Betty White Kicked Me Today

And Betty White kicked me yesterday. Square on the shin. She left a bruise.

I know what you’re thinking. Why did she let Betty White kick her? And, what did she do to make Betty White so mad?!

Betty White is an alpaca; a fluffy, wonderful alpaca. And I work on an alpaca ranch. The kicking incident happened when I was approaching Betty for a training session. She’s at that age when it’s time for halter training. And she kicked me. Betty White was not happy.

This is Ty. He's a handsome fellow.

The following is a short list of life lessons I have learned while working on the ranch:

  • Hard work is hard for a reason. There is a deep level of satisfaction in knowing you have accomplished a great task (this is where I should insert a photo of me with the jackhammer breaking through the concrete floor to work on the pipes below the shop).
  • If you want something bad enough, it’s worth the wait. Like when I sit on the stump and wait for the babies to come and see if I am okay…by chewing on my jeans with their tiny little lips.
  • The rake always works better when you put the tines facing down. Always. Otherwise you are just smashing the poop around and nothing gets done…
  • Birth is an amazing thing. First comes a little nose poking out, and then the front feet. A few minutes later there’s a fully formed, perfect little alpaca squirming around in the grass. Within minutes these little girls and guys are up and in business…searching with their little tongues for that first taste of mama’s yummy milk.
  • If you pay attention, life will go more smoothly. The pending labor won’t be a surprise, those mamas will tell you when it’s time, if you pay attention. And when someone isn’t feeling well, you will be able to tell by their behavior (this implies that you are clued in enough to know how they act when they are in tip top shape).
  • The boots always go on easier when they are warm. If it’s below 30 F, bring those babies into the shop overnight so you aren’t trying to jam thick-socked feet into frozen boots.
  • If it’s muddy, cuff your jeans. The boots can take the mud, but there’s no reason to bring the mud in the house, or to put your washing machine to the test. And let’s get honest, that’s not just mud on your boots.
  • It is okay to sit for an hour and have coffee in the morning. Especially if you are planning the day, catching up with friends, or letting your boots thaw. Or letting the poop thaw. Again, the rake really only works if the poop is not frozen.
  • Make it a priority to pause throughout the day and enjoy the scenery. It will refresh you for the rest of the workday. Working in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains has a way of making one feel tiny, instilling a sense of awe and respect for this wonderful world in which we live.
  • And last but most definitely not least, follow your dreams. Decide what it is you should like to do and then go do it. With all those bags of super soft fleece and yarn sitting around, I could not help but jump right in and grow my passion for the fiber arts. Since starting at the ranch in January, I have learned the art of weaving, fiber dyeing, spinning, and felting; all of which I thoroughly enjoy and look forward to sharing with everyone I come in contact with. With that said, I will be leaving my post at the ranch very soon in pursuit of my dream, working as an artist.

    This is the shawl I wove when teaching myself how to weave!

Stay tuned for more information about what this dream of mine looks like…

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