This year the Alameda Studio Art tour was a good time for us at Llamas del Sol. Hester Balsam (goat print t-shirts), Cecilia McRoberts (painting and tiles), and myself (llama fiber art) shared space and our weekend with each other and welcomed folks to see our work and visit us. Here is a short video that was taken from the tour of various art pieces and activities. Look for the llamas at Llamas del Sol! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3557148064428
Here are the girls looking for some action during the fall of 2011. This picture right before our Cameldynamics Clinic that we hosted in this field. This beautiful gate was donated by the owner of the field and we had the top welded to extend it one more foot to a five foot height.
Anyway, to get to the title of this blog, I am very excited to share that we have just leased another 1.5 acres for our llamas to stretch out in. I have been eyeing the field right next door for a long time. With the fantastic view of the entire field from my house (I can watch the llama activity right from my kitchen window = ) while doing the dishes) I am in heaven! We plan on adding some grass in a portion of the field and perhaps add more and more in sections for grazing. Right now it is mostly dirt with some interesting tree stumps. The field has irrigation and is next to our well so water is no problem - which is a great benefit for New Mexico property.
Once established, that will be the llama picnic area - right outside our yard. The timing of this addition is perfect as the other 1 acre field that we lease needs a break from the action. Our four llamas did a nice job of mowing down (and fertilizing) all the grass we planted last spring and we hope it will come back even thicker now.
With some time and attention, we hope this new field will look like the first 1 acre field that we planted. With this new space, getting some more animals may be irrestistable - if they are of the camelid species. We may even consider agisting. We now have 2.5 acres of pure field under lease andthe option to lease another acre, if needed.
A huge thank you to all the fine neighbors we have in the North Valley in the Villiage of Alameda who support my llama infatuation. Everyone is encouraging and seems to enjoy the addition to the neighborhood. I always get friendly remarks and questions when seen walking down our neighborhood streets with a llama on the leash.
If you are looking for the best place to stay in our neighborhood, Adobe and Roses B&B is less than a 1/4 mile walk away on the lovely North Valley Acequia from our ranch. Dorothy is a fantastic host and has a beautiful property. For more information go to http://www.adobeandroses.com/. The address is 1011 Ortega Road NW Albuquerque, New Mexico 87114 (505) 898-0654. (note: Adobe and Roses is booked for the Camelidynamics Clinic)
Llamas del Sol is very lucky to have Albuquerque Alpacas as a neighbor. Leslie Stoddard has been very generous with her time and her expertise in camelid handling and care from which we have learned a great deal. We are also amazed at her wonderful alpaca fiber and stylish garments for sale in her shop. Go see her shop and get a tour of her ranch and meeting spaces. For more information go to http://www.albuquerquealpacas.com/.
The Llamas del Sol Ranch hosted fabulous a clinic in October with Marty McGee Bennett, Camelidynamics founder. The clinic covered gentle and effective techniques of handling and caring for your animals without fear or force. It also included several other topics concerning animal behavior and management including TTEAM and TTouch training developed by Linda Tellington-Jones. Marty McGee Bennett has more than 25 years of camelid (camels, llamas, and alpacas) handling plus in-depth knowledge of fiber and fiber processing. We had a terrific showing from the community as well as folks traveling from all our neighboring states and even Germany!
This would not have been nearly so successful had it not been for the generosity and good will of my neighbors. I was so proud of my neighborhood here in the Villiage of Alameda as there was so much interest and support. We had 20 attendees and about 25 anaimals - llamas and alpacas to work with. Leslie Stoddard of Albuquerque Alapacas provided extra alpacas and panels, Ruth and Lance Baldwin provided tents to shade us from the sun, Nellie and Chris Chavez provided chairs and a wonderful green chili stew for lunch, Leonard and Julia Martinez provided over 20 panels, Larry and Carolyn Bizell provided panels, and then there were all the attendees who came and made it all possible.
We learned a tremendous amount and got to know each other and a variety of animals including Carolyn Ownby's Montana rescue llamas from the horrible situation in Montana last winter that required over 300 llamas to be evacated to save their lives. And what wonderful llamas they were to have at the clinic as they proved that llamas coming from a difficult situation can be revived and become very well adjusted and trust people again. The camelidynamic techniques were such a great fit and we saw a new favorable response.
This is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in or currently raising fiber animals. You will develop a better relationship with your animals while still getting the job done. For more information about the Camelidynamics Clinics, go to www.camelidynamics.com
I had the best time taking my clients on a llama trek along the Rio Grande Bosque last weekend! The weather in Albuquerque is superb these days as the season is changing to autumn. And although my lead llama seemed a little anxious, and walking often at a fast pace, my client handled her pressing ahead and straining to get the first peeks around every corner very well. And in reality, he became sort of her trainer for the day. That is really is something to keep in mind when bringing customers into the world of llama trekking: they should expect to be integrated into llama handling process and may be doing some maintenance training and discovery. This can be fun and exciting for new llama handlers on an adventure. In fact, together we discovered that it was the blind corners that caused Dalai to want to quickly approach them -- so that she could see what was there. That was one source for her wanting to get ahead- there were likely others (like when we got close to the parking lot, she knew we were headed home for the day). I believe if she walks that trail again in the near future, she will be more relaxed; as she had only done that walk once or twice in the last year and may have been anxious to know who was at every corner. Dalai is definately the llama who needs the most control or awareness of every situation. So, to test that theory, I hope to get out to the Alameda/Rio Grande open space and walk the trail again - and also visit that awesome camel! -Lynda LIptak
I just returned from Bend, OR for Marty's two day basic clininc plus a third day to practice shearing and nail clipping and what a great time we had! Her georgous farm, wonderful animals, and terrific people that she surrounds herself with leaves you with a sense that good things are happening between humans and lamas (llamas and alpacas). Surprising things can happen when you make an attempt to focus and tune yourself into the moment. This is what Marty teaches us to do with our animals and amazing things can happen. I witnessed a beautiful moment between Marty and Pablo, a llama who did not like having his toe nails trimmed, and of course that was the chore in which he was scheduled to participate. First, Marty spent a few minutes helping him become more comfortable with leg strokes and foot holding by taking and then quickly replacing his foot on the ground. That was working well as he got more comfortable with that but what was really awe inspiring to me and showed us her refined sensitivity to Pablo was that after a little conditioning, he agreed to let her hold his leg up in a relaxed manner for about 10 -15 seconds ... then she gently placed his foot back on the ground. It may not sound like much but it was beautiful to see the kind way that she worked with him and his receptivity to it. That foot got trimmed. Then, instead of doing the rest of the feet, Pablo effectively communicated to Marty that he was tired and wanted to be done with hadling. He had enough, AND SHE LISTENED! She knew there was no reason to push him to do the reast of the feet right then. Everyone should attend a clinic with Marty - she inspires moderation and understanding while listening to her inner voice about how to communicate with these wonderful animals that includes both movement and stillness. It was the stillness that Pablo had with Marty while he was in a very vulnerable position that was one of many beautiful moments at the clinic.
We have taken the leap and planted a field of various grasses for the llamas. It was a pricier endevor than I thought it would be but now the grass is coming and and I am so excited! It was a long process of deciding what type of field to plant and I learned a lot about grasses. Thanks to the great help from Albuquerque Alpacas and Miller's Feed in Albuqueruque, I hope I have created the magic blend that will grow the healthiest and happiest llamas. We planted a whole acre that we lease from a friendly neighbor in hopes we will have many years to enjoy it. I bought a total of 160 pounds of seed to plant: 50 lbs of Rocky Mountain Native Mix, 40 lbs of Brome, 40 lbs of edophyte-free Fescue, and 30 lbs of Orchard grass seed. After the tractor covered the field two or threetimes, there was still 50 lbs left over. The left over came in handy when another neighbor decided to plant her quarter acre field this spring too. This is my first large-scale (can I call it that?) farming and I am like an anxious mother checking on the baby grass blades. Luckily the lisght freeze we had last night did not seem to harm any of it.
I have to say that I am feeling pretty smug now that I have participated in greening up the Alameda neighborhood. Having a field seems not to be as cost effective as developers like to buy them up and build homes to sell. We are losing open space yet farming is so important. If you are someone who supports keeping our open spaces, growing food or crops, let others know and lets keep it up!
The llamas are featured at the end of this 60 second commercial for science (yay!)
Llamas del Sol and the New Mexico Chapter of Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA) teamed up for an exciting llama adventure. We hiked in the Elena Gallegos park in the foothills of Sandia Mountain. We had over 25 people join our trek with two llamas: Suki and Letta. Suki and Letta were terrific on the trail although a couple of times Suki decided to take a break for a minute or two - perhpas due to the high winds, she was not sure she wanted to continue. But, with some coaxing, we hiked into the Sandia foothills on the Baca Domingo trail. The hike was a lot of fun for everyone and Suki and Letta took turns with anyone who wanted to lead them.
Llamas are great companions for trekking given their calm demeanor, agility, and packing skills. Their intense curiosity and willing participation make them a lot of fun to be around. I have found llamas to be good for the nerves and very calming. They have a natural theraputic quality that I look forward to every time I get to go out with them. See a few pictures in our photo gallery and check the TSA of NM site at www.tsanm.org for picture postings.