May, 2017

Better late than never... Another blog entry after almost two years.  And who really cares, anyway?

 Update:  The herd has beeen reduced considerably thanks to some wonderful folks who have started their journey into the world of alpacas with some nice animals off of my farm.  I am pleased to have found some very responsible people who will take good care them.  Those alpacas remaining here as the retirement sale winds down are here at my request.  These remainders are old, themselves, or disabled in one way or another, or just plain too ornery to leave here.  We will share retirement duties together and, in fact, keep each other happy and active and kicking(literally) until our last days.  

Meanwhile, check out my website: www.hardgrovestudio.com to take a look at some of my latest alpaca hat creations that are born of the fiber that my alpacas have given me.  Always something new on that site.  And if you like what you see, but the color is not quite what you want, I can accomodate.  Let's talk.  

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September  2015

We did it!  Our 2015 "Passing the Pitchfork" Retirement Sale was a big success.  Thanks to Mike and Diena Riddle for starting their alpaca business with some of our lovely girls.  All the girls are bred to an assortment of our best males which should yield a nice crop of crias for the Riddles in 2016.  Also thanks to Corinna Porter for adding a couple of our better females to their starter herd.  Again, she should receive some fantastic crias from our favorite herdsire, Quasar. 

We close out this sale with a much smaller herd, but there are still more to move out.  That will take place in the Spring of 2016 when we select the next batch of animals as our sale offerings.  A group of little known, yet very nice, suris will headline this sale.

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April 2015

Time to “PASS the PITCHFORK”

 As River Bed Ranch approaches its 25th year in existence, and as the shepherd of the ranch (that be Carol!!) reaches for 75 years in existence, it is time to scale back.  We have in our inventory of alpacas some very nice females that should be working as breeders.  We are discontinuing breeding as an activity on the ranch at the end of the birthing season in 2015.  So we will be offering some great deals on our best females to move them on to working farms.  We will maintain a smaller herd of our older animals and some fiber animals to allow us to continue to enjoy the lifestyle that alpacas allow and also provide raw materials for the continuing production of felted hats at Hardgrove Studio.  Check out the great deals available thru August, 2015 at our “Passing the Pitchfork” Sale.

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July 2014

Crias and more.....

July begins our birthing season.  And it started off right on schedule. Well, not quite so.... she was ONE day late.  We will forgive her this!

 Here she is posing proudly with her 1 day old son. And a photo of the handsome young fellow, himself!

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This was a lovely birth to watch - and a good thing that I was watching.  She stalled in delivery after the head and two feet were presented.  The "bubble" had not broken for a good 15 minutes, so I took care of that.  Then a couple of more pushes by mom got the cria out as far as the shoulder.  After 10 more minutes while mom again stalled in her labor, I determined that the front left leg was bent at the elbow making for a roadblock, so to speak, in the passage way.  SO.... with mom's next strong push, she and I worked together - her pushing and me sliding cria in and out gently to release that leg.  Once done, cria was delivered healthy.  Up and nursing within 30 minutes.  Hallelujah!!

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August  2014

Our sweet Holly gave birth to what appeared on the surface to be a lovely, normal little black cria.  But his energy level was not right from the get-go.  He took a long time to “get his legs” after birth.  And could not stand steadily for several hours.  The sucking reflex was there and he was hungry.  Mom refused his requests initially (Did she know something was wrong?).  But with persistence from a wobbly cria and insistence from a determined shepherd, she acquiesced and let the little guy nurse.  Once we steadied him he would latch on and nurse off of all teats.  But the minute he was done, he would literally collapse. 

 We have seen this behavior only one other time many years ago.  It is called Patent Ductus Arteriosus meaning the ductus arteriosus, which controls blood flow of  a cria in-utero between the aorta and the pulmonary artery.  Normally this valve closes at birth.  If not, the oxygen rich blood from the aorta mixes with the oxygen poor blood from the pulmonary artery,  which puts strain on the heart and increases blood pressure in the lung arteries. 

 This occurs on occasion  in human babies and can be treated in several ways.  But in alpacas (or other livestock as well) it is more difficult  to treat – usually involving surgery.  Bottom line, this sweet little cria could not sustain himself beyond 3 days.  We lost him and his mom was very upset.  She grieved for about 3 days and has  now accepted the fate that befell her son.

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RIP Little “Glendale”

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June 2014

One of the most stressful events in the alpaca business is certainly SHEARING DAY.  But thanks to Biosecure Alpaca Shearing LLC, that stress is shifted to 4 very competent and professional young men, who make a living doing what we owners do not do best.  This year, we were thrilled to have the services of Brian again and his able crew.  They actually make the day FUN and if you feed them handily they will be ever grateful.

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Next most stressful day for alpaca breeders is bringing in the hay.  Again, thanks to a very good friend who knows the hay business very well, our hay shows up at our doorstep when it is cut and baled.  This year as things would have it, BOTH Shearing and Hay Delivery occurred the same day.  Two days of stress folded into one.  All the hay stacked and stored by morning.    Life is good.

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May  2014

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Where would you want to go if you had completed a very successful career in the mid-West and heard conversation that it might be time for you to retire?  WELL… Such is the question asked of this successful male alpaca, QUASAR.  He has done his job in the mid-West  and is setting his sights on the WILD WEST.  Quasar is in transit from Ohio to our ranch.  Yes, he will retire here eventually, but for now he will be doing some “consulting”.  We are thrilled to have him join our happy family and service some of our girls eager to meet this handsome gray fellow.  Read more about him HERE.

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April  2014

Traveling to Florida shortly to attend the “Art Yarn Festival” in Sarasota.  Very excited.  Hoping to get some new ideas for hat embellishments.

In Florida, this is what  is referred to as  “drafting”.

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When I’m in Florida, this is where I do MY “drafting”!

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Nice view! Wouldn't you agree? This is my "River Bed Ranch / Hardgrove Studio" EAST.  A place to spin "ART Yarn" consisting of alpaca fiber (of course) along with any other exotic stuff that will twist!! This yarn will end up in or on one of the nice hats that is produced in my Hardgrove Studio.

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