Thursday 29 May 2014

Things Red

I am procrastinating.  Well, sort of.  I have a long long list of red overdue items.  It has been incredibly busy.

Last weekend I rented a red Rototiller.  A very nice model with a Honda engine the fellow said when he delivered it.  Staff at the shop told me that if I needed it delivered for Saturday I would - unfortunately - have to keep it all weekend.  It was delivered before two o'clock on Friday and they called before picking it up late Monday morning.  The red rototiller and I did some serious bonding.

At first it was awkward as the blades scooted across the lawn.  Gradually as the tines worked their way through the thatch and I gained better control of the machine, we successfully stirred things up.  Over and over and over again, Red and I worked that new patch of ground.  I took a break and moved a dozen wheelbarrow loads of well rotted manure from under the overhang in the Big Barn.  I spread it over the patch and then Red and I stirred things up again.

Then there was a pile of manure, mostly hay, that had been piled nearby anticipated the newly broken ground.  I moved this onto the new garden and spread it thinly as a first layer of mulch.  This will keep the weeds from sprouting too madly until I get things seeded and a thicker layer of mulch between the rows.  Today I planted 6 soon to be red tomato plants.

The horseshoe pitch is marked out with reflectors to alert snowmobile riders of the raised pitch.  The lambs enjoy playing on this higher ground.  From the photos you can see that the red lollipop is most popular.

We acquired a red riding lawnmower.  I guess this is my real new "Red" since this is not a rental.  With a huge lot to mow, even after cordoning off a large section for the sheep to munch on, Red and I are working on quite a relationship.  It's a nice little machine.  It does have a lot of safety features, many more than the last riding lawnmower I drove almost 40 years ago.

It pivots well, turning tightly and getting in close.  Yet, it's not a tractor, it is a red riding mower, tractor with a small "t".  I got it stuck the first day of mowing.  The weeping willow tree out front is lovely and large.  As I cut closer to it I could see that a number of roots are very shallow and that I would not be able to mow very closely.  For my first pass over the raised root I went slowly, knowing I would not be able to mow over the root on the next pass.  I was too slow, and the machine stopped.  Then, as I accelerated from a standstill the back wheel spun.  I was going nowhere.

I called my neighbour and she came over with her teen aged granddaughter.  I called a neighbour as hubby is now away for ten days - and I could not wait ten days. The three of us lifted the red tractor with a small "t" and pushed it over the root.  Well, Red and I won't do that again. 

After several hours I was not finished but needed to stop due to a thunderstorm.  As the first raindrops fell, Sheba the llama ran for the barn. I was quite amused by this.

Okay, Sheba is not running from the rain in this photo.  She's sunning herself which she often does in the afternoon.  She stretches out and rests.  Sometimes she rolls.  Other times she and Henrietta roll in a bare spot they found, rolling in the dust.  But I digress...

On another topic I should be seeing red, as they say, but have remained calm and not too upset.  Perhaps that is because there was no red to see.  Beau dog found just a small heap of entrails; not much was red.

I figure the coyotes struck in the morning just after I put the sheep out.  They silently scooted under the fence and scooped two lambs to the other side.  There is not even any white fluff to be seen.  It's all gone except a stomach and intestines.

I paid attention Tuesday afternoon when Marmalade kept bleating for a lamb.  I counted and got to 19 but not 21.  Over and over I counted but always I got 19.  I walked the field with Beau on a leash but it was getting dark and I could do nothing anyway.  There was no lamb in distress calling so I could find nothing.

On Wednesday I made a list of lamb numbers.  Then I went back out with a list of those I not seen, including Marmalade's.  Then I got it down to three on my list and knew I'd only find one of these in the flock.  So, Dot lost one of her triplets too but she doesn't seem to miss it like Marmalade misses her twin.

It's a helpless feeling losing to coyotes.  I saw and heard nothing; not even red.  I'm sure the sheep saw and heard nothing too.  I expected this, but not so soon and not two at once.  So, now I'm looking for a guardian dog to go with the llamas.  I'm a bit disappointed in the llamas but then who knows how many times they have already intervened.  In addition, I have been excluding them from the barn with the sheep due to space.  I recently opened up some more space and tonight the llamas came in the barn and stayed when I locked up.  I need to push the bond between the llamas and the sheep.  And I am hopeful that the addition of a guardian dog will make for one big happy family - and no more coyote losses.

So, what with the garden pressures, fallout from the coyote attack, extra checks on the sheep, mowing to catch up to the mad spring growth, etc.  my house is a mess and my red list of overdue items grows....

Sunday 25 May 2014

Sheep Shearing

What a lovely day it was, shearing day!  Good weather, good friends, good food and good fun.

I spent some time preparing so that things would run smoothly.  The shearer said he expected to arrive at around two or two thirty.  So, those that were able to attend to help out and take in the fun were asked to bring a contribution to a potluck lunch.  The idea was that we'd have a leisurely lunch and then head to the barn for shearing.

Well, most folks planning to join us were late, which was fine, really, since the shearer ended up arriving even later.  I had planned and so I had a dinner in the crock pot for those who remained afterwards - which ended up being everyone.

I had brought the sheep into the Small Barn at four o'clock the day before.  It was threatening rain and wet sheep cannot be shorn.  There was quite a storm overnight but the sheep remained dry.  Unfortunately, the sheep had to wait in the Small Barn almost a full twenty-four hours before shearing began.  I fed them hay but they were tight for space and hot.

Peanut was the last to lamb on Friday, May 16th and she and her lamb were still in a separate pen.  CP arrived late in the morning and helped me to bring Peanut and Baby down from the Big Barn.  My plan was for Peanut to be shorn first and then she and Baby would be outside and gradually meet the flock as they went outside after their shearing.  Yes, the lamb's name is Baby as she is the last lamb and so much younger than the others.

 In this photo, my sister is holding Baby (a.k.a. Poopy Bottom) while mother Peanut is shorn first.  Many young lambs had messy bottoms.  Like humans there is baby poo from the rich colostrum or first milk.  These animals are very healthy and I kept up the grain supply, plus the green grass shortly after lambing and the rich feed of mother results in soft stool in the lambs.  It clears up.  The older lambs are already chewing their cud like their mothers.

After this I de-wormed all of the adults.  This went well.  I hadn't done this in thirty or so years.  I had a few problems with the equipment but managed to figure it out.  The sheep were co-operative and swallowed at the appropriate time and not one bashed me around.  My body is not holding up to the bashing as well as it did thirty years ago.

The shearer finally arrived and apologised for taking longer at his previous job.  He was the tallest shearer I had ever seen.  Of similar age to me he did well to maintain his back in a healthy way.  He had a look around, got his equipment from his truck and set up.  It was interesting watching him perform what must be ritual preparations, including donning a specific pair of running shoes.  This made perfect sense to me as I watched him shear since he was often standing on the fleece.  I think too the runners were canvas and very washable.

Here are some pics of the shearer at work.   The pile of wool behind him is garbage wool, very dirty and very short.  I kept it to mulch the tomatoes.

It was very hot and humid.  Shearing is hard work.  It is not difficult to hold the sheep since the method of positioning the sheep leaves them pretty well immobilised.  The left side of the animal is done first.

Here he is holding her snout and pulling her neck straight as he glides the shears upward under her neck.

Side one is done here and he has begun side two. He will pull her up onto her bottom again to complete the right side, starting at the head and working along to the tail.

I had heard this fellow was good, very good.  And he was fast, a characteristic noted by CP, a fellow spinner in attendance. 

He also took a few minutes to show me how he - and other shearers - catch and immobilize the sheep.  It really is great to know and practise these things as it is easier and kinder to your back.  I appreciate that he took a few minutes to show me these techniques.

 Unfortunately he does not shear llamas and I had to find someone else to do them.

 Peanut was first.  Here she is with her lamb, outside for the first time with all the big kids.


After the ewe was shorn I gathered up the fleece and went through to the garage.  There I had set up a skirting table.  This is an old gate I found on the farm.  I have repaired the broken frame and replaced the broken and rusty wire.  The open fence material allows any loose vegetable matter in the fleece to fall to the floor.  The skirting team was warned that there were many burrs in the wool.

They had fun - as far as I could tell.  Okay, they said they had fun, too.  I overheard snippets of good conversation as I went in and out.  And there were oohs and aahs over various fleeces. 

 After skirting - literally removing the skirt or edge of the fleece - it is rolled up and put in a bag.

 Everyone had soft hands at the end of the day, despite the sheepy smell on their clothes.  The lanolin of wool is delicious to the hands.

And each fleece is weighed.  This is very important since it is sold by weight.

I am curious about moisture loss and will weigh again after a week.

Although a commercial flock, some of the fleeces were exceptional from a spinner's perspective, as declared by CP.  A spinner, CP was happy to take home Smudge's fleece which weighed five pounds.  CJ packed up the 5.3 pounds of Maybelle's fleece to begin a felting project.  I kept one adult fleece - that of Dot - and one yearling fleece - that of Peanut. 

Happy shorn sheep now adorn the fields.  This is Marmalade.  Some of the sheep look very different now and I have to figure out who they are. The lambs now look much larger next to their shorn mothers.

In the foreground is Spot, Tall Girl is in the middle and Charlotte is against the fence.  This is the small pond behind the house.

Not only is the lamb kicking up his heels after being cooped up inside for twenty-four hours but Mom - I think this is Spot - is very happy to be without her winter coat as she too kicks up her heels.

And afterwards the crew of us had a lovely dinner, enjoying good food and fellowship.  Thank you ladies!  What a delightful time we had together.

Monday 19 May 2014


I hope never to meet Reginald again.  However, two sightings in one day and a story from last year leave me doubting we will never meet again.  I have been traumatised by our encounter.  Yet, my medication leaves me so well balanced that the anxiety experienced does feel much less than reptile encounters of the past.  Still, I never want to meet Reginald again.

It was mid morning.  I had enjoyed my morning coffee, completed a number of indoor tasks and was now heading out to the barn area to work on my day's list of chores.  I was at the back door, outside, on the deck and put on my boots.  As usual I made sure my inserts were properly in place, laced up the long laces to a comfortable tightness, tied the bow and was ready.  I stood up, turned to the driveway and took a step forward - and stopped very very quickly.

I shrieked as a very very long and large snake was disappearing under my car which was just off of the porch step.  I quickly turned around and went into the house.  I looked out the window and more of the length was disappearing under my car.  The camera was right there and I took a photo of the tail poking out from under my car. 

This was the BIGGEST F------ SNAKE I had ever seen!!  And I didn't want to be there.  I didn't want it to there.  I didn't want to see it.  It can't be here.  This is my paradise.  It cannot be here. 

I turned away from the window.  I took off my boots.  More indoor activities were in order.  Calm ones to slow down my heart and respiration rates.

After awhile I deemed it relatively safe and prepared to go outside.  I had things to do.  Normally I don't take Beau dog with me up to the barn when I have lots to do there or if the sheep are in the barn.  I spare him and the sheep an encounter.  The ewes have bopped him and he has snarled at the ewes.  And lately I have used Beau on a leash to gather the sheep and get them into the barn at night.  This time, however, I needed him with me, even if only for my own comfort.

We went to the barn.  We did things.  We got stuff done.  I do not remember what we did; or what I did.  I got stuff done.

Later on the lawn mowing crew arrived.  The crew belonged to a business operated by the previous owners of the property.  Since we have not decided what equipment we need to purchase, we decided to hire these folks to mow the lawn.  I wanted a quote and they arrived prepared to mow.  We settled on a price for mowing the desired area.  I chose to mow an area much smaller than the previous owners as I was intending for the sheep to graze the remaining area.

As we were talking, I took the opportunity to socialise and tell these other humans about the BIGGEST F------- SNAKE I had ever seen.  That, I was told, was a Rat Snake, an endangered species, desirable in barns as it will keep down the rodent population, and yes, quite long, indeed.  Harmless, really.  Unlike the diamond backed water snake also very common that is just plain nasty.  These were all not things I wanted to hear.  Still, my anxiety was surprisingly manageable....

Oh, and we remember, they said, "Last summer when we were working on something in the garage and this thing" - that is, the Rat Snake - "was rattling around in the rafters.  Remember that? It was freaking out."

Inside I was freaking out.  I did not want to hear.  And later, did not want to learn that the Rat Snake can be several meters in length and is able to climb trees.

I did some more yard work while they mowed the lawn and applied their whipper-snippers to edges of the area.  And we chatted some more.

When hubby came home I told him about the BIGGEST F------ SNAKE I had ever seen.  He listened.  He went off to do his stuff...  I went out the barn.  I took the dog.  As usual I went through the garage to the Small Barn.  I looked over the door into the lean-to and saw the BIGGEST F------ SNAKE I had ever seen, again.  This time I saw it's front end.  It was against the far wall of the lean-to, folded back on itself at the base of the wall.  I shrieked, maybe only inside.  I walked straight out the open garage door ahead of me on the north side of the Small Barn section of the garage.  I quickly walked back to the house, went in, removed my boots and found indoor activities to do.

When hubby and I reconvened a while later I think he realised I could not go to the Small Barn.  As we chatted, I also came to realise several other animals behaviours over the past few days may be related to the presence of Reginald, the BIGGEST F------ SNAKE I had ever seen.

The hens had begun to lay some of their eggs in the small chicken pen in the lean-to off the Small Barn.  I had begun to wire them in, stapling wire netting onto the top and outside of the pen.  The plan was to soon move the hens down from the Big Barn.  I had already begun to put some food and water in this pen to encourage the hens to be present here and to continue to lay their eggs here.  There was a little hen door to outside, too.  As of late, however, there were fewer eggs laid here.  Perhaps the presence of Reginald was the explanation.

Often the llamas would sleep in the lean-to.  They are tidy animals, the llamas.  They liked the fresh straw I had put down in the lean-to.  It was cool there and less buggy.  They could be found there in the daytime or nighttime.  But lately they weren't there much at all.  Perhaps the presence of Reginald was the explanation.

When sister came to visit the next day, she researched Rat Snakes.  While I made dinner she read what information she found on line.  I was happy to be spared the photos.  Sister was determined there is a way to get rid of Reginald, the endangered BIGGEST F------ SNAKE I had ever seen.

Over the next few days Reginald was not seen.  His memory lingers very strongly for me.  I have actively avoided the Small Barn, in particular the lean-to.  I am very wary of my surroundings and look widely around me.

I decided, somewhere in my mind, while obsessing on the sighting of the BIGGEST F------ SNAKE I had ever seen that he should be called Reginald.  He must be male and without a nest to mother. 

As hubby said, perhaps he will never be seen again.  I am hopeful, yet aware that hope is not a strategy.

Thursday 15 May 2014

Llama Shearing

The most frequently quoted poems of Ogden Nash:

   The one-L lama, he's a priest
   The two-L llama, he's a beast
   And I would bet a silk pyjama
   There isn't any three-L lllama

Thank you RC for enlightening me on this poem!
Getting to know these new and sometimes strange creatures has been interesting - to say the least.  We often look left then right wondering if Dr Doolittle has arrived.

I decided early on that the best approach to the llamas is to view them like a horse.  A young horse can be readily spooked and unpredictable, so from my experience this was the best way for me to approach the llamas.  Basically, I rarely assume anything with them.  Yet, we have become accustomed to each others' behaviours.

I expected that shearing day would involve spit and kicking.  None of that happened.  I was almost shocked with how well things went, certainly very pleased.  I began the day with a bad back experience so ending the day well with no back challenges was excellent.

The first challenge was to find someone to shear them.  When arranging for a fellow to come and shear the sheep I asked last if he does llamas and he said, "No, I try to stay clear of them actually."  Having found someone to shear my few sheep I did not want to cancel him, but kept looking for someone to do the llamas.

One fellow who does all fibre critters had already been in the area three times and was now off to Central Ontario for several weeks of shearing there.  He could be available at the end of June.  It's getting pretty warm then and we will be away around that time, so I kept looking.

I had left a message with my shepherdess neighbour but had not heard back from her.  Then one morning there was a voice mail message from her.  She had emerged from lambing her fifty plus flock.  Her shearer was coming in the next week.  I left him a voice mail about doing the llamas and didn't hear back from him.  The neighbour and I decided I should come over on the first day of shearing and speak with him.

So, I spoke with Charlie and he agreed to come that afternoon, after four, to do the llamas.  I had to go to the bank to get funds to pay Charlie.  Just before six o'clock I drove over to the neighbours and Charlie had three sheep left to shear and still wanted to do the llamas today.  About an hour later Charlie arrived.

I had put the llamas into the small box stall the day before.  I could not find the halter I had bought for them.  It must be with the sunglasses I lost this morning - in the ether of the barn, somewhere.  I used a halti dog collar on Henrietta.  She didn't like it but I was successful getting it on her.

Charlie started with Henrietta.  I hooked a horse lead up to Henrietta's 'halter' and away we went.  The humming began - the constant conversation between Sheba and Henrietta.  I hummed back.  I think Sheba was trying to reassure her daughter the whole time.  This was Henrietta's first shearing experience.

She was great.  There was some pushing and shoving.  Then she settled down.  Once in awhile there was more pushing and shoving.  When Charlie got to the top of her leg, she seemed irritated by the flapping fleece over her leg and went down on her knees.  She did this on each side.  There were a few other ticklish spots. Charlie took firm hold of the lead to finish up her long neck. Charlie just worked with her.  When she got twitchy in one spot he moved to another spot.  He talked to them too in a calming tone.

Charlie explained to me that the llamas fibre is coarser than wool and therefore harder on the blades of the clippers.  He had to change blades a few times.

To facilitate getting the job done I had to ignore the fibre.  I told Charlie in advance not to worry about it, just let it fall into the stall and I will get it later.  The goal had to be to get the fleece off the animal.  So, by the time we were done there was fibre shin deep throughout the stall.  Beau-dog looked into the stall later, after I'd picked up the bulk of the fibre, leaving the shorter clumps, and he wondered what animal or animals were in there!  I went in the stall and showed him it was just fluff.

Next was Sheba.  Putting a halter on her was not going to happen.  First I got my cotton lead rope over her neck.  I slid it up behind her ears and quickly managed a loop over her nose.  Then suddenly I had a makeshift halter on her and secured it under her jaw.  We were good to go.

I expected a real show of disagreement and un-co-operativeness.  Sheba was better than Henrietta!  She stood still the entire time and just let Charlie calmly trim her down.  Sheba's fleece is very coarse.  The softer, fluffier stuff on her neck is too short for spinning.  None-the-less it came off.  No ticklish belly here as she has no fleece on her belly.  On some level perhaps she knew she'd feel so much better once this was over.

I had been wanting to de-worm these girls too but just didn't know how I'd get close enough.  That morning I had gone out with my syringe of apple flavoured horse wormer that people use for llamas.  Oh, and a Ziploc bag full of cut up apple.  I intended to grab Henrietta, poke the syringe into the inter dental space and squeeze the goo into her mouth.  Then I'd do the same for Sheba.  And there would be kicking and spit and such nonsense.  None of this was necessary.

Hmmm, I thought, apple and apple...  I squeezed a half teaspoon of gel medicine into my palm and coated an apple chunk with it.  Sheba ate it.  She was giving it second thoughts but then, she loves treats, and I offered more.  Three or four pieces of apple did the trick.  Then I did the same with Henrietta.  It was done!

The de-wormer I used also takes care of external parasites such as lice and the blood sucking keds that bother the sheep.  I had expected to see these on the llamas when they were clipped.  I was glad to see that there were none that were noticeable.

So, the funny llama things got funnier looking.  As you can see in the photo they are thin;  not due to malnourishment - they are just built that way.  Charlie said their behaviour was excellent, based on his experience of shearing the beasts.  I see that they have a good layer of flesh on them - which you can only see when they are clipped like this.  So, I am very satisfied with the work accomplished, the condition of the llamas, and their behaviour.

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Random Baby Photos

If you find baby photos boring, well this might do it too.  Here are some very nice shots taken by hubby.  Enjoy!

Okay, this is not a baby photo.  It's just me, a shepherdess-in-waiting.  Chloe is lambing.  She's in the barnyard.  She is very timid.  A yearling, it looks like she might need some help but she won't stay still and she won't come into the barn.  I have a clean white towel tucked into my coat.  Smudge is behind me with her babies.  It was a very long evening.  Chloe finally gave birth in the field, without assistance, as darkness was settling in.  I ensured baby was breathing and then backed off so she could mother it up, which Chloe did well.  Very slowly I was able to coax Chloe to follow me while I held the lamb low at ground height.  Finally I got her into the Small Barn and a warm, dry pen as full darkness had set in.  Baby "Tiny", a female, is doing well.

Babies love to romp and play with each other.  They run back and forth.  They bounce and buck-jump and pronk.  Another game is king of the castle, taking turns jumping up onto some object.  I saw them the other day playing this on the well topper in the field.  Butting heads is a little game - unlike their mothers who take it much more seriously. 

On the right is Smudge, making noise, as usual.  One of her twins is at her side.
On the left is Dot with two of her three babies.

In the centre is Cotton with Tiger.  They are doing very very well.  Cotton has burrs stuck under her jaw.  The sheep are finding all of the burdock and there are many.  This does not bode well for a spinner.  Some time will be spent this summer rooting out burdock plants in the pasture.

Babies at play.  When they are not sleeping in clusters in the field, or nibbling at new grass, babies will play.  They are curious about many things and here there are numerous piles of wood for their amusement.

I can tell that this lamb with the green ear tag is Spot's large single male.  We hadn't tagged the others yet.

I think Spot and Dot might be sisters.  They are both very aggressive to the others.  Spot actually has a red spot on her head from bashing others. I finally sorted one from the other.  Spot's spot on her left ear is about the size of a loonie and is only on the outside.  Dot has smaller but distinctive dots on the inside and outside of her left ear.  I can also distinguish them since Spot has a broader head - better for butting others; while Dot has a refined, narrower face.  Currently nursing triplets Dot is thinner than Spot who is nursing a single.

A closer view of babies playing in the wood and wood chips.

Another shot of Cotton and Tiger in the pasture.  It's early yet for much good grass but the sheep are eating little hay and spend their daytime in the field.  They come back to the barn at midday to early afternoon for a rest, water and to chew their cud.  The llamas hardly ever come to the barn now, preferring to stay out in the field.

Another random baby photo.  This might be one of Marmalade's babies.  Her twins are fuzzy with longish hair on their legs and chin.  Marmalade has an tawny colouring to her face and I thought the name fit.

When lambs nurse they wag their tails madly.  This is a welcome sight when the newborns enjoy their first feeding as it is essential they eat very soon after birth.

The ewe in front and to the right here had not yet lambed.  It is Olive or Maybell.  Perhaps they too are twins as they share the distinguishing feature of heavy eye liner.  That was the inspiration for the names too; think Oil of Olay and Maybelline.  To tell them apart further I had to zero in on the fact that Olive's eyeliner makes a more or less complete circuit around her eye, a circle or "O"; thus, Olive.  And Maybell's eyeliner is concentrated on the lower lid.

The sheep in the centre is Polar Bear.  When she lambed that's what I thought of when I looked in the pen and it seemed to fit.

I hope these baby photos weren't too draining for you.  They grow up very fast!

Tuesday 6 May 2014


It seems that maybe Smudge has her own fan club as several readers have asked about her. 

After trying to mother four lambs that weren't hers and then pestering the new mothers through the pen walls, we put Smudge in a pen in the other barn.  Another ewe, subsequently named Tall Girl - yes, she is very tall - also ended up in the pen which meant Smudge had company.  After a few days of no lambing activity both girls were put out with the flock.  Smudge behaved herself.

Smudge is truly a character.  I named her Smudge due to the Cinderella-like smudges on her face.  It looks as if she came upon an ash pit and it blew back into her face.  I can see this happening as Smudge is very curious.  She's often first and kind of 'in your face' about things.  And she likes food which makes me one of her favourite daily attractions; I am the food lady.  Her voice is distinctive - and somewhat grating. 

At morning feeding time on the morning of April 28th Smudge was observed bleating and looking about for babies, possibly.  Then she would butt heads with Maybell...  Smudge lambed at about 9:30 that morning.  She had twins, a male and a female.  The male was about eight pounds and the female just over seven pounds.  All of the lambs have been over seven pounds except one tiny female who surprisingly was six pounds.  The largest lamb was Tiger at 11.4 pounds.

She's a good mother, is Smudge.  When the lambs were a few days old and Smudge and babies were moved to the larger group, Smudge kept close tabs on her babes.  She would keep her lambs separate and stay with them.  Rarely have I heard her lambs crying for her; she's keeping tabs on them.

And as shy as Sheba is, rarely allowing us to get close enough to touch her, Smudge gets quite close!  So do the chickens.

So, Smudge is a happy sheep with happy babies.

Thursday 1 May 2014

Henrietta's Fan Club

She really is a character, Henrietta.  We are all learning about each other.  We were rightfully cautious around her at first.  Now we understand that although she may be posturing when she comes boldly running up and snorts, she's having fun too.  She's young at three.  Llama's reach maturity around this age and live to be over twenty years of age.  And this girl has a sense of humour.

Most of the time she just ignores Beau dog.  She has observed me trying to get Beau to stay away from the sheep and often to just get out of the paddock.  The other day, Henrietta playfully went after him.  She rounded him up - the Border Collie rounded up by the black and white llama!  She carefully herded him over to the fence where he sneaks in underneath.  He stayed out.

She likes to nuzzle your face.  At first this was quite disconcerting as you wondered if she was coming in to take a nip or what.  Just like we like to stroke her face she wants to stroke ours with her muzzle.  Her muzzle is very soft; as soft as it looks.

We recently met a couple who live up the road.  She asked if we had a cow.  After a moment I replied, "Ah, no, that is the Holstein llama named Henrietta!"

Cars driving by on the road stop and stare at Henrietta and Sheba, especially when they are at the roadside fence.  Henrietta just stares back at them.  It makes one wonder who is the tourist in this situation, who is staring at who.

Members of Henrietta's fan club gave us a baby monitor.  This allows us to listen in at the barn, which may indicate if someone is lambing....

The other day, hubby observed a car stop on the road.  Some young people got out of the car and posed near the fence in front of Henrietta while someone in the car took photos.  I wonder if they asked for her autograph.

I am reminded of daughter's experiences in China.  Tall, blond and blue-eyed she often became the attraction when sightseeing as the natives formed a line to have their photo taken with her. I think Henrietta would have enjoyed this much more than daughter did!

I think we should post a sign that states "Guard animals at work".  Even though the purpose of the llamas is to guard the sheep from coyotes they guard in general.  One day a service man was leaving and I walked with him out to his truck.  He hadn't been here very long.  Across the field Henrietta was staring back at the newly arrived vehicle, upright and alert and all of the sheep were behind her.  It was a perfect picture of the guardian at work.

Henrietta has also performed a greeting function.  

If she's at the barn she will come over to the fence and snort at newly arrived guests.  When new persons go to the fence she will gladly give them a good going over.  She will posture, growing tall and upright, stick her nose up in the air and snort loudly.  She will cross the path, barring their way.

She loves hubby.  She came roaring across the field last night when she saw him.  I get no such greeting. 

He must hum a different tune than I.  Llama's hum; say "Hmmm" at a high octave and you just about have it.  Henrietta and Sheba hum in conversation with each other - similar to when they snort and spit at each other in conversation but with a much kinder message attached.  So, hubby must have a good hum happening that Henrietta finds most desirable.  Either that or he lines his pockets with carrots more often than I.  The advanced hum sounds like a nicker or even a purr.  It really is quite sweet.

Sheba remains in the background.  She appears aloof as only a llama - or camelid - can with their tall neck and regal gestures.  And when they are alert and in guardian mode the head goes up with the nose royally upward accentuating the snooty impression they are trying to impose.  Sheba will come forward for corn or the compost bucket.  Henrietta is often quick to push her away.  Henrietta is like a spoiled princess who must be first for everything.  Sheba has hummed for us and even nickered however she remains backstage. 

The fan club really is all about Henrietta - the photogenic princess-holstein-border collie-coloured llama!