Oh Deer! He’s wearing Velvet!

07-05-08 Deer visit the lower back pastures 003 Our July here at the ranch is filled with sunshine; dare I say too much? My tan from all the outdoor projects is really deep.  As with all our sunny days, we feel a bit of Northwest guilt if we don’t go outside and do something.  Well, July has had a lot of "somethings" being done.  So here’s the latest recap, including two new video clips on You Tube and a new photo album.

  FENCING THE LOWER PASTURES – DONE!

07-05-08 Fencing the lower back pastures 006Tim and I are so glad to have this project finally behind us.  While we were jones-ing to let all the animals down there to explore the huge swath of newly enclosed, and very green, land, they had to wait because we didn’t want their fleeces to become entangled with all the added debris until shorn.  However, we did get plenty of curious onlookers while we were completing the project.  07-05-08 Deer visit the lower back pastures 010 A mamma doe and her two babies came cavorting about; not shy at all.  The next day they were followed by a doe and a 2 point buck doing a mating dance just for us.  I was prepared this time with the camera and caught their prancing antics. It is simply amazing that these wild creatures come right up to us and investigate what we are doing.  The young buck was so close you could see the velvet clearly on his antlers.  That was very cool!

LLAMA SHEARING

Since summer has finally arrived and the night time temperatures in the mountains are rarely dropping below the upper 40’s, its time to do some shearing.  We have to shear both the llamas and the alpacas, however, our first 07-10-08 Shearing the llamas 004focus was on the big guys.  We were only going to shear their main blankets.  This allows us to put on their pack saddles without fiber getting caught.  We leave their legs and haunches unshorn because it actually offers some pretty good protection for them.  We leave their necks unshorn, because their much better looking.  In the end, the get a nice "show cut" and feel all the better for it. 

07-10-08 Shearing the llamas 001 Once the llamas were all shorn, I could separate them easily from the alpacas and send them gallivanting down to the lower pastures to explore.  This is an entirely new experience for them and was fun to see not only how they’d react, but also see if they would be willing to come back up to the top.  Well, I’m please to say they’ve settled in quite nicely, and they will actually return to me when I call them. Of course, shaking some grain in a bowl doesn’t hurt either!

Next up this week, we shear the alpacas.  They’ve been hanging in the upper pastures where it is much cleaner.  We’ll get to them later this week and we use a restraining table to hold them calmly in place while we shear.  It works really well for them versus the chute we use for the llamas.

TAKING THE MOUNTAIN LOOP UP TO BARLOW PASS

07-14-08 Drive to Barlow Pass 004 With the Mountain Loop Hwy actually looping now, Glenn and I decided to take a non-busy weekday (lots less traffic than the weekends!) and drive on up to the pass about 20-ish miles further up the road.  I took a bunch of pictures to give you an idea of the fantastic scenery that is secretly nestled into this gem of Snohomish County.  07-14-08 Drive to Barlow Pass 021 Honestly, the Granite Falls side of the Mountain Loop Highway is one of the best kept secrets of the Northwest!  Steeped in rich history, visitors are able to pick and choose from a variety of hikes, picnic areas, scenic vistas, and river shorelines.  All the meadow flowers are in full bloom and all the songbirds are singing.

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