Friday, November 20, 2009

New alpaca arrives

Seems that I drive to Bloomington each and every week now. One week it was to pick up some llamas. Next week it was to pick up two "rescue" llamas. This week it was to visit a lovely alpaca farm, Stars and Stripes Alpacas.

The Nichols' were very accommodating and their animals are stunners. Tammy and I "browsed" in their herd to observe what they had for sale. Some wonderful mamas and babies, some beautiful females. We weren't looking for males.

We mulled it over during a lunch break -- and then drove back and came home with an alpaca each.

She got Sara -- what a wonderful show girl. Bay black with great lines.

I got Chloe, Sara's mama. She looks a lot like my Eileen -- mottled black and grey. She is due in June. Can't wait to see the results of her breeding to Irish Meadows MacGraw.

Hold on to your hat for this show boy or girl to hit the ground.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quirky llama

Statler is knock down gorgeous. He is one of the herdsires on our farm and he has a wonderful personality, great lines and beautiful fiber.

There's one problem. He can jump a five-foot fence from a dead standstill. Yup. He does it just to do it.

He jumps the gate and grazes in the front yard (which he did yesterday). I can call his name, say, "Statler! Get back where you belong!" and he will follow me right back into the barn.

He jumps from his herd to get to the other boy herd.

He jumps. Anyone wanna buy a beautiful llama?

ILLA Fall Conference

Saturday's ILLA conference was really, really fun.
It was held in Springfield, IL, the heart and soul of the Land of Lincoln.
There was a brief meeting, some wonderful food, great friends and tours of both Isles House (Abraham Lincoln served under General Isles during the Blackhawk Wars), and the Lincoln Museum.
As a native Illinoisan, I'm ashamed to say that I had not been to the Lincoln Museum. I plan to go back -- and take our grandchildren. They would learn so much and enjoy the gift shop, too!
Thank you to Kathy White and her crew for putting together a very special ILLA gathering.
One tip: if you own llamas in MO, IL, IN, KY -- PLEASE consider showing at this year's IL State Fair. This is a "make or break" year for the llama show. The numbers HAVE to be up or we risk losing this wonderful event. So start getting ready now!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Chuckwagon

Took Brianna and Jack Dean to the Chuckwagon today. It's a wonderful eatery here in Fairview Heights with delicious Mexican food -- and unbelievable cherry cokes.

One of the highlights there is the "CLAW" machine. It's filled with candy and little trinkets and "you play until you win." Brianna is pretty good at the game already. Jack was learning the ropes today. He waited his turn and then it was time to "drop the claw" into the candy.
What fun!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mouse Hunting with brave Brianna

One of the joys of having llamas and alpacas is introducing our little grandchildren to the wonders of animal husbandry.
They help "feed" the animals -- giving them grain and carrots. They put arms around their necks and walk them on lead. It's all good.
Brianna came over last week. She paused long enough from her barn adventures to sit with Clover, a gorgeous little alpaca girl.
She also fed the ducks (we have two) and Rocky the rooster. When she opened the tin containing the cracked corn, she very nonchalantly said, "Oh Grammy, look. There's a mouse in there."
Well, folks, my only fear in life is a mouse. They leap unexpectedly and I can't even dispose of one that has passed on when we "capture" them in our old 105-year-old farmhouse.
I squeal like a preschooler and would stand up on a chair if one were available.
Not Brianna. She reached right into the container and took out the scoop -- much to my horror.
"STAND BACK" I told her. "Grammy will tilt the can and hopefully the mouse will jump out."
And that's exactly what happened. It scurried under the feeder -- and then over to the straw bales. Wow -- that was close!
I hope to grow up to be as brave as Brianna.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beautiful day

The temperatures were awesome today. Glorious sunshine and a gentle breeze. After the week-long rains, this was a pleasant departure.

Zydeco came back home to live. So did Eileen. I sold them to another farm several years ago. Well -- life happens -- and I bought them back.

That's Zydeco at right -- and she is a lovely girl, isn't she?

Had a darling high schooler get her senior pictures taken at the farm today. She posed on the tractor, by straw bales, under the weeping willow tree.

But her favorite poses were with the llamas and alpacas. I'm sure her photographer got some awesome shots. Can't wait to see them. Guess we're a destination for lots of different reasons.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Here's the video

Fox2News story

Our family, specifically my husband, was featured on the local affiliate of Fox2 News last evening. The story was beautifully photographed, beautifully written. Please take time to give it a listen. Here's the link:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Honeymoon heads to the Rainbow Bridge

Our oldest llama passed away yesterday. She was nearly 25 years old. Honeymoon Suite was a classic North American llama -- little leg fiber, a mane like a horse. She was tall and athletic.

She was a pleasant, reasonable animal.

She started having difficulty getting up from a kushed (sitting) position in late September. She would sometimes sunbathe in the pasture -- only to discover that she couldnt right herself.

Ben and I would roll her over and prop her up with a straw bale -- and eventually she would stand up and go about her life.

Last Tuesday she was too "tired" to come to the barn and she spent the overnight hours in the pasture. I didn't want that to happen -- as she was easily a victim to coyotes and such -- so I got her up -- walked behind her -- herding her into the barn.

She never came back out. She was kushed, with the help of straw bales for several days -- and I put hay and water within reach. Thank goodness she wasn't outside during the monsoon weather last week.

Her slow, deliberate breathing finally stopped yesterday. She is now running across "the Rainbow Bridge," that place where our animal companions wait to be reunited with us.

She will be sadly missed at our farm, but will be remembered. To many, she was "just another llama." Not to me.