It is official, the shearing table works! I had Mr. Manners and his sidekick came out early Wednesday morning to help. They had car trouble but called ahead and still made it less than 30 minutes late, a diligent effort. We grabbed the shears and blades out of the laundry room. They have a little metal briefcase to store them in with all the blades. At this point the blades are approaching the cost of the shearer. I have four sets of blades now and this year I got ceramic cutters which last a lot longer than the steel ones. Unfortunately, they cannot be sharpened. I am going to try all steel next time and see how long they last. I managed to shear three alpaca per set today. We got 7 of the 10 alpaca sheared today.
AnnMarie got a live action shot of me actually shearing. The boys all think I am crazy for wearing a long sleeve shirt in the summer. After a few hours of dirt and hair flying around my long sleeves started to look good.
I started to get better with more practice. We also removed the halter so I could clean up their face and neck unimpeded.
Sarah and I worked on the alpaca table today. I had gotten more supplies and more cut pipe on Thursday. She had to run to the local hardware once for bolts and then I had to go a second time!! One would think I could count. Sarah learned how to put galvanized pipe together today. She had to assemble and reassemble pieces a few times. It was a hot and miserable day. We had to modify the table design on the movable leg. To create the H brace we needed to have a right and left handed thread on the same cross piece. We had to use tape to hold it together. This would be why the plans talk about using fencing clamps.
I need to write all this up and make up some new plans but I probably won’t. I may out curiosity find those weird pipe fence clamps.
Sarah insisted we eat lunch in a timely fashion. We had lunch at 1215. I had plans for us to still sort cows after we finished the table. We went back outside and finished up the table. The thing is super heavy. I tried to start the gas tractor but the battery was dead. This would be why the negative terminal connection used to be removed. I need to charge the battery and put it back on the tractor.
We tried to move the table. No way!! I went and got the Mistress and she carried it over near the barn. It was so heavy and hanging so far forward that the rear wheels kept bouncing off the ground. Once outside the milking area we had to shovel horse poop before we could move the table inside. It was super heavy and Sarah was petered out by then. We wrestled it into place.
No cows today. We went inside and laid in the living room floor. We were hot and I took off my glasses and laid them on the floor. I kinda fell asleep but noticed the puppy next to me chewing on something. It was my glasses. I tossed them up into the couch and laid there a while longer. He had been at the glasses a while. Both ear pieces a chewed up. One is barely there. I am missing a nose piece and one lens looks like I was in the movie Birds and the only thing that saved my eyes from being plucked out was my glasses. I have scratches and teeth mark over both lens. One lens is providing about 60% clarity. It’s like looking through glasses someone licked after eating ice cream or drinking milk. The worst part is we leave for Taiwan in a week. I am not sure I can get them replaced before then. I did need new glassses but had planned on taking care of that when we got back from Taiwan.
Well I did it I finished the floor in the library. I even managed to do it before AnnMarie got back from Berkeley. I stayed up till 0130 Thursday night working grout in and washing it off tiles. I ended up with a large blister in the palm of my right hand. I should of thought about rubber gloves but it took me almost five hours to complete. I don’t think the gloves would have stood up and if they did my hands would have looked like raisins with multiple blisters from all the moisture trapped under the gloves. I showered before crawling into bed. I was supposed to be off all weekend but I messed up the work schedule and got called in to cover a shift the next morning. It was my own mistake.
Unfortunately, the tile makes the room look like it needs something so we will now be picking out some new paint schemes for this room. I think I want to keep the ceiling the same and just paint the walls. We will have to get sample cards and get this completed at the end of July so we can move the loom out of the living room. We have the book shelves stashed in the office upstairs. The goal will be to thin everything before it goes back in the room.
Having to work on Friday threw off my alpaca shearing table build schedule. I went in today and had them cut another ten pieces of pipe and they recut my two 48 inch pieces into five threaded pieces plus cut another 5 threaded pieces for me. It is in the low 90s today and the pipe was in the bed of the pickup so it’s really too hot to handle. This means first thing in the morning I need to get out there and finish putting it together.
We need to shear the alpaca. This is going to be facilitated by a table. The trouble with a table is the only directions we have is a diagram from the Internet posted a few years ago. There were no instructions and they did not show the connectors needed to attach it all together. Instead they talked about some kind of clamp that let you clamp sections of pipe together without threading them together. This was not something the local hardware store had in stock. I sat down at the kitchen table and tried to figure it out. I wrote up a list and purchased said list. Today, I attempted to assemble said pieces. This did not go well for me. The diagram did not account for the added joint lengths. This threw off everything and for some reason unbeknownst to me I had the legs cut as 48 inches. On hindsight, this was because I was following the flawed diagram with the weird unavailable clamps. What I really needed was 24 inches x4 not 48 inches x2. So after putting things together as much as possible I took inventory. I had five extra joint pieces and am short two T pieces. I can have the 2-48 inch pieces cut to 3-24 inch pieces, 1-14 inch piece and 1-10 inch piece. Plus, I will need 5 more 14 inch pieces and 3 more 10 inch pieces and 4 2.5 inch hangar supports and I will need 8-3.5 inch carriage bolts. And 8-3 inch carriage bolts.
So off to hardware store again tomorrow and another $100.
The 2×4 and 2×6 bolted to the plywood are to stiffen it plus I will be trapping my central pipe shaft between the two middle boards by clamping a 2×8 over the top of them. The boards are 1 5/8 inch thick and my pipe is 1.5 inches. It should work. In the eventuality it doesn’t I can always rip the middle down on the 2×6. It will fit eventually.
Saturday the boys came out again at 0800. I had worked the night shift and told them to start in on the barn when they arrived. I had gone to work 30 minutes early, the previous evening, so I could pick up some wood pellets for the chicken coop. I showed both boys what I wanted done in the coop: vacuum walls, wipe walls down with bleach water, dig out right hand side of floor and toss outside, fill all feeders and waterers, move old pellets from left side of coop to under perches and put new pellets on left side, clean out nest boxes, vacuum feed area and move all feed bags around to clean up floor. I went back out 30 minutes later to drop off the cooler with lunch when I was approached with the burning question of the day, “Mr Manners cannot figure out how to set the mouse trap” per his compatriot. Now don’t think for a second I don’t know that the two of them had been screwing around for 15 minutes trying to figure out how to set an old fashioned mouse trap. I demonstrated the technique twice with the warning to not hold the trap incorrectly or your fingers would pay for it. What are we teaching our youth? Where are the valuable life skills needed to survive on your own coming from?
I told them when they were done with the coop to finish the barn. I reinforced to them I thought it was possible to do both that day. They agreed, and when I went out to feed the horses that evening they had gotten close. There is about two hours of work left in the barn. The chicken coop is done and looks much better. The coop windows still need to be cleaned but the rest is good enough.
The next big thing is to build the alpaca shearing table then actually shear the alpaca.