Grab a Tissue…


Never in a million years did I think I’d own a llama, or two…and never in a million years did I think they would worm their way into my heart.

Thanks to asking for a “pass” from a morning meeting, most of my co-workers knew that Katy Perry Llama was a bit puny.  In typical Katy Perry fashion, she was the center of a conversation, and in this instance evidently an example of what to do when you need a sub.  “For example,” says the principal, “when you have a sick llama and you need to miss a day of school…”  When we’ve had sick dogs, although I’m sure people were concerned, they certainly didn’t demand center stage the way ol’ KP does!

So its just natural that I’m writing a blog post to let people know that this diva of a llama is now in llama heaven, probably demanding to be the center of attention, until she’s had enough attention and then walking away as everyone watches.  We don’t know exactly what was wrong but knew immediately that she wasn’t feeling well when she became quite “undiva-like”…and while DIVA was one of her personality quirks that could drive you nuts, it is what I missed the most the last few days that she was sick.

One day I’ll write a post about how great Juan was when she went down…one day we will laugh about Juan taking a llama’s temperature (ok, we are laughing today about that).  Dr. Trey-if you are reading this, I sure hope that was necessary and not one of those “jokes” you and Exum like to play on Juan!  (But thank you SOOO much for your advice and phone calls the last few days-you’re alright, just like Juan reluctantly says!)

So yes, I’m writing a blog post…mainly because I wanted to let Katy’s fan know she loved all the attention, and of course would still want it lavished upon her!  And also, if I see you in the halls of school, having so many friends ask how KP was doing has been VERY sweet, but no llama talk for a few days, at least not face to face.

One of the hardest parts right now is watching Harley looking for her BFF.  If I didn’t think they were social animals before, I know if for a fact now!  We are going to pick up a new friend or two this weekend…they certainly can’t replace Katy Perry, but Harley needs to another buddy!  So stay tuned!

Cheers to KP-all llamas everywhere!

So You Wanna Shear Yo Llamas…


“Just like shearing a prized 4-H sheep…only with taller, longer neck, hairier, & with more green goo.”

I posted last year about our llamas having their spa day, but it was done by a professional stylist.  This year’s post is about their spa day, but we couldn’t make an appointment with the professional, so we, and by we I mean Juan, took the shears into his own hands.

I guess I need to begin with a disclaimer or two:

1st-just going to go ahead and admit this from the beginning—I’m not a country girl at heart, I’m slowly learning to play one on tv, but hemming up livestock, and subduing them in crisis isn’t my strong suit.  I may not be the sharpest of country girls in the barn, “but I’m pretty!” (thanks Kristen Taekman for the greatest Real Housewives of New York tag line)

2nd-for all of you who are llama shearing experts, A)we are just learning to do this ourselves so we know there are probably better ways to handle everything & B)where on God’s great Earth were you today about 1:30 when we may or may not have needed your expertise???


So after much measuring, cutting, welding, remeasuring, torching, and more welding & thanks to the kindness of friends, friends’ sons, & family members the llama casa is finally outfitted for llama shearing.  Last year’s shearing was makeshift just inside the barn and after finding llama hair to this day in many corners, Juan decided this year’s shearing would be an outdoor event.  Stalls were built in, gates added, along with a bumper bar,  & WE were ready to go…the girls…not so much.

As with most other llama events, “all you need is feed” was going to be our starting mantra to get the girls hemmed up in the pens.  We were like the pied piper luring them in thru the gate, and them one of them, I don’t recall who, figured out something was going down, and bolted before I could get the gate closed.

So round two was underway, and then Harley’s humming began.  It was right in sync with KatyPerry’s hee-haw burping that she does to signal “Something just ain’t right about this situation guys…”  It was another 20-30 minutes or so before we, and by we I mean, Juan primarily, caught KP and boy did we, and by we I mean I, thought “Ok this is going to be pretty easy!  WE (Juan’s) got this!”

KP starting heehawing, I got the lead rope snapped on and off they walked to tie her to the fence.  More heehawing, and then Katy had the perfect opportunity to let Juan know just how she felt with a deep down gooey green plug of already chewed, and once or twice digested, llama snuff—perfectly placed in Juan’s right ear.  (Juan says he thought for a few minutes he had lost some hearing and then stuck his finger in his ear and realized…)  It was almost like he’d painted half of his face green for the World Cup.  I was not sure how he would feel with me pulling out the camera at this point so there’s an after picture of his hat, among some other pictures on my Facebook account.

Harley was first to be get the glamorous treatment.  She is less dashing diva & more the neurotic worrying type.  She stood there, moving very little, just staring ahead at the metal in front of her, humming, probably picturing her ancestral home in the Andes, quiet breezes blowing through the pines, while small Incan children played on the hills below.  Juan can probably describe the shearing process better, but he says it was much like a shearing a lamb, just taller and more hair.  Evidently, it was like riding a bike and in no time flat, Harley the Hummer was done.  The wall was still clean at this point.

Enter stage right, in all her glamour, making her entrance so everyone knows who’s up next—Ladies & Gentlemen, its the girl you’ve all been waiting for, here she is, put your hands together fooooooooooorrrrrrrr—KKKKKKKKKAAAATTTTTYYYYYYY PPPPPEEEERRRRRRYYYYY!!!  Cue the lights, the hee-haws, curtains up, green spit a-flying.  “All right Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close up!”  This llama is all drama.  She spit, she hee-hawed, she moved left, she ducked right, she spit some more.  We tried the tube sock trick but she spit it off her muzzle and frankly, it was so doused in stomach contents, we were a little worried that she might not be able to breathe well with it on.

They are now frolicking in their pasture, enjoying the cool breeze through the three or four pines back there, listening to the guineas arguing with each other as the pen raised quail call back and forth next door…all the while wondering where those quiet Incan children might be, as they sure as everything are NOT going to give me or Juan a bit of attention for the next few days.

I think it is safe to draw the following conclusions:

#1-Today I didn’t soak up a whole lot of knowledge about being a country girl, but I’m pretty! (RHofNY reference #2!)

#2-Llamas are ssmart, ddramatic, nneurotic, & ccomplicated animals…much like humans, and I cannot help but love them in spite of themselves, much like humans.  (The jury is still out on Juan’s undying love for them, although he’s been pleased to have their poop to fertilize his garden, so he likes them for that reason I know!)

#3-I am married to probably the best husband there is-would your husband take llama snuff in the face…in.the.face. ????


Back by Popular Demand!!!


I’m always asked the same question when I say that I have two llamas…”WHY?”  And my answer is always the same, “Why not?”  Then very next question is, “Well, what do you DO with them?” and my response is, “Everything that I do with my dogs and cats, except let them in the house!”  Last week though, I was asked a NEW question, that caught me a bit off guard…”WHY do you have a LLAMA BLLOG if you don’t BLLOG about your LLAMAS?”  I had no answer…so R.A.H.-here ya go!

Since we last visited we’ve had new additions to the Ranchito.  Ladies and Gentlemen-meet Juan’s girls.  These heifers came to live with us this summer and since they’ve put on a little weight.  They are breeders not eaters-althought they eat, we just won’t eat them.  I’ve already told Juan that their offspring need to be whisked away in the middle of the night so I don’t have to see them loaded on a trailer to H-E-B. 



As far as names go, we have tried and thought and the only thing that has stuck is that we call the Big’Un…Big’Un and the Little’Un…Little’Un.  If they were MY heifers, you know they would be name for someone quite famous or royal.  

So many have asked how MY girls are getting along with Juan’s girls.  In the beginning, no one was quite sure what to think about things.  The heifers had full control of the backyard, which up to that point, you might remember, had been the llamas turf.  There were many sideways glances from Harley and KatyPerry, many of those “laughing” episodes where they are sending a warning signal to the rest of the pack that something ain’t right here.  Once we moved the heifers to the front pasture, and opened up the backyard for llama occupation, things returned to a new normal.  “New” meaning there was a “new” poop placement by the llamas.  They had a pile in their original pasture, back in the northeast corner.  Now in the backyard, to establish some boundaries, they have marked their territory along the south fence, right across the fence from the heifers feed & water trough.  It hasn’t seemed to make much of a difference to the heifers, but I can tell Harley and KP are prancing a little taller now.

Speaking of pooping…Juan and I have come to this conclusion.  Cattle are the canine of the big animal breeds and llamas are the feline counterpart.  Proof-cattle will poop wherever they please, here, there, & yon.  Walk, poop, walk, poop.  Llamas have a set place, much like a litter box, without the box and litter.  Cattle, once they get used to you, they enjoy being rubbed on, have special spots, and are pleased, in fact in some cases, come to you for some special attention.  Llamas, used to you or not, its their world and when they are ready for you to give them a llove pat, or a scratch here or there, they will let you know.  When they are ready for you to stop, just ask Juan, they will let you know they are done with you as well!

SO there’s a quick update on Llife wth Llamas.  My new year’s resolution is to do a better job with the Llama Bllog.  Until then…our menagerie wishes your menagerie and Very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!


Spa Day for The Girls!


Its summertime in the Panhandle of Texas and its been H-O-T HOT!  So The Girls had pedi’s & hair appointments last Monday.  You would have thought they were going to the packing house the way they were behaving!  But I can’t blame them-one moment they’re eating hay and watching the chickens cluck next door…next moment someone’s trying to hem them up and lead them somewhere they’ve never seen before!

They had been shorn before, but it was last year and I guess there had been enough time in between that they forgot they actually survived the ordeal.  And our set up here didn’t make things easy this year.  We have the Llama Casa, which is quite useful for a wind block or to get out of the random rain shower we have.  The Llama Casa has 4 separate stalls, but none of them have gates on them yet.  After a few tries to get them corralled into one of the stalls and a make shift “panel-gate”, Shearman Scott realized they kept running into the southeast corner of their pasture, close to a couple of trees.  So the “panel-gates” turned into one panel and one gate.

ImageKatyPerry is taking mental notes….biding her time.



Shear-man Scott took Harley first.  Smart idea, due to the fact that she is just the humming, neurotic, nervous Nellie kind of llama.  Bad idea, due to the fact that Katy Perry is the one who was taking notes and planning revenge as she was awaiting her turn.

We went over the the barn, so the clippers could be plugged in, and since the Jeep was sitting just inside the barn, he tied Harley to the bumper to start her spa day.  First on the agenda was a pedicure.  He snipped her “toenails”, much like snipping a dog’s nails.  I wasn’t if they’d clip them, or file them-much like a horse’s hoof.  

Next came the shearing.  As I watched this I kept thinking I was glad that Juan was still at work because I knew he would be saying, “I could have done all of this…”  And he could have-just like the sheep he had shorn, and the steers he had trimmed, with the addition of some llama hums and, depending on the llama, some spit.  He said later on after I retold the Spa Day story, it was money well spent, not having to worry about doing it himself.  (Do you think he meant “himself” because he knew thought I would be no help…yep I thought so.)

As he finished up with Harley, he suggested I go to the house and get a couple of old tube socks, saying, “I have a feeling that white one is going to be letting me know she’s not happy when we get started.”  You see, you always seem to know where you stand with KatyPerry!  The tube sock was slipped over her mouth and nose-it was perfect, allowing her to breath and allowing those around her to stay clean from spit.  

ImageShe didn’t like it at all, and it made her look quite pitiful, but in the end, it was, as Martha Stewart says-“A Good Thing!”


We’ve gotten used to their new summer looks, but in the beginning it was quite a shock!  I know many llamas in this area aren’t shorn, but we decided to go ahead and continue treating them the way the LlamaLlady had treated them.  Its especially hot here this summer and we’re in another year of drought…I just couldn’t think about them with all that hair in 105 degree heat.


This was about as close as they would allow us to get last Monday.  Since then, I’m pleased to report that everyone is back to normal!  They are used to their buzz cuts and we are getting used to their skinny necks.  Makes for good llove pats again.

Who’s the Boss?


In some of my llama-dama-ding-dong googling, I read that out in the wild, as well as in the not so wild, llamas work to establish dominance.  They spit to see who will back down, they tussle, and as we saw tonight, they play Queen of the Mountain.  We let the Girls come into the backyard  again and forgot that we had some big mounds of dirt off in the corner of the yard.  I didn’t get a lot of video, but did get a little of their gameplay to see who would back down first.

I couldn’t get the video to upload here, but you can see it on my facebook page at

All in all, KP was the winner.  Juan went out to see what they would do when he walked up…KP threw the ears back quickly and gurgled, but Juan put up his hand and told her no and she backed down pretty fast and then walked over to the other mound away from him.

Juan is now Queen of the Mountain!

What’s in Your Backyard?


We have been steadily working with the girls.  From the outside you might not be able to tell there’s progress made, but on the inside, I can sort of feel it.  I think they are more comfortable with us and we are certainly more comfortable with them.

I try to go out and mess with them for about 15 minutes every day.  In between cold weather, wind, and another week of feeling like poo, I’ve not been out with them a lot this last week.  But when I have gone to see them, they come trotting up to me.  I choose to pretend that they are thinking “IT’S MEEEEEEEEEEEER!!!!!!!!” but I really know they are thinking “IT’S FEEEEEEEEEEED!”  I have started not taking the bucket and scoops EVERY time, and they still stay around letting us give them so good neck rubs.

We’re still dealing with some issues in the pecking order.  KatyPerry is definitely letting Harley know that she thinks she’s the more important one.  Harley is very patient though and waits her turn for the scoop.  Juan and I have started each getting a scoop so they aren’t right next to each other if one of us holds both scoops.  I guess its like kids sitting in the backseat eating ice cream cones.  Mine never looked as tasty as my brother’s did…feed scoops must be the same way.

So tonight, Juan was putting dogs back in their kennels and decided to let the Girls come into the backyard.  In this drought, our backyard is quite crispy, but there are a few patches of green grass.  Juan said that he opened the gate and called the Girls and it didn’t take them long to come in and start exploring.  I love watching them explore new surroundings.  Curiosity might have killed the cat, but a llama is definitely on the same path…they hear a noise, up go the ears, they see something new, up go the ears, they have a new yard to roam, up go the ears!  They found the few patches of green grass, they found the tree that had lots of leaves on it, they weren’t sure about the woodpile…Juan’s decided he might name them Lawnmover & Weedwacker.


He wondered out loud how we were going to get them back into the pasture and I said “Feed” but he had another idea.  He picked up a piece of PVC and a broken bucket and rattle them around, hoping they’d think it was the feed bucket.  While he was doing that, I went to get the real feed bucket.  We managed to lure them back home.  We left them looking over the fence into the backyard and then up at us.  “But that green grass is on the other side over there…harumph!”


New Digs & New Friends


I haven’t wanted to post all the time but want to document the progress I think we have made.  Mainly so I can come back and look on a challenging day and remind myself that we did in fact move forward.

Juan has a friend with 2 sons who came over to visit today.  The boys wanted to feed the Girls so we went out to the fence with the feed scoop.  I was a little nervous with the boys being new to the Girls, worried about sudden movements on both sides.  KatyPerry and Harley were on their best behavior and ate very nicely out of the scoop & our hands.  It was pretty cool!!!  There’s a glimmer of hope that one day I might have the Girls in the nursing home bringing joy to the elderly—in the far far far FAR, like all the way to CHINA far away future…but at least for today the glimmer is there.

Their good humor may be due to Juan buying them a big ol’ round bale of oat hay.  He said that Harley rubbed her head and neck all over the bale-I’m not sure if she was itchy or marking her territory.  I think KatyPerry likes to just hide behind it so no one can see her and then she pops out from behind with her cupcake bra on, or hay filled mouth as the case may be, and makes her grand trot up to the fence in hopes for some feed.

We have a psuedo apple orchard on the west side of our 10 acres.  Psuedo because, well, we have apple trees, but they have been the step children on the ten acres.  (God knew what he was doing with me and no children-that whole maintenance thing-food & water-gets me every time, and the watering of the trees AND keeping up with it, well, let’s just say we don’t eat a lot of fresh apples at our house.) Juan added some panels yesterday to the south end of the orchard and took one panel down from the llama pasture.  It was fun to watch them run into the new digs and check things out.  We used to have a few apple trees with green leaves on them.  We don’t any more.  I hope that llamas and apple leaves jive-so far so good.

(Juan also discovered that the chickens from the place just west of us are evidently coming under the fence to lay eggs under our pine trees.  So far we’ve found 16 eggs…but haven’t been brave enough to harvest any yet.)