I did a lot of things over Christmas 'break', but you'll have to excuse me for reporting on them all out of order. One of the more exciting and frightening things was taking a llama for a walk, and I'm going to blog on that one first.
For the week between Christmas and New Year's, most of my dad's side of the family goes 'up north' to Tomahawk, WI. Formerly the family cabin, my Aunt Andy and Uncle Paul remodeled and have lived there for many years. They get the distinct honor and pain in the neck of hosting us all at least once a year. Well as it turns out, my aunt knows a woman, Rachel, who owns llamas. One of the family outings was to her farm, to take her llamas for a walk.
So what's it like to walk a llama? It's pretty much like leading a horse, if horses could spit and were incredibly willful. Llamas are strange and therefore unpredictable to the general populace, which I happen to be a part of in this matter.
My charming girl, who had recently fallen on a slippery floor onto a pile of poo, was very hard to read. Every minute or so, Prairie Flower would balk, and it was up to me to gently pull but not tug, coax but not demand, that she please keep continuing forward if it would please her thank you. As the walk went on, she started 'humming', which sounds like what I would imagine a sasquatch to sound like. Like Chewey, but not so dramatic. I tried scratching behind her ears to reassure her that we would be turning back and heading for home shortly, but she only drew back and looked at me in distrust.
Everyone had a different experience on the walk, with very different llamas. Edie had a fairly easy time with her llama, Morning Glory.
Steve got the matron of the herd. She was not totally keen on walking but plugged away at the back of our procession for most of the walk. Her number of years was in direct correlation with the snaggleness of her teeth.
Ruben had what might have been the easiest time with the gelding of the herd, which actually seemed to enjoy the outing. It led the way and was amiable and possibly even affectionate.
Sue's llama just seemed to be rubbing it in our faces. While most of us were anxiously trying to read our charges and figure out just how far back the ears would go before spitting commenced, Sue got fuzzy little kisses and all sorts of affection.
What a showoff.
However, one only had to look at Travis to know that one had it good. Travis spent the entire 20 minutes or so with a llama that seemed to hate him and everything he stood for, which in this case was only a simple walk in the woods. Twenty minutes spent at the end of a lead, avoiding the drops of spit when his llama sprayed the air in frustration (or apparently some dispute over hierarchy).
At last we arrived back at their pasture and set them free. You don't have to know much about llamas at all to sense that Travis' llama did not enjoy the outing or our company.
Overall, it was fun and actually kind of an adventure. It's not often you get to participate in something like this.