Monday, June 21, 2010

New Life on the Homestead

Our biggest surprise this week so far was a cria!  Baby llamas are called crias.  We knew she was due to be born soon, but not exactly when.  Ralph came home on Friday evening June 18th, checked the llamas, came in and had dinner.  After dinner, he was checking outside once again and noticed the cria had been born sometime during our meal.  We ran outside, checked the baby and got the remnants of the placenta material off her nose and mouth.  She was beautiful!  The last cria to be born was premature and did not make it.  This one is big, strong, and vibrant!  We watched carefully the rest of the evening to make sure she began to nurse.  I am happy to report that Mom allowed her newborn to nurse!

After a full day of errands Sunday, June 20th, I come home to a kitchen raided by sugar ants.  Surprise!  Luckily I caught them as they were not fully into any one thing yet.  So instead of immediately getting ready to bake a cake for my 6 year old's birthday, I started into attack mode.  I do a quick sweep of the kitchen and get most of the ants swept up and relocated outside with the collected dust.  The ant trail is where I focus next to find out where they are coming from in the first place.  Then I laid down a powder-bomb of Diatomaceous Earth along their trail as far as I could trace it.  Satisfied, I refocus on baking a cake and making dinner.

This is a meal that has quickly become a family favorite.  Tacos!  Mexican food is always delicious!  This particular meal is easy and packed full of fresh flavors.  I found the recipe in "Women's Day" magazine, the March, 2010 issue.  It's for Salmon Tacos, but I used local ranch ground beef. 

Before beginning the recipe mix up "Terry's Salt-Free Mexican Seasoning Blend" in place of store bought taco seasoning:  1/4 cup salt-free chili powder, 1 Tbsp each of dried oregano, and ground cumin, and 1/2 tsp garlic powder.  I like to store it in an empty seasoning container.  Now here's the recipe according to my tweeks:

1 1/2 lbs ground beef browned and drained.
Add as much seasoning as you like to the beef (start with a couple of tablespoons and go from there), and set aside.

Add to a medium bowl about 2 cups thinnly sliced cabbage, a diced tomatoe, chopped avocado (if you have it), a small onion sliced, and 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro.  Toss in 4 Tbsps fresh lime juice and 2 Tbsps olive oil. 

The recipe calls for serving these tacos with red or green salsa.  So, I make my own quickie salsa:

1 (28 oz.) can petite dice tomatoes, 2 diced ribs celery, small diced onion, 3 cloves garlic chopped, and 2 Tbsps fresh lime juice.

If you have time, let the salsa rest in the fridge for awhile to let the flavors develop.  Serve taco shells to be filled with meat, cabbage mixture, salsa and enjoy.  You will delight in the natural, clean, vivid flavors of this meal!  This is equally good as the orginial recipe with the salmon.  Good stuff... ok, I'm hungry now...

After dinner, I leave my visiting Mom to frost the cake while I go outside with Ralph to check on the cria.  He is concerned that maybe she hasn't been allowed to nurse during the day and looks weak.  We take some colostrum out in case we need to feed her ourselves.  Ralph used some bag balm/udder cream for the mother's teets in case she was in pain.  After awhile we agree that the baby is just very tired, since to my eyes she looks stronger than the day she was born.  We went back for the birthday celebration once we see the cria nursing on mom.  Happy Birthday Weston!  MMMM, good cake!

This is Windy!  It was a windy day (nothing new) when she was born, but it makes for a nice name.  Compared to the first picture above, you can see her legs are more stable and she has gained strength.  This is our first llama born on the homestead.  Hopefully this means we can work with her and get better socialization than we have with the others.  Ultimately, we want her to be a good walking companion, and good pack animal.  We get the impression that geldings are probably even better as pack animals, but we don't know for sure.  We think that in reality, if you work with your animals, you'll get a well behaved working companion.

The first addition to the homestead this year were a litter of puppies.  For the most part they are Queensland Heelers.  We're told they've got some Dingo in them.  These little guys are 4 weeks old.  The one on the right is Bear, and on the left is Patches.  Bear already has a docile, easy going temprament, while Patches is rather frisky.

The garden represents new life on the homestead as well.  This is my first Bell Pepper.  Having begun the year late due to odd weather, the garden is getting a slow start.

These are Black Eyed Peas!  Can't wait for the good meals they will accompany!  They are only a few inches tall, but I can anticipate the good food!  Note the children's chalk artwork on the side of the bricks.  That's the kind of help I usually receive from little ones.  Helps them grow better!


With all the new life on the homestead this spring, maybe the weather will cooperate and give us more of these beauties in the sky.  We could always use some good summer rain storms!  So I'll be praying and keeping my fingers crossed!

1 comment:

  1. Such a face on Windy! Please post more pictures of the garden. The one with the purple plant in the background and the chalk are in the foreground was lovely.