Tuesday, July 31, 2007 don't see that everyday!

"Now what?"

What started out to be an uneventful Tuesday morning, running BACK to the grocery store for the items that I forgot to buy YESTERDAY when I was there, mailing a couple of letters at the post office, suddenly became a very exciting flurry of events (exciting by Eldridge standards).

As I pulled into the driveway with my list of errands completed, I glanced into the front pasture, as I always do to see what my little darlings are up to..........I really did NOT expect to see this........(not for the faint of heart).

I slammed my truck into park, jumped out, flung myself over the gate to see what was in store for me. Now, mind you, I have not delivered a llama before, I am used to...well, less neck and less lanky appendages. If the birth process goes well with the sheep or horses they generally present in a nice "divers" position, little front feet sticking out facing down, head resting on the legs. This, on the other hand, just looked like a mess of tangled alien parts, and to top it off, this long neck hanging out flopping around shaking it's head to remove birth fluid, while mom just meandered around. As I was attempting to assess exactly what parts were where, our substitute postal carrier pulled into the driveway with a package for me. She looked horrified, "Do you need some help?" she asked reluctantly. " Why, do you know anything about llamas?" I asked.... She left the package on the porch and wished me luck as she drove away.

Once I got a closer look, everything was, in fact, where it was supposed to be, so naturally I thought, I HAVE to get my camera ( I think Nancy K. is rubbing off on me)! I snapped this picture and then a moment later momma llama finished the job at hand and delivered her little cria. Now, those of you who have been following the Crosswinds blog know that you don't have to ask.....of course it is a BOY!

The sheep were very curious about the new arrival .

"You listen here newbie, I am the cutest baby on this farm!"

"Hey, where can a guy get something to eat around here?"

Okay, (whew) they are MUCH more attractive once they have dried off. Mother and baby seem to be doing fine at this point. Momma passed her placenta, I trimmed and dipped the umbilicus, striped teats, and made sure that the baby was nursing, so now I am just waiting to see if his plumbing is all working before I breathe a sigh of relief.......incidentally, FYI and note to self, string cheese does not keep well in a truck when it is 90 degrees outside while you are delivering a llama......I kind of forgot the groceries in the truck. Bonus though, while momma llama was resting up, I took advantage of her relaxed position and finally got some more of that matted mess of a coat trimmed off and was able to get a hold of her back feet to trim her toes.

I guess the mystery is solved as to whether or not llama was pregnant.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Good "helpers".

Usually, I am happy to have help with my garden chores....usually.

Look at our sweet little canine compadres, Jordan the Dalmatian, Emma the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and Bailie our Golden. Look at how they are sitting so nicely at the edge of the garden, just watching me work, just as good as they can be.

I have noticed lately some produce missing from the garden, it always seems to be that beautiful tomato that looks like it will be perfect to pick if I leave it on the vine just one more day, or that nice cucumber that will be so delectable after ripening in the summer sun a bit longer......or say, a row of radishes.......... I think you know where I am going with this. It seems as though our precious pooches have developed a taste for all things vegetable. My first indication that something was amiss in the garden was one morning when I went out to check the progress of my little garden plot, only to find that a row of radishes had disappeared and were replaced with muddy little doggy paw prints and the empty holes that the radishes had once occupied. Now, I know you are probably thinking, dogs don't eat radishes....someone forgot to tell my girls that.

Someone should have also mentioned that dogs don't eat cucumbers, right Emma?

"What cucumber?"

Certainly dogs don't eat green beans......or tomatoes.

Of course, this is not photographic evidence of Bailie doing anything wrong, she is the good dog, she was just cleaning up after her naughty sisters.

"Hey, I didn't do anything, I am just going to lay on these bean plants to flatten them out for you".

Ahhhhh, what would I do without my "helpers"?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bye-Bye boy parts!


What are you talkin' 'bout?

Tomorrow morning I will be taking Diego and Ace to be wethered. Diego, as I have mentioned before, is cowhocked so there was not really any question as to whether to wether or not....on the up side his fleece is really crimpy and soft so he can just sit around and make fleece for me. Ace had some questionable horns from early on and as he has grown they are not looking any better, so I would definitely not sell him as a breeding ram......he also has nice fleece though, so until I find someone looking for a nice fiber pet, he will stay here.

I really am not looking forward to taking them in for their "procedure", but it must be done....I know, some of you other Shetland breeders are asking, why doesn't she just cull them? I know that a lot of people would, and that is their choice and I understand that, I am just one of those sappy vegetarian types that tries to save everything. To each his own.

I was hoping to have some new pictures to post, however, Gary has been at the Oshkosh Wisconsin air show for the last few days and he took the camera....okay, I didn't mean pictures of the boy's emasculation, I should have clarified, that would NOT be good.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Little things that amused me today.

It has been raining here for several days. Thunderstorms overnight and into the morning, clearing skies and sweltering heat in the afternoon.....until it starts raining again. I am not going to complain, we do need the rain and my garden is thoroughly appreciating it.

While I was out doing some chores in between the raindrops, I couldn't help but notice the fluttering of multicolored wings around my cone flowers, I just had to stop and enjoy the show...I am easily amused!

OOPS! not quite ready to join the show.

I also found this little barn swallow in a nest in White Chicken's house. It made me smile to see the little baby all nestled in my chicken's feathers and swirls of my horse's hair.......It's always fun to see who has put my horse hair to good use after I brush my horses and throw the balls of hair on the ground and they mysteriously disappear.

Baby cantaloupe and watermelon, which I have never had luck growing before, seem to be coming along nicely.

This was my first attempt at peppers as well....again I must thank my animals for their manure contributions!

I am easily was a good day.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hey! Where's my mom?

Have you seen my mom?

Okay, you look that way, I'll keep a lookout this way.

You keep watch too Teddy, our moms must be around somewhere.

It'll be okay buddy.

We FINALLY got the boys into the new ram pasture yesterday, away from their moms : (. I think I felt worse than any of my sheepies..... although, it actually went a lot better than I had anticipated. There was a little bit of calling back and forth ( more from the moms than from the lambs), and then everyone seemed to settle in by evening. Today it rained all day, so the ewes spent most of the day (quietly) in their barn, and the boys hung out in the new shelter that Gary built for them. So far the ewes udders are looking okay, I am not expecting any problems as most of the ewes have been pushing their lambs away from nursing the past week or so........I can't say that I blame them, if you have ever seen how hard those big lambs nurse lifting their mommies up off the ground (not to mention the horns) you know what I mean.

I hope things continue this well.....I guess we will see.

Tomorrow I am off to Abi's High Prairie Fiber studio to practice spinning and help her with some polymer clay projects, should be fun....for me anyway, it's a good thing that Abi is patient, I am NOT the world's most gifted spinning student!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Attack of the killer pumpkins!

Here are my two pumpkin vines that I was afraid wouldn't grow because I planted my garden so late this year. My D.H. claims these to be HIS pumpkins, I am not sure how that works, since I plant them, weed them, water them, etc. His theory is that since he ASKED me to plant them they are his special plants. Luckily this is just my extra garden space that I use for my rhubarb (planted along the back edge) and potatoes on the other side, so there is room enough...... unless they get too crazy. Hmmmmm....maybe planting them on top of my old manure pile wasn't such a good idea.

This is the center section of my regular garden 70 x 30, consisting of 5 rows of green beans (one can never have too many green beans), 57 pepper plants, 40 something tomato plants, carrots, cantaloupe, cucumbers, watermelon, and some other stuff that I can't remember right now. Before you think that I have totally lost my mind, there is a logical reason why I grow so much stuff. I take produce to our local farmer's market every Saturday along with my yarn (not spun by me), roving, baked goods, eggs and my polymer clay figurines... Now that I see that in writing, I guess that really doesn't make me sound less crazy, it makes me sound attention deficit! I do have a lot of different interests, combined with the fact that I can't sit still....okay, attention deficit, whatever.

If you were wondering how the Iowa corn crop is coming along......

This is an 8 foot long 2x4 next to the fence post!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

They are all growing up!

The lambs are changing so fast now, as fast as my mind changes about who will stay and who will go. Here are some pictures of those that cooperated with the camera today. I will have more photos of the others when they decide to be more accommodating.

Remember Isabella, the first born ewe lamb? I am really happy with the way her fleece and conformation are looking. She will, of course, be staying.

Ace, the clown. We are still watching his horns, he is looking now like he may have long scurs or aberrant horns. His fleece is wonderful, conformation is very nice, plus, he is pretty darn cute.

Here is Apollo, not the most flattering picture, but he is growing to be a very nice ram. Apollo will be staying, I really want to see how he matures.

Sandpiper is going to be for sale after weaning....which we will be doing next week. I am NOT looking forward to weaning. Sandpiper is a great little ram. He looks like he will have nice horns, he has good conformation and an outstanding temperament. I would love to keep him, but SOMEBODY has to go.

Last but not least. Sage's twins are really growing too. I have not changed my mind about these two, they are definitely staying here. They just get more impressive every day. You may have noticed that they STILL do not have names. Hmmmmm is anyone noticing a pattern with me??

I promise, I will work on names tomorrow, after I go and machete my way through my garden. We have had perfect growing conditions for most of my vegetable plants (and weeds) so they are getting out of hand. Perhaps I will photograph my pumpkin vines that are beginning to look like The Little Shop of Horrors!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What's new at the zoo.

This is...."Llama", she needs a name, any suggestions??

We had been looking for some time for a llama to guard our sheep, and not having much luck. Then a couple of weeks ago I got a call from someone, out of the blue, that had come across 4 llamas that were in need of good homes. They had an intact 4 year old male, which I knew I didn't want ( I know people that have had trouble with male llamas trying to breed their sheep....yeeesh), they had 3 females, one adult female was already promised to someone else and the little yearling female had also been placed, that left this girl with the fancy eye makeup. Being the suckers that we are, of course we took her. The llamas had been kept up to date on all of their vaccinations and deworming, but their coats have not been sheared for 2 years, so when we got her home I promptly started hacking away the matted mess, and inadvertently created more of a's not pretty, hence the "head only" photo!

As for my sheepies, they were convinced for the first few days that I had released the Loch Ness monster into their pasture. Llama was trying so hard to be friends, she had been raised with sheep, so she did not hesitate to try to be one of the gang. She would lumber slowly toward the flock, clearly in a gesture of friendship, that unfortunately always end with panicked sheep scattering in all directions and bawling babies calling for their moms. After a few days of this routine, things settled down and eventually she was accepted as one of the flock.... although the sheep still like her better when she is lying down and is not such an imposing figure.

This will be a learning experience, this is the first llama that I have ever owned so it should be interesting to watch her and learn about llama behavior...........did I mention that she may, or may not, be pregnant??? What was I thinking?

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