Two go and One arrives- Tessa Jane, Domino, Llama cria

Two go and One arrives- Tessa Jane, Domino, Llama cria

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 was a sad day and a not so sad day.


Tessa Jane (December 31, 1999- September 22, 2015)



Tessa as a pup

Tessa was my first Border Collie ever.  Charlie and I had been married about 2 months and he had to go offshore for his very first trip offshore after we were married.  Being on my own was no big deal, however it was a bit different being that I was in Scotland and knew next to no one.  He was only gone for about five days that I recall but I got Tessa during that time.  She was just 8 weeks old.

Hector, Charlie’s Da, holding his Tessa


My sister Jessica came to visit later on when Tessa was a bit more grown and gave her the middle name of Jane, and Tessa Jane she was forever after know as.  Tessa was a blue smooth border collie.  She had blue eyes until she was about 5 months old when they finally settled to the darker color that they were the rest of her life.  We never got our next border collie, Abbey, until Tessa was 18 months old.  So she had Charlie and I all to herself for that time.

Hector, Charlie’s Da, adored Tessa.  He never really forgave us when we got Abbey our second border collie until we got our third border collie, Prue.  Than it was not so much that he forgave us, but that he gave us for lost.  Apparently we were crazy.  Charlie never figured out why he was so stand offish with Abbey until he saw a photo of Teddy, Hector’s child hood Border collie.  Abbey was the image of Hector’s Teddy.  Abbey of course is an intelligent border collie so she eventually won Hector over by bonding with him watching Aberdeen and Celtic footie game.  We had made a VCR tape for Abbey of bits of the game and bits of Animal Planet and she and Hector watched that tape for hours together.  The TV would be off and Abbey would find Hector in the sitting room.  She would go and sit pretty in front of the TV.  Pause and wait.  Turn and look at Hector.  Turn and look at the TV and repeat until he turned on the TV and popped her tape in.  Abbey trained Hector to turn on her tape and all was well between them.

Tessa at Aden Park, Mintlaw Scotland


Tessa never did watch Footie with Hector and Abbey.  She did have Hector wrapped around her paw equally but in a different area.  Tessa was afraid of heights, specifically bridges and horribly so with bridges she could see through.  When she stayed with Hector, they went for walks daily.  Upon coming to a bridge in Buckie on their walk, Hector would pick her up and carry her across so her paws didn’t have to touch that scary old bridge at all.

Charlie and I took Tessa frequently to Aden Park for walks and outings.  Aden Park is a stunning location in Mintlaw, Scotland.

She always enjoyed meeting new dogs and the bigger and stranger they were the more that she wanted to play with them.  We walked at the beach in Peterhead, Scotland or down at the dunes frequently.  Tessa never seemed to have much interest in small dogs, but those great big snarly boisterous tough dogs had her attention from first woof!

Rolling in dead seagulls was another favorite pastime of hers as well as drinking the sea water in order to throw up all the way home in the car.  You will be missed Tessa Jane.  She had reached 15.75 years old.  A ripe old age for a Scottish Border Collie.


Domino (? – September  22, 2015)

Domino was a double merle Australian Shepherd, Aussie.  We adopted him in summer of 2006 but I first heard of him December 2005 where he had been dumped by his previous owner into a kill shelter in California.

Domino, on the Colorado Ranch

I called the shelter from Scotland and they said the owner stated Domino was 7.5 years old.  He was adopted and returned the next day and later adopted by an Aussie rescue agency.  The agency foster homed him for about 6 months and we got him after moving back to the states summer of 2006.



Domino was with our family for a little over 9 years.  We know that he was probably at least 4 years old by the time that we got him but don’t know if he was really as old as 7.5 years.  Either way, he wasn’t a spring chicken when we let him go.

A double merle is a breeding that should never be done.  It breeds a merle to another merle in the mistaken hope that they will get a litter of all merle pups.  Usually this is done to try to get more money as Merle pups are in higher demand due to the public liking the color and pattern.  The problem with this is that you don’t necessarily get more merle pups in the litter.  You do have a 1 in 3 chance of getting a deaf pup that may also be blind and have a lot of other genetic mutations and abnormalities.  Domino was mostly blind and he was deaf.  Towards the end we had to do eye drops for him every day for over a year.  One morning he had woke up with his blue eye all yellow orange because it was bleeding inside the eye and I couldn’t even see the blue any longer.  Once we got the swelling down and the bleeding stopped after a few months, we did eye drops for maintenance to try to stop that every happening again. This was some of his genetic problems due to being a double merle.  One of his eyes was smaller than the other, had very little color and was his mostly blind eye.


Domino was all bull moose!  His idea of fun and play was to run over the border collies and he loved a good tussle.  He loved being outside as well as inside by the fire on a cold wintery day.  Oddly enough, Domino and I didn’t get on as much as I had hoped.  We did have an understanding and got on most times, but he decided from the off that he was Charlie’s dog. He loved Charlie through and through.

He sat many times next to Charlie and would drape his front paw over Charlie’s hand and just rest it there.  Or he draped his front paw over Charlie’s ankle if Charlie’s feet were up on the settee.  He was happy and content to just sit there with his paw draped over Charlie as if he was holding hands and that was all that he required.  Now if Charlie wanted to pet him, hold him tight in a death lock and love on him….who was Domino to ever say no.

Domino and I had quiet moments where he draped his paw over me as well when we were alone.  With no one around, I could give him a little treat and he took it from me ever so gentle.  I was always amazed at how white he was in color and how soft his fur was…superbly soft.  Many folks have bought some of Domino’s fiber to spin in their projects.

Domino you are missed and now you are free from pain.  Whatever age you were, you had a full and long life.


One Arrives (September 22, 2015)

I did say that we had two that left us Tuesday and one arrived.  During the time that Charlie and I were letting Tessa and Domino go and burying them in the pet cemetery with our other dogs, we had a new arrival here on the ranch.

Glenda, our black llama mama, had an all black male cria.  He is ever so long legged and scrawny looking.  But look at all those curls stop those stilts for legs.  Baby is doing well so far and up and moving around this weekend.

Glenda seems to be settling into motherhood as this was her second cria.  She lost her first cria in CO a few years ago due to a dog interference.  We were unsure if she would bond with this baby after her last traumatic experience but she has done well.

We still have a few llamas that we believe are pregnant but with no idea of their breeding date we won’t know when the crias will arrive until they are here.  The first cria lived for 10 days and that all happened while Charlie was offshore.  This is the first llama we have ever had born that Charlie was able to see.

Cria baby with mom and another llama

Two left and One arrived.  What a surprise that made a very sad day just a little bit better.

a bit of a catch up……

a bit of a catch up……

It has been ages since I have posted to my blog.  There is a reason.  I had an accident in February that crushed my head between and beneath about 40-50 pounds of wood, ice and snow.  I dropped the wood box lid with all the snow and such on my head when my head was in the box.  It crushed my head in between, hitting me both in the back and front of the head, broke my nose, split my face open and required stitches and an emergency visit.  That has all healed up, but the head injury part did not heal as quickly.  It has been a long hard six months but I am starting to feel better and starting to create again.  Before this it was very hard to be on the computer, type, text, talk on the phone ect.  Just too much input causing too many headaches.  That is why I have been absent….along with a smart phone and internet that has refused to play nice….or smart!!

Dry laid stone dykes

This last week, we have been building stone dyke walls outside around the flower beds.  Dry stacking sand stone and doing some in round field stones.  It will make it much easier to strim and mow.  I have found that all my lovely plants do not always obey and stay in their beds.  Some of the plants like Lily of the Valley in particular, like to wander out of their beds all over the yard.

Beautiful Lilies

We have had some super fab lilies this last week pop their flowers.  I love my double and trumpet lilies.  For a week, every time I walked past the studio the scent in the evening was almost over whelming.  Their blooms are past now and I am finding I am missing their scent.


The Sunflowers have started to bloom.  I planted a lovely variety of RED sunflower that I am still anxiously awaiting to open.  They are sooooo close.  The birds however, planted loads of Black Oil Sunflower seeds absolutely everywhere and those have been blooming ….well…everywhere!!

I have been working on my final project and should have it finished shortly.  The Fiber Face piece is complete.  The backing is sew together, hemmed, pressed and sewn to the front Fiber Piece.  I have to add two more tabs to finish out the top and steam block it.  Than it is done and photos will follow.  I stitched the entire backing, tabs, and hems with my new to me 1954 Singer 99K.  I adore this sewing machine and with it being a hand crank, I can go as slow as I want to.  It is wonderful.  I have been afraid of sewing for years and avoided it since my childhood.  It is so good to be creating and making things that I want to.  Isn’t this machine gorgeous?

1954 Singer 99K

I found two lovely hand cranks.  This 1954 Singer 99K and also a 1957 Singer 15K-80. Charlie has used the 15K-80 to sew himself a felt quilt padded pouch for his new lap top that is too big for his old computer bag.  We went to the Hen House on the east side of the state and met a lovely group of ladies that were quilting.  One explained to Charlie how to do a “french seam” and he did it for his first piece.  I didn’t pay any attention to them as I was more focused on sewing a regular seam somewhat straight and not my fingers included.  I thought he could show off if he wanted to.

I did get several other sewing machines as well.  Five all total.  I already showed you and told you about the 1926Singer 31-15 treadle.  She is an industrial sewing machine.  I also got a 1941 Singer 66 treadle.  I will use these two once I want to go faster than my hand cranks allow.

Last but not least, I got a 1949 Singer 15-91 electric for when I want to go really fast.  All told I bought five vintage Singer machines and have plans to get my sewing, weaving, and spinning nook sorted soon.  Currently they are spread out all over the place and it looks like a fiber and sewing shop exploded in the house.

Good News: we finally located my brand new never been used Juki Serger and the box of all the threads.  We haven’t been able to locate it in the storage units or semi for the last two years.  I was convinced that it was in a specific storage unit which was the only one of our units that was broken into last fall.  I was correct and it was in that unit but was not stolen thank goodness.  It was just very well buried and hidden….enough so that in about 4-5 trips both Charlie and I couldn’t find it.  It is found now so more progress and learning is on my horizon.

Goat Kidding Spring Season was in May.  We had five kids total born this May, with three being sold to new homes.  Fall Kidding season is about upon us.  I have several goats getting ready to kid at the end of August and into September.  Sweet Pea had a single doe in June and it was a hard one for her.  Her milk didn’t come in as good as it should have and the doe kid was very weak.  I was out there when she delivered so I sat with the kid wrapped in a towel zipped inside my carhart for hours.

Aileen around a week old in the barn yard

She was so weak she would have died had I not taken her into the house for two days.  She is now fat, sassy and running around every where.  A blue eyed blue pinto roan off one of my best does.  Her name is Aileen, which is Gaelic for “sunbeam”.  She is Sweet Pea’s last kid as we will be retiring her and finding her a pet home for her golden years.

All the llamas that we gave away have all come back to the ranch.  We decided to get two of them back around Thanksgiving and let the other two go for good.  However, those two also recently came back to the ranch.  All of them we think may well be pregnant.  So we are watching them as certain ones are getting rather plump and heavy.

It has been very busy here on the ranch.  Trees coming down, walls going up, flowers being planted, weeds being dug up, goats coming and going, llamas coming back.  So much activity.

I have started to learn how to sew with a vintage hand crank machine.  I did my first quilt bit that I made to be a pad under the dog’s water dish for drips.  I have been spinning.  Finally I have made three scarves with the Broomstick stitch in Crochet.  I had planned on doing that several years ago but moving state and injuries got me side tracked a bit.  Now that stitch is super fun!  I have woven for the first time with a bulky weight single ply as my warp and silk hankies shredded and used for weft.  There has been so much going on I forgot to tell you all about it.  I know that this is a feeble catch up for so many months of silence but I will do better as I am able to put in more computer time.  Off for now…..

Helena has arrived.

My darling Helena has arrived.  She replaced Icy Breeze.  Icy and I were NOT getting along.  Helena is a half sister to Dolly Llama.  They have the same dad, the same nose, the same face, the same coloring, same stunning gorgeous eyes, same long legs, same great rose grey fleece, same loft, same elegant head and great S curve.  Guess I like them.  Good thing Dolly is my favorite.  or is that WAS my favorite as I now have TWO favs??


Helena is different in that she will come up to me, stand for me without any lead or ropes, and let me hug her and blow her air kisses.  Dolly sticks her ears out side ways and says ” Hell no mom, I DO NOT want kisses!”

I trained Helena myself out in the hot sun for a couple of hours.  Whipped my butt big time, but it was cool as she and I had a serious understanding by the time we were done.  She did NOT want to go in the porta potty.  In her defense, it did stink!!  She did not want to cross the bridge..but it was to get to the other side! And those tire things, what the heck are those for? We made it through all the obstacles though.

Helena is a 1 year old llama so she might end up being mates with Enchantment as there is only 3 weeks between them in age.  So far, Helena wants to hang out with big sister, Dolly, who wants nothing much to do with her.


Helena has been utterly fascinated with the Nigerian Dwarf goats.  She has kicked up her heels and ran in the pens with the goats and went over to say hello to Appletini and got head butted for her hospitality.  It did not stop her as she went back again for a closer look and got head butted again.  Helena is like a curious toddler. The dogs do not fuss her nor do the other llamas.  All of this calm and curious behavior is just HER!  She came up out of the field this way, we just enhanced it with some basic training that she got mostly right out the gate first try.  I did tell her when we started our walk across the road and all over that we would NOT have any of the shenanigans that her sister Dolly did.  And true to her word, she did not knock me down, run out in traffic, try to jump a barb wire fence, get stuck half way and have to be lifted off, or lie down and refuse to cross the stream.

I think that Dolly llama has been a bit jealous this week.  but can you blame me with this darling Helena around??

Worst Weekend EVER!

This has been THE most horrible weekend ever.  I don’t know if I jinked it by going in and knowing that I didn’t like one of the owners of the campground. I also figured out I am NOT a theme camper, group BBQ sort like last night where the food is catered in (I enjoy a group BBQ if we did it potluck style so I can be sure the food won’t make me ill), Hawaiian theme, limbo, or a sit around in a big group and watch movies and eat Jiffy Pop popcorn drenched in soybean oil kind of gal. (the movie would have been great had I been able to relax, but with trying to get everything done it just did not work out.)

2 out of 3 meals that they had set up I ate 2 and got sick throwing up both times.  I was fine with food that I brought so in the future will stick to food I know is free from the things I am allergic to.  So yes I did pass on the spam and green chili breakfast this morning as prepared meal number three as the other two had me throwing up.  Frankly spam and green chili burritos had me throwing up at just the idea of it. ewwwww!!

I was guilted at least once or twice about not being at scheduled events ect, and frankly I am not a child and had more pressing things to consider.  Like getting my VW bug back from the mechanic and giving him his truck back as he is on vacation all next week.  Locked myself out of my bug on Thurs then later that afternoon the bug died and had to be towed with the Great Pyr that I had just picked up for the dog parlor.  I didn’t get the packing and such done on Friday.  It was too much and too overwhelming and I could hardly walk on Friday night as my body just quit on me. I either pulled apart the wiring that Charlie had done and broke it or he didn’t design it to come apart.  I can’t remember as that was over three weeks ago.  I had to fix it with a borrowed set of pliers and my teeth.

Note to self: unplug the damm thing from the running car before you touch the bare wires and shock yourself on the ground between the trailer and Land Rover.

I had to spend about an hour and a half fixing it which meant at 7pm for the meet and greet I ran back up the mountain to get the mechanics truck and met him back at the campground to get my Bug.  I had to try to set up my camp site a bit and get the power sorted so I had the fridge and could get my cold stuff out of the cold box before it got horrible.  That was why I got to the meet and greet about 1.5 hrs later after I was told that they had introduced me already and were waiting for me.  When I got over there and no one spoke to me, it was as if I didn’t exist so I have no idea what all that hoopla was about.  And that general thing with me being more separate and most pretending I was not there, was the way the rest of the entire weekend went.  I said forget it and went back to finish setting up.  I really felt it was more critical to get power and lights before dark.

After I went back to my trailer I was seriously not feeling well and sat for a bit doing FaceBook to only realize about an hour later that I had better get moving back up the ranch to check on everyone or I was going to set up and not be able to walk.  I had been feeling more and more sick during that time.  Then on the road, half way to the ranch, realized I was going to be sick again. I couldn’t sleep that entire night even with pain killers as I was too tired and just in too much pain.  I woke up Saturday more tired than I had been before bed.

Went to the ranch to do chores, shower, and change and didn’t make it to the open house tour from 10-2 until about 11:30 am.  I got:  finally, we were waiting, it was locked, we wanted to see, etc from loads of folks as I was trying to unload the car and get the dog out before she baked in the Bug.  They had me in a spot shared with a 15 ft Terry Rambler where our doors faced SOUTH.  I backed in the trailer and with the wind could not be outside to spin so that entire plan for the weekend was ruined. At least I had my crochet with me and started on a free form circle poncho with matching mobius.

Note to self:  get one of those cool trailer door things that lets you latch the door back on the trailer so it doesn’t smack you in the shoulder and head and leave bruises.

The wind was brutal.  I never put up any shade tents or they would have gone the way of Glen and Sharon’s red tent!!  The spot that they put the two of us in..both shiny aluminum and no awnings…..was the worst spot in the entire trailer park.  It was near 100 degrees F and the pool was empty unless you count the sludge. They decided to drain it and started to fill it after cleaning it the afternoon of all this heat. A side note, I did back my own trailer in and was only about 1.5 ft between her front tongue and my back bumper…..AND I was straight.  Not bad for first time ever right?

I went to the BBQ on Saturday night and got sick from the food again.  So I went home to check on everything as I had this weird feeling I would get home and find Glenda, the mama llama, dead along with the baby.  She was alive and had NOT delivered.  I checked.  Repeatedly!  I did find my 2 year old Siamese Cat dead in the barn as she had had difficulty with her kittens and died.   I wondered if that was why I was so agitated.  After taking care of Beta, RIP, I went back to the campground.  I was so tempted to just say screw this and stay home.  I had set up my bed and had on PJs before leaving so I just fell into bed.  I did sleep better, but still not the best.  I set my alarm for 7:30 am with the intention of packing up and getting out of Dodge.  A car alarm went off in the park at 6:30 am so I packed up, loaded everything, backed up and hooked on, slit my finger open somehow in it all and bled all over the hitch and wires.  But I was on the road and out of there still by 8:13 am.

I got home to the real drama.  Glenda had her baby cria at 2:30 am.  She did NOT read the llama instruction manual!!!  I had to watch over 20 hours on 2 different cameras in fast forward to find out when and what happened.  The 2 main Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD)  have been in and out the pens at different times with the llama girls.  The main LGD interferes with the mothers and babies and I end up with a scared mom that rejects the baby, a bottle baby that thinks he is a Great Pyr Dog, and a very unhappy Melisa.  That main LGD had been benched out of the pen with the llamas for 4 weeks in anticipation of Glenda’s and Icy’s big day. The one remaining LGD is a perimeter guard and doesn’t do the close personal protection that the other LGD does.  I suspect that he may have never done this before but he must have watched the older dog as he scared the mom off the cria about 30 seconds after she had the baby, picked up the baby and removed it from her, chased her and all the others from the pen and laid down about 5 feet from the baby to guard it all night long.  This all took about 3.5 minutes and it was done and she had lost her baby because the dog took it to guard it!  I know that he thought he was doing the right thing, but he was wrong. So he is not in the pen with them any longer. Now if mom and baby bond, and the dogs are NOT in there for a few days, they are totally OK and leave the mom’s alone after going back in. It seems to just be a labor and delivery issue. By the time I had finished watching enough tape to figure out what happened, the baby was 12 hours old with no colostrum.  I had to dig through my frosted up freezer to chip out some frozen goat colostrum and get it heated into a pop bottle that we had to open and pour the pop down the drain.  I  had just threw out all pop/baby bottles about 1.5 months ago  thinking I would not need them.  I am so glad I still had the rubber nipples and some of the frozen milk and colostrum.  I managed to get between 8-10 ounces in her and then she was done…full up! 

Just before this time, I had 2 friends from Canon City arrive to help.  I was so overwhelmed and feeling so poorly that I unpacked the stuff from the trailer with the help of my two friends, Liz and Biggi, from Canon City.  We put the cold stuff in the fridge and then made a HUGE pot of coffee.  It was in the middle of our coffee that Brenda arrived.  Brenda is from Florissant and has llamas herself.  She said that mom and baby are not broken bonded as mom was talking to baby and baby was sometimes responding so give them 24 hours in a pen alone and she just might kick my butt tomorrow morning.  Here is hoping..that she is bonded and the baby is nursing.  NOT that I get my butt kicked.  Ha!

I had no idea that she was coming, only that I had phoned her and told her that I had the emergency and she had tried to call back and not got me so she hopped in the SUV and came over.  How lovely.  Thank you Brenda.  And Thank you Liz and Biggi as I was beyond overwhelmed when you got here.  It was huge for you to drop things and come. Thank you so much.  Thank you all!  I can still barely breath and it is almost 7 pm and I haven’t done my daily chores for all my other animals.  They have been let out of runs, watered, pens cleaned and the llamas are totally sorted with the baby fed.  I needed to get my thoughts down, slow down, breathe, and see if I could remember who I was and what I need to do next.  I must go for now as my hand is cramping from all this typing and I am still very scattered.  Dark is coming so I have to get things finished.

PS.  when I unhooked the Scotty and took it back up to the trailer pad, I realized that although it looked like it had been on correctly, and the padlock was LOCKED, the trailer was actually NOT on the hitch correctly.  I went to jack it up on the wheel to get it up off the ball and before I had even unlocked the Master padlock or opened the hitch bit, it POPPED off the ball.  OMG, that could have happened going down the road back up the mountain or on the bouncy ranch road.  Must have had a really heavy Angel sitting on the roof of the Scotty holding it down on the hitch.  I did have my two chains on and crisscrossed but it would have damaged the Scotty.  When I did get back to the ranch, I didn’t get turned correctly and ended up almost jack knifing it.  I had to power over the dirt pile with the Land Rover and will have to have Charlie look at the bottom of the Scotty in the dropped floor to make certain it is OK and not hurt.  I think it is fine but just want him to double check. There was NO other way around it as I could not get straightened up or back up and when I tried to fix it the jack knife only got worse.  That would have finished me off this weekend if I would have ruined the Scotty.

I am going to post this and go walk a few dogs to clear my head!!!

I thought I would never say this, but I am so looking forward to MONDAY!!!