Alpacas at Windy Hill

Start Your Own Ranch on Our Ranch

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Tumbling Along Like A ...Load of Fiber

The Crew! We love you!
Sweet pickle relish

Sweet pickle relish

The new show pasture

The new show pasture

The tumbling tumbler

The tumbling tumbler

Indi and her smug smile

Indi and her smug smile

Let's start out this week by recognizing an amazing crew of volunteers and helpers
here at Windy Hill.
Lindsey, who not only helps on the ranch but had these great shirts made;
Gilberto, our great friend and helper, who brings us avocados and so many smiles;
And MacKenzie who is home, due to Covid, from college
and has become one of our right arms around here.
Thanks, you guys, for making Windy Hill a better place with your laughs, smiles, and good will.
We love you!

I was looking for something different to make this week. I mean, dill pickles are yummy and everything, but I needed a bit more of a challenge. I searched the great online cookbook and found a recipe that sounded good. Sweet Pickle Relish! I love it in my tuna mix and egg salad, and decided having a few jars around would be a good idea.

Let me tell you-- it's a lot more work than making pickles! I cut and chopped and Ninja'd cucumbers, red bell peppers and red onions. Then they had to stand in an ice water bath for 2 hours, so out to the ranch I went to do some chores. When I got back 3 hours later, the ice was all melted, but I decided to march forward anyway.
Next I made the pickling solution--brine-- and cooked it. I drained and squeezed the pickle mixture dry, added it to the sugary brine (WHY does "brine" always make me think of "My Darlin' Clementine"??) and cooked it for 10 more minutes. Thank goodness for my wide-mouth jam funnel because it was tricky to get into the jar! Then I closed the jars with rings and seals and put them in the hot water bath for 15 minutes. Whew!
Here's the link to the recipe if you want to try it.
It's good, and will be better I think after it stands for a bit.

Alpacas are very fond of dust baths.
They will find the ONLY dirt patch in a pasture and roll in it enthusiastically, as if there were a contest to see who can get the dustiest!
This is a problem when you have full fleece suris whose luster you want to display at some future show. So I looked for the grassiest pastures we have and claimed them for the show kids. Now I water them religiously lest they find a gopher mound they can coax into being a dust pit.
Keep your fingers crossed!
I sure hope, by the way, that we get to take them to a show somewhere in the next year. We just got word that our fall California show is Grass Valley has been cancelled. I'm holding out some weak hope for the other fall shows we could get to, but am mostly resigned to spring now.

In between watering pastures, birthing babies, writing blogs, and sleeping, I am prepping some fleece to go to the mill. I have some fleeces that will become yarn, some that will go to Liz Valkamp in Missouri to be sold, and a whole lot of mismatched 2nds and 3rds that I plan to turn into felt sheets and rug yarn.

This is our tumbler, built for us by our friends Tom and Kathy DeWitt. How fun it is watching the fleece tumble as it spins, and seeing all the dirt, fleece dust, and debris fly out of it! It makes it so much easier to get clean once it goes in the washer.

If anyone wants alpaca yarn, by the way, we've got it! Suri and huacaya, natural colors and dyes. Let me know if you want to come see some. :-)

Some people buy alpacas the minute they see them, and others take awhile. Christina has been a good friend of the ranch for 8 years, and finally is starting to talk about owning alpacas! She brought her friend Francisco by on Saturday to see the new crias. All the babies loved him!

Indi is one of the pregnant girls who is now officially "overdue". I asked her when she was going to have her baby, and this silly smirk is all I got from her!
"Wouldn't you like to know!", she shot back at me.
Well, that's ok. At least she didn't spit.

Have a great week!
Remember, if you want to explore owning alpacas, let us know. I am still offering a
on how to get started with alpacas.
Any takers?

We just worked with Open Herd to do a re-build on our website using their great new software!
If you haven't seen the new site, please take a look and tell me what you think. If you can suggest improvements or things I didn't think of, I'd be grateful to hear!

Cindy Harris ~ Alpacas at Windy Hill ~ (805) 907-5162 ~ [email protected]