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Welcome! Our blog focuses on environmental conservation, education, green living & wildlife rescue! We have put together links to resources, books and information to help you and your children learn more about these topics. Please feel free to comment on any items posted. Rate or review us on NetworkedBlogs (Facebook app) & Blogged. Tell your friends about us. Follow us on Twitter and other sites listed on this page. There's a banner & widget if you would like to include us on your webpage. All we ask is that you please keep any comments here G-rated for the kids!

NOTE: The birds & squirrel pictured at the top of this page and in the slideshow below are just a few that I have helped rehabilitate.
WARNING: Please do not touch a wild animal, especially the young ones. If you remove a baby from it's home, sometimes the mother is just off getting it's baby food and will be back.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Spring Fever in the depths of winter

My garden is under a foot of snow. The topsoil is frozen, but underneath, the little microorganisms keep living and dying and decomposing, making the soil rich and fertile for spring. There are several piles of compost, frozen solid, dumped last fall but not spread, in between bouts with gout and an influenza-like virus. We barely got the rain barrels emptied and turned so they wouldn't freeze during the winter - spreading the compost just didn't happen. It'll have to get spread in the spring.

Spring. I can look to spring and think positive thoughts. I'll still be on my extended leave of absence. I won't be juggling planting schedules around school calendars; I can work on putting in the seeds earlier than usual, and care for the seedlings by putting them on the deck by day to soak in the sun, and bringing them inside overnight to avoid freezing.

In fact, in the middle of winter - in January! Football isn't even done yet! - I went to Fleet Farm and bought one of these. It's called the Ultimate Greenhouse. I don't know that I'd call it Ultimate, but it was an inexpensive set-up that will work beautifully on my deck while I'm waiting for the frost danger to end.

It does look handy, doesn't it? Mine will be full of vegetables rather than flowers. It's still in the box in the garage. When spring fever hits (April, most likely), I'll put it together. I'm looking forward to that activity, and that's what it's all about right now.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Montana Llama Rescue 2011!

Wow!  I have had one of the most amazing experiences in my life, really.  Even the big, bad, biker, Tom, said so.  And remember, he was my reluctant cohort in this rescue mission in the first place.  Well, not once he got there and met these wonderful folks:

The guy in the middle (the driver), looking at the ground, he too is a reluctant participant; because he is used to working with steers.  And until that trip, he thought llamas were sissy animals...I don't think he thinks that anymore; but he still didn't like his picture taken with a bunch of llama nuts!

This is the rig that he drove clear across Montana and Wyoming(in very bad weather, I might add) to deliver our boys to us:
Twenty llamas arrived on this trailer.  It took them two days to get to La Porte, CO.  Which is where we met them at our very wonderful host ranch.  Four foster homes met up to pick up their allotment of rescue llamas, a few various wonderful llama lovers, and rescue friends to lend a hand and a small crew from CSU Veterinary School was on hand.

None of us had ever met before, face to face; but we had been preparing for the big arrival via e-mail for a few we greeted each other as old friends would, with hugs all around (that poor cattle driver never knew what hit him...)!  All was well...

Until we saw this!!!!

This poor guy was down in the trailer, getting trampled by the other llamas as they unloaded.  We all held our breath...Was he alive?  He tried to stand up, fell back down, stumbled out of the trailer and then fell again....  The group, collectively, had not taken a breath yet!  He finally stood up triumphantly, and we all just stood there for a second in absolute shock!  None of us had ever seen anything like it.  His legs were so tangled up in his own wool, it had caused him injuries.  We didn't know whether to cheer for him or cry for him.

After our initial moment of horror wore off, we all knew what needed to be done.  An in field, on site shearing party it was.  With scissors no less...the poor guy got one hell of a bad hair cut, but I'm sure he feels A TON lighter!  After the shearing was done, we got down to separating the boys and figuring out who was going where.  Tom and I had to laugh later that all of us had bonded with Big Guy (the one with the bad haircut), so when the straws were drawn, and yes, we used actual straw, or maybe it was hay...We all wanted Big Guy!

But, as you can see, there were plenty of great llamas that needed care and love.  It was decided that Big Guy (his official name I heard via e-mail last night-ha!) stay near CSU because he has some very specific medical needs that I really don't want to take on.  I have five gelded (meaning fixed, neutered, castrated, whatever) males from this herd at The Royal Ranch, and it has been an adventure getting them home and settled.
As you can see from the pics below, they are settling in.  They don't like dogs...that is for sure!  But, as my youngest son pointed out, in Montana they've probably seen wolves and a canine scent is a canine scent!  When they see our Great Pyrenees, Tia, the big white one does the alarm call to warn the others of danger!
 Big Whitey (so far)~ this guy must have been one of the herd leaders (Wow! out of 800 llamas!) because he scored 4 (on a body scale of 1-9), which is quite good, so he was getting most of the food.  We also think there is a chance that this guy was at some point in time a herdsire, meaning that he was someone's top breeder.  See the tag in his ear?  That could mean that he is an import from Chile or Peru.

We got home well after dark on Sunday, and thanks to a good friend and neighbor's headlights, we got the trailer all ready to unload them, thinking they were just dying to be out after two days of traveling....and NOTHING!  They were comfortably bedded down for the night and that was that.  So we tied the gate of the trailer to the gate of their "Quarantine" area and left them be.

 This is Jose and Shadow, Shadow is our most critical patient (scoring only a 1-2).

 This is Mellow (so far) because he is Caramel colored and very mellow as you can see from this picture.  He is also the only one that willingly got haltered and loaded into the trailer!

 A better shot of Jose, if SWLR accepts us, we may adopt this rebellious boy, he pulled a muscle in the big, bad, bikers back putting him in the trailer, and he was the smallest of all!  Leave it to me, to like the roughest one of the bunch!
A group (or butt) shot of the boys checking out their small outdoor yard.  I wanted it small on purpose.  I don't need these boys getting a ton of exercise and fighting right now.  This is a resting and healing zone.  On the other hand, they do however have a huge covered area that gets a ton of sunshine and fresh air, just what the doctor ordered.  Maybe not the photographer though!
And this dear Readers, is your llama.  I thought it would be fun for you all to get involved with the naming game!  I am sorry about the light with this picture, but he is a spectacular boy, because he goes from a cream color to a caramel color that gradates into a dark brownish rust.  And then as you can see, he has some white socks too.  Once we get this nasty batch of wool off of him, the wool that comes in, will be fantastic!  I am hoping to find spinners for him, Big Whitey and Mellow, as they all have beautiful wool. 

It really has been an amazing few days.  Sunday was unbelievable.  Those folks were wonderful and are friends for life now, even if we just e-mail each other for support from now on...which the e-mails have been flying!  But to be a part of the nation's biggest animal rescue has been something I can't even describe in words...beyond satisfying?  Now you too can be a part of it, help name our nameless guy...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Llama Emergency!

All of these boys, except for the one on my left are rescues!

Today I will be doing things a bit differently.  I have been madly working with my friend and mentor L'illette, who was my friend Bobra Goldsmith's right hand woman.  L'illette has been rescuing llamas for as long as I've known her; as a matter of fact, that is how we became friends.  But I'm not sure either of us ever saw this one coming folks.  My dear friend put it all in an e-mail to me this weekend, and here it is for you in its entirety:

If you’re not up-to-date on this, please check out the website, Gary Kaufman’s YouTube video,  and Jerry Finch (President/Founder of Habitat for Horses) blog report. Horrific in the most literal sense.

I’m also trying to keep my website at updated with these links and any other info that comes along. And a Facebook page has been created: MLAS Llama Rescue. I urge you to cross-post my status update emails to you, the links above, any information you can. And if you have any press contacts, please get the word out to them, too. We need national coverage to get things going faster. Weather and road conditions in Montana mean we have to move these animals quickly.

The newly formed Montana Llama Rescue Coalition (MTLLRC) comprising representatives from llama breed and rescue organizations across the country, has been collecting money for transports and the ASPCA has promised a large donation, funds yet to be received.

We have one big load of 100 earmarked for points east, but need a big cattle hauler. Including below one of the latest emails on that topic for your reference. So if you know of any cattle haulers or anyone who might be able to take on some of these admittedly worrisome, starved, probably ill, and largely untrained llamas—yep, hoping for big miracles all around!—please spread the word.

Also have places for about 25 in Texas and a few so far in Ft. Collins area that can be dropped off en route to Texas. So far, I’ve found one livestock hauler out of Iowa who can take about 35-40 per trip, and 10-15 of the Texas-bound llamas can be dropped off en route.

RMLA AREA – WE NEED YOU! Only two farms so far have offered to help, and I really need more foster caretakers for here in CO. Ideally, of course, we’d like to get in at least one large group to some place where we can then get them initial care, sorting, etc. and on to farms in smaller groups. Our desperately needed miracles will hopefully include some sort of staging/temporary sanctuary area where a bunch could winter under shelter and with care and oversight. (This applies to all regions, not just RMLA.) FYI, these are mostly geldings and a few intact males at this point… hundreds of them still awaiting rescue, and dying as they wait.

Quick immediate and urgent needs lists (target is national, not just for my little regions):
·         Cattle hauler with double-decker style rig to transport 100 MT llamas to Northeast Llama Rescue (NELR) – see email included below.
·         Foster farms that can take in large numbers for immediate triage and distribution asap in smaller groups to other foster farms.
·         Other foster farms: even if you can take only a few, if enough folks will volunteer, that adds up to a lot more lives saved.
·         Donations of money via – all tax-deductible, initially for transport, with any remaining funds, such as if ASPCA comes through, going to veterinary care.
·         Please contact your camelid vets to ask if they’ll donate services or reduce costs for this rescue effort.
·         Knowledgeable llama folks who can be in MT to help load the llamas, or at the receiving ends to help unload, triage, distribute.

Please be aware that there will surely be initial costs to you angels who offer to take llamas. For my RMLA folks, I will set you up as a Southwest Llama Rescue, Inc. foster farm, which means your expenses may be tax deductible. Too, SWLR will continue to raise money to reimburse expenses incurred by foster farms. I’m sure the other rescue organizations are working along the same lines.

Again, if you haven’t been keeping up with the situation, please read Jerry Finch’s blog report from December 27. And know that the situation is much, much worse now. I don’t know how to tug any better at your heartstrings, but my own heart is breaking. Llamas are dying every day, and many may not even survive our rescue attempts. But some will! You can be part of this enormous endeavor to save as many llama lives as possible. I can only plead with you to help in whatever ways you can, whether it be a little or monumental. Nothing like this has ever happened in the rescue world, and certainly not to our beloved llamas. Please, please… please.
L’illetteL’illette Vasquez
SWLR/SELR Llama Rescues
LANA/RMLA/MTLLRC Llama Rescue Committees
L’illy Llamas at Rocky Mt. Llamas
7202 N 45th Street
Longmont CO 80503-8844

I chose a Tuesday to post this because I cross post on Green Spot-On and I know that you my Rebels will surely get involved, if you can.  Put the word out people, and if you know me, you probably guessed the reason for my absence the last day or so, yes I have a few tricks up my sleeve!  I am hoping to get our local Environmental Action class involved with my rescue mission...ooops did I let that slip?  Is the RR headed to Montana?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year GSO!!!


From The Royal Ranch to You!