Road Trip to Montana for Alpacas

The scenery was certainly gorgeous on our road trip, and we were able to continuously avoid bad weather on our trip. We drove almost 4,000 miles to Montana to pick up 34 of our alpacas and bring them back to L.A. (lower Alabama). We purchased the Windy Ridge alpaca herd last year. It took awhile for my professional transporter husband to return from Iraq and for us to arrange the time (and gas money with diesel at $4/gallon!) to make it out there to get them.

I have to admit that when Jim (above) told me that we would be driving 14 hour + days, I was a bit skeptical as to how much fun this trip was really going to be. “I love him, but do I love anyone so much that over fourteen hours a day in a truck is FUN? I mean, won’t we get sick of the whole thing rather quickly?” I wondered to myself.

To my great delight we actually had a marvelous time! We have so much fun just hanging out together. It was nice to have some alone time sans children, though we did bring our dog, Sebastian.

I may have had a little more fun on the trip than Jim because he caught a cold, but it was way better than we had even hoped. Jim and I visited, and I read and played games and movies on my Kindle Fire. It’s hard to believe that I never got bored. Stiff and chunkier from road food, yes. But not bored.

The worst part was when we forgot to get off I-10, and we wound up in downtown New Orleans’ Mardi Gras traffic the Sunday before Fat Tuesday. Other than that unplanned detour we had smooth sailing the rest of the time.

The alpacas fit snugly in our big trailer, and Southbound they went. In the coming days I will be posting some more pictures of them and listing some of them for sale. They are really beautiful animals and we are so happy to finally have them all home.

What are your favorite ways to pass the time on a road trip? Leave a comment and let us know how you keep from getting bored on the road.

Alpaca Shearing on St. Patrick’s Day

At Fairhope Alpacas we will be shearing our alpaca herd on March 17th this year. When our shearer, Mark Loffhagen, proposed the date, I mentioned to him that  it would be St. Patrick’s Day.

“We’ll just have to have green beer then,” was his response.

No, we don’t drink during the shearing, but we usually have a beer after the long day is over.  Anyone know if I can get the green food coloring at the grocery store or if I have to go somewhere special? I saw an incredible aqua colored cake the other day that I wanted to make, but was stumped on how to make that color icing.

Back to shearing. It’s hard to believe that it is only two weeks away. We welcome volunteers who would like to help us that day. I even pay my fiber lovers with fleece for their assistance.

More on Alpaca Shearing:

Alpaca Shearing Day 2009

We Sheared 97 Alpacas on Saturday

On-line Alpaca Shearing Tutorial

If you’d like to help just contact me via email, Twitter, FB, or by phone. My contact information is on our farm page.

Starting New Traditions Cold Turkey

Ice Cream Turkey

This Thanksgiving was a quiet one because the kids weren’t here. Jim and I had some welcome alone time. We had my parents over for a late afternoon lunch. We also had the pleasure of our dear friend, Anne’s company. She lives down the road, and is a regular visitor and confidante whom I rely on heavily. Anne is adorably crochety. She gets around admirably well with her cane and has remarkable energy for her 70+ years. The other day I walked in on Anne discussing the merits of kicking the crap out of bullies that might be bothersome with my third grader. You really don’t want to mess with Anne. But when she’s on your side there’s no one better who’ll love you more!

Every holiday that I get to spend with my father is a blessing to me. About twelve years ago he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. And he almost died. Thank the Lord, he beat it. If it weren’t for that he wouldn’t even know my youngest three children! In July, he had another bout with cancer. He had 34 carcinoid tumors removed from his stomach. Some were microscopic, but some were bigger from M&M to golf ball sized. Since then he has been in a world of trouble with complications, and has been mostly in the hospital. The worst part has been that he has had to have all his “food” through a tube. “TPN” for those of you familiar with it.

So this Thanksgiving my Dad was finally able to get back to eating soft foods again – YAY!!! Along with the mashed potatoes and dressing, we got an ice cream turkey from Baskin Robbins that he could eat. It was made of pralines & cream ice cream. I have to say that it was worth the hour drive over to West Mobile to get it! It was delicious. Dad didn’t want to give it back, as you can see.

(Oh, and by the way, can you tell that my Dad looks like a cross between Santa and maybe Kenny Rogers or Merlin Olsen or something? He’s so cute. He lives on the beach and wears a Hawaiian shirts EVERY day. Like every day. He has maybe 25, and one for every single occasion. Except a wedding or funeral. Then he will change. I think he thinks he’s Jimmy Buffet or something.)

The drumsticks on the ice cream turkey were made from the sugar cones and were filled with the ice cream too. The outside was topped with a caramel glaze that was so good! We all loved it. You can order them with any flavor you want inside, and there was a coupon in the newspaper the weekend before Thanksgiving. The kids are clamoring for us to get an ice cream cake now for Christmas because most of them didn’t get to have any before it was gone. It was such a hit! Sounds like this will be a repeat and will become a family tradition of ours.

What have you done over the holidays in recent years that was a hit that has become a tradition in your family?