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Adventures of a Ranch Visit

Arlene and Bob had a ranch visit scheduled weeks in advance. Coming from Arizona on their trip through Utah and some of the parks here. We love visitors.

I was texting my two daughters early in the morning about very important things and I was late getting out there. I needed to clean up the "toilet" area. As I walked out there I saw my girls gathered around Odin (our livestock guardian dog) and a little wet bundle on the ground.

Enter the world, little Circle Cliff's Finne

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Caramel Sundae

Sweet Caramel Sundae's future at the ranch didn't turn out as we had hoped.
Her little cria was very large, and was not positioned correctly. For many, many reasons which I am choosing not to elaborate on, both Caramel Sundae and her daughter, Angel, are pronking (running) around on heavenly pastures and enjoying their happiest times together. When I get to heaven, I hope to see their big, brown eyes and get reunited with them both!

Celebrating Caramel Sundae, she was fondly nam

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Caramel Sundae - What's your plans?

Caramel Sundae's cria (baby alpaca) was due May 28th. My life has been on hold ever since then. I've canceled alpaca trainings, volunteer commitments, short trips, shopping, etc. I'm watching on "Ring" most other times so I can be there to help this first-time mother just in case she needs assistance.
In the meantime, this beautiful girl is just as happy as can be, eating her grain, nibbling on her carrots, and bossing her friends around. She carefully kushes (gets on the gro

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Shear(ing) Success

It was a great, but windy, day!
Our girls and boys gave their all, and so did our wonderful family and volunteers. We were busy from 8am until around 4pm, with a 40 minute lunch break somewhere in there.
With our 28 alpacas, and our dear friends Toni and Jim bringing their 12 alpacas here, we successfully had 40 alpacas safely shorn by around 3pm. What a day! We were in sync pretty much all of the day, with a few overlapping people being trained to cover each other if someone

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Windy but Fluffy

Sometimes my husband and I joke about how constantly the wind blows in our little Wayne County, Utah. We say if it ever stops blowing, we'd actually fall over!
Seriously, there are days and weeks that it seems the wind never stops.
We have had a lot of wind lately. Because last week we had severe wind several days in a row, one of my former teachers, Lora, needed to postpone her visit to the ranch for a few days. On the day she and her family visited, it was "less wind

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Parlez Vous Alpaca?

There was absolutely no language barrier or pocket translator needed when it came to the language of alpacas meeting our French visitors. My French 101, taken in Mr. Johnson's eighth grade class, and later in college, didn't prepare me for speaking French fluently when our ranch visitors came straight from France. Thank heavens we had the alpacas, Odin, and chickens to help me.
What translated easily were the smiles, love, kindnesses, alpacas spitting in the air, the girls jumping o

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Spring Break? We need a Break (in the Weather)


Welcome to Utah! Our weather changes from warm to COLD to warm and back to cold without notice.
Last year we were taking off the coats we had on two of our alpacas, and this year we still have their coats on.
Last year we were loading up alpaca "black gold" for our friends who have greenhouses, and this year we haven't even advertised it on Facebook.
This year it's still pretty cold, and yet, we have blue, blue skies and clean air.
We

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Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

******This recipe is originally by by Diana Rattray
The Spruce Eats
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook: 10-12 minutes. Serving: about 36 cookies. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

These cookies are a tender and soft cookie, with a light citrus icing. The cream cheese gives these cookies a great flavor and texture, with a lemon zest, juice and extract. NOTE: I add a Young Living citrus oil in place of lemon extract.

Cookies: 2 C all-purpose flour. 1 tsp baki

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Chocolate Chip Cookies - The Best!

I've been baking these chocolate chip cookies since 2003, when I got the recipe from my friend Brenda. For our son Kevin's wedding, I baked at least ten dozen of these and froze them for his rehearsal dinner. Trust me, they're really delicious. Don't skimp on ingredients: use real butter, real vanilla, and fresh eggs if you have them.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 C brown sugar. 1 C sugar. 1 C butter. 2 eggs. 1 tsp vanilla.
3 C flour.

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Much, Much Better

Our boy, Django, went to visit Dr. Jake. He handled the ride so well. I was able to halter him with no problem, all by my self. I walked him into doctor's office and Dr. Jake and his helpers go the X-ray equipment out. Mike and I helped hold Django still, which he did stand so nicely.
The break in his leg is healing nicely, and Dr. Jake feels like if Django is restricted in his movement (play area) for 4-6 more weeks, he should be able to be "good as new." We are betting on that!

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Django and the Big Boys

When Dhango hit one year old, we celebrated by giving everyone a little extra grain and we sang his birthday song to him. Django received some carrots and some extra attention. His buddies, Redford and Ollie, had been spending time with him and everything was going well.
Unfortunately, while I was doing my "blessings" I accidentally let Bentley into Django's area and the other boys left. Bentley and Max were doing fine with Django for a few days until the girls started doing a little "girl

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Melvin turns One Month

Our little cria (son of Geoffrey and Oprah) turns four weeks old today. He’s so beautiful and silver in color underneath that brown cria coat he wears. His ears and legs remain a bluish silver in color, and he romps with the big kids and with so much confidence you’d never guess he was so young.

I’ll be weighing him today and will give him his second shot to help keep him healthy as he continues to grow to become what we hope is a beautiful future herdsire.

Melvin’s beautif

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Django 2020

Django.
Who would have guessed we’d have a Christmas gift such as our little Django? In a year of COVID-19, isolation from so many friends and family members etc., I’ve learned that if there is something that is meant to be, it IS meant to be.

Django was meant to be. Tchairo, his mother, is seventeen years old. She’s our beautiful and stunning blue-eyed white matriarch. We brought here to our ranch five years ago because we and Sierra and Izzy adored her. She took on the role of

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Saori joins Circle Cliff Ranch Alpacas

Weaving Suri alpacas & silk

August 2018
I had my birthday. Really. It’s so nice to have one every year. Seriously.

Opportunity.
I went to a Saori weaving class a week before my birthday with my friend, Linda B., and we immediately fell in love with the Saori style of weaving, the loom, and the philosophy behind this kind of weaving.

Enter work meetings.
The Special Education Law Conference (yes, on my birthday) was in Utah County. On break, I happe

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How Lucky I Am

I recently attended a Wayne County Business Association meeting. It’s ok for me to take time off work in the middle of the day as long as I get my work completed. Because of this, I can still be involved in my wonderful community as well as work part time at Wayne School District as their Director of Special Education.

Walking away from that meeting, my thoughts came to me about how blessed I am to be able to live here, to realize the dream of having a sweet herd of alpacas who gift m

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Wayne County Fair!

It’s our County Fair week, which means a bit more traffic in our little county and usually less phone coverage because everyone is using the cell tower!

This year, we won’t have our family coming down to join us in fair activities, and M will be working in the evenings. There’s no demolition derby; instead, Nathan Osmond is performing. There’s still the great rodeo tomorrow night as well as other events.

My friend Barb and I entered some of our fiber work in the county fa

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Support the Farmers Market

Showing some of my hats and yarns — we usually bring two tables worth of beautiful items from our alpacas. Every week we have new items that have just been completed. We are located on Highway 24 kitty-corner from The Old House on the Corner of Center and Main.

Did I also mention that I have my yarns and hats at the Old House on the Corner of Center and Main?

Most every Saturday you’ll find me at the Farmers Market in Torrey, Utah. There are approximately 50 artisans and ba

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On Cria Watch!

During June and July, I am on cria watch. It’s the same as baby watch to those of you who don’t know that a cria is a baby alpaca.

Our first crias expected are from Tomar Leche (true black) and Ariel (white). Both of them bred to Geoffrey (lucky guy) who, up until now, has not had successful breedings. These will be his first “crias on the ground” if all goes well for us.

Geoffrey is a dark rose grey.

You can join us in making predictions!

Tomar Leche’

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A family Adventure Visit

During Spring break 2018, we made an appointment for a family from Utah County who planned to come to the ranch to visit and explore what Circle Cliff Ranch Alpacas had to offer. They are a fun group of a mom, dad and three delightful young boys who travel the state of Utah and do an honest write-up about their adventures.

I like to get an idea of what any of our visitors would like to experience so I can plan their visit to be as perfect for them as I can. Before leaving, I asked the

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Shearing Day 2018

Our 2018 shearing day is coming! It’s a red-letter day for us. This year, on April 10th, we are using a Utah team and we’re shearing earlier than our usual time (June).

Last year, we lost our Angela and her sweet cria, in part due to the fact that she was shorn too close to the time her cria was due.

The shearers are lined up, our helpers are ready, and we are expecting a fun (even long) morning as we prepare to harvest the beautiful fiber are alpacas will gift us. I can’t

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It's Coming to an End

Sadly, some good things must end.

This includes crias nursing their mamas.

Between January and February I begin the process of weaning the crias. This year I’m trying a gradual weaning process. I’ll be having the moms and crias separated during the day for a week, reuniting them during the nights.

Then — separating them both day and night. Sigh. That’s going to be the hard part.

The boys and girls will be separated from both the big boys and the mamas.

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I'm Really Here!

I’m alive! I’m really here. I’m making progress

(slowly) in recovering from my ATV accident. I’m going to do this!

Excuses for not keeping up my blog don’t really matter, but I promise I’ll do better in 2018.

New projects will include trying new yarn dying techniques and becoming more organized. I’m


#Porshe the Alpaca
also learning how to walk without a walker and a cane. That’s a big one.

Thank you for your support in words, pray

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Things to Do

On the “Things to Do” list is:

1. Wire the girls barn with lights and a few outlets;
2. Caulk the outside office;
3. Resolve what to do with a feisty male (Geoffrey) who bugs the crap out of others (Probee), and resolve what to do with Probee who bugs the crap out of others (Al Pacacino);
4. have Jasmin’s cria arrive here healthy, and keep her (?) warm; and
5. take pictures of and market my yarns and hats and alpacas.

It’s a start. I appreciate M so much

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BRRR

It got down to 22 degrees last night, and there is a sheet of ice on the dog and alpaca water buckets. We are hoping for what is called an “Indian Summer” to hit us in October, as Jasmin’s cria is due on October 9th; even with a coat on a cria, that is still darned cold.

M is busy doing chores and keeping all well. The cats are keeping the mice away, the chickens are laying delicious eggs and are enjoying their new heated water dispenser, the dogs are keeping M company; I think M is e

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My Favorite Scene

This is the scene that always warms my heart. I love seeing how caring and loving alpaca mamas are. They are attentive, over-protective when the crias are just born, and they allow their crias room to explore and play with other crias as they get older.

I just love seeing this as I drive up the driveway, as I feed them hay and grain, and as I sit in the pasture, finding my solace.

Hiding in Plain Site

During our Open Ranch Day last Saturday, the girls and crias were a little full and decided to hide on their ‘poop hill.’ Who would want to try to feed them while there?

It didn’t stop me — I was wearing my outside shoes — and so I ‘scooted’ them off their hill and they started smiling and entertaining their guests.

I never would have guessed that they’d have their fill of pellets, but they did.

The boys were a different story — they were insatiable and didn’t t

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It's Almost Here!

Our yearly Open Ranch Day is SATURDAY, September 2nd.

We can’t wait to have you visit us, enjoy a glimpse of alpaca ranching life, and just enjoy your time among these fun animals.

I won’t be feeding my girls and boys their regular grain; you can feed them ($5 a bag/donation) and they will be friendly and hungry, for sure.

10am-4pm – Mile Marker 63 on Highway 24. Just 12 miles from Capitol Reef National Park.

Come and meet Harrison, Buck, Patch, Caram

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Live Stock and Dead Stock

My heart was broken when I got up that Sunday morning and found Angela had passed.

Two years old, beautiful, healthy, lively, feisty, and pregnant with a full term, perfect, white female cria.

Heart broken.

Devastated.

In shock.

Inconsolable.

I knew I’d have to face “dead stock” eventually, but I thought it’d be in the future with one of our older gals. Not so.

This is still difficult for me to talk about (I’m writing

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Two Years Today!

Officially, it’s been two years ago today that M and I bought our first five alpacas. Carol and Tom, from River Bed Ranch Alpacas, helped us choose the perfect girls and the perfect herdsires to “expose” them to.

Now, exactly two years to the date, we have our five girls PLUS four crias from these girls. They are amazingly wonderful, all nine of them, and we have a total of 22 alpacas.

Last night I was looking at tummies. I did a ‘spit’ check with Neshaki, and she sure spit

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Catching You Up

Good morning from Circle Cliff Ranch. It was 37 degrees this morning when I went out to do chores. M had been doing the chores, morning and night, while I was with Steph in Alabama. Today I went out and did it in my dress and Carhart coat! (M later asked if the dogs were impressed; they didn’t say one way or another.)

My mother has moved in with us, and the transition has been ok. We are still working out the ‘kinks’ and a friend, Johanna, brought me over a wonderful book (36 hours) w

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She thinks his Tractor is Sexy

Do you see that little girl (Kit Kat) on the back of the tractor?

Ever since her ride on M’s lap in the tractor yesterday, she thinks it’s hers. She’ll roll in the bucket and sun on the seat. (She’d best not scratch it up.)

Anyway, when M saw it, he immediately said, “She thinks my tractor’s sexy.”

Smile! Have a great Saturday.

When One Door Closes

We all hear the phrase, “When one door closes, another one opens” right?

It’s true. It just takes time and patience and faith to let it happen.

Recently I had an unpleasant experience with someone representing the interests of the Gifford House at Capitol Reef National Park. It was in my business plan to get my knitted alpaca products in there to sell, and when I was approached January 2016 to do so, I was elated.

During the cold months, my hats sold well (over 3

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Don't forget about the Guys

Two of our herdsires are big boys. Probee (white) and Geoffrey (rose gray) will hopefully be daddies this summer. We’ve put them on some of our beautiful girls. Some for the first time, some rebreedings. Both were added to Circle Cliff Ranch last July.

Probee is proven (he’s been a daddy lots of times).
Geoffrey was new to this (he didn’t seem to mind trying his hand at it).

If you are here when we are doing breedings, you’ll think that the boys are singing songs to th

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Perfect Rolls & Sweet Rolls

Promises, Promises. I promised to post my roll/sweet roll recipe over a week ago. Rachel, I’m finally getting it done!

2 T dry yeast
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 C warm water
2/3 c nonfat dry milk
1/3 c butter
1 egg
5-6 C bread flour

Combine yeast and water, let stand 5 minutes. Mix other ingredients and knead until smooth.

Changing it up my way:

Put warm water and yeast in a breadmaker. Dump the other ingredients on top and set to

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Yarn of Many Colors

I have a special order for hand-knit hats that must be complete before Christmas. Before, if at all possible. Before Christmas if my right hand and wrist don’t give out on me. Not to worry — I’ve already had carpal tunnel surgery and I should be just fine!

The hardest work is behind us.

*Porshe had her fleece shorn back in June.
*Crooked Fence Mills cleaned and put her fleece into “rovings.”
*My Majacraft wheel and I worked together to spin the most beautiful of y

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Apples and Tomar Leche'

She loves apples!

Seriously!

And Peligram is right beside her, nibbling them from my hand.

Awesomeness!

I’ve been dehydrating apples for a couple of weeks now. On and off, off and on. It takes time, you know.

Taking out some of the apple pieces for my chickens, I decided to let Tomar Leche’ have a nibble at them. From the first taste, she’s now hunting me down until I give her some. She’s even eaten halves of smaller apples right from my han

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Next

The girlie barn is done! Wahoo!

We’ve put the hay in there and next comes the electricity and Frank’s Fountain connection. Since M is an electrician, this comes in handy. We’ll have some outlets in my shed room a light in the barn as well.

Then we’ll hang the two grain trays–these are the plastic rain gutters that are hung at the perfect height so everyone can enjoy.

The girls aren’t running laps around their new home, but they are happy, happy to have it. So are

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#Snowflake#She's Home

#Worries.

I couldn’t find Snowflake anywhere. It’s been over 12 hours since I’ve seen her.

#Big prayers.

#Sadness.

This morning I went outside, in the dark and cold, and called ‘here Kitty Kitty’ which is how I bring them in.

#Nothing.

#Sadness.

I went about getting ready for work.

M took the dogs out to go potty.

Smiling, he came in and had Snowflake in his arms. He passed her to me.

#J

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#PacaPuffs

Looking to reduce your footprint? Hate using chemicals in your laundry? Looking for an all-natural alternative to dryer sheets?

Give our 100% Alpaca Fleece PacaPuffs* a try!

Hand Crafted at Circle Cliff Ranch. No two PacPuffs will look alike. These are all-natural, containing NO DYES and these will last well over a year. You may save up to 45% drying time for a load of clothes using only three PacaPuffs. The more PacaPuffs, the faster the drying time, and that saves time a

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New Hay #Kit Kat Rules

Just last week M and a few strong teenagers unloaded about five ton of second cut grass hay. I didn’t participate, just because.

Leave it to our Kit Kat to take credit for the hard work! She’s definitely the Queen of the Hill and she’s looking for any mice or other rodents who will try to infiltrate her hay stack.

We absolutely love our bossy, opinionated, feisty, strong, thirsty, loving and “outside cat!”

Love our Friends and Visitors

This past week we had friends from our former neighborhood come and visit us. We were able to catch up on the ‘scoops’ and share our ranch with them. We weren’t able to take them up on the Velvets but that’ll be something to look forward to next year.

I was able to show them the differences in alpaca and sheep fleece and wool, and do a little plying demonstration. The last yarns I plyed are some of the loveliest I’ve done. I tried to make the yarn a bit more bulky, and it’s just amazi

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Successful #Open Farm Day

Whew! We survived our first open farm day with a lot of help from family!

Our visitors came from as far as two hours away. Several families came from surrounding areas in Wayne County, too!

Some things we learned from our first open farm day:

*People are fascinated with alpacas (and so are we)

*Alpacas are wonderful to feed and touch (and we think so too)

*Our Maremmas are SMART and do their job (and like tummy rubs)

*Alpaca hats

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Who Would Have Guessed?

In a million and a half years, I would never have guessed that I’d be preparing for an Open Farm Day today!

Last year, my dream came true when I moved to our dream home and location and brought home our first five alpacas of color. Adding to them eight lovely whites and fawn colors, we added youth to our lovelies. Then this summer we had six healthy crias born to us — three males* and three females and our herd was even more youthful. Then, for good business and breeding sense, we bou

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It was a Great Weekend

It’s hard to write everything about our past weekend. My dear friends since elementary school, Terri and Lorrie, spent three days and two nights here. We laughed, explored, ate, traveled, and more. We connected and reconnected. We’re like three sisters that were born in separate homes.

M and I didn’t do any spinning or knitting Sunday night, because M and I watched TV and just Vegged. After a fun-filled weekend we needed it. After spinning for six hours straight Saturday, I needed a b

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Amish for a Weekend

I’d love to be Amish right about now. Minus the lack of electricity, washing machines, fridges, etc. etc.

It’s just that I’d love to have a barn raising party. How sweet would that be?

We’re planning out a new girl barn (it was supposed to be for the boys but the boys can handle leftovers). I’ll have a “tack” room and the girls will have a nice area plus overhang and a small “nursery” for after deliveries.

It’d just be so nice to have it done quickly and with the

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Open Farm Day - September 24th

Come join us for our annual Open Farm Day! We are the nicest and largest alpaca ranch in Wayne County, Utah. Bring your family and have a hands-on educational experience.

Let alpacas eat out of your hand,* take pictures with our lovelies, enter contests, and see the cutest alpaca faces. Try your skill at carding alpaca fleece, and enjoy spinning wheel demonstrations.

How long are alpacas pregnant? How long do they live? Do they have names? What’s the difference between alpa

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Open Ranch Day!

Please join us on September 24th from 10 am to 2 pm.

This is our first open ranch day, and we know if you are here we’ll be a success!

Bring your family and friends (supervise youngsters).

Try your hand at hand-carding raw fleece, purchase hand-knit hats from yarns I’ve spun, purchase hand spun yarns from our own beauties, and hand-feed our beauties (bags of pellets are $5 a bag).

Enjoy a spinning demonstration (by me) and take some pictures of your fa

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My First Time

I’ve always looked at ladies who pull their horse trailers (and alpaca trailers) as being really cool. Thinking, “Wow! I don’t know if i could ever do that.”

Today I get to have a shot at this. It’ll be my first time to “look cool” and get my alpaca to Richfield. Tchairo has an eye infection that isn’t clearing up, and Neshaki is looking way to thin for my liking. She also has a little discharge in her eyes, so I want to get that taken care of.

M and I did a practice run th

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Back to Work

You may think I’ve been retired. I can flex these muscles of mine and show you that I’ve been back to work all year, but in a different capacity.

Do you really think a retired wimp could buck a bale of hay, turn sprinklers when it’s our water turn, shovel alpaca black gold, feed the chickens, throw grain to the geese, give shots to the alpacas and other medicinal things without some braun?

Well, yes they can, but doing this ranch thing HAS helped me be even more “buff” in

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A little Surgery

Back on February 13th, I tripped over my pajama bottoms that were loose and slouchy. Not a good experience as I fell flat on my cheek, my arm, my right knee and my right hip. OUCHY!

Thinking it would get better, I ignored and fought through the pain and limped and hobbled my way around for months and months.

In May, I went to the doctor and she suggested physical therapy.

I finished my physical therapy in June and even had an injection in my hip.

No im

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Some Good News and Some Bad News

Which do you want first? The good news or the bad news?

That’s what I was given this morning as Staci came into the house.

She had helped me with morning chores.

Which did I want first?

The good news.

Well, the good news was that the alpaca enjoyed being sprayed by the hose, especially Tomar Leche’. They played in the mud and enjoyed their morning showers.

The bad news?

Charlie (or Toby) got one of the geese. Stacy told

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Here Kitty Kitty

Welcome Probee!

When you have a bunch of lovely ladies that need “servicing”, you know it’s time to start looking for some handsome herdsires. A good match to our farm is Probee. He’s full of fine and crimpy offspring and experience.

Probee is determined to be kind and insistent as he has the opportunity. So far he’s been “put to work” four times.

Although he eats some grain out of my hands, normally he isn’t interested in getting to know me as much as he is interested in getting to know

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Michael In Charge

He wasn’t designated but took up the task of getting us a location and ready for family pictures. Love this guy! We got some great shots. There’s nothing like family pictures atop the Great Western Trail on Thousand Lakes (The Velvets). I am not creative enough to have thought of that one.

We loved our tripod and the timer function of our Canon camera.

Loved my family being here.

Miss my family!

Love my visitors to our ranch.

Love my friends

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Love my Children

Having one daughter missing in our little family reunion was pretty hard for me, but it’s important to focus on the positives.

I was lucky to have three of my four children here at the same time!

Staci (right) is my eldest daughter. She’s a real joy to me. She’s upbeat and ambitious and helps me in many ways. She and her three kids will be coming back to spend almost a month here after she spends time with her inlaws. I can’t wait to get going on our projects (like doing a

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Family is Everything

My oldest son, Michael, and his wife, Jaimee, drove all the way from ViRgiNiA to spend a week with us!

My awesome grandchildren were good sports and I believe loved their time with us. Kinzlee helped me so much with my alpaca and ranch chores! The others helped me do other things around the house, such as dust, to help make my load easier.

Although we didn’t get in any swimming time, we enjoyed four-wheeling on the Velvets, picking fresh apricots at Capitol Reef National Pa

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Hold on to Your Hat (or cover your eyes)

Breeding Day!

Starlet and Pixie get to have some “fun” this morning.

Want me to post pictures?

We shall see!

New Friend

On Monday afternoon we met new friends. Where were they from? The license plate on the white car said California. The grandchildren guessed China. The grandchildren were right.

I had loaded up Sophie and Bryce and the three dogs into the Mule to add something to our new geocache box created a couple of weeks ago. As we drove down our winding driveway, we saw three visitors taking pictures of the alpaca; one visitor remained in the car.

I stopped and asked if they would like

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Welcome to our Last Little Girl #Cria

Tabby’s delivery of a beautiful little girl!was a more difficult one, but she’s a beauty and she’s here. She was 20+ pounds. This is by far the largest female cria this year!

Thank heavens for Linda K who was here to do breedings. She and Ted got here and Ted held Tabby while Linda helped maneuver the cria’s front legs. They were “stuck” and Linda did a gentle rotation of her shoulders so she could come out!

Whew!

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for helping with the

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Announcing Chantilly Lace's New #Cria

Please welcome the birth of Circle Cliff Ranch’s Snowflake!

Chantilly Lace (Lacie) delivered a beautiful white daughter at noon today! Not the easiest delivery, but the loveliest girl.

This was a hands-on delivery. I had been timing the different stages, and now in the third stage, Pixie lay on her side and was DONE!

I rubbed her sides and her neck and talked softly to her. Staci held grain up to her nose and tried to get her to stand.

Call a friend!

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Happy Fourth of July

Our fireworks are not found in a package or need a match to set them off.

Our fireworks are the vibrant exchanges between kids and kids, kids and adults, adults and adults and back and forth.

We have a game going on the kitchen table upstairs and the game table downstairs almost nonstop.

Sophie, Sierra and Mason are practicing getting their spinning feet working. (No alpaca fleece will flow between their fingers until they’ve spent at least ten hours each on the

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Needed that Camera

Today on the ranch was one of those days when I needed my phone or my camera! It started out with me taking some oranges on the slightly too mushy stage outside. I cut them in half and planned on giving them to the chickens for a little treat. Tomar Leche’ came and changed my mind.

Tomar sniffed the half orange and tried to take it. I turned the orange rind up (alpaca have bottom teeth, not top ones). She gently took a grind of the orange and swallowed, and repeated this about eight t

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Peek a Boo! and Best Buddies

These girls are a blast and they stay together most of the time. Often they stay in the loafing shed during the day because it’s probably hot for these two girls.

Neshaki’s cria is due in July and Tomar Leche’s is due in August.

We can’t wait to see what colors their crias will be. We wish for healthy first and girls next. We’ll be happy with whichever we get — we have a chance of 50/50 for a girl, don’t we?

Pali

I’m holding Pali and he’s just three days old. I was holding him to take him to the scale to be weighed. Day three he’s 20 pounds, which is his birth weight. He’s a good little eater. He smelled the alpaca pellets in my hand but didn’t quite know what to do with them, so he backed off. Mom knew and she continued to eat her treats.

Pali will be entertaining us for months, I’m sure!

Venturing Out

This little boy, named Pali, is adventurous and his mommy (Dream Catcher) is not so sure about him doing so. Everyone is curious and is welcoming him into their world.

He’s a good little eater. When he nurses, you hear a cute little sucking sound. He goes from teat to teat. He has his own smorgasbord.

Mama’s friend, Tchairo, is usually checking him out. She has been making the little “calling sound” like she is looking for her cria. She’s the one that didn’t want to get bre

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I Have Butterflies!

Tomorrow (Monday) is our shearing day! We’ve worked hard, M and I, to get everything ready. One last suggestion was made tonight for us to get a leaf blower and blow off the vegetable matter on the alpacas! Great suggestion. M said it’s not very noisy, so we’ll start off by just starting it and letting them get used to the noise, then start chasing them around. Just kidding. Hopefully we won’t have to because the cord isn’t that long.

I’ll take some great shots, hopefully, so you can

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Never Too Much Shade

While our alpaca have been wearing their winter coats and it’s in the 80 degree range, they have been hot.

It is supposed to be a bit cooler on Monday when we are scheduled for our shearing.

Until then, the smart ones will take cover and grab some shade wherever they can get it.

Be creative today! Maximus is creative.

We Have a Date!

Yes, we have a date! It’s a shearing date!

The team is coming on Monday, June 13th, at approximately 9:00 am.

My sweet alpaca cannot wait! But they will wait, because they have no choice.

I have someone coming over tomorrow to help me visualize how to set up the shearing area. Two teams will shear the animals at the same time.

There will be no shade.

There may be wind. I hope some wind!

I hope there won’t be any rain. ??

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Cria Update

Who knows how many girls are really preggie. Dream Catcher is for sure, but she’s taking her time. Her first cria was five days early, and her second was two weeks late. As of today, she is officially (Correct to eight ) days over her due date.

I will keep you all posted. I get asked every day if I have any babies, and sadly, the answer is still NOT YET.

When the time is right, D.C. will give us a beautiful cria.

As for Pixie and Starlet? They may need a rebreedi

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My Beautiful Friend

I have a beautiful friend who has spent the last couple of days with me. The time has gone by too fast for me.

Lorrie, thank you for making the effort and giving me you! We have been friends for many (55) years. We’re not even 55 years old, so I’m not sure how that happened, but it’s true! I think we were buds in Heaven before coming to Earth.

Lorrie learned how to make honey wheat bread, gather eggs, feed alpacas and how to avoid getting spit on by them. We had adventures

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Doing our Duty

On Memorial Day, we usually go to the Bicknell Cemetery and listen to the words shared about those who have gone before us. This year we decided to do something different, doing a civic duty. Later this week, I will be going to the Loa and Bicknell Cemeteries to honor my great-great, great and grandparents privately. It’ll be nice to do so without all the commotion around me.

M and I got up fairly early, and did our ranch chores. We donned our bright vests, put on our hats and work gl

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Dream Catcher's Update

Kevin took Dream Catcher’s halter and lead from me. I had separated D.C. into a smaller area that makes it easier to catch the alpaca. He walked softly up to her, and with soft words and actions, he slipped the halter on her as if the two of them have done this dozens of times.

Really? Is K the alpaca whisperer and I’m not?

I’m not. It’s not quite that easy for me.

K brought DC around through the gate and into the new chute, with the scale in there as well.

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Family

My family is quite scattered across the country. However, one son is here in Utah. He makes great efforts to come and visit us, as we don’t leave the “ranch” much due to responsibilities here.

As I came home from a quick trip to town, K and S mowing the front lawn for us. I didn’t ask, but he saw the need and got to work. After that, he put the sprinkler on the lawn to help green it up.

Other little things:

Fixing the nesting box in the chicken coop;

H

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A Protective Momma

Starlet is past due two weeks. Meanwhile, she is very concerned about Angela, her yearling.

Since Angela still calls to her mama, her mama still listens and calls back. It’s hard to listen to, but Starlet’s milk is reserved for her new cria (whenever she has her).

Starlet spit on M the other day. It was intentional. He was standing between fences and Starlet was worried that he was going to hurt her little girl. Of course he wasn’t, but like I said, she’s still protective.<

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Surprises in Life

There are always going to be surprises in our lives. Some are going to take us over the top in happiness; some are going to challenge us!

M and I are trying to get my parents down here for a visit before it no longer means anything to my dad. George Arvin Brinkerhoff (dad) was born in Bicknell, Utah and raised here and in Loa and on the mountains as he was sent off to herd sheep and stay away from home. My mom doesn’t want to come here. She’s gone from staying five nights to coming do

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Ranch in Motion

It’s a delight to spend time with my little herd of alpacas. I did my morning chores and then took time to enjoy them this afternoon. A little more grain, some tummy rubs for Charlie and Toby. (Yes, they are behaving and getting along.) Getting the hay wagons filled and ready for “dinner” is something the alpaca enjoy watching, and directing.

This afternoon I enjoyed watching bellies as well. Since Starlet is past due, Pixie doesn’t know if she’s pregnant or not, and Dreamcatcher is d

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Ranch Updates

Starlet was due yesterday. No signs of her being in any hurry. When I was graining last night, she was right in my face, demanding first “dibs” of the grain. She is a little bossy, but some of the others (like Tomar Leche’) help keep her checked.

Charlie is much perkier this morning. I have been giving him extra loves and then I go to the corral and give Toby extra loves. They are both my favorite doggies. Charlie’s face is healing up nicely, and if I can just keep his medicine in his

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Poor Charlie - Update

On the most recent fight that Toby and Charlie had, Charlie got the worse of it. Because of this, today I am taking Charlie on a little ride over the mountains and through the woods. He’s going to return a changed man.

I’m hoping that neutering Charlie will take the edge off their relationship. If it doesn’t, Toby’s future will also change drastically.

Charlie has an infection (hot spots), as far as I can tell. It’s probably from where Toby grabbed him. These guys have defi

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Fleece + Firestar

My little project for the day was to make rolags , using some of the firestar (bling) that I received from Joelle. She’s been so kind to me, and has helped me the right tools I have needed to blend, spin and ply. More shop talk, but if you know what I mean, it’s the basics in transforming my fleece into beautiful yarn.

When I began the blending board to rolag adventure, I made the rolags so tight I couldn’t take them off the sticks. I needed M’s big muscles. I’ve figured it out now, s

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I got spit on!

The girls have been very greedy lately.As part of my morning routine, I get my bucket of grain ready for them and enter the corral area. Lately, these girlies are almost pouncing on me at the gate. As I enter, I tread slowly so as to not knock anyone over (myself included). It seems like there are at least eight girls who are nibbling from the bucket as I make my way to their grain trays.

Geeze!

This morning I was spit on! Twice! Two different girls, and I think both of the

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Snow Days - Seems like they are Every Day

And it’s snowing once again.

It’s a pretty snow, but not one that makes you want to bundle up and go out and do chores.

Ever.

Except that it’s the thing you signed up to do, and it’s the right thing.

And so I’ll bundle up, venture forth and give those cutie pies some grain and some fresh hay and water.

On Pixie’s pregnancy — she may have slipped a pregnancy. If that’s the case, we’ll rebreed her when we rebreed Lacey.

Or I’ll find

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Update 2:40 pm

I’m convinced the due date is wrong. I have to believe that as there is no sign of a pending delivery. So we’ll concentrate on keeping everyone happy and healthy and planning on a cria in the nearer future.

M will need to help me so I can get my “samples.” I’m prepared with a my microscope, got my slides, got my tubes and tube holder, and have my recipe to make the solution to capture those parasites etc. that we may find. I’ll start with the crias.

And speaking of the cria

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Photo Bombing, Alpaca Style

he’s “Da Bomb.” “Da Photo Bomb-er!”

She, Tomar Leche’, will steal your heart when you come and visit. She does that all of the time to those visiting our ranch for the first or most current time.

She will be your new favorite alpaca.

That’s our girl, Tomar Leche’.

I caught her in the act!

Wool Cleaning Day

Bishop Taft gave me some Rambouillet wool from two of his 1,700+ sheep a month ago. This has been airing in the garage, and I walk past it every day at least three times.

This was the day!

I’ve looked at lots of UTube and Pinterest sites. I have a front loading washing machine, so I can’t follow instructions for the top loading machines, which would be working better in this instance.

Wool is very different from alpaca fleece. Rambouillet has extra bounce and re

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WOW! Someday!

I got to spin!I’ve been looking forward to this for almost a month. Julia’s knitting shop in Richfield, Utah advertised a trunk show featuring Corn Creek (Kanosh, Utah).

I’ve been excited but also worried because I don’t like to drive distances here at night because of the immense amount of deer here.

I took the plunge and got out of my comfort zone. Driving to Richfield (about 50 minutes) and back (50 minutes) turned out ok. (I said lots and lots of prayers.)

Me

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Diena’s Creamy Squash Soup

The afternoon was very cold and windy. The power was out for 1.5 hours. We were planning on chicken, but when power was finally restored, we were hungry!
I got to work in the kitchen, grabbing some handy ingredients. He asked, “What are you making?” “It’s a surprise” I answered. He came in to check on things, so I put him to work frying up some crispy bacon.
When we sat down for dinner, Mike actually said that he’d rate it high and would have it again. That’s what I wanted to hear, bec

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“Windy” — my newest creation

This luxurious alpaca yarn is from Carol’s boy. I took the fleece and the fleece from four of my girls to Crooked Fence Alpacas and Mill (located in Mona, Utah) for processing. I had everything except this fleece made in to roving. So glad I did this one to yarn as I don’t have a spinning wheel and can’t use the roving (yet).

The process of turning fleece into yarn isn’t an easy. This coming year, when we actually have the shearing of our flock, I will make sure we take pictures and I

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Did you know?

There is a movement in Utah to have people that live here start buying things that are made in Utah. Isn’t that smart? Why wouldn’t you want to support things made and grown locally instead of purchasing things from China and elsewhere?

Utah’s Own is an organization that is helping Utah businesses with this movement.

My site is:

http://www.utahsown.org/Companies/Circle-Cliff-Ranch-Alpacas-LLC

I hope you’ll check it out and even plan a trip to Dark Skie

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Diena’s wheat bread

I’ve tried lots and lots of different wheat recipes. Here is how I make my bread and I hope it’ll work for you too. I like this recipe because it slices nicely if you want to make sandwiches. I added the eggs and it seems to make the bread have a nicer texture. You can choose to skip the eggs if you want. (Makes 2-3 loaves, depending on the size of your pans.)

Ingredients:
5 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups white bread flour
2 T yeast
2.5 cups warm water
1 T suga

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What is a cria anyway?

A cria (prounced “cre-a”) is the correct term for an alpaca that is less than one year old.

Maximus, named by our son Michael, is our youngest cria on the ranch. I wanted you to meet him today.

His mom is Ariel, his dad is Mr. Cash. Next October he should have a little brother or sister as his parents “got together” when he was three weeks old. That’s how it’s done with alpaca; they are bred three weeks after the mom has delivered.

Maximus has yet to come up to m

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Trust and Love

Guardian dogs are born on a ranch or farm. Their parents that were born and raised on a farm. Guardian dogs will live their entire lives on a farm or ranch. The only time they leave the ranch is to go to the vet or when they are puppies and go to a new home. (This is so new to me because all of my dogs have been house dogs, even my big doggies.) My boys have been bred and carry the breeding that began back in Italy almost 2,000 years ago with the Maremma breed.

Charlie and Toby are my

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I’m tired today

I’ve never caught a picture of a cria yawning before. What a sweet little thing he is. I hope he can take a nap this afternoon.

Dog tired boys

It is a beautiful, sunny day, and it’s above freezing today. Yeah!

After a good romp in the pasture, and after snacking on some alpaca grain pellets, the boys took a rest.

When I am out in the afternoon, I spend time with the boys. I give them belly rubs, remind them what good puppies and good boys they are, and they give me good slobbers and nuzzles. There’s lots of time for big tail wagging and hugs. I pick a few burs out of their beautiful white fur, and they let me whic

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Two happy, sneaky kitties

It’s been 27 degrees, feeling like ten. That’s pretty cold for me and for any animals outside.

Snowflake (Izzy’s) and KitKat (Sierra’s) are pretty hardy. They do like fresh water and food in the morning and love to come in and warm up when it’s that cold.

The bed is actually the dog bed, but when the kitties are allowed inside (or sneak in before the door shuts on them), you will find them warmed and cozy in the laundry room dog bed. They also enjoy the dog water and the do

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Bicknell’s DUP (daughters of Utah pioneers) building

Last Tuesday I joined the Daughters of Utah Pioneers. My Grandma, Nellie Hamlin Murray Brinkerhoff Taylor, was a founding member of this organization. Her name is actually on the plaque as Nellie H. Brinkerhoff. After I joined, I bet she was so excited that she got her hair done up in heaven and opened up a Coke out of a bottle, her most favorite thing to do, and our most spoiled activity to have!

I think Grandma is tickled that I am living in Bicknell as well. I am tickled that she g

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It’s roving, and its wonderful

*Can you see how light and airy and beautiful this roving is?
Approximately eight ounces in this huge bundle.

*How did the alpaca fiber get turned into roving?

I took it to a mill and it was cleaned and processed for me.

*What does someone do with roving?

If you want to knit this, you spin this on a spinning wheel or a drop spindle. From there you can turn this loveliness into yarn that you can knit.

Turn your imagination loose to make

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I’m Alpha, I’m Toby

It’s easy to see that Toby is Alpha, Charlie is Beta. Toby is just figuring it out and I’m pleased with these boys. When they are around two years old, they will actually be adults and be totally settled in. I get to enjoy the puppy-ness of these huge Maremma boys.

A little on this one, a little on that one

Well, here I am trimming Tabby’s nails. Lucky for her, they weren’t very long nails this time. Tabby’s former mommy, Carol, has kept them trimmed and tidy and that’s what I intend to do.

For alpacas, the lighter in color the alpaca is, the faster their nails grow. Wouldn’t that be nice for this human?

Trimming takes place AFTER you capture the alpaca. I will show you later how that is done, but for today I’ll explain trimming.

1) Catch the alpaca.

2) I

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Glad to have you here!

Five ladies and three crias (two boys, one girl) joined us today. Wahoo! Running out of the trailer and they knew exactly where to go. Welcome home, girls and littles! We love you already.

We purchased these fine alpacas from Crooked Fence Alpacas in Mona, Utah. They are out in the country too.
When Linda and Ted delivered our girls and crias, they found out what “country” really looked like. As we are nestled in a valley of maybe 350 humans, this is country! And I’m loving it. L

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Today we add, touch and feel, add and trim!

I’m excited to see the rovings and the yarn that my little girls have produced for me. This is the first time my cleaned and processed fibers have been in my hands. They are being delivered today! I’ll post pictures after I get them, late afternoon.

Also, we are adding to our little herd. Do check back and we’ll do a meet and greet (so to speak).

I’ll also be learning the fine art of trimming alpaca nails. You’ll want to catch a glimpse of that as well. For good or for bad;

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Does my behind make me look funny?

These girls are as pretty as it gets. They love grazing in the pasture even though it’s been freezing at night. Enjoy this, girls, because your days are numbered. It’s NOVEMBER after all!

Snow yesterday; Sunshine today

Yesterday we had our first mini-blizzard at Circle Cliff Ranch. New for me, for the alpacas, house doggies, guardian doggies, and our two kittens. I was so glad I wasn’t driving anywhere or needed to be anywhere. While the fireplace kept us warm inside, I dreaded the cold temperatures and faced the snow as I needed to care for the alpacas and Toby and Charlie.

This morning — yes — the sunshine was here again. The beautiful skies and mountain ranges were clear of clouds and snow — and

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Take a little Farming Test — OK, here are your answers

Moving to the country does not make you a rancher or farmer automatically. Although I do not have cattle, I took this test and got 70% I think that’s pretty good for being a “city” (that’s what you are called when you move to the country from the city), Take this little test to see what you know about farming with cattle.

1) What is a female calf called before she has her first calf? a) cow b) steer c) heifer d) bull
Heifer
2) Which of the following is NOT a

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Toby and Charlie make it home

Toby, age seven months, and he’s already ninety pounds. Born to protect, to be a guardian. He and Charlie started working the first night they arrived.

Tabby

She’s just a darling little girl — with a surprise in her tummy! Tabby is carrying a little baby (cria) due next summer. Until then, Tabby will be getting snacks of grain and carrots so she’ll have a healthy, big baby (hopefully girl) when winter is over.

Proud Member of

Intermountain West Alpaca Association Alpaca Owners Association Inc.