Monday, August 11, 2014

The Animals Began to Arrive

Llamas gathering for supper are incredibly amusing.
I had always been fascinated with llamas. After seeing Doctor Doolittle as a child, the thought of a push-me-pull-you seemed incredible.  Obviously it was, but a llama is very real.

A dear friend had them and we farm-sat for her one week in the summer years ago. So many Crias (baby llamas) were being born. Such gentle creatures they all were. Crisp evening air would trigger excitement and we'd find ourselves looking on with laughter as they ran, sprang, and sort of bounced around the farm more for their entertainment than ours.

Llamas have fiber instead of wool, and that fiber comes in many colors, textures, and thickness. We have a group of llamas (called a cria herd) at our farm.  Each has its own unique personality and although some personalities are easier than others, we love them all. We shear our llamas only once a year (by contrast some of our sheep require shearing twice a year), and process their fiber in my laundry room!! There is no lanolin in llama fiber. So, while some feel they are allergic to wool, fiber usually proves to be allergy-free.

The fiber my llamas produce each year is what I use for my spinning and other crafts. Because animals produce different amounts of fiber, and because some have different weather tolerances, there have been some years when I haven't shorn a few them in order to ensure they remain warm enough for the winter.
On the average, although llama fiber is much softer than sheep wool, is also has less elasticity.  So, I keep that in mind as I choose what my yarn will be used for when it's completed. Llama yarn drapes very nicely and is beautiful for dressy evening shawls or scarves.    
Imax checking out the spinning wheel

Three years ago Imax moved into my yard so that I could manage his medical treatment easier than if he were out in the pastures. Well, he liked watching over the farm so well that he decided to take up residency full time among the fruit trees, garden, and dinner parties. He is our "guard" llama for all lazy afternoon pool activities, too!

From our yard, Imax patrols the grounds and keeps watch over the horses, llamas, and sheep. He is certain the farm would not survive without him.

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