Llama on the Lam

alvar field

Field with friendly llama. No, wait…

Some years ago, my brother Keith and his family were living on a hobby farm, trying their hand, after work and on weekends, at raising some roasts and wings. Their agricultural methods were gleaned from several sources: tales Dad told of his teen-year summers working on a farm, advice from the rural neighbours, and books and magazines.

This last resource encouraged Keith and his wife to order exotica like Texas longhorn cattle or frizzled cochin chickens. The year they were considering a few sheep, they read of the benefits of owning a llama. The llama would cry out in warning if it saw a coyote, and if the coyote were foolish enough to get any closer, the llama would kick it. Here was an eco-friendly solution to a common predator, and scoring high on the exotica scale to boot.

And so, my brother kept a llama on his farm for a while. A short while. Maybe fifteen minutes or so. As soon as it was let out into the field, this llama decided that the grass was greener over the next fence — and over the next one, and the next, and the next.

At first, my brother ran after the beast, but when it wouldn’t stop, Keith trotted back for the pick-up truck. He pursued the llama for miles, impressed with its stamina, but finally lost sight of it. Damn. Keith went home and printed up ads to post on telephone poles. He phoned all the neighbours he knew, asking them to keep a lookout for the stupid so-and-so — he had paid a pretty penny for it, and it wasn’t exactly wearing a collar and licence.

After no word for days, finally someone called the house. There was a llama in his back field, he reported. With mixed feelings of exultation and vengeance, my brother hopped in his pick-up and drove the five miles to the caller’s home.

The other fellow came out, greeted Keith, and walked him around back. The two men looked on in companionable silence a moment, each deep in his own thoughts of rural life. Then Keith spoke. “That’s not my llama.”

8 Responses to Llama on the Lam

  1. All that and it wasn’t his. So are llamas known to roam if the gates are left open.

    I like the line “grass was greener over the next fence — and over the next one, and the next, and the next.” Sounds sorta like dating… For those whom are lucky enough.

    Happy Friday.

  2. eyegillian says:

    “It’s not my llama.”
    I keep thinking I could use that line… somewhere. Great post!
    (Great title, too.)

  3. lavenderbay says:

    Actually, Urban Thought, over the fence is where it went — being a large, agile, mountain dweller. I guess the literature had left that little fact out. Have a good weekend yourself!

    Be my guest, Eyegillian, if you can find a use for that line. Glad you liked the tale in written form.

  4. themarvelousinnature says:

    Great story. You’ve got a great gift for story-writing!

  5. Alyson says:

    I tell you, it seems llamas – like their brothers the alpacas, are wicked smelly, escapists wrapped in fuzzy softness. Very tricky and not to be trusted for a second…or 15 for your brother.

  6. lavenderbay says:

    Thank you, Themarvelousinnature! I’m so glad to know there’s a few people who enjoy reading my work as much as I love writing it (and I didn’t even have to pay you!).

    You didn’t specify why you gave up on your alpacas, Alyson, but your story of their send-off reminded me of my brother’s experience. Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Alyson says:

    We had to sell the alpacas because the drought here has been so hard that feed has become incredibly expensive. We have two feed paddocks – Robert the horse in one, and the alpaca brothers in another, which meant we could never spell a paddock long enough to raise enough feed. Robert is very much a part of the family, whereas the alpacas were used to guard the chooks from our first days here. Now we have big boy Milo to run the foxes off, the alpacas are happily guarding on bigger farms. 🙂 Everyone tells you how cute they are, noone tells you how naughty they can be!

  8. lavenderbay says:

    I’m sorry to hear that, Alyson. The other day I was reading somewhere that Australia is the dryest continent on the planet, and thinking, “but at least my blogfriends aren’t on the desert side.” Naive of me. I suppose it’s comforting, then, to have at least one reason (spit) to be GLAD they’re gone.

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