Sunday, April 15, 2018

Now, Just Ewe Chicks

Maybe counting 28 lambs was too taxing.

Or maybe he saw snow in the forecast yet again, and thought spring would never come.

Or maybe, at 18 years, he'd lived the lifespan of a llama.

But this weekend, Llambert the Llama checked out, leaving the farm llamaless for the first time in 12 years.

Llambert arrived on our farm shortly after the sheep. At the time, llamas were the choice guard animals for sheep. And, he was our choice at the llama farm because he, a big brown llama, was cheaper than the silver, white and black llamas.

Nobody wants a brown sweater.

The llama owner loved him, though, and spent much of her time cooing at him, blowing him kisses and rubbing her hands over his body.

"So do llamas have a spot where they like to be rubbed?" my husband asked the woman's husband when the woman left the barn.

"Llamas don't like to be touched," he said.

But Llambert liked the sheep and oversaw the births of hundreds of lambs. In the spring, we delighted in watching the lambs climb on him and nestle up with him.

When we had the occasional bottle lamb, he'd be its snuggle partner at night.

He, tolerated the chickens, too, allowing them to climb on his back and perch.

 The cat, too, found there was nothing like nestling in llama fur on cold winter nights.

For the most part, I let him be a llama and revel in his llamaness.

Once a year, though, I had to get out the halter, so the vet and I could tend to his health needs: vaccinations, hoof trimming, deworming and shearing.

"You should have got a donkey," the vet said the first year that he saw the llama.

In those early years, the annual vet visit usually involved some kicking, cursing and flying syringes.

We got better at it, though, and by year 10 seemed to have a system down.

I got better at the llama hair cuts too. During my first attempts, he looked like he'd been attacked by a kindergartner with safety scissors.

Last year, when I finished his haircut, I declared it as "not that bad."

Maybe that's why he left. Shearing season was coming.

Rest in peace big guy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

When Optimism Feels Like Work...

It was definitely our prettiest snow of spring--and had it happened in winter, it would have been the prettiest winter snow.

For 12 hours, the wind seemed to stop and allow the snow to fall in big, loose flakes. It clung to gates, fences, tree branches.

And, the spring bird song made the event surreal. How can there be so much bird song in the calm after a snowfall?

The best part about it? It was April 2, when the sun is higher in the sky, and the ground is not frozen, and the temperatures would rise above freezing. So, by afternoon, it would be gone.

I try to enjoy it's loveliness, but instead, I find myself scanning blogs from early April in years past. Was the grass green? How green was it? Surely, the daffodils will bloom, the dandelions will come to life, and spring will be here to stay.