Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Smooth transitions and fun at the beauty parlor

When Dolly and Toni first arrived, I was very fortunate to have Danni here with me. Not only because I love visiting with her, but to be honest, just her presence made the idea of being solely responsible for these 2 lovely animals, so much easier. Not that I didnt think I could do it. No. I knew I could do it. I had been wanting to do this for a *very* long time. It was more that I knew how much things had just changed for them. Once a group of 3, they were now down to 2 *and* living in a new pasture with new people taking care of them. Now I dont know about you, but to me, thats a lot of changes.

To help with their transition, I decided to leave them stalled for the first few days.

This way they would know where home base was. They could count on being fed in their stall every day. Whether that be just grain or grain and hay...I wanted them to feel comfortable coming in and out of their stall. And not only was it for their security, but it was for my benefit as well. This way, in the event I need to halter them or give them meds or anything like that, I know I can get them in their stall.

One of the many things that is different for them here is that I use pine shavings for bedding in the stalls. As is evident by her fleece being totally covered in shavings, Dolly didnt seem to mind one bit that I didnt have any straw. She still took her naps just fine.

And it didnt seem to affect her eating habits in the very least, either.

She still loves to stick her whole head in.

And go down to the very bottom of the bucket to get all the hay seeds(and bits and pieces) first.

Now, Toni? Shes been taking the whole move in stride. She likes to nap.

And before she naps, she likes to yawn.

One thing they both like to do is scratch their necks on this huge cabinet that was left in the barn . Can you see the tufts of fleece they left behind?

Speaking of fleece....when the girls came to live with me I knew it was very important that they get shorn shortly after they arrived. The temperatures can reach the high 90's and into the 100's here. And for a llama with a full coat of fleece that can be cause for concern.

Heat stress is a pretty common problem for llamas. They can become lethargic, lose their appetite, salivate heavily around their lips, and may even breathe with an open mouth.

Along with shearing, which is probably the most effective means of prevention, you can help prevent heat stress by making sure they have cool water at all times, offering them shady places to relax, and you can also have fans set up in their stalls for them.

I did a great deal of research and made numerous inquiries to find someone to come shear the girls. The normal time for shearing, which is April and May, had passed and I was having a difficult time finding someone.

Luckily, I was able to find a gal named Brandy, who lives in Idaho. She and her mom own an alpaca farm and she was willing to travel here. So, S and I got the girls all haltered up and ready for their haircut.

Dolly went first.

There was a lot of moving around.

And even some kushing.She wasnt all that pleased with the whole ordeal.

And Toni? She just stood back and watched the entire thing.

I think in her mind she was really hoping this was just something that Dolly was having to endure.

But then came her turn and she did fabulously. (sorry for all the dust in the photos...all that moving Dolly did really stirred things up)

She stood very still and just let them shear. It was quite amazing to watch actually.

She even did a great job when Brandy began to touch her legs.

So that she could trim her nails.

And when Toni was all done she made her way over to S to get some comfort. She was so sweet.

All in all, Id say it took about an hour to get them shorn and have Tonis feet trimmed. (Dollys feet looked perfect and werent in need of a trim. That must have been since Danni and I did such a good job on them the weekend prior.) Since we got a late season shear, we decided to go with what is called a barrel cut. This cut shears only their midsection, which happens to be the warmest part of their body. This allows them to be cooler in the summer heat because of what we removed, but it leaves on the rest of their coat allowing them to remain warmer in the winter as well. Which is a great thing because the fear of a late season shear is that they wont have enough time to regrow enough fleece before the cold sets in. Thats what makes the barrel cut such a great compromise.

This is what was left behind in the stall.

And now the girls are all set on shearing for at least another year. And I can rest a little more easily knowing that they wont be getting too warm while basking in the sun. (or shade :-) )

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summer nights are the best

The big kids are out of school for the summer now. And this makes G super happy.

Not only because we get to do this way more often.

But also because it means the fantastically fun fort gets built.

And they get to have sleepovers in it.

On this particular night tho, they had a scavenger hunt first.

To find all these delightful ingredients.

Can you guess what they are for?

Did you say smores? Yes, indeed. But these are special smores. Made with only the finest ingredients, including dark chocolate chips and scooby snacks.

G sits back and waits for the eating to begin.

Once hes given the go ahead he doesnt hold back.

Then they absolutely must see who can make their marshmallow stretch the furthest.

G looks at J and says, no J.....like this.

After the yummy scooby smores have been devoured, yahtzee is on the list of things to do.

And then...you guessed it....BED.

But first, the clock must be made available so that G can see when the infamous eight zero zero arrives. Once this arrives he knows hes allowed to get out of bed. And this makes him super happy, too.

Good night, kids!! Sweet dreams.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

This for that

Shortly after we moved here to the farm...okay, before we even moved into the farm... I had a plan in place to replace this stove.

And after many, many weeks of contractors, orders, canceled orders, deliveries, inspections...well, you get the idea...It was replaced with this stove.

And I was a very happy girl. In fact, the first thing that got baked in that oven was french fries. And those will make just about anyone happy, right?

In the midst of all the old stove/new stove anticipation, it just so happened that we were making arrangements to get Finley as well.

And it just so happened that the nice woman that we got Finley from just had her stove give out on her. Soooo...I asked if she would like my electric stove since we had just gotten a new one. Boy was she ever happy. She said yes right away.

Now I dont know about you, but I love to barter. LOVE it.

And this is how it came to be that she got our electric stove and we will be receiving 2 free deliveries of hay courtesy of her very nice husband. Isnt that the best?

So, imagine my surprise when she contacted me the other day and said how much she loved the stove, but that she really felt like she wanted to offer me more than just hay delivery.

I said, oh no...thats not at all necessary.

Wait. What? You want me to have what?

Yep! A sweet little goat. His name is Joey(named by the little guy who is very, very proud).

And let me just emphasize the word little. Look at him next to Niko. Surprisingly, he was born before the other goat boys. But he was a multiple so he ended up being quite small.

He has to stand on his tippy toes to reach the hay feeder. (And look at his big belly! He had just eaten(quite a bit it appears) when we picked him up....the next day his belly was not nearly as plump.)

Since he was having a hard time reaching the wall feeder, I put a milk crate in the stall for him that was filled with hay.

And what do you think happened next?

The big boys decided that they needed to check out the crate.

And jump on the crate.

Look at them looking all innocently at me as they eat the hay I set out for Joey.

So yeah, I gave away a stove and got a goat. I have to say thats never happened to me before.

Monday, June 21, 2010

New neighbors

We have new neighbors.

Or rather, the goats have new neighbors. The cows just moved into the pasture that is right next to our goat run.

Finley was the first one to notice them.

He then called out to the other two. Which is a huge deal because Finley is the quietest goat I know. They came over to see right away.

Kip told Niko that he was gonna try to get closer.

So he ran out there, jumped up on the spool, and let out a great big helllloooooo.

And, of course, Niko couldnt let him do that all alone.

Finley, however, never moved an inch. He didnt feel the need to introduce himself. Thats just the way he rolls.