilly dally….by shearing them quickly the animals are less stressed and we pay less for labor.
Check out the vacuum we use..the idea came from Don and Julie at Snowmass…we just turn our poo vac into a fiber vac…it saves so much time, there is less dust that sweeping creates and its easy as!
We always have “friends” over for shearing who question that terminology when we are finished each day…but we do feed them and supply grog if needed! We have the process down pat. By the end of the day we have everything packaged, sorted and sampled with the alpacas more than happy to display their nudity. Its a pleasure to have Eddie shear for us. Many breeders have complained that he is too fast for them. That makes us laugh. The less time the alpacas are on the board the better it is for them. Eddie does a superb job and will customize his shearing to your desires if you are vocal enough. We rarely have a cut animal and there is next to no second cuts. And he’s great fun!
What was most pleasing about this year was the quality of some of the fleeces that came off both suris and huacaya. Especially in the suris we are now starting to obtain fiber that we think is close to the ideal. Its fine, buttery smooth, oozes with luster and we are achieving really good staple length. Average cutting weight is up again. Have a look at the pics. We are also trying to market the fleece a little better with an online presence that Laura at BuzznHumm Alpacas along with Cheryl at Island Alpacas is co-ordinating.
So, we have just one day left here next week for shearing and its done….in the blink of an eye!