I sometimes post comments on Farm Life, a TU blog written by Teri Conroy of Wunsapana Farm in Guilderland Center, NY. I enjoy her heartfelt blog posts on items related to her farm, the farming life, and even some personal rants at times. On a blog post about a month ago, she was discussing dropping off llama manure to use as compost at the Guilderland Community Garden. We were still at the end of winter so I asked if she might be willing to share some with me too, at some later point.
The weather this weekend has been absolutely gorgeous – 70-80 degrees (!!!), and I sent her an email asking whether her offer was still good, and if K and I could pick up some llama manure sometime soon. She was so nice. She emailed me back telling me sure, and we set up a time for last night.
We got there just after dark (even though we started out before the sun had set and only live about 20 minutes away). We apparently can’t follow Google Maps directions.
This is what we came for: llama beans.
The excrement from llamas look a lot like larger rabbit droppings. But it’s not nearly as smelly as horse or cow manure. That’s because it has lower organic matter than those animals. This makes it possible to spread the manure directly onto plants – it won’t burn them. Plus, the llama beans have a higher nitrogen and potassium content than other manures, which is great for our garden. Teri had a pile of manure outside her barn waiting for us (and other would-be manure-shovelers) so we got to work filling several large, heavy duty black garbage bags while the llamas watched us, very interested.
Even though it was almost 8pm, when I asked if I could take pictures, Teri graciously allowed us in her barn to meet some of the llamas. She has 16 of them on the farm, and she was doing feedings for the night (though she was down at a different barn when we came in). So after we finished putting the bags of manure in our car, I opened those big red doors and we went inside.
First of all, I loved that barn. It looked brand new and so nice and clean, like out of the pages of a magazine. I doubt it is brand new, but that’s how well-taken care of everything is. Those rubber floors seemed like a great idea too.
Teri told us to greet the llama, we should put our heads in slowly so they could touch their nose to ours. I did it, and was greeted with a lovely wet nose kiss on the other side. It was great! The llamas didn’t seem to really want to kiss K as much though.
We hung out in the barns a little while and then met Teri as we walked back to the car. She was a great host, and even though we really were only there to quickly pick up some manure, she stood talking with us for over 1/2 an hour answering questions and telling us about about upcoming events. And since we were there at dusk, we got to see some llama playtime – which they love to do at dusk and which most of the public doesn’t get to see – neck wrestling! So fun.
So a big thank you to Teri. Doing some research on llama beans on the internet, I saw how much money she saved us. I found 1 gallon ziplock bags of llama beans sold for $7.95+ shipping and handling! Another website had 10lbs for $60 bucks! She gave us as much as we wanted, and we took about 30 gallons worth. That’s almost $240 worth! I guess she really should be selling it, but I’m grateful to get free compost for our garden.