Then, and Now

Here’s a photo of Chachi then.

Here’s a photo of Chachi now!

Yup, it’s true. He’s naked. In fact, all the llamas are naked.

Annie, who reads this blog and lives nearby AND knows how to shear llamas, introduced herself in an email and volunteered to shear our llamas. We took her up on her generous offer.

It was quite a complicated day involving a neighbor, a radio interview, and two llamas.

Annie, sole caregiver for her mother– who has Alzheimer’s– drove her mom to our neighbor’s house. (Jaycee, a nurse, graciously volunteered to watch Annie’s mom for a few hours.)

Annie’s mom is quiet, with an occasional delightful twinkle in her eye, and tends to walk around the house picking up things and putting them in her pocket. It’s kind of cute, but it does make Annie’s life difficult.

Melissa and Annie went up to the barn and began shearing. I drove our car to the end of our driveway so no one could come in and set our three dogs barking because I was going to be interviewed on the radio, and needed the house quiet. The dogs stayed quiet, the interview went well.

In the afternoon I took over watching Annie’s mom while Melissa and Annie sheared the second llama. Annie’s mom mostly slept, patted our border collie, and didn’t put anything in her pockets.

When the day was done, I was amazed at how small our llamas look without all that hair. Annie came back to the house tired, sweaty, and dirty, but grinning. The day had been a welcome break from caring for her mother. I’ve never been a caregiver, but if a day spent shearing two reluctant, 300-pound llamas is an easy day….Heavens….

A few weeks later Melissa felt confident enough to shear the third llama herself, so two hours later, Chachi was many pounds lighter.

How do you shear a llama? By tying him in this little holding set-up Melissa made years ago. The 2x4s along the side keep the llama from moving too much, but he can still dance from side to side and backwards and forwards. Melissa just danced with him and kept shearing.

Looks like the llama exploded, doesn’t it?!

We are so grateful to Annie for coming. She writes a wonderful blog about caring for her mother at Annie, we thank you. Our llamas thank you!

More Then, and Now….

Those little baby chicks are now half-grown hens. Unfortunately there are only six now, not eight, since two disappeared. A few weeks ago Mother Hen said “I’m done,” and started sleeping in the chicken house, leaving the babies on their own in the shed. After a week, they, too, drifted into the barn and began perching on the tool pegs!

More Then, and Now…

Puppy then…

Puppy now.

The interesting thing about a farm is that it’s always changing. People often ask me, “Anything new on the farm?” There’s always something new, but it’s just part of the same cycle…animals being born, and growing…hair growing long, being shorn, then growing long again. Thanks to Annie, we’re better able to deal with one part of that cycle.

5 thoughts on “

  1. Love the before and after shots- it’s always fun to see the differences!!!
    How wonderful to have a neighbor to shear llamas for you, and I’m sure it was a really nice break for her, bless her heart. Caring for someone with alzheimers is difficult.
    I laugh, thinking of you parking the car in the driveway so no one disturbs the dogs, I have a long driveway, will have to remember that one……
    Isn’t it almost a sudden thing when a hen stops watching over her chicks? One day they attack anyone who so much as looks at their babies, next day it’s, “Hey, I’m heading to the coop, come if you want, doesn’t matter to me”.
    I’m almost half way through the new book, it’s very good. I agree with most of your positions, figured I would, but I’m learning a few things, as well. Thank you for all the research you had to do to write this book. I’m sure not all of it was pleasant. I might add that I borrowed it from the local library (will probably still buy a copy or two as gifts) and there is a waiting list and they have 3 copies in circulation. I’m here in west central Wisconsin, still a few of us smaller farmer types in these parts. I always think of us as a “hobby farm” because we don’t have a very big farm,(and I grew up in the city) but we also slaughter animals, so according to your book, we qualify as a farm.
    Keep up the great work!

  2. Great entry, great pictures. Just wanted to stop by to say hello and to catch up on your blog. I don’t know if you remember me or not but I wrote to you a few weeks back about “Hit By A Farm”. I look forward to reading the new book.
    till next time,

  3. Carol,

    Reading a library copy of my book is just fine…that’s where I get most of my books.


    Thanks for the visit. I’ve been a little lax about posting…must be summer…

  4. Jenna,

    The big spotted dog, Sophie, is half Great Dane, half German-shorthaired Pointer (we’re guessing on that one, since we got her from the Humane Society.) She’s twelve now and loves to rough-house with the puppy, who’s an 8-month-old Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

    Rob, our border collie, has never been one to play with other dogs, so it’s been nice for Sophie to have a play-buddy.

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