After a few months of being farmers and getting the llama experience, we or shall I say, me…decided it was time to add to our family of animals. You know us women, we all want a horse! It is every little girls dream to have a horse, white and powerful who eats carrots out of your hand and tramples deadly snakes to save your life! My dream horse was named Snowfire from a TV show back in the mid 1960s. So of course I wanted a white and majestic horse! I got on the internet one night after causally mentioning to Chad about “horses, farm, lots of fun, how about it”. Before he could answer, I already had 4 sheets printed out of who had horses and where within 500 miles! I narrowed it down to 10 miles and found a cute little place in the country called, Knapp Mini Horses. We visited Lisa and her prize horses. She had every size, shape and color! I saw my white horse off in the distance and bee lined to her. She wasn’t a ‘real’ horse, her head came just past my waist and she had a little grey mixed in. Also, her name was Sparky, there was and is a reason for that! I nuzzled her nose and made up my mind that Sparky was going to be mine! Now we needed another horse because according to the internet, they do better in pairs. We found laci off by herself eating, which is what she does best and allot, all the time, non-stop. She is brown with a golden mane and best of all…she is with foal! Two horses for the price of one! Laci reminds me a wal mart greeter so I thought she would be great with little kids while they pet her as she stands there eating. We went into dickering mode with the seller and agreed on a price. Of course I was a few hundred dollars short. Lisa offered to let us put them on ‘lay-a-way’. So, for two months, I paid on my horsy-lay-away and got our barn ready for the new family members. I had a talk with the llamas assuring them that the new horses were not as important as they are and that mommy will always love them the most! They heard me without listening, blinking as they stared into space as my Charlie brown teacher voice went over and around them. Soon the day came when my little girl dream became a reality! Lisa Knapp dropped off my horses and gave us a small booklet on, yes that’s right, the ‘do’s and don’ts for mini horses’! Like before, I scanned it, under lined the important stuff and handed it to Chad who once again frowned at me as he slowly shook his weary head. We introduced the animals and both llamas ran out of the barn into the pasture as the horses bee lined it to the fresh hay. Yep, it was going to work out nice! We had 2 llamas and 2 mini horses with a foal on the way! The four were easy to take care of and gave us hours of entertainment and enjoyment! Well, I was anyway. Chad now had barn duties that he didn’t count on, like mucking the barn, feeding animals in 20 below blizzards and chasing horses back into their side of the field or off the road after they knocked down the fence. What could be better? Maybe a goat? Or three dozen chickens? Why not add a few bunnies? And of course one has to have a barn kitty or three to keep out riff raff
Also…when we were trying to corner Sammy & Lincoln (out in the open field) they kept running towards the fence where Stormy was pacing, which made him very upset! Stormy pushed against the fence spitting in our direction yelling out his war cry toward the boys. He then jumped up and tried to get over the fence which made Lincoln nervous since he is usually the target for Stormy’s aggression. So….3 humans, 2 llamas and 1 scared Alpaca running in circles yelling, spitting and a few choice sailor words from the guys! We finally got them cornered and did a free-for-all grab…Lincoln got caught, Sammie slipped through 6 arms and galloped to the farthest part of the pasture that he could possibly get with Kyle running after him. My camera….I needed my camera!! Youth….Kyle chased that Llama in a wide circle (as Stormy spit) back towards The Doc and I who were still hanging onto a squirmy Lincoln. Sammie ran for the gate and got caught by a salty old Vet who has learned all the sneak, grab and hold tricks from the past 40 years! Job done! Ten upset animals and three humans doing high fives along with yells of YIPPEE!!!
I didn’t mention how we corned the goats…..that story is for later!
My horses and Dunkay are not happy with me at the moment. They saw the ‘hoof doctor’ today. Poor Mike, he had to chase Sparky all around the field until he cornered her inside the barn. Even then she wiggled and squirmed until he got her tied up as close to the fence as possible to keep her from moving. Took him an hour to do 3 animals. Now the musketeers are glaring at me….hey, I didn’t give you sore feet…Mike did
I was sitting on the back porch gazing at the dusk colors of burnt orange and gold the other evening. It was a beautiful spring night, the trees are just beginning to bud, white and yellow daffodils are in full bloom and my animals are fighting each other for the tiny sprouts of green grass trying to find life and sunshine.
As I’m watching the horses and dunkay shove each other away from the struggling blades of green, my mind floated back to 5 years ago when Chad (super farmer) and I thought it would be fun to start a little farm, with no experience and deceiving thoughts of “I’m sure it will be easy, how hard could it be”??!!
We found a cute, already established farm and started off with two Llamas (FREE), Sweetie and Violet. We had seen llamas before and even got close to one once. Therefore we had enough experience to begin with two huge animals who don’t like to be touched, are shy around humans and keep a good distance between you and them
Sweetie and Violet were ‘mini llamas’ so instead of being 6 feet tall, they were only 5 ½’. Piece of cake! Our two full grown Llamas came with ‘royalty’ papers and a guide book that was close to an inch thick, filled with the do’s and don’ts of raising your own llamas for fun or profit. I read the book in 20 minutes and absorbed nothing! I wasn’t familiar with farm language yet and didn’t know anything about shearing every summer and clipping feet every 5 to 6 months so I underlined all that important farm stuff and handed it over to my soon to be named, Super Farmer, husband. He frowned at me as he flipped though pages of all my underling and pink high lights as I pointed to all the important stuff like ‘They Must be Sheared’ and No Dogs Should Ever Be Allowed Near Them’…which worried me since we have a small pack of hounds.
Chad and I learned quickly what llamas liked and what they hated, which is almost everything. We gained the trust of Sweetie who now gives kisses and have come to be experts on our girls. We enjoy Sweetie and Violet and are expecting our first set of ‘llama babies’ to be born late this summer! I’m glad we started this adventure together with Llamas! We have learned allot about farming and a new kind of commitment to animals and to each other as we do ‘rock-paper-scissors’ to see who is going out in the middle of a blizzard to feed, water and chase! Being a farmer is fun and satisfying! Especially when I can relax on my antique wicker rocking chair with a frosty glass of raspberry tea, shouting to Super Farmer who is out in the pasture with more animals than he can count on his fingers and toes, that Sparky is chasing the goat again, “GO SAVE HER!
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.