I moved to the farm with my 21 alpacas in October of 2001. I was ecstatic! I finally get to be a farmer!!! We celebrated with a Barn Blessing party with all of our friends and relatives. My brother, who is a pastor, gave the blessing and a nice talk. We pressed apple cider and served chili and homemade soups and pies.
In December, we had our first crias born on the farm. I was a wreck, never having delivered a baby before. It was only about 25 degrees, so I had a towel tucked in my jacket, keeping it warm, and as soon as a baby hit the ground, I'd wrap it up and take it to a stall in the barn. Princess Buttercup was the first one born, on Dec. 27, and then Mistletoe gave birth to Toblerone, just when I thought I would get a break and go to the bathroom. Two days later, Majestic Snow was born. No more winter babies. That experience convinced us.
Now for some highlights of my being alone on the farm.
#1: Winter, 2002. I woke up at 6:30am to a sound like a nuclear halocaust. I looked out the window, and saw the wind ripping the barn roof off like a banana peel. Pieces were flying everywhere. I could see alpacas running around, and I knew I needed to get them in the barn.
I was shaking so hard, I could barely get my clothes on. I ran out into the lane, and then stopped wondering what to do next. I knew I had to get the alpacas in the barn, but did I want to risk a piece of flying metal roofing decapitating me? As I stood there, a neighbor hollered at me, asking me if I was okay. "No", I said, "I'm scared shitless." He was heading back to his porch when the wind picked up another piece of roofing and it flew towards him. He got onto his back porch just in time! I have pictures of the devastation somewhere, but can't find them, otherwise I would share them with you. So anyhow, I braced myself, ran to the barn, and found all of the alpacas had decided this was the safest place to be. I closed all the doors and sat down to recover, the adrenaline pumping maddly through me.
When we assessed the damage, we found that "Quality Roofing" who had installed the roof only 4 years previously, had been very sloppy. Fortunately, when we got bids from them and another company, the insurance company allowed the higher bid, since they realized the sloppiness of the previous work. We are not likely to have a repeat of that incident. Phew.
#2: November 6, 2006. I had just returned from a conference in Atlanta, Fiber to Fashion, where I was instrumental in a Student Design Competition. I had arrived home on the 5th and Alan had returned to Lynnwood. On the 6th, a Monday, the Nooksack River started flooding. We have an oxbow slough that passes through our property two times which holds the overflow from the river when it floods. It's actually the remains of the original route of the river before the diversion of it during the Ice Age. I kept a close watch on the river all day, and would call Alan regularly to report. At about 5PM I told him the slough was about a foot an a half from the top of the culvert, so it didn't look too bad. Well, by 5:45 the slough was running like a river, very fast, and had risen to 20 feet from my barn!!! All I could do was stand there and watch it rise. Where was I going to move the alpacas to? It was a long two hours for me, but fortunately, the river crested and started to subside by 7:30. The next morning, there were just a few puddles in the field to remind me what had happened.
Okay, don't want this to get too long. Later, Baby.