Define farm…

Sarah, who thought she was ‘hiding’ in the box.

The first week of classes is coming to a close. The writing class last night was wonderful and the online students are beginning to submit their first assignments. There’s always something fresh and exciting about the start of a new semester. And it is that way with my little farm, too. I marvel at the smallest things that the animals do every time I’m in the barns.

This morning Beauty was being her sweet self as I began feeding everyone. Another alpaca owner told me that she always finds her girls are much happier when they are pregnant. I suppose the hormones have something to do with it. Whatever the case Beauty is usually the friendliest one anyway and now she’s almost dripping with kisses and loves in the morning. It used to be that she would do a bit of a rub/roll onto the bale of hay; however, now she’s more interested in getting a hug and kiss from me.

Beauty’s mother, Bonita, who was never extremely friendly has condescended to allow the same hugs and kisses. When I first bought Bonita she was very difficult to handle. In fact catching her for the monthly dose of dewormer was a major chore. In addition, anything else required more than one person to hold, shove, and push her into submission. She kicked her previous owner into a state of unconsciousness during one session. Consequently, having her be more than friendly is extremely welcome.

Of course Bella, Bonita’s last baby, has always been a sweetheart because she was the first alpaca born here in Maine and handled frequently. And because she was my ‘first’ I doted on her a good deal more than was probably necessary. Now she is so sweet and animated in her movements. I am so eager to see her with a cria. I am sure she is going to be a great mother.

Since it takes about 11 months, plus or minus, there is nothing to do but wait. It will be a winter of contemplating, watching and caring for the girls. In addition, they are going to get an expansion of their area which should make it not so cramped for delivery and living conditions once the crias are here. It is all in the planning stage right now from more than one perspective.

Last night when the students and I were introducing ourselves I spoke about my little farm. And it was interesting to note that since I live in the ‘heart’ of Maine known for its dairy business that I don’t have a cow on the place. I suppose the definition of a farm is different for anyone who has decided to have one. However, there’s always the misconception if there aren’t animals everywhere, machinery, and the proverbial things for sale that it isn’t truly a farm. In response I am reminded that the woman I purchased my initial sheep from told me, when I explained my intentions, that there was room for everyone’s idea of farming.

Consequently, my idea of farming is restricted to my own enjoyment. I sell what I please, when I want to do so. I sold all of the wool and half of the alpaca fleece to people that I know appreciated the product. I am selective about the animals being harmed by outsiders as they are not on display. In addition, I am health conscious in keeping not only the animals safe from diseases, but anyone invited here. I would hate to have anyone contract MERSA or any other pathogen. But there are people who have farms knowingly breeding indiscriminately, while being unaware of their obligation to themselves, their animals, and their community.

Finally, writing the blog was intended to provide information to leave for my grandchildren. It has become a daily event to those people who choose to read it and view the photographs. I would venture that one definition of a farm can be whatever the owner creates while being financially capable of caring for their charges. It is not a popularity contest to see who can have the most animals, visitors nor product.

Copyright © 2011

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