Saturday, June 4, 2011

Visit to Avalon Alpaca Farm on a Beautiful Day

What a gorgeous day out there! It is in the 70's here in Marquette. We had one other day where it was warm but otherwise it has been in the 50's or 60's.

This morning the Superior Land Photography Club (I forgot to mention previously that I am in this club-keeps me sane) visited the Avalon Alpaca Farm in Skandia, MI. Donna and Carol are the owners since 1995. They were both at one time employed at the college, Northern Michigan University. This is there retirement business. It's not far out of town. Directions and information can be found at
Club member talking with Carol (right).

The alpacas were amazing to watch and came in a variety of colors-white, black, and various shades of browns and combination of colors. We were free to wander within their pens as long as we closed all gates that we went through. They were just plain fun to watch. We noticed that if you were low to the ground and quiet and still they were much more inquisitive to check you out. I was close enough to reach out and touch them but I didn't try. I enjoyed watching their facial expressions and photographing their "mop" heads.

My favorite "mop" heads.

The alpacas do enjoy lounging in their day spas. They like to hang out at the local dirt holes to take dust baths and bathe in the sun.

Having a good time at the spa.

Getting cozy.

Isn't there a saying, "You don't poo where you eat?" Well that is exactly what alpacas do. They all pee and poo in the same places. A benefit to visitors when you don't have to worry about where you step or sit down.

The alpacas are guarded by two large dogs called Anatolian Shepherds. BIG dogs! One just turned a year old and he was already big.

One year-old Antonian Shepherd.

Antonian Shepherds. Above is the one year-old.

Carol and Donna also had two horses that you could pet if you desired, but for safety reasons couldn't go in their shelter.

I would highly recommend a visit to the alpaca farm!

Please visit again soon they say!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

An afternoon of planting and more birding

Today it was in the low 60's, overcast and a few scattered showers.

Glad I got out of the apartment today cause either I was hot flashin or it was warm in the apartment. So, got my plants out of the AeroGarden and out to the garden plot I went.

Planted my basil and parsley along with cilantro (from seed) along with my three carrot plants. Then the rest I planted from seeds: mammoth sunflower, beets, bush cucumber, buttercup squash, and bunching onion. There were several people planting their garden today while I was there. Talked to a couple of women and maybe their grandson (guessing). I asked them about what they were planting and offered them my a-frame trellis (pictured above) now that I'm not going to use it. I also shared my mammoth sunflower seeds with them. Nice people.

I posted on the UP Birders email list for help identifying a new bird at my feeders. The response was wonderful even with the limited amount of info I was able to provide. The bird that I asked for help with had a pink and brown head and a pink spot on the rump. Most people suggested it was either a purple or house finch. So I think I'm going with the house finch. In a way this blog can be a bird journal which is a good way to help with bird I.D.

After my two hours of playing in the garden, I joined friend Rachel for a nice walk at the Dead River (at the beginning of Co. Rd. 550). Great walk and weather!

Unfortunately, no special plans for tomorrow, Memorial Day. Spouse and I both have to work.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A little better weather and new birds at the feeder

Woke up to rain this morning, but still headed out with friend Judy to the Bartlett Farm in Traunik, MI. for the "Spring on the Farm" Open House. They shared their family business to the public for three hours. It was very interesting and the lambs were all so cute, adorable and playful. It was a self-guided tour where you learned how lambs are born, what they eat, that new mom and baby lamb share a special bond, that they are able to tell each other apart by smell, and that some baby lambs are "orphaned" too. That was sad. Sometimes too many babies are born and the mother can't produce enough milk or the mother just won't take care of the baby.
Things I learned I didn't know: sheep give birth standing up which helps empty fluid from the lambs lungs and that the big shrink wrapped hay bails seen out in the country are wrapped for a reason-to ferment the hay, apparently it is better to eat that way.

I did ask a member of the family "What happens to adult lambs?" Unfortunately they are sold for meat. I personally have never had veal or mutton and never will. I'm not going to go any further on this but I think more people should go meatless more often.

If your interested in visiting the farm sometime here is the contact info: Log Cabin Livestock, N 4632 Traunik, MI, 906-439-5210, email

The weather did finally clear up. After we left the farm though.

Last year at this time of year I didn't have a feeder out. I didn't put one out until July or August so I am very excited to see new birds at my feeder. Word is spreading to the woodland critters because my feeder is becoming quite the hang out place. I've seen goldfinches, three gray squirrells, some sort of sparrow, and I think an imateur pine grosbeak. Obviously, I need to break out the binocs and work on my bird i.d. skills. This is fun!

Hopefully sometime tomorrow I will get out to the garden and do some planting and seeding. Fingers crossed for no rain please!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spring is here...Except it was 38 degree yesterday!

Yesterday it was 38 degrees out. It was cold! A little better today being in the low to mid fifties.

Had our first workday last week and found out we need to schedule another one in early June. There is just so much to do. So this Thursday it is. The native garden in front of the fenced in plots has gotten out of big and out of control. So, we are reducing the size and starting over. Though we are keeping some of the plants already there.


Sugar Snap Peas

Garlic (planted last summer)

Chives (ready to bloom)
Made a quick trip out to the garden earlier this evening. Both my sweet peas and spinach are sprouting! Below are some "not so great" pics of my sprouts along with my chives and garlic.

I have some catnip, carrots ready to plant from the AeroGarden. Hoping to get out this weekend and plant those and (almost forgot) my flat leaf parsley and basil plants that I purchased last Saturday at the farmers market. In additional to my seeds. Scattered rain showers for tonight and tomorrow morning. Hope it doesn't last to long.

Tomorrows agenda: Heading out to the Bartlett Sheep farm in Traunik, MI. They are opening their sheep barn to the public to learn about sheep, wool and to hold a baby lamb or two. And of course there will be photo ops. My goal for the summer is to see as many local attractions as I can. See and buy local everyone!

Must download pictures!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My first Blog

Hello! My name is Tiffany and I live in the beautiful city of Marquette, MI. I've been married for 11 years to Mark, a great and loving husband. I grew up in lower northern Michigan and my husband grew up in Munising. We are Yoopers even though I am a transplant Yooper. Marquette is a great place to live, hence the reason why we've stayed so long. Reminds me of home, but yet family is not that far to drive for a visit. Family is very important to me. I have four sisters: Karyn, Jennifer, Yolanda and Amanda.

We both work full time jobs so our vacation and my hobbies imparticular keep me sane and happy.

So what can I blog about?

I like to take pictures, travel, enjoy camping and the great outdoors.  Last summer I rented a decent sized gardening plot (actually share it with a friend) at the Community Garden. So, I may be able to combine my passions and hobbies into this blog? Hmmm. I may have to change the title of this blog though.

It's mid May already. Gardeners should have good seedlings already. I have started some seedlings-Brandy Wine heirloom tomatoes that my folks gave me. They are already a foot high and I've moved them over to a friends house for additional time to grow. Hopefully they fare well there.

This past Sunday, I worked up the plot and pulled weeds. Not many. Then I tried my hand at building an A-frame trellis to grow cucumbers. Built it from branches collected and garden twine. It was fun and I think I did a great job.

The A-frame built from branches and twine. The twine will be tied vertically on both sides.

Yesterday (Monday) went back out to the garden and built a second trellis this one just up vertically to grow sugar snap peas. I'm really looking forward to their harvest. Then planted my peas which were previously soaked overnight (softens the outer skin to help germination) and also two lines of baby spinach.

I picked up an AeroGarden from listed on Craigslist for $50. Good deal, works great too. Used it to start the heirlooms. I may grow more plants but haven't decided what exactly. May grow some herbs.
Will definetly be nice in the winter months.

Now, just a waiting game. The average last from date for Marquette is May 25 but then another place said June 4.