Sunday, April 25, 2010

Three Goats, Three Alpacas, Two Swarms, One Livestock Guardian Dog, and a Fetus

I have several farm updates! I planned on blogging last week, but I got sick with a gallbladder issue and spent the last part of the week throwing up, going to the ED, and eating a liquid diet. (By the way, I promised myself I would not mention poop or vomit anymore in my posts, but here I go again, sorry). So, the good news is that I have lost a few pounds over the past few days. I was starting to get a little big around the middle. So here are the things that have happened around here over the past two weeks.


Glenn was working in my parents' greenhouse last week, when he heard a swarm of bees fly into one of their oak trees. Glenn excitedly called me, so I rushed home from work to help him capture the swarm that landed 15-20 feet off the ground. I didn’t do much but take pictures and curse when the swarm landed on my head under the tree, but I can’t miss an opportunity to watch a swarm removal. Glenn went up the ladder countless times to collect all of the bees. The bees are satisfied with their new home and now live in our front yard.


The three alpacas, dog and goat have all managed to work out their differences and seem to live in peace with each other. Our goat, Leche, thinks she is an alpaca, and has been seen grazing, sleeping and frolicking with the alpacas. When Lotta gets a little too rough for her, she runs to the alpacas for defense and they actually seem to take care of her. You can see Leche in the shelter eating with the alpacas, while Lotta is forced to stay outside.

Occasionally, Lotta will do something silly, like wake Mic up from a nap. Below Mic is giving Lotta a good warning spit in the face.


We decided to have an ultrasound this time around for some peace of mind (mine, mostly), but we did not find out the sex of the baby. Both grandmas came to the appointment as we were lucky enough to schedule it when Glenn’s parents were in town visiting. Here is a peek at her profile. Glenn is already claiming she looks like him. He’s probably right, Oliver was born looking like a miniature version of him (and that’s a good thing; Glenn is pretty cute).


Glenn brought home the new babies! We have been working with them, trying to get them on the bottle, but the male in particular seems to like eating alfalfa instead. Here are both Grandmas, each holding a new baby goat. In the second picture we are attempting to lure them back to the house with an alfalfa “carrot.”


The annual Wildflower bike ride rode through again this year. As usual we woke up early to cheer on the bicyclists. Our alpacas and goats were quite a hit. Oliver served as the alpaca guide, taking photographs with the bicyclists and alpacas, and correcting people when they called Remmy or Mic a llama.


Yesterday I heard a loud buzzing sound in the back under the oak trees. It turned out to be a swarm in action. I have only seen swarms once they have settled onto a tree, so this was a real treat for me. The air was thick with bees. It was beautiful! Just look at how many bees were in the air at the time of the swarm.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Big Spat, Alpaca Style

Well, I can scratch "Watch two alpacas get into a spitting fight" off of my "things I have to do before I die" list. I have been trying to make a list to make my friend Erin happy. Her list was long and exciting and mine was short and uninspired (I couldn't come up with anything). Anyway , Mic grew annoyed with Pablo this evening shortly after receiving his allotment of pellets. He began grunting and spitting little bits of food at Pablo. I'm sure looking back at the situation now, Pablo wishes he had kept his cool, but in the heat of the moment he decided he had enough and spat back.

Mic lost control at Pablo's blatant display of insubordination. Within moments, necks were intertwined and spit was flying. I remember yelling, "Move back!" to Oliver as I saw Mic going for the "Killer Spit." Alpacas lack sharp teeth, claws and muscular arms, so they must defend themselves by inflicting emotional pain on their enemies. They do so by being as disgusting as possible. When one hears the word "spit", one generally thinks of saliva. An angry alpaca may start off with saliva, but when the fight escalates, stomach contents are the weapon of choice.

It was a magical thing to witness; two large mammals wrestling with long, graceful necks, showering each other with florescent sprays of bile. Finally, Pablo gave up and the fight was over. Both animals were grossed out; they spent the next hour open mouth breathing, their lips dripping yellow fluid. Mic even tried to rub his bile off on the walls of the shelter.

It is a shame I didn't have my camera on hand to capture the fight. I was, however, able to capture some post fight pictures. You can see the look of horror on their faces as they tried not to breathe in the stench. I only hope they will learn to work things out in a civilized manner in the future.

Here is a picture of a bee in a calla lily I took recently. I just wanted to end things on a not so gross note.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

There's a Goat in My Bed!?

Oliver woke up this morning to find a goat in his bed. It is hard to express his joy and excitement in words. I would have to compare it to the feeling I might have if I woke up to find Johnny Depp in my bed. Johnny Depp with his "Don Juan DeMarco" haircut and scant facial hair. For Oliver, this morning was quite possibly the best morning that ever happened.

Glenn surprised us today with the first of our three goats. Our kid, "Leche" was separated from her mother last night. Leche's mom has been added to the milking line. Leche is old enough to eat on her own but still wants to suckle everything. We bought her some milk replacer and a bottle, and she seems much more content with her new situation. As you can see, the alpacas were extremely interested in our kid.

Leche LOVES Oliver. Where ever Oliver went this afternoon, Leche followed. They played in the front field, collected eggs, relaxed on the front patio and ran to Grammy's house to plant a lemon tree.

We planned on having Leche sleep in the barn tonight with some blankets. Just look at her sweet face. You can probably imagine where she ended up.