I loathe dusting; it is a never-ending chore, and with high winds and wildfire or woodstove smoke it's impossible to keep up with.
But...I love watching llamas take dust baths.
This is a common sight during the summer months. However, I was stunned to see this action from one-week-old Freya, yesterday:
Note the not-so-white neck now. And that's Zuri, born in April, in the background for size comparison with Freya.
I've also been watching the interactions between Nella and Freya. Considerable nuzzling going on...
Nella is very protective of her cria, yet she allows her to explore. Freya has been checking out the fences and racing across the paddock, back to the comfort of mom.
You can see how light Freya's one blue eye is from this angle. By the way, we named her "Freya" after the Norse goddess of love and beauty and the source of the day name "Friday" (she was born on Friday the 13th, and 13 is a lucky goddess number).
Another fun thing to watch is how llamas get themselves down. It's called "kushing" in llamas and is similar to how the sheep get down.
Tilting the head back and looking rather smug. Freya mastered this on day one.
Family portrait :-)
Things seemed settled on the farm; it was perfectly safe for me to drive to Graeagle for a knitting day at Woolly Notions, even though it was Friday the 13th.
I had a relaxing time, starting a new knitting project and visiting with the regulars at the shop. The drive both ways was beautiful and inspiring. My first clue anything was amiss was glancing up the hill as I drove past, noticing that the sheep were in a different paddock than we had let them into in the morning. I thought perhaps they had found an opening in the fence.
I expected to find Gene napping or reading the newspaper when I got home about 3:00, but he was in the driveway when I pulled up and said, "You need to come here and see this." I walked toward the pasture, thinking perhaps some wild critter was in there. Then, a flash of white beside Nella...
This little cria (baby llama) is only a few hours old. She (I think it is female, haven't checked) has one blue eye and one brown. I am just now learning about BEW (blue-eyed white) llamas on the internet. We had no idea Nella was pregnant, and I also just learned that llama gestation is 11 and a half months! I just thought she was a big llama!
Gene had quite the day, witnessing the birth and calling the vet to come make sure this little cria was okay. And the sheep were startled as well.
The cria is nursing here, and Nella is none too pleased with these curious sheep. Notice her ears in the back position. I didn't get a picture, but she did a mild spit/hiss at them.
Welcome to Four Winds Farm, little cria!
I've spent at least an hour a day for a week scouring the pasture for broken bits of glass and rusted stuff. Always finding more than my pockets or hands can carry, I am astounded that there's ever more to find.
Do you see what I see? Look closely near the center of the picture.
Maybe this one is easier to spot. Broken glass and rusty nails and old tractor parts and even horseshoes!
The sheep come out to check out my mysterious behavior. The familiar "rip, rip" of sheep tearing grass has been replaced by "crunch, crunch" of acorns they find. Shyla and her ram lamb, Sherpa, are finding some here. About all that is left in the pasture in the late summer is turkey mullein, which is toxic to sheep, though Ariel and Zuri, below, are managing to nibble something tasty from underneath the plants. The last heavy rains, last week, have started some green shoots, but they won't grow much before being covered with snow. The sheep will have to wait until April for luscious, fresh grasses.
Meanwhile, I'll continue to stroll and scour for dangerous junk. Some of my finds in the pasture clearly suggest a story, a history of this land. I wonder at the leavings of tools and machinery, rotting and rusting, waiting to be tripped upon by humans or injure sheep feet. We have been a thoughtless species, in too much of a hurry to take care of things properly, desecrating this sacred earth. Occasional findings of obsidian treasures, though, tells me that Maidu lived here before these rusted leavings, and I believe they treasured this land, as do I.
Yes, it does.
It's both thrilling and terrifying living at the edge of the woods. At night, there are spooky howls and chirps and twig-snappings: predators afoot in the forest. Last night I heard a new unfamiliar sound and went to investigate at the window. I saw the boys (the rams) all standing in an alert group facing the back fence. It was just dusk, and I could follow their gaze and spotted a bear by the back fence. Or was it inside the fence? I watched, along with the rams, until it was too dark to make out anything but their white wool. I assumed the bear ambled on.
This morning, Gene and I walked along the fence, shovels in hand (just in case) and checked for evidence. There's a well-worn bear path along the north side.
This fresh scat looks like the bear was into some berries, unlike the first picture (also fresh) that indicated an apple meal from our neighbor's orchard. Hey, perhaps there might be some lucrative promise to a new career: investigative scat photographer.
The fence looked undisturbed all around, but I may have spotted the bear running up the hill, as it saw us poking around. Hope he/she stays away tonight!