Rick and Terry Simpson
HC 79 Box 52-E
Romney, WV 26757
(304) 822-3494

February 24, 2002

We found another all-black girl. This one isn't a weanling, but since we now have Molly (we've even sent a deposit on her so no one else could get her before we do!) we were willing to look at yearlings. Well, Clovelly is old enough to breed this spring, so we'll have three pregnant females: Sarai, Sobata, and Clovelly. Molly will be the only baby on the farm.

I've decided to sell Captain Kirk and Forrester for $1900 for the pair, if someone will come pick them up. Kimball will then be our only gelding, but we'll put him with the ladies so he won't be lonesome. The reason we're going to sell them is to try to bring in some cash money. After what they cost us and what we've spent on them, we'll make a couple hundred dollars, but that's about all. But it will feel like new money, because the money we spent is already long gone. Now that Forrester is in excellent health and has gained weight so nicely, we haven't had a bit of trouble with his health, and I'm sure he's ready to move on to bigger and better things. Kirk's fleece is gorgeous - and because we gelded him young, it will always stay fine - which is a real advantage. We waited long enough so he won't get leggy, but didn't wait so long testosterone turned him into a walking bundle of hormones.

We won't be able to bring our new girls home until June. Molly won't be weaned until 5/24, and Clovelly won't be bred until early June, so we have awhile to wait. Sigh. I'm so impatient! One nice thing about having to wait, though, is that it gives us a few more months to try to get the fields in order.

We've found someone to dig out the stumps in the lower field, so now the problem is what to do with all the stumps and all the debris. The field still looks more like a martian landscape than an earthly one! One of the guys tried to cut a road from one end of the pasture to the other, but had to give it up because there were too many stumps and rocks, and the hill was too steep. So all we can do is remove everything one handful at a time, I guess, although if YOU have any ideas about how we can speed things up, we'd sure appreciate hearing from you!

Right now, we've got about half the stumps sitting in a pile over on Robin's lot. We promised we wouldn't make a dump of their lot, so we're going to have to do something about the stumps, but that won't be for some time. Then we've got a lot of debris piled at the lower end of the field, inside the fence. It's inside so it doesn't provide a ramp or jumping off spot for any predators that might be around. But things are coming together. It's great to look out the window and see two pastures available for the animals, even though both fields have no grass at the moment. Only one of the fields has close to 2" of topsoil now, and it's covered with hay that we're hoping will also go to seed and produce greenery for the guys.

We're waiting now for contracts for the two new true-black alpacas...

March 12, 2002

We got the contract for Molly! But the contract for Clovelly hasn't arrived yet because the sellers didn't provide the required documents. Still, we've made out the check, and it's just waiting for the arrival of the paperwork. Then Rick has to go and get copies of the contract and mail everything back to the sellers, and soon they'll send us a signed copy back! Love it!

We also co-own a shearing table now with the Ciszewskis. We've signed up for Isaac Lewis to come shear the animals on May 18, and we may still have him do that, because he's got all the right equipment - and now we have a way to restrain the animals. I guess the Ciszewskis will shear their animals first and then send the shearing table here. By then, we should have Sobata and Sarai here!

Rick is going to try to find a camper shell or cap for the truck, and plans to transport animals in that rather than get a trailer. He's not excited about trying to take a trailer up and down this hill, and I can't blame him. We've seen a picture of the one we want - it's much higher than the cab of the truck, so there will be plenty of headroom for the 'pacas - but we haven't found out yet where to get them. Rick is going to try the place we went to when we were looking for trailers, and perhaps they'll either carry them or know who does.

I hope we get rain pretty soon. Without rain, our pasture grass won't come up. And that's not good! So far this winter, I doubt we've had 3 inches of rain - we usually have about 17.

More later...

March 16, 2002

Finally a few drops of rain! Only about .2 inches, but every drop helps!

We're going to the MABA (Maryland Alpaca Breeders Association) meeting on Sunday. It should prove interesting. I hope to meet a lot of new people and get invitations to lots of Maryland farms! We've not been active in an association, since West Virginia not only doesn't have one, but when I suggested it, I got soundlessly ignored. UTTERLY ignored by all the folks who have farms in West Virginia, except the Ciszewskis. So we'll see what the MABA is about.

We got our microscope in the mail yesterday. Now we can do our own fecal tests for worms - not only for our alpacas, but for our dogs and cats as well. This should save us a few bucks now and then!

April is the month we start our seasonal worming program. They'll get dectomax every other month and panacure in the alternate months. WIth luck, we'll keep the alpacas worm-free. We are suspicious that Tawny has worms, but won't be able to tell until we can find a recent stool sample. And, of course, learn to do the fecal tests! This should be interesting!

More later...

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