For the last 24 hours all we’ve heard on the news is about this powerful snow storm heading our way with up to 24″ of snow and high winds over night! What do I see outside this morning when I got up? 5 foot snowdrifts? NO! Wind swept pastures with sheets of blowing snow giving us white out visibility? NO! It is sunshine galore out there! Not a cloud in the sky! We spent hours yesterday getting the animals ready for riding the storm out. We shut them in the barn, gave extra grain, plugged holes that we discovered from the last storm, spreading more straw. I gave them all a lecture about being nice to each other while cooped up in a tight spot and few a warnings along with finger pointing (Sparky) for a more dramatic effect if anybody nips at the other! I have trapped animals who I’m sure are very unhappy by this time of day and I’m the one who will be opening up the barn door! That means I have to slowly, carefully slide it open as I stand sideways so I don’t get trampled as they gallop for freedom! As soon as they gulp in the crisp fresh air, shaking off the barn dust they will realize that I’m in the barn and they’re not! That means they all run BACK into the barn to pounce upon the food that I was trying to sneak out before they realized it! IF I’m lucky, I will be in the back pen with the girl llamas and Stormy feeding them before the troops raid the barracks! sheesh!!
On a warm summer weekend we had a garage sale. We would advertise all over town that Addie Acres was having another sale, encouraging folks that they are welcome to bring their youngsters to the farm to see the llamas and pet the fat little goat who likes to hug. It seems like every time we opened the doors, we would get people showing up to offer us FREE animals. This time it was free… chickens. This young couple were down on their luck, moving in with her parents but mom didn’t want noisy chickens to reside in her backyard. They were hoping that we would adopt their pets. They sweetened the deal by not only giving us these chicks, they were also throwing in a nice big cage, food dishes and corn grain! All that FREE stuff! I said, yes before Chad could blink an eye! These chickens were still young, mostly fluff and you couldn’t tell what they were yet. Unfortunately 5 out of the 8 chicks were Bantam’s. They are small chickens with big attitudes… little man syndrome. Of course 4 of those little terrors turned out to be roosters. They hung out together, attacked together and bossed every animal in the barn even at the risk of being stomped. We nicked named them the 4 Horsemen. Bantams are very pretty, they have long tail feathers’ with many different colors. These 4 guys traveled together…the gang. They didn’t like to sleep, eat or hang with the flock. We would watch them strut around the yard, chasing bunnies or sleeping under a bush. The Horsemen also didn’t care that much for humans and after giving Lucifer the axe a few months before, we weren’t up to letting roosters chase us in our own backyard again! Especially annoying little birds that were no bigger than our Chihuahua. We let them know early on that we the people, control the food and showed them where we kept the axe. The gang kept to themselves that first year and although they were a pain by pecking at our ankles we let them stay just so we could watch their antics with the other animals. The Horseman loved the cats and were not afraid of them. The kitties on the other hand despised those irritating birds. Those ankle tall roosters would chase the cats, pecking at their behinds or stealing their kibbles. The kitties sat high up on the hay bales to keep distance between them. Once in awhile you could hear the battle between the Horsemen and a couple of cats….loud squawks and high pitched meows. They also annoyed the goats. The gang was always sneaking into Dillon and Sierra’s pen, hanging out pecking at the goat grain. Once they were in, the goats were not allowed back inside with out a fight. We would chase the pest out so the goats could go to bed. The Llamas didn’t care for the gang and left them alone. Our dogs however loved them! If a pooch got out, he went straight for one of the Bantams! Cody our golden retriever enjoyed a good chase and these roosters were perfect exercise. Those chickens would split up running in circles or ducking under a barrel. Cody was in heaven! He went from one to the other, mouth open wide, tongue hanging, a few feathers stuck in his teeth. As much as I wouldn’t have cared, I never let him grab a Horsemen. But I did allow Cody to put the fear of dog in them! If they were acting up, I opened the door and let a dog or two out to put them back in their place. After a couple of years the gang started to get mean, following in Lucifer’s footsteps. They started to attack the children who stopped by to pet the animals so they ended up in the freezer. I couldn’t bring myself to eat them. Chad cooked them up one night and served them at a family gathering. I heard they were tough and not very tasty which didn’t surprise me at all. I enjoyed them for a short period and can honestly say, I will never allow Bantam chickens to rule the farm again, unless MAYBE they’re free!
Our llamas love to look inside our house. They mosey up to the windows and peek in. They will also stand outside the back or front door when open watching us with curious eyes! There have been times when we walked from room to room, they followed us window to window. If I’m in the kitchen I can see one of the Llamas staring in at me. If I go from that room and into the living room, she will walk to each window peeking in until I’m in her line of sight again. One time I went from one room to another to see if the llamas’ would follow and for how long. We played the peek-a-boo game for almost 5 min. I went into the family room, they found that window and stood there. I snuck back into the kitchen, a llama or two trotted from window to window until they found me doing their stalk look. They enjoy looking through the glass door, it gives them a full view of the house with everything going on inside it! It makes them very happy!! I don’t know if I should call them nosy, curious or creepers!
Oh what a wonderful morning! The first thing I usually do is open my curtains to spy on the animals to see if they are being naughty or nice! This morning they have decided to be naughty! I see Sweetie our black Llama in the front field, where she is NOT suppose to be! NOT A GOOD SIGN! I quickly get dressed and run out the non-stop swinging door, which I seem to be doing allot lately. I can now see Sparky, the Tank and Dunkay in the Llama field, a very bad sign. I don’t see our boy Llama Stormy, Sammie or Lincoln, an ‘Oh NO’ sign! I sprint to the barn where I hear two Llamas fighting and Lincoln my Alpaca is now running to the back field screaming…I didn’t know Alpacas can scream! It’s an eerie sound, nothing like their warning call. In the barn are two full grown male Llamas that out weigh me by 150 pounds each, fighting, making sounds that would make a grown man stop and back away praying that they don’t see him! I have to form a plan, quickly. Do I let them fight their way out of the barn or do I yell like a crazy lady waving my arms outside where people can see me? I yell. They both stop, look at me, look back at each other, then back at me. I swear they both had a look of amusement on their faces. After sharing a laugh between themselves, they decided to go back doing what boy Llamas do best…fight. I gave up. I trudged my way through the thick mud to the back field and chased 2 horses and a donkey back into their own pasture. Meantime Lincoln is in the corner of the fence panicking, wailing out his distress sounds. Both goats are in the barn hiding under the food bin and the kitties are going about cat business, they want to be fed…now! Stormy decided that he had had enough of Sammy and searches for Lincoln which got him out of the barn. He galloped over to where Lincoln was trembling then chased him along the fence. A grunting Llama with his head close to the behind of a screaming Alpaca! Oh where was my camera! While those two were running back and forth, it gave me a chance to herd both girl Llamas into the side yard with the promise of tasty grain. Lincoln runs back to the barn with an angry Llama snipping and spitting close behind! By the grace of God, I got Sammy & Lincoln into a pen (where the goats were hiding) and shut the gate to keep Stormy our boy Llama from biting them! Now I have 2 girl Llamas in one field, 2 horses and a donkey in another with an unhappy boy llama running from barn to pasture where his girls are. Now all I have to do is trick 3 Lamas into their own territory! HA! With a cup full of desirable grain, a slide of the hand on the gate, along with a few herding tricks that involves out stretched arms mixed with my own animal noises, they are back where they belong! I shut everybody into their rightful places and inspect for damage inside the barn. Not too bad, they didn’t consume all the grain, 2 hay bales were toppled, the chicken and cat food I left out last night had been eaten and only 2 piles of horse poop in the main area. I gave the horses their pills and fed chickens along with kitties, I scolded everybody for being bad boys and girls which doesn’t do me any good, they only stare back with a blank expression. I will keep a close eye on the herd today. If they worked the inside gate open once, they will surely do it again.
Okay…this was weird. I went out to feed everybody (their favorite past time) and the goats were in the far corner away from all the other animals, not unusual since they don’t like anyone else and keep to themselves. I noticed they were facing each other, almost nose to nose making soft grunting and baaaing sounds back and forth…like they were ‘talking’ to each other. They were so deep in ‘conversation’ that I didn’t want to break-up their special moment. So I stood there watching with a smile on my face silently kicking myself for once more forgetting to bring the camera out with me. I didn’t get to awwwww every long, Dunkay butted me from behind and the mini tank made sure I saw her, all of her. Apparently the other animals don’t think it’s as cute, they want to eat…..now.
Looking out my window to see if there were naughty animals, I spotted Sparky & the Tank beating up Dunkay in front of the barn door. They were nipping at him while pushing him with their noses. He sorta stood there and let Laci bite him on the neck while Sparky pushed him with her snout. They trotted around him like Indians circling a doomed wagon train. He stood there not moving or trying to get away while they formed a plan of attack on him. After a neck chew by Laci the mini tank, he threw his head high into the air and kicked up his back legs. I was worried that I might see blood coming from his body. About 2 min passed and the attack was over. Then the 3 of them walked out to the back pasture together like best buddies…weird. I guess it’s the week for the girls putting the boys in their place! The horses today, the girl llama’s controlling Stormy yesterday! Woo-Hoo, the women rule on THIS farm…right Chad????
SHE IS FREE AND WILD AS LONG AS I FEED HER!!
Before I go to bed, I shall share a Dunkay story.
I collected all the brown eggs and remembered that my little red basket was in the house so I put them in a bread bag. I carefully placed in each one so they wouldn’t break and gently laid them on the ground next to the gate. I went to the back of the barn to feed the Llamas when I heard this commotion behind me. I automatically roll my eyes and start to form the word NO on my lips. I turned around and there was Dunkay with his head squeezed through the lower bars of the gate, my Wonder bread bag in his mouth. I saw myself in slow motion running to the gate, reaching for the bag of eggs, my hand opened wide and the favorite barn word being slowly yelled, “NOOOOOOOOOO”!. Dunkay looked at me, swung his head to the right, the bag of fragile eggs flying through the air just missing my out stretched hand and flying body! It hit the metal top bar with a dishearten CRUCNH sound. The eggs and I landed at the same time next to the gate. Dunkay now on the other side, was looking at me with his ears back wearing a “did I do that??’ expression! Yep, 6 good eggs now scrambled without a frying pan!
If you are a true farm woman, it is impossible to get fat! I was out in the barn, field and yard today for an hour and a half, climbing hay stacks, moving bales, filling up animal water bins inside the barn. I did my grain dance with the circling goats and horses. I then emptied out the turtle shaped sand box that the quackers use for a pool, rinsing it out as my impatient ducks flapped and squawked at me the whole time. I climbed over a bunny fence, taking part of it down to make their pen bigger. I swept, then hosed off the back porch from duck poop. I searched for eggs with Dunkay (only found 5..dang hens are getting sneaky again). I chased Llamas out of their pen into the back pasture so I could close it up and let chickens out to enjoy some fresh air and peck at the brown grass. I carried 2 large arm loads of hay to put out for the Llamas and the best exercise of all….I saw Dillon running towards the garage so I sprinted from the middle of the yard to beat him there. I just fed the kitties and left the door open because I wasn’t done with my cat chores when I saw him do a bee-line for the opening! Ha! I beat him! I got there 2 seconds before he did and I loudly said to him, “I win, you lose, no kitty food for you!!” He grunted at me and walked away to see if he could get into the bunny pen for rabbit pellets. Tonight, I’m going to be lazy and herd everybody back into the barn with my Jeep, window down yelling “YEE HAAAW!!..ROLLEN ROLLEN ROLLEN KEEP THEM DOGGIES ROLLEN, RAW HIDE!!”