Sunday, August 17, 2008

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil, the wonder cream! At our house and farm, we use unrefined virgin cocnut oil for everything! It is a fantastic ointment for burns, cuts, rashes, bug bites, and especially diaper rash and is safe to use with cloth diapers! ( Other diaper ointments ruin cloth diapers ability to absorb) We also use it for animal injuries as well, of course they have their own jar! Sold as a food oil, it is a solid that melts to a clear watery feel when mixed with the heat from your hand. Sold in the vitamin aisle of most stores( even Walmart), it costs about $10.00 for a large jar that lasts forever. Works great and smells like the beach!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Alpaca bordom!

Sometimes our alpacas get bored! So to spice up their lives, we thought it would be fun to" relocate" them to our 1 acre dog yard for a few hours, with no dogs!. There is a lot of weeds growing, and what a treat for our boys to gobble them up! They wrestled, rolled and tromped for hours. We couldn't resist snapping their photo!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Cat's Meow

Imagine Ranch loves custom orders, whether it be a hat, scarf, shawl or afghan, or spinning up your precious loved ones' fur. Recently, I spun up 1 pound 6 ounces of kitty fur from my friend Linda's very beloved children, Ziggy, 20 yrs old and Oreo, 18 years! I was able to spin enough beautiful fingering weight yarn 100 % kitty cat to make a shawl and scarf and yarn left over!

In the photos is Linda, holding Ziggy, a calico, and the other photo is Oreo, a seal pointed Burman. We are thrilled we could make this happen as a wonderful memento to cherish always. Thanks, Linda for the privilege. We hope you love your order! ( And just for the record, yes, I am VERY allergic to cats. That's why they make Claritin. ) Any animal fiber can be spun, as long as it is 2 inches at least in length. I often spin our Pyrenees hair, and it is gorgeous! One might say" It's the cat's meow!"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

What do Alpacas ( and goats!) eat?

Health is very important for everyone, even our critters! At the Garden Fair, a lady asked me about feeding and I thought this would be a great place to explain! Many people are under the assumption that alpaca fiber is spectacular no matter what. Not true! If the alpaca is fed a poor diet, fiber suffers greatly. We test our animals' fiber each year when we shear. We send it to a lab who informs us( via 25 page report) what we are doing right, and wrong. Each year we make changes that gives us more soft, more luxurious fiber than the year before. Our pacas eat a timothy/brome hay mix. It must be green, leafy and smellin' sweet. This batch of hay came from Cat at Alpenglow in Delta and the critters love it. She has sheep herself and understands the importance of good hay equals great fiber! Our beasts eat about a 60 lb bale in 3 or 4 days. We also feed a dry COB mix( corn, oats and barley) We feed this as treats and about 2 cups per day per animal. In the winter, we mix this with soybean meal for internal warmth. They also receive a mineral loose salt as free choice, which is their vitamins. And of course, lots of fresh water! They eat willow and bushes and some pasture grass. The goats are the same, although they get alfalfa pellets also to balance their minerals out. Wethers are prone to kidney stones.

So the moral of this blog is ... what goes in, comes out. Whether it is through the fiber, or at the communal dung pile!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How is an alpaca different from a llama?

We get asked this a lot! Alpacas and llama are both in the camelid family. Yes, that's right. We own camels! In vet medicine, they are considered an exotic. An alpaca is smaller than a llama, by around 200 lbs. They are usually friendlier. They have finer, more luxurious fiber, and more fiber on their legs. Llama hair is coarser and has a shorter staple length. Llamas carry a much heavier pack. Llamas tend to spit more, because they are more guarding in nature. You often see a llama guarding a herd of alpacas. Llamas have fighting teeth and they can bite. Alpacas generally don't use their fighting teeth, if they get them, and usually have them removed as soon as they peek through. Both are easily trained, and eat the same diet. Both give birth to "crias" after an almost year long gestation. Llamas have been in this country longer than alpacas, which have been around here since the 80's. The camelid Tina in Napoleon Dynamite was a llama. The camelid in Emperor's New Groove is a llama. The camelid pair in Evan Almighty is an alpaca!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


A wether is a neutered goat! Why do we have TWO of them? Our baby alpaca, Hope, lost her mom and new baby sister last year. She was so depressed we wanted to get her a friend to play with. So... we got goaties! Our kids are 5 months old and will weigh about 220 lbs when full grown. These toggenberg/alpine crosses are fun and personable and gave Hope just the spark she needed to be a young alpaca again. Plus, they give her someone to boss around! They are leash trained and act like goofy dogs! We hope to add a milking female to our herd soon!

Monday, July 21, 2008

In defense of alpaca

Alpacas are pretty friendly critters but they do have a few defense techniques.

1) They spit. And it stinks. But that's all it does. Usually pacas spit at each other to keep the pecking order. The only time I have ever been spit near was during shearing. And it flies about 10 feet. And it's green. And it's gross. Probably because it is stomach acid. Alpaca spit can't hurt anything but your feelings.

2) They kick with their rear feet. And leap out of the way. If you get a kick, you may get a small bruise. We teach our kids to never bend over near the rear of the alpaca to avoid getting a kick to the noggin. I have been kicked once. Again during shearing.

3) They scream. Loud. At least our boy El Cortez does. It sounds like he's screeching, " EYE EYE EYE EYE " Over and over again. It is his battle cry.

So, in general, alpacas are pretty defenseless. Most alpaca farms have a fantastic pair of LGD's( livestock guardian dogs) or a guard llama. Don't worry, next time we 'll tell you the difference between an alpaca and a llama!