When I take visitors out to see the animals, I always worry that they will glamorize my lifestyle. I thought I would share some of the routine chores that I face here at the ranch. First of all, there is the feed bill. That whole truckload is for my ranch and will only feed my animals for three weeks. Those who have pasture really do not want to know how much it costs. I break even on my feed bill and most of the other expenses that are involved in raising the animals, but shelter and equipment will eat up any profit I have at the moment.Here you see me giving the llamas and alpacas a treat. Most people think that I spend the entire day out petting animals and enjoying their company. I wish it were true, but washing, dyeing, carding, and spinning take up the bulk of my time. Feeding the animals takes 30 minutes in the morning and 30 more minutes in the evening.
Sitting to hold an animal is unusual. I was posing for my sister, Shirley, to take a picture. This is Ruby, for those who have been following her development (daughter of the Witch.) She is the smallest kid and still super friendly. Gorgeous hair.
I was struck by how many times I change my shoes throughout the day, when I saw this picture that Shirley took. You don't want to wear sandals out with the animals because you could get stepped on. I have one pair of exercise shoes and one pair of "going off" shoes that never go into the animal area. Sooner or later I have to run out there with them on and they get relegated to "goat shoes." I go through a lot of shoes!
The most boring and unrewarding chore on the ranch is raking. If you are planning to begin raising livestock, you have to know that what goes in, must come out. And there is always more coming out than you would imagine. I challenge you to come out and rake to see how long you hold up! Several of my friends signed on to rake in exchange for fiber and, by the end of a month, their routine visits to rake taper off and disappear. No one is going to keep at it, except yourself, so you better be willing, or don't sign on. It is a daily chore that cannot be ignored. That is why I always ask tour groups to call in advance, if they want to see the animals. Depending on what is happening around the ranch, I might not get the whole area done. Then I take incidental visitors to the tree that the goats hang out under and no farther. As the animals are placed into pens for breeding, the raking shifts from the common area to the pens. Better for visitors to visit then, but the pens still have to be raked!
Are you still wearing the rose colored glasses? Come out and visit!