Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sometimes Life Intervenes

It has been a good two weeks since your blogger sat down to her computer and blog to record anything, because sometimes life intervenes.

Two weeks ago, the lovely gray mare Sierra came with her foal Josie to stay for the summer, eating the pasture's rich green grass. She was very afraid of Mama Llama the first few days, but finally conquered her fears to come up near the chicken house. There she learned that good chicken feed was put out in the morning, and your blogger came home regularly to find that the chicken feed meant for the birds was wiped out by a horse getting fatter by the day, who saw no need to eat the green grass when the delicatessen was open. Finally, the chicken yard fence was adjusted and a panel removed close to the ground, and the birds quickly learned that though the gate was shut... the fence was open. Llamas and horses were perplexed, and shut out of the good food. We coasted along like this for several days until Sunday night, when Mama Llama and Tony came up to the trough for a drink. Sierra, looking up, saw them and charged like a wild thing, knocking Mama to the ground in her hind end. A clap from me drove her off, but immediately after checking to see if Mama could walk okay, I came to the house and called her owner, my friend, to ask that she pick them up. Mama, who was used to horses, was still an alien thing to Sierra, so Monday night, off they went in their trailer, leaving Uncle Beau calling and calling for them for two days. Though we miss their beauty and their sleekness, we don't miss the worry of knowing whether or not Mama will be okay.

My friends the llama breeders have written to say that their herd is now calving, so to watch for Mama to have her cria any day now. I am going out regularly in the morning and counting legs.... still eight, not twelve. Tomorrow night I'll make a soft bed of clean straw in the barn for her, so that she has somewhere to bring the little one when it is born. She likes the barn, and I find her in it regularly, either resting and chewing her cud or just laying and enjoying the coolness of the barn. I hope that she will still feel like she can bring the little one there, so I will know it is safe.

Sammy, our dear African goose, has been sitting now for six weeks on a nest of eggs which we believed to be infertile since Timmy, our gander, has now been gone for over two months. Finally hunger drove her to abandon the nest, and I checked it yesterday, the majority of the eggs are hidden under a tightly bound covering of grasses and weeds, and five eggs on top appear to be fairly new. Several eggs had become broken, and we believe now that a creature of the night drove her from the nest. For two days, Samantha has been standing either in one of the doghouses of the chicken yard, or under the Little Henhouse (on stilts) and not making any of her customary honks. Last night I found Ship, the big gander with her, but when he moved off she stayed. Tonight I saw why... she has been attacked by something and her right breast or wing hurt. It looks like the blood has dried, but I'll wait until tomorrow night when husband returns from a trip to take a good look. Either she will heal or not, we cannot make a difference with a large goose as we can sometimes with smaller hens or roosters. I am most concerned because she seems unable to lay down, and I fear she will finally fall in exhaustion. I had hoped the llamas would ward off coyotes, but that is not to say that it was a raccoon or opposum that caused this wound.

Last night I found the feral cat we saw all winter dead in our road. Husband came along on an errand just then, and told me he had found him the night before, freshly killed, as if someone had aimed and hit him. He threw him into the pasture alongside the road, but the vultures had carried him out into the cleared area so they could clean him up for us. God's Cleanup Crew are majestic birds whom we love to watch wafting on the wind, and though they are forbidding and black, they serve a real purpose out here in the country, cleaning up along the roads and pastures.

Sunday afternoon was spent looking at the llama herd of a longtime llama breeder, who was able to answer so many questions about the lovely beasts. She had some very nice young cria who will be for sale at the end of the summer, and gave a lot of advice for me until I can bring home a birthday present in September. Yes, I picked several young cria that I liked, but we will see how the new baby here is before I make any more purchases!

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