Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Cairo!

Cairo was born today at around noon. I could tell something was happening cause all the llamas were gathered around at the top of the hill. Llamas have expessive body language and as soon as I saw them I knew there was a baby. He must have been born just moments before, as you can see he was still wet when I found him with bits of embryonic sac still stuck to him. I had the priveldge of "imprinting" him in the first moments of his life which will hopefully make him a very easy animal to work with. Imprinting is done by handling the baby thoroughly, but with no communication, so the animal will be unafraid of handling but will not become overly bonded to the wrong species.

Rowan was a great helper. He is so good with animals and the ones that I have a hard time approaching (like Cairo's mom, Loretta in pic 3) trust Rowan easily, and will eat oats from his pail while I handle the baby. Cairo's dad, Everest, is white (off in the corner of pic 2) and his half brother, Sambuca, is brown (checking him out in pic 2).

Loretta was a great mother to Sambuca, her first, and Cairo has had no trouble nursing or bonding to mom. He was up and walking withing minutes after being born and the beautiful sunny day dried him off in good time. I had such a wonderful glowing feeling in my heart, sitting in the meadow watching the amazing new life that had just come into existence. All the animals were so peacefilled and calm. The beautiful aura of love and life they created reminded me of why I feel so passionately about birth and helping women to make it a wonderful, empowering experience.

Only 6 hrs later, Cairo was running around, sticking close to his mom, but willing to stand still to let me handle him, and Rowan easily walked up and petted his soft silky fur. I am so happy he is white. He has a bit of ligth brown on his back which makes me think he may turn a light caramel color. I would like to increase the light colors in my herd so that I can dye the fibre. That's why we kept Everest as our stud, even though his fibre quality could be improved upon, and we castrate all our other males. I'm hoping to buy a couple more white females in the near future and then maintain the herd to a small size of 10-12. Right now we have 7 llamas and Marley is due to deliver any day. She is fairly old and was bred by accident so I will be glad when her baby finally comes and I can stop worrying.

I'm supposed to be at a Studio Tour in High River on the weekend but with these babies happening, I think I may have to make it a day trip. Champagne and Lisa (dairy goats) are also due in the next 2 weeks. I think I may try to stagger the births a bit more for next year!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Blizzard, Bellydancing, and Boys

After driving through the worst blizzard April has ever seen (see previous post) I was happy to quietly wait out the worst snowfall May has ever seen in my warm and comfy trailer, despite having no power for 13 hrs. We had approx 40 cm of snow and I guess I can feel fortunate that the only casualty was my newly set-up barn tent that was supposed to be a dry shearing area for my llamas. Actually, I was anticipating our trailer roof to cave it, the snow was so wet and heavy and just kept coming and coming. I got this picture of my new wheels the next day, which was supposed to be a studio day for me but even with my new 4x4, I didn't dare attempt the slushy mud bog our road had become, so the kids and I relaxed at home with our new friends and WWOOFers, Julie and Christelle.

We did manage to drive to my weaving demonstation at the guild on Saturday. The Rocky Learning Council hosted a great arts and crafts day at the guild complete with free childcare and I did a lunch-time demonstation of weaving and spinning. I even snuck in on a workshop and learned to knit! My needles and been clickity-clacking ever since, I love it! Christelle also won a Mother's Day bouquet doorprize and was happy that she could leave it with me (when's the last time I got flowers? they are so beautiful) There was also a bellydancing demonstration that was amazing. I think it is such an incredible artform and I was happy to discover some classes that are being offered in Sylvan and Red Deer.

We couldn't resist seeing of some of my new scarves could pass as bellydancing belts. Julie and Christelle were kind enough to model a whole bunch of new stuff for me that will soon be appearing at my Etsy store. Be sure to check out the store soon!
  • Soltice Studios Store
  • Tuesday, May 06, 2008

    Feast Your Eyes

    It really doesn't take as much time as I always expect it will to downsize the pictures on my labtop, then transfer to my internet Mac, and upload using dial-up. It seems arduous at the time but truely is worth the effort.

    I've been wanting to show off my student's work for a long time. Can you believe that these beautiful works came out of a beginners weaving course, made by people who didn't know warp from woof? There is a blue, girls poncho made by Heather, a brown alpaca scarf made by Linda, and a pink varigated table runner made by Shirley. I also had another student make a lace weave alpaca scarf (not shown). These were made in addition to a cotton twill weave sampler during the 8 week course that I taught at the Rocky Arts and Crafts Guild. The Guild classes are advertised on Red Deer Kijiji for anyone who is interested in taking a course.

    I have to thank my wonderful friends Hero and Hannah for their spontaneous visit to the farm, which just happened to be on the day that I really needed help moving the future playhouse frame. Since then, the frame has evolved into this one-of-a-kind backyard sandbox, playhouse, fort, and get-away. Every day I try to add one more board, which gives me a whole 24 hrs to conjure up where the next board should be placed and how the over all structure is evolving. Ideally, it will become an enclosed sandbox to keep the cats out, as well as an observatory, hiding place, and camper. I will try to post more photos as it continues to evolve.

    Hanging laundry under a dark and threatening sky seemed poetic and optomistic. Actually, I thought my dish towels could use an extra rinse which they are getting even now as I type.

    100% Yak fibre scarf. I was so excited to work with this yak fibre and this scarf is defenitely unique. It is thin and fine but the fibres, though soft, are dense so it has a nice weight to it. The warp is made from yak fibre that was sent to a local mill and spun into yarn (processed) while the weft was spun by me out of downy, delicious yak roving, I just want to wrap my whole body in the stuff. This fibre is COMBED from live yaks, each yak yeilding approximately 1 lb of fibre per year. It is very rare and very fine, however, because the yarn in the warp was "processed" it is a bit more scratchy than I think it should be and I am working on finding a suitable blend that will maximize the softness. Mind you, this is coming from someone who is extremely scratch sensitive, and to be honest, I'm wearing the scarf right now and I can hardly notice it.

    I'm still planning on getting some pics of Alska (new car) but she's a little dirty right now and I'd rather have her pose all pretty and new.

    Also, I just finished my 3 day doula workshop in Calgary and I'm now one huge step closer to becoming a DONA certified doula. The class, taught by Elaine Montgomery, was fantastic and I feel much more confident, though still a bit apprehensive about working with women and childbirth. I feel like now I'll have a little time of rest from the subject to let it all sink in while I await guidance toward the next step. When inspiration strikes, I will be rested and ready.
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