Greetings from the Olde Fogie Farm,

This year the privilege of writing the annual newsletter came around to us, Milo and Otis. As you probably recall we are the regal gentlemanly llamas. Yes this is our first newsletter, but it's more than that. Each year one of the farm critters has taken it upon themselves to correspond with the farm guests. And that's just it; only one of them spilled the gossip. This is the farm's very first co-authored gossip letter.

Let's also be up-front about why we reside on the farm. Most farm characters have several assignments. For instance the chickens are assigned to laying eggs and keeping the garden free of bugs; horses are great for riding and brushing; goats are for milking and trimming the meadow fencerows (they'd willingly trim up the flower beds too.) However, we're two critters good for only one thing - kissing - and we proudly earn our room and board doing so*.

Many of you folks were shy about letting us earn our keep. We cannot deny the truth that some llamas do indeed spit, bite, kick or all three. Please forgive those llamas for they lack the benefit of a proper upbringing. Thanks to them, Biz and Desiree time and again must patiently explain that we are true gentlemen who would never spit on anyone (though we might if someone spat on us first.)

A proper upbringing for sociable llamas requires giving us lots of space from the time we are born until at least 6 months of age before any humans make our acquaintance. Then we are not confused about which of us are llamas and which of you are kind, gentle people. If little llamas are permitted to socialize too soon with your kind, they can grow up thinking you deserve a spitball! Why llamas carry such rivalry toward each other, we care not to say. Moreover, we refuse to perpetuate such pettiness for we are pals through and through and we know who is who when it comes to us and you. Confused? We aren't! So if you were one of the shy who declined our affection, do come around next time.

What is it like to be kissed by a llama? You'll just have to find out. Most people say it's more like a soft nibble than an actual peck on the cheek while some say the exact opposite. If you have a bit of a fuzzy beard we might nibble that too.

Well enough about us, what can be said of the year? In a word, it was hot. In fact it was much too hot for smooching and we sat in the shade as much as possible. It's not easy wearing a sweater all year long. There were times when we might have liked to have been in that lovely pond where many of you happily splashed away the heat. We've heard that the baby Koi in the pond do some sort of kissing too. They like to nibble air bubbles off of wader's legs.

Despite the heat we kept busy this summer. We help Biz keep an eye on the young ones. From what we could see they are busy growing up quickly. It seemed so quickly that we had to be careful not to blink! Thankfully, Vicki is in charge of the growth tapes. If you have been measured, you are surely fans of the farm. And that leads us to another subject: full farm flavor.

Yes, there are new t-shirts on the farm. Goose busting is out and "full farm flavor" is what it's all about. Biz has a truism she lives by, "a tree that stops growing dies." You kids are growing and may have grown out of your old Olde Fogie Farm t-shirt. If you think you are ready for some full farm flavor, send in the enclosed coupon or bring it along next time you visit for a deal on this updated t-shirt. If you want, check out the farm web site where you can see a portrait of that stern old goose that inspired the whole "goose busting" craze!

Speaking of growth the farm is sprouting yet more additions and improvements. There will be a stately farm-style picket fence put up in front of the house and around the grounds bordering the road. This will help assure that little tykes will not wander into the road. We also foresee - especially around the new fence - yet more of Biz's landscaping or "English Gardens." How clever of her to find a fancy term for her topiary attempts. Personally we Milo and Otis wonder if it isn't an excuse for a messy, too casual, approach to gardening.

One farm critter who doesn't mind the cluttered nature of Biz's gardens is Nerd. Have you heard? Nerd is moving into the limelight. The Fogies felt the farm deserved a proper pot-bellied yard pig. Well, in choosing her they certainly did satisfy part of that desire. This young understudy greatly diverges from the role established by our dear Wootsie who has entered her "reclining years." Nerd may have a shiny copper ring in her snout, yet we know she will find some way to root and wallow around the yards and gardens. Have you noticed that she presumptuously invites herself to gatherings on the porches and deck? What sort of conversations she suggests we don't pretend to know; she only ever expresses herself in low unladylike grunts. Furthermore, there's the manner in which she slurps the goat milk offering at chore time! In our humble opinion, this branch needs pruning.

Another thing we llamas shake our head about is plans for a sauna. The Olde Fogies want to replace the hot tub with a steamy sauna. Some of you may be into this one. We aren't too wild about heat, summer's heat or likewise, besides it looks like this place is turning into a health spa.

One last thing - It's finally happening! Farmer Tom and Farmist Biz are actually shopping for a computer. But we doubt they'll find it where they acquire most of their stuff - a yard sale! Biz wants a computer so she can keep tabs on her ratings. One of her dear guests found a rating list out there on the great Internet horizon. Somewhere out there the Olde Fogie Farm has received a spot among the top ten places to stay in the U.S.A. Where and exactly what for, she cannot say, as she hasn't seen the report for herself. Still we are very excited for her and feel this good news must have something do with our role here on the farm - you agree don't you?

Yours naturally,

Milo and Otis   XOXO


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* Actually, in our native continent of South America, our kind are revered for our warm wool, rich milk, and strong backs which make us surefooted pack animals well suited to the rough terrain of the Andes. In addition, we are often used in place of dogs to guard and protect herds of sheep. Versatile creatures aren't we?