Freezing mornings and frosty pacas……….

After a pretty lack lustre (and not very warm) Autumn, Winter has hit with a vengeance!  We have already had a bunch of below zero mornings and it’s now the first week of June and the last three mornings have been -7, -6 and then -7 again (as recorded at the airport).  It’s often a degree or so colder at our place as we are on top of a big hill. Our weather station was reading an apparent temperature of minus 11 the last few days!

Canberra usually gets a lot of below zero Winter mornings, but this many, this far below zero, this early in the season, is a little unusual.  Luckily our heating works pretty well…… the mornings have been cold and it’s taking awhile to warm up, only hitting 10 or 11 degrees at the most for the day.  On the upside it’s been beautiful and sunny.

Many people wonder what we do with the alpacas during Winter.  It’s definitely too cold outside overnight for dogs and cats at this time of year, but it doesn’t bother the alpacas one bit. They vastly prefer the cold and frost to the hot summer days.  They get a bit cranky at wet and windy days (and we take pity on them and put coats on them during really wet weather), but cold they love.

With their big fluffy coats they don’t even feel the cold and we find them happily lazing near the door, chewing their cud.  They have straw in the backyard to sleep in, but we often find them asleep on the pavers outside our family room, not at all bothered by the subzero temperatures and ice layers. There is nothing cuter than a frost laden paca of a morning! Even Chimu’s fringe had a layer of frost this morning and their was frost on the tips of his ears….

If you put your hand into their coat they are toasty warm and no frost gets near their skin. The food consumption does go up a little though on the cold nights as they try to grow more fleece!

This morning was the first day the alpacas got a good frosting, but the yard has been freezing over most nights.  This morning the ground was looking particularly frozen and white……..

While the alpacas are more than happy outside in these freezing conditions, the cats are mostly found either laying in a sunny spot or curled up in a pile of feline fluff.

It’s definitely indoor weather for the cats.  Mulder did escape at 3am this morning (when it was minus 7), and promptly returned not long after when he realised his paws were freezing over.    He managed to escape when we (meaning Anto) had to go out to turn the car alarm off.  This happened a further 3 times during the night as the car icing over was obviously activating the alarm.  Another few minus 5 and 6 mornings predicted for the next few days so the car might have to find a spot in the garage, it clearly isn’t a fan of Canberra Winter!

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