Things Have Changed (but not that much)

A lot around the farm has changed in the past five years. But we are still here, with alpacas, Ragdolls and dogs. However, some of the crew are different now. Here’s a few of the changes.

The alpacas are aging and our herd is now down to twenty. That does seem like a lot, but we did get up to thirty-two or so, a few years back. The oldest, Phoenix, is over nineteen years old and the youngest is six years old. They don’t all live to Phoenix’s advanced age, and generally we don’t know what causes their deaths. Alpaca veterinarians are rare and the knowledge base is meager in a lot of places, including where we live. But they are still producing fleece for yarn and the fiber pool, and we are still selling alpaca products to pay for their keep.

Troubadour, still going strong at 11 years old

As for dogs, we still have two. Teddy Bear, our big boy from Big Fluffy Dog Rescue, had a shocking interaction with a porcupine. A rare situation occurred where a quill went into Teddy’s chest and got into his lungs. The surgery to retrieve it is risky and not guaranteed and the recovery is painful. We opted not to put him through it. He was about 9 or 10 years old, which is elderly for a Great Pyrenees.

Luna, our faithful rough collie, was lonesome without Teddy (though she wasn’t always that nice to him), so we went back to Big Fluffy Dog Rescue and adopted what we thought was a Great Pyrenees/Collie mix. His name was Shelton, presumably taken from the singer Blake Shelton, and Dick immediately started calling him ‘Sheldon’, as in Sheldon Cooper of Big Bang Theory. Shelton is far more like the singer than the character in the sit-com. But he answers to both names, so all is well.

Shelton, Dick and Luna on Foss Mountain Rd (where it isn’t plowed)

Shelton does not look, to me anyway, like a Great Pyrenees, except that he is BIG. But when I watched him move, his back leg movement reminded me of a German Shepherd Dog. His coloring is similar to a sable collie, but that is where the collie similarity ends. We decided to do the dna test for him like we’d done for Teddy Bear. I have a good eye. It came back 40% German Shepherd Dog, 40% Great Pyrenees and the rest ‘herding dog’. Okay, so I don’t have a good eye for the Pyr part.

Shelton in his hunter orange

There has also been changes to the Ragdoll crew. Keziah retired and went to a wonderful new home. She just didn’t like living in a multi-cat household and showed it by using the whole house as a litter box. She went to her new home as an only cat, with the understanding that she would come back if her behavior didn’t change. And once in a home with no other cats, she became the perfect pet. (Yay!!) The female breeding set is now Cassadee and Jolene; both named after country singers/songs, as are all of them. Cowboy Casanova remains as our daddy cat. Shakira will soon retire at seven years old. It’s hard to retire a stunning girl like her, who has the most awesome kittens. All of them are poster children for the Ragdoll breed. She doesn’t mind living with all the other cats, so will remain with me as a pet after she is spayed.


I know that some folks wonder why we continue doing this at our age. Dick is 75 and I am soon to be 70. In fact, I think Dick wonders why I ever did the cat thing in the first place, him being more of a dog person. But it keeps us active and we both still love looking out over the pastures and seeing the alpacas peacefully grazing. And I still love sharing the beautiful Ragdoll kittens with cat-loving people.


Grazing around the asparagus and flox garden

The Beginning – Sept 24, 13

This is how I began this blog.

I’ve been entranced by the journals of Nella Henney, who spent summers in Marnie’s house up the road. Her journals were published as ‘Summers on Foss’ and were really just a log of her every day doings.  It was back in the 1940’s to 1960’s, but aside from the historical interest, I am very interested in the people and landscapes that were here on Foss Mountain at that time.  Sooo, I decided I should chronicle the doings here on the land that a family named Ellis lived on (though I think this was Henney-owned land that they leased).

Today was very cold for a September day, only in the 50’s, and I put the heat on.

I walked the dogs around the back of the field this afternoon.  With Biff gone,  it seems prudent to have dog scent from Teddy and Luna around the perimeter.

Teddy the Pyr mix and Luna the Collie in the back field.

Teddy the Pyr mix and Luna the Collie in the back field.

Beau, my 13 year old bicolor Ragdoll, hasn’t been eating enough to keep weight on.  The vet had given me an ‘appetite stimulant’, but it seems to make him agitated and doesn’t help with the eating.  The last time I gave it to him, he acted strange as well, so I guess I won’t be giving him anymore of that.

Beau just looks at dry food now. :(

Beau just looks at dry food now. 😦

The alpacas just love the cooler weather and were out a lot.  We have taken all the big barn folks – those being the girls and the younger boys – off of their pasture, as they have overgrazed it.  Plus, Dick is over-seeding the young boys’ section, which was originally seeded about five years ago and is in need of repair.  He spread the composted manure yesterday and today, then seeded it and rolled it.  It is a bit late for it to germinate, but will do it eventually.

This was in May and even then we knew grass would be sparse

This was in May and even then we knew grass would be sparse

We took Molly out again to continue her halter training.  Her sister Cracklin’ Rosie went too, for moral support, as she is well trained.  But Molly didn’t cooperate until we were headed back, when she finally stopped rearing up and then throwing herself on the ground.  She wasn’t nervous though, because she always cropped grass when she was down!!!  Just being resistant to the halter, I guess.  Since Cracklin’ and her other sister Venus, were both great on the lead, I’m thinking Venus will get there too.  Hope, hope…

Molly, happy in the field with no responsibilities.

Molly, happy in the field with no responsibilities.