Thursday, July 30, 2009

"The Gift That Keeps Giving"

As the day for the arrival of our 3 llamas last Thanksgiving arrived, I pondered what I would do with their droppings. Not exactly a hardship issue with 185 acres, just a consideration for four-season ease of access. With no real near neighbors to complain, location resolved into just picking a place. When I mentioned my dilemma to Carol, our breeder, she said (and I'll never forget her answer), "Harvest and sell it, or put it around your trees and garden. It's the gift that keeps giving." While these may not be her exact words (I know, so why the " "), these are close enough and capture the essence and spirit of her response.

I do not sell it, but I did harvest it. Each time I had a half-full bucket, I lugged it downhill to my stamp orchard (the one that produced a negligible harvest year after year). My husband told me to put it around the root ring, meaning not the base of the tree, but the furthermost reach of the branches. Believe me, I did. I loaded those trees up, hoping they would produce, because Mickey threatened (the trees) to cut them down if they did not produce a harvest worth picking.

Carol was so right. We have so much to pick this year, and so many times we have both remarked that we will have fruit all winter, whether dried, canned, or frozen. Or I could go into the pie-making business. The locals noticed the difference this year. They would stop and ask me (from a distance, because you just cannot get near me with the dog) if we changed sprays. I hate sprays, so I told them we just used the llama leavings for fertilizer. Now I could sell it, but reality is I just do not have enough yet, with only 2 llamas (Cierra is coming home soon) making a herd. But in the not too far future, I just might retire and start that "horse" farm someone told me about years ago. I'm going to look him up and tell him that it's a llama farm now, and I'm loving every minute of it.

Did I mention that we had to prop up this limb of the peach tree. There is so much crop that the tree is in danger of losing the limb to a snap. Mickey gerryrigged the limb with a support, because harvest time is about 2 weeks away, and we are in the middle of a storm center that promises to plague us through next Thursday with punishing rains.

In so many ways, llamas are a gift that keep giving. They shower you with love, guard your livestock, provide you with fiber, crias, and for the first time in eight years, two great orchards, organically fertilized.

Turbo Tagger

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