Friday, June 5, 2009

A FULL Farm Day!!

You can thank Keri Lee for the shearing part of this long post. As we were chatting yesterday, I mentioned that I should be out shearing…when we said our good-byes Keri told me to get busy and TAKE pictures!

So, Keri…here you go…llama shearing 101! hahaShear1Everybody comes into the barn as I go out…who will be the llucky llama?Shear2 Aha! Looks like it’s gonna be Sulley…short for J.P. Sullivan. Sulley came to me along with a pasture mate when he was about 9 months old (he’ll be 8 in Nov). It was just after Monsters Inc had come out…although he’s not “blue”, he certainly is “hairy” and the other one had these eyeballs that were popping out of his head (he was a funny looking llama!…I don’t own him any longer or I’d show you!).. so I named him Googly Bear.

Shear3 This is a Circuiteer, a very strong blower. The beginning process… to blow out as much dirt and vegetable matter as I can.
You remember any dust storms you might have seen in a movie…like The Mummy? When I start blowing, that’s just about what it looks like! Not sure if in later pics you’ll be able to see a difference in the “air”, but the dust hangs for quite a while! I usually  have a couple of fans going to help blow it out, but it was chilly yesterday!

shear doublek

This is the clipper system I use, a Double K, it’s lightweight and easy for me to handle.


Ok, here he is all blown out and fluffy! I’ve concentrated mainly on his mid-section, the “barrel”, because that’s the part I’m going to shear. (honest, he’s cleaner than the first picture!)
We shear for several reasons, mainly to keep them cool in the summer. (The area I’m about to shear will open up the areas to let off heat and let cool in). They’re a high altitude, mountain animal…heat and humidity can be deadly! Also for the fiber, which Sulley has nice soft fiber that I spin. And for competition, to make them look their best.

Shear5 When shearing for the fiber, you want to make clean cuts, trying to get the full length of the hair without getting second cuts. Those slubs really are a pain when you’re spinning!Shear6 Ever wonder what color their skin is? Had Sulley ever had the opportunity to sire offspring, they might have been Appaloosa (spotted) like his sire (daddy).

Shear7And here he is all done! He’s left with about 1/8” of hair. It’s early enough in the season and we’ll have enough cloudy days he won’t get sunburned. 


I called over next door to see if the grandkids wanted to come watch me shear. Gabriel was all eager to help out!!


ShearGabriel2 Note, he’s wearing cowboy boots…slick soles! I was about to tell him to be careful as “what he was scraping” was very slippery…when he turned to make another pass, and…yup, you guessed it!
Slipped and fell!! HAHA! Sorry… yes, I laughed! We got a paper towel and some hand cleaner and he started right back to “finish” his Dirty Job. You’ve got competition Mike Rowe!!



This is Misty, she’ll be 9 in Oct. She’s a “light wool” llama. Sulley was “medium wool”. Note the smooth legs and face, and less fiber!

Shear9 And Misty done!


Several years ago a lady saw me at a fiber festival and enquired about guard llamas. She raises Icelandic Sheep and wanted one for her ewes. Deb ended up getting another llama from us for the rams, but sadly, he died soon after from heat stress.

Yesterday we delivered another llama to her, Care Bear (my 3rd baby born here), to be put in with the ewes and babies.

Hoeves1 This is Mocha with his rams. Mocha was one of my very first llamas!

Hoeves2 Look at these cool horns!

Hoeves4 And this guy! He’s the Boss!!


Mocha sees Care Bear!!

Hoeves5Something is about to enter their pasture!Hoeves6Wait, kids, stay by mama…we don’t know what this thing is yet!

Hoeves7Deb walking Care Bear around her new surroundings and her flock. She’s been rented out as a guard before…she should bond quickly.


This little one is just 2 days old! So cute!!


Look at those curls! These twins are 2 weeks old.


They found a piece of paper and had to play with it!

I bet we stood around for over an hour just watching the babies, Care Bear sniffing them (or trying to!), the baa’s…each mama calling to her babies, the jumps and “kick up your heels” fun! Just too CUTE!!

Have fun Care Bear, I know you’ll have a good life with Deb and Preston!


So, there you have it, a very long day! I got 4 llamas sheared yesterday! Only 2 of my own left to do, 3 others for friends….and I had a lady call to ask if I’d shear her 4 rescues! Looks like I’m gonna be busy!

Hope you enjoyed a taste of my life! Enjoy your day.

Thanks for stopping!



Keri Lee Sereika said...

AHHHHHHHHHH I LOVED IT!!! Thank you... :) I never knew that was where you would shear...I thought you just lopped it all off!

and those baby pics...TO DIE FOR! SO SWEET!!!!!!!!!

Betty Wright said...

Oh, my word!!!! Dawn, thanks so much for doing all this write up and pictures. I loved reading about the lamas and the sheep. Oh, this was wonderfully educational!!!

I have a question. Why just the barrel area and not the whole lama? Is the hair longer and easier to spin with this section?

Now, I want to see what the process you go through to spin the hair and stuff. I know you knit with it. This is amazing!!!

Thanks so much for sharing!!!



Joanne (jojot) said...

Nice to see the photos so we can 'see' what you are up to....

Elena said...

Oh, Dawn thank you so much for sharing these pictures! I liked reading about lamas and sheep! It was like a virtual tour for me! Thank you!

LorettaL said...

Oh Dawn! What a wonderful life! I'm an animal person at heart and your pictures are stories do my heart GOOD!!!

Velta said...

LOL Dawn! Who would have known that you are such a multi-tasker ! What a great way to share with your grandchildren ! I feel like you have taken me to the movies with this one, and oh did I enjoy :)

Charlene Merrick (LilLuvsStampin) said...

Fascinating! I'm so glad you posted these pictures as I've often wanted to see your llamas and how you shear them. Maybe next time you can get baby Llama Mama (yes, that's you, Amber) to photograph you doing the actual shearing. I would also be very interested in learning how you spin the llamas fiber. Perhaps you'll consider being photographed doing that. You are blessed to have so many talents.

Anne Harada said...

Dawn you amazing woman! Unbelievable! I've never seen anything like it, it amazes me that there are pets out there bigger than dogs LOL!!! And holy smokes you shave the things. What an amazing life, the sheared llamas look just like the one in "The Emperor's New Groove". The dark brown one is gorgeous. You must share the spinning process, it's hard to imagine that you don't just go to Joannes and pick out a skein like the rest of us. Thanks for your generous pictures and documentary for us naive city girls!! Woo hoo!!! Long Live the Llamas!!

- dlm. said...

Dawn - I loved reading about the llamas and the sheep. TFS part of your life with us!

Icelandic Shepherdess said...

Thanks for sharing the pictures, Dawn. After Care Bear couldn't catch you when she jumped the fence and chased after you down the driveway, she decided we'd be ok to live with after all. She and the sheep have become friends and she is doing a great job at keeping the unwanted creatures away.