Farm Culture

View from Number 2 Farm
Our farm is our retreat, a return to a simpler life in a place time touches only to mark the passage of seasons. Sitting atop the beautiful Blue Mountain ridge in eastern Pennsylvania, Pine Hill Llama Farm preserves and protects the natural beauty of the landscape. Spring-fed ponds and Lizard Creek traverse our 185 acres. If you sit quietly on a porch rocking chair, you can hear birds sing, tree and bull frogs croak, see hawks glide on air currents, smell fresh clean country air, and touch a slight bit of heaven on earth.

6-28-10 Maria and SP Arrive ~ First Day in Lower Pasture
Every day our llamas have a panoramic vista of the great blue wall, as well as the Mahoning Valley and endless mountains beyond. Our working farm is home to 6 3/4 llamas, with an Eskalero cria due in early September, 3 rescued cats, and a Black Labrador retriever. Each animal brings a special intelligence, curiosity, and loving kindness to our farm family. Our llamas balance our daily life, offering unqualified love, bringing contentment, harmony and peace with their gentle natures.

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My husband Mickey is the architect of the farm. Whatever works was his brainchild. Fencing design, site choices for barns, road building, excavating, rebuilding the land, and two orchards definitely display his creative imprint. Reconstructing a 165 year-old farmhouse from the inside out, preserving its history and heritage was a challenge met with predictable success. An incredibly practical man, he makes like on the farm a dream come true, replete with all the magic of childhood wishings on a star. At 84, my husband runs his business full time, and longs to return to our city home.

Removing a felled tree, victim of T-Storm
To maintain even a small farm like ours requires constant care, and I have the best crew. Michael, an IT at IU 21 nee middle school technology teacher, oversees almost everything on the farm, working side by side with his crew. His innovations benefit the fabric of farm life. From finding better ways to help our girls weather the weather to implementing landscape design, Michael's retooling makes it happen. Seamlessly.

View from "Michael's Road"
Our farmer grows orchard grass, corn, soybeans, winter wheat, barley and oats. Slowly, we are converting to age-old methods of organic farming, a pasture at a time. Our upper and lower stamp orchards were sprayed only three times this year, an improvement over past years. And slowly, in a land unaccustomed since the 1860s to directives from a woman, I am making inroads in what impacts the land.

A local farmer and Albert
Albert is our neighbor, friend, eyes in the woods, my man Friday. When I drive the golf cart into a holding pond at 11 PM, Albert rescues us. When a snake surprises me slithering down the garage beams, I call Albert. When our herd of 4 escaped, Albert organized an old-fashioned round up and brought the girls home, a mile and 2 hours later. He helped me tame an overgrown jungle when we were much younger; now he fixes our equipment, tends the llamas when we travel, and does whatever needs doing. We could not run the farm without him.

Tess, Me, Rev, Carol and Doug Reigh
I am the caregiver on the farm, the keeper of many promises. I face first light every day with a very special llama, pray Hail Marys with them during storms and shearings, shovel paths to the pastures in a snowstorm, camp out overnight with them in autumn, and hold conversations with Maria, the talking llama, because she keeps my secrets. I am the record-keeper, the committee worker, the blogger, the techie, moving slowly but surely into the next phase of my life, working with llamas, life after high school.

Despite my digital footprint, we are otherwise private people. Pine Hill Llamas is our private place, and while we do llama walks with friends, it is by invitation only.