A Reed and Mary Outing

Yesterday Reed and I attended the Heartland Llama Show at the North Iowa Fairgrounds in Mason City. Remember my friend Kathy in Rochester who has 6 llamas? We visited her last August and she brought 2 of her girls, Libby and Sunny, to the show.

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Little Sunny is only 10 months old and this was the first time she had been separated from her mother.

Here is Kathy with Sunny.

Reed with Sunny and me with lovely little Sunny.

Have you ever walked a llama? Well, of course Reed and I had never walked a llama until yesterday and it was so much fun! I had Libby, the tall dark brown one and Reed has Sunny.

We led them down the drive to where the shearing was going on and Libby was first.

After the shearing Libby got her toenails trimmed. Then it was Sunny’s turn – her first time getting sheared.

Kathy had to comfort Sunny who was scared – she’s just a baby, remember? And she’s had trauma in her short life. Last January she was attacked by a dog in the neighborhood and was mauled and ended up with a very damaged ear so her time in the show ring is over before it got started. So sad.

I was holding on to Libby – think she needs to see an orthodontist maybe.

Here is Kathy and Reed in front of the girls’ stall – High Meadow Llamas, Rochester, MN.

Right before we left this sweet little 3 year old named Mara came by telling everybody “I’m walking a llama!” The llama’s name was Nugget and she was wearing a crown of flowers. Is this special or not?

These animals are so gentle even a 3 year old can walk one! Here are several more gorgeous llamas – eye candy! Ha!

After we left the show we shopped for flowers – look at these beauties!

What a fun day! Rick and I met Kathy and Jerry for pizza after I came home to do the chores and drop Reed at home. We had a lovely visit and I can’t wait to go back to Rochester again this summer to see Kathy and her llamas.

Tomorrow – Reed’s chickens – Alice, Pearl and Vernice – named for the great grandmothers!

64 thoughts on “A Reed and Mary Outing

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Heather K – if I were 20 years younger, I’d be bringing some home! I loved them – so gentle and I loved the humming!

  1. Jeanie from Sw Illinois

    Amazing pictures, Mary. I loved learning so much about llamas. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Diane in WI

    The llamas are beautiful; there are so many different color combinations. What a nice experience for both of you! Some of our neighbors down the road have a few llamas. I wish the weather would cooperate and quit raining. I did start some seeds, and some are sprouting. I noticed you have a Baggallini purse. My sister and I use ours all the time.

  3. Janice Hebert

    Thank you, Mary for the pictures and thank you, Kathy Hanson for so much information! The llama’s are just so cute and it is amazing to me that they will guard their “flock”. Would chickens be included in that “flock” if they were raised together? We’ve had many chickens taken by coyotes in our area, it’s heartbreaking and I love seeing them free range. Would be great if just having a llama would deter the coyotes. I’m envious of your flowers, too soon to put any outside here yet. But our tulips and daffodils have done well. Jan in MA

    1. Kathy Hanson

      Not really sure about chickens. The llamas usually ignore the chickens that live on the farm where they are living!

  4. Nikki M in Tx

    Thanks for sharing the llama adventure. Have not seem barrel shear before. Each April or May I shear Bongo naked….and he is not happy with me for a day or two. If I have a hanging basket I can count on a big bite to be taken from it after shearing…lol..turn about fair play I guess.

  5. B. J. Berlo

    Love your posts, Mary. I’m a city girl and have never lived on a farm, so this is all new to me! My sister and I visited your quilt shop a good many years ago when we were driving from Idaho to Maine. We planned our route so we could visit your shop. I’m so happy that you and Reed are buddies, and that you are passing your skills on to another generation.

  6. Ann in NC

    Love the llama pictures. I thought they liked to “spit” on people. I guess you did not experience that.

    1. Kathy Hanson

      Llamas “spit” if they feel threatened. They may spit at each other if another comes trying to eat their food but otherwise, even though you hear that they spit it doesn’t happen unless they feel threatened.

  7. MartyCae

    Thanks for sharing all the pictures of the llamas. You made my day!

  8. Frances Carter

    Oh thank you Mary for sharing! What beautiful Lamas! I would love to be Reed for a day and have a wonderful adventure with you!

  9. Patti in W Barnstable

    Thanks so much for the llama pictures. I just loved looking at them. I’m glad you had such a good day.

  10. Sharon Lowy

    Love the adventures of you and Reed. I visited an Alpaca Farm in NJ. It was so interesting. I think you and Reed need to add a couple of Llamas to your menagerie.😊

  11. Ellie

    Thanks for the freak pictures! You and Reed must have had a grand time. Llamas and flowers. What could be better.

      1. CountryThreads Post author

        Ellie – I’m with you on auto correct – I read and re-read in hopes of catching all the misprints due to auto correct!

        1. Betty Klosterman

          The computer tech took auto correct off my computer. It can’t spell the words I don’t know how to spell anyway. Plus I sure don’t know how it knows what I want to say — super human??
          A couple raise llamas near Rapid City. They welcome people to come pet them, etc. and they are very friendly. Their llamas are a real hit at the petting zoos and love the attention. I’ve heard that they can be nasty if they aren’t used to people.

  12. Cheryl Gerbing

    Hi Mary,

    An off question–my BIL has chickens he loves ad has to move. Do you have any suggestions on where his chickens could find a new home?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Cheryl Gerbing – do you live close to me in North Iowa?

      1. Cheryl Gerbing

        So Sorry I forgot to mention it. No we live in Wis. Just looking for suggestions for him. He so loves his chickens. 2 of his favorites are 8 years old and are so important to him. It’s what makes him want to get up in the morning. He has MS and is not ding well. Any ideas would be appreciated. He’s reaching out to family.

        Thanks, Mary

        Love the pic’s of the llamas. So precious.

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          cheryl Gerbing – I’d take them in a heartbeat! Guess you should look for somebody like me who takes in just about anything that needs a home!

  13. Sue H

    What beautiful creatures. I have a question though — what is the difference between a llama and an alpaca? Thanks for sharing these beauties and it sure looks like EVERYONE had a fun day. Glad the “baby” survived its first haircut! Lol!

    1. Kathy Hanson

      Llamas are big animals (our largest is #440) and they have “banana ears” which are large and look like fuzzy bananas! They originate from the high Andes mountains and are foraging animals – eat bark, rough grasses, etc. Alpacas are smaller, have small ears and are from lower in the Andes mountains. They are grazing animals so their diet is different. Llamas have very efficient GI systems and can get enough nutrition from very little. Both animals are ruminants like cattle so they rest and chew their cud!

      1. Sue H

        Thank you, Kathy. I hear folks talk about both and have often wondered if the names were interchangeable or if there was a difference — which there most certainly is!

  14. Pat Smith

    I absolutely loved your photos of the llamas! I’m not familiar with them at all and never knew what their role was. I visited an alpaca farm near Portland, OR once and so enjoyed those animals who had just been sheared. The clothing made from their fur was out of my price range. I didn’t realize llamas were so gentle a three year old could walk one.

  15. Paula Philpot

    You and Reed are made for each other……this is so special! Paula in KY

  16. Diana

    Those animals are beautiful. I love seeing and hearing about all your animals – brings back memories of some of my pets from growing up on the farm. My Dad let me have one goat but when the goat decided the best place to climb was upon the roof of the family car Dad made me get him a new home. Also love reading the adventures of Reed and Mary!

  17. Jean

    Thank you, Mary! You and Reed have such great adventures! I always enjoy your posts. About getting older: Betty White’s mother used to say, “The older you get, the better you get …unless you’re a banana!”
    -Jean ❤

  18. Sue in Oregon

    Love all the photos, but especially the ones with Reed and Sunny. You can tell she was quite taken with him. He has such a great way with animals of all kinds. I hope he becomes a Veterinarian someday.
    Glad you two had such a great day.

  19. Karla T

    whoops! I meant to ask– do they spin the wool into yarn like they do with alpaca?

    1. Kathy Hanson

      I clean up the fiber after it is shorn and send it to a mill to be made into yarn, just like they do with alpaca. Some people think that alpaca fiber is finer but there is very little difference, especially with fiber from young animals.

  20. Karla T

    Mary, thanks for the llama pictures– what fun— do they save the wool like from alpacas and spin it into wool?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Karla T – yes, they do! Kathy says she has quite a supply of fiber by now but wouldn’t a hat or scarf made from an animal you know and love be just wonderful? Like wearing your beloved animal around your neck! Sweet!

  21. Dee Winter

    Love these babies! I too am winding down the animal population at my place. One last horse she was born here, never been home anywhere else except when we got flooded. You know, Minnesota Quilters are in Rochester this spring. Excellent opportunity to visit Sunny and see some great quilts!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Dee winter – yes, I’m going to be there on Thursday and think we should have a Chicken Scratch Board Meeting, don’t you?

  22. Norma

    I’m curious. If they are calm and gentle how do they protect other animals, what do they do?

    1. Kathy Hanson

      Yes, llamas are very gentle animals but they are VERY protective of their “herd”. They have a very strong kick and have been known to herd the animals away from danger but if that doesn’t work they can kill a coyote by kicking them. I talked with a woman once who had a large farm and when she walked the fence line she found 3 dead coyotes that her guard llama had killed protecting his herd.

      1. Norma

        Thanks, Kathy. They sound so interesting. The little one looks so sweet. My granddaughters would love meeting them!

  23. Beryl Hoff

    What a fun day!! Thank you, Kathy for explaining the shearing! We have a herd of Llamas a little ways from here. They live on a mountain side, I don’t see the special shearing. The do get sheared soon, I would think, and then the hair grows longer for the winter. I live in Montana. I just drive by so don’t see the shaggy look those two had!
    Reed will soon be taller than you are Mary! Such a handsome young man. I am sure he thoroughly enjoys the trips with you and all he learns!!
    The flowers look so inviting! My 1 Johnny Jump Up is still blooming after being buried in about 3″ of snow last weekend and possibly a little tonight too. I am hoping some other little fellows will show their faces soon. The stores are getting flowers in but it is too early to buy any. I am thinking I will have to do my hanging baskets, moving or not. I can’t just let them hang there so empty and forlorn. May wait closer to Memorial Weekend, it has to warm up by then!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Beryl Hoff – when I looked at those pictures I thought the same thing! Reed will be taller than me very soon! I have not put my indoor plants outside yet because it’s just not that warm – this week it’s back in the 40’s. Ick.

  24. Felicia Hamlin

    That little Sunny is so cute, Mary! You and Reed have some good adventures and the flowers that you showed us are beautiful.

  25. Donna Sproston

    What a great outing for you and Reed. Llamas are wonderful animals. Have you considered getting some for your farm? I visited an alpaca farm in the Puget Sound area, and the woman had over 60. They all had names, and she knew every one of them. She wanted to buy more pairs, but her husband put his foot down. He said she had to sell some first because 60 was enough. I am not sure he knew their names.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Donna Sproston – I would LOVE to have some llamas and nothing would stop me – IF I were 50 years old instead of 70 years old! Our brutal winter is a good reminder that I won’t be able to do this much longer which is so very sad but life is on the downhill swing, isn’t it?

  26. Judy E

    Love the adventures that Reed and you have together. Thanks for sharing with us all the wonderful photos too.
    This time of year everyone longs for flowers to provide color around the yard.
    Near St Charles (MN) the Amish have auctions that sell all kinds of plants. People buy them by the car trunk load. A dangerous place to go if you love plants!

  27. Betty Klosterman

    It amazes me that the llama’s ankles are so small. Reindeer have the same ankle, too. Just doesn’t look like it would hold up. The llamas are beautiful. Their faces are so espressive. Being around so many people and being pets probably makes them easy to be around people. How much fun.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Betty K – they are such calm gentle animals, anyone would fall in love with them!

  28. Diane, Squeak’s Mom

    They are gorgeous. What beautiful animals. 😃. We got to feed them in Peru and we bought my husband a vest from llama wool that looks brand new after 9 years. What a wonderful day and the pictures are great!! You and Reed have great adventures.

  29. Diane Bauer

    Well I think Sunny is beautiful—show worthy or not! Your photos are wonderful.

    Spring weather has me wanting to plant, but I know better, so I sewed instead! I put together a fun baby quilt yesterday (Moda’s Bitty Bunting—super easy and fun for any who need quilts for upcoming
    Big babies!!). Today I cut and worked on a pattern a friend had given me last year—State of Being by Meadow Mist. It will be done in short order (and then I can get back to Caring Hands!).

    1. Diane Bauer

      Big babies????? I don’t know what that’s all about!! Autocorrect is the bane of my existence!!

  30. Jo in Wyoming

    What a fun day! How many llamas did you and Reed want to bring home? And yes, those flowers are beautiful.

  31. Kim J LeMere

    What a fun outing you both had. I must admit that I never knew llamas were so gentle.

  32. Martha Engstler Gettysburg

    So interesting, do the Llama’s have only their middles sheared?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Martha Engstler – maybe Kathy would answer your question. Many were sheared with this barrel cut but I also saw some that were completely shorn. Kathy – will you comment here, please!

      1. Kathy Hanson

        Sometimes, when their fiber gets pretty matted we shear them “naked” That is, take off all the fiber neck, body, legs, etc. and it takes about 2 years to all grow back. However, having the shearing in the spring gives it time to grow back enough for them to be warm enough in the winter. Sunny had a “barrel cut” which is what all of the babies (crias) get. Libby, (the reddish brown girl) had a “lion cut” which is all of the body including the back end down to the tops of the legs. Without shearing they would be way too hot in the summer. Their fiber is hollow and warmer than wool.

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Kathy Hanson – thank you for sending the answer! I dreamed about llamas last night! So wish I could have a couple.

          1. Kathy Hanson

            You would love them! They are great guard animals too – used to protect sheep, goats, any grazing animals. Usually then just have one and the other grazing animals become their “herd”.

        2. Martha Engstler Gettysburg

          Many thanks for your answer. Hope I’ll find some around here.

  33. Kathy Hanson

    What a great time we had! You sure did a good job reporting on our wonderful day!

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