Sunday, February 22, 2015

Llama Biography #20: Autumn Hill's Catastrophie

Unlike her name suggests, Autumn Hill's Catastrophie (aka Taz) was anything but a fact she was one of the most gorgeous and sweet llamas to ever be born on our farm.

Autumn Hill's Catastrophie at the 2007 Ohio State Fair.

About 6 months after Randallama's Cherokee joined our farm, we decided to breed our best three females to him.  The first was Little May Flowers, who delivered the beautiful Autumn Hill's Trillium the next fall.  The second was SHAG Cattera, the dam to Autumn Hill's Catastrophie.  And last but not least was May's own dam, Alder Crest April Showers, who delivered Autumn Hill's Inali.

SHAG Cattera, Taz's dam.

Randallama's Cherokee, Taz's sire.

Taz and her two half siblings, Trillium (L) and Inali (R).

Almost a week after Trilly was born, I came home from school to find the most gorgeous spotted baby with Cattera.  All I could think as I was walking across the pasture to see the cria was "let it be a girl, let it be a girl!", and it was!  Taz was gorgeous from the start, and quite a big baby.  She had a lot of fun playing with her two half siblings and the other cria we had born that fall.  Babies are always so much more fun in groups!

Newborn Taz with Cattera.

Taz (behind the tree!) with her cria friends.

Taz grew up to be a gorgeous girl, and sweet as can be.  And did I mention huge?  She was absolutely enormous!

Such a sweet girl!

Unfortunately Taz was never a huge fan of the show ring.  She went to her first show (the Western Ohio Triple Crown) with her two half siblings, and managed a respectable placing in a huge Medium Wool Juvenile Female class (Trilly beat her though).  I continued to show her on and off for the next few years, but she really never enjoyed it.  Her fleece did amazing in the shorn and walking fleece classes though, winning several firsts and champions.

Taz at her first show.

Taz winning Reserve Grand walking fleece.

When Taz got older, we knew she had to become part of our breeding program, so we sold her sire Cherokee and bought an unrelated male, MRLF Ridge Runner.  Taz was bred to Ridge in the fall of 2007, and delivered her first cria, Autumn Hill's McKinley the next year.  Taz was a great mom and Mac was adorable!  She was bred back to Ridge again that year, and had Autumn Hill's Annapurna the year after.  Once again a truly stunning cria!

Taz and her first cria, Autumn Hill's McKinley.

Taz and her second cria, Autumn Hill's Annapurna.

After Annie was weaned it was decided that Taz needed to find a new home where she could be better utilized as a breeding female (I was once again downsizing the herd).  My mom about killed me, but Taz found a great home on the East coast and has since delivered a stunning reverse appy daughter!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Snow, and Cold, and I Don't Want to Go Outside!!

I used to love winter, I really did...then I moved to upstate NY and moved my 5 llamas (ok, 4 llamas and 1 alpaca) there as well and my love of winter went down the drain.

Our first big snowfall of the year.

I thought I knew what winter in upstate NY was all about; after all, I spent 4 years here during college.  Note to self: walking from a dorm to class and back is much different than driving 1 hour every day plus doing chores and taking care of livestock!

The llamas don't mind the snow too much.  As long as I lure them outside with hay!

Now, as much as I hate to say it, I don't like winter nearly as much.  I don't have time to play in it like I used to (I've only gone XC skiing twice this winter, and haven't gone downhill skiing at all!), and I'm just sick of it!

XC skiing with Abby last winter.

I'm slowly but surely figuring out some ways to make winter more bearable though, at least where the lamas are concerned.  I no longer feel bad about locking them inside at night, because they stay warmer and I worry less.  The two oldies also wear coats (with wool sweaters underneath) 24-7.  I've added a "litter box" to the barn to make cleanup easier.  And I've installed a plastic strip door (think walk-in freezer) to the barn door to keep the cold and wind out.  I still hate dragging poop down to the garden through 12" of snow though!

April in her coat.

So, what are your thoughts on winter?  Have they changed since you were a kid? ;)