Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I have a cold. It's not a big deal, but when I'm not at a hundred percent performance, I prefer that life include no surprises. Since I get sick only once a year or so, I don't think I'm asking for much, am I?

Tuesday morning I was milking the goats and trying to work up the nerve to use the neti pot that I bought last winter. I had finished milking my last goat (Ethel, as usual), and when I opened the milking parlor door to let her out, I didn't see any goats, which is unusual, but I thought that someone upstairs really likes me, because I don't have to chase the goats out of the barn this morning. Not so fast!
As I took Ethel by the collar and started to lead her towards the little goat door, I thought, oh, there's the llamas. Stop! What? Llamas? In here? How could llamas get in here? Llamas are six feet tall. Do you see that tiny little door that's only a couple feet high? It's just perfect for the Nigerian dwarf goats to go through. And yeah, last fall, we discovered that the dexter heifers fit through it also. But they're short. We do not call this llama Big Mama to be funny or sarcastic. She is big!

I completely forgot about Ethel and headed for the house to get Jonathan. I was not going to attempt this on my own. When Jonathan and I got back out there, I decided to lead Little Man outside (through the normal doors that llamas and human are meant to walk through) and hope that Big Mama follows. But Katy was sticking her long neck through the little door and eating the goat minerals and baking soda, so I thought it might be smart to refill the llama mineral feeder in their shelter so that after I moved the first two llamas out, I would not come back inside to find Katy had come into the barn.

It didn't exactly go the way I planned. I took the llama minerals out there, and Katy didn't seem to care, so she stayed by the little goat door. Getting a lead rope on Little Man went well, and Big Mama followed until we got to the barn door. Then she went galloping across the front yard! Jonathan tried to cut her off, waving his long arms to get her to turn around and head back to the pasture where I'd taken Little Man. They did this merry-go-round thing around one of the cars for a couple minutes, where she'd go to one side, and Jonathan would cut her off, so she'd go to the other side, and he'd cut her off there. I don't know what I would have done if this happened on a day when I was home alone. Hopefully I would have been smart enough to not attempt moving them without haltering both llamas. She finally came running to the gate I'd left open as I moved farther into the pasture, hoping that made her feel less pressure from me. Maybe it worked, or maybe she was worried that I was taking away her baby, even though he's not much of a baby any longer.

Now we must remember to only open that little door when we are letting goats in or out. I find it interesting that the cows went through the door only minutes after seeing it, but it took the llamas two or three months to do it.

Wednesday is my solo day on the homestead this semester, so I am really hoping for no more surprises. And I still haven't worked up the nerve to try that neti pot.


Anonymous said...

Don't be scared of the netti pot. They are awesome inventions. If you got one with prefilled packages of stuff to dump in the water, only use about a half (or a little less) to start with. They really do help a lot.

LindaG said...

Some animals are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. Silly llamas. I guess they must have gotten down on their knees to get in?

Susan B said...

Neti pots are great - use warm water and 1/4 t of sea salt. Make sure your head is at an angle. It should just go through one side and out the other. If you get that 'i got water up my nose feeling (ie like when you go swimming)' you are probably not leaning your head enough. There are youtube videos that show the procedure if you want to see someone doing it before you attempt it.

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Thanks for the tips on the neti pot, especially suggesting a video on YouTube.

MaryB said...

Who knows why animals do what they do or don't. In the 105 heat, only ONE of our alpacas climbed in one of the watering troughs, cushed, and then stood back up again and went on about his business (cooler). The others observed, and have since observed our Rascal doing this 100 times, yet he's STILL the only one that does it. Go figure.


Related Posts with Thumbnails