Monday, April 27, 2009

como se llama? and two little surprises!

Saturday Gallo and I attended a Free Camelid Information Day put on by Niki and Jeff Kuklenski of JNK Llamas and supported by a myriad of other llama and alpaca folks. They had decided to have this information day to work rescue from the other end....educating the public.

There was lots of great information, beginning with a Veterinarian talk by Dr. Michael Anderson DVM. He gave a brief synopsis (to accompany the handout) on nutrition and care of camelids as well as took questions. He also did discounted geldings and teeth floating.

His talk was followed by 45 minute clinics in various subjects, toenail trimming, shearing, fiber prep and grooming, packing info: evaluating and fitting a llama pack, llama suitability for packing, fiber demos and info, grange/livestock insurance info, trailer care/maintenance, fencing info by Gallagher fence, obstacles and training for them, a round pen Get Connected exhibition (an all day clinic was on Sunday), therapy work with llamas and farm layout for ease....AND a FREE lunch!

Gallo was the "demo llama" for the feet trimming by Pete Brands and Jeff Kuklenski. He did beautifully. (not that I'm partial) :)

He was also sheared which he did very well, I need to thank Shannon, from Kenleigh Acres once again for placing Gallo with me.

Here is a couple of pics of some teeth floating. The only time Dr. Anderson will do that to llamas is if they are having trouble eating and are losing too much weight.

Here's a few pics of the packing clinic, showing how to fit the pack properly and good equiptment:

The obstacles and training for them course was popular with young and not as young....:) It was taught by Jim Krowka who also did the round pen training.

Here are a couple of pics I swear you can hear the conversation going on in the heads of these girls....!!

"NO WAY! That can't be happening!"

"Hey! Did you see that?!"

"Come over here! Look at that!!"

"I wouldn't have believed it if I didn't see it with my own eyes!"

Now just some random shots......

Before I left I had fitted and ordered a handsome red halter for Gallo. I'll take a pic once I get it.

Here's a pic of Gallo sporting his new "do"

Now, as to the little surprises.....Stonehaven Ilse had a little katmoget ram lamb and so did Boulderneigh Bella! I'll try and post some more pics in a couple of days.



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ode......R to the Skunk Cabbage

Or maybe I should have titled this post...EWWWWW de Skunk Cabbage...

Skunk Cabbage is one of the first Spring "flowers" we get. This also tell you that my pasture has some definite boggy areas.

Most people have heard of, if not know personally, the skunk cabbage. It's name is fitting as it has a "pungent, somewhat skunk-like odor". It's odor attracts small flies and other insects for pollination. These insects are in part the same species that are attracted to carrion....not a very endearing similarity.

I decided to read up on the skunk cabbage, as I know very little about it other than the way it looks and smells.

Some of the interesting things that I found out....

It's nickname is Swamp Lantern, which I can understand with it's bright yellow standing out in the bog or woodland.

The western variety is found from Kodiak Island and Cook Inlet, Alaska, south through British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Northern California. It has isolated showings in NE Washington, Northern Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

Skunk cabbage can also be found on the East Coast of the US, China, and it can be found growing in marshy areas in England and Scotland.

It is food for bears, who eat it after hibernating as a laxative or cathartic.

It was used by indigenous people as a medicine for burns, injuries, and to cure sores and swelling.

They would also use it in times of famine as a food, where they would eat almost all it's parts. Leaves are supposed to have a somewhat spicy or peppery taste, but I don't believe I will be trying them. If for no other reason than they contain calcium oxalate crystals which will cause a burning sensation to your mouth and tongue. (Makes me wonder if the indigenous people were just that desperate during famine or if they found a way to remove the crystals.....)

The leaves were also used to line berry baskets and to wrap around salmon and other foods when baked under a fire. (Bet that smelled appealing....)

Skunk cabbage can produce heat when flowering. Even melting the snow around it. Skunk cabbage flowers will produce warmth over a period of 12-14 days and remain on an average of 36 degrees F. (20 degrees C) above the outside air temperature. They actually regulate their warmth day or night! (hmmmmm is it an alien or a plant??)

There, that's probably more than you ever cared to know about skunk cabbage, but if you ever go on Jeopardy and they have a question about skunk cabbage it could be your winning answer!