Monday, August 10, 2009

O.K., About The Llamas ...

Funny you should ask. When Todd and I were young, idealistic, and newly married to boot, we began working on a dream to move to a small piece of land in the country and raise something. An animal something, that is. We were living in Southern California at the time, where we grew up, and had no idea how to raise any kind of live stock but we started researching. We first heard about a woman raising muskoxen in Montana. But after learning more about the injuries she received from her precious herd, we began looking for less dangerous beasts. Enter the alpaca. Smaller than its cousin, the llama, producing better wool to sell or spin, and darn cute to walk among (especially the babies) we thoroughly researched this kind of venture. We visited several alpaca farms in California, meeting owners and learning how it's done. We were hooked. The downside was that alpacas were very expensive at the time (this was 20 years ago, before the market became glutted and then declined in popularity). So we began looking at llamas more seriously. They were less expensive and could be trained to carry a pack and used for hiking. We made the big move to OR in our 3rd year of marriage, after several trips north and a lot of prayer. God's guidance was so evident that it would take another post to tell. Anyway, we ended up on nearly an acre in a rural setting which allowed us to have perhaps 2 llamas. We figured it was a start and hoped to get more land someday and grow more animals. We found our first llama, which we named Abraham, in a cramped little stall on a makeshift petting zoo/farm. The eccentric owner sold him to us for a price we could afford and we took our 6 mo old babe home. He was so cute. We fell in love. I got so used to watching him out the kitchen window, grazing and walking around within the electric New Zealand style fencing that Todd labored to put up. The electric wire was to keep out the vicious dog next door that had tried to attack Abraham the day we brought him home. I was so glad when that dog disappeared, along with it's weird owners.

After 6 months, we visited a veterinarian on whose farm Abraham was born. Abraham's older brother was still there and we decided to purchase him as well. Bad move. We loved Abraham's gentle demeanor and sweetness. Big brother was a nasty animal. Hard to train, stubborn. Abraham trained to a halter and pack with no problems, really. Isaac was always difficult. We named him Isaac because it means something like laughter but he was no laughing matter. He kicked Abraham in the face right after we brought him home. I was in tears. They resolved their difficulties, however, and learned to live together. Every evening, they would begin chasing each other, then stop and pose, chase again, then would begin galloping around and around. It was hysterical. I have observed this kind of behavior in my own kids when they were very small. What is it about the evening?

To sum things up, after we had our second child, we were forced to move from our dinky house in the country and into a larger home in town. Shortly thereafter, we auctioned our llamas off to a couple who had a place for them down the coast, south of here. We've not seen them since. It was an experience I'm glad we had and there are times I wish my kids could have grown up with them. We will never forget them.


jugglingpaynes said...

Very neat. And typical siblings, eh? Kick your brother in the head one minute, best of friends the next. :o)

I'm running the Carnival of Homeschooling on my blog next week. I would love to see an entry from you. It doesn't have to be new, you can dig up one you like. There is a link on my blog if you want to submit something.

Peace and Laughter,

Cate said...

That is so cool - and so similar to what we are doing - moving to an ugly old house on just under an acre. Bronte & I had been looking into alpacas for quite some time, but unfortunately, with the layout of the land, we won't be able to get any.
I'm surprised that you were initially able to purchase one though. Over here, you can only purchase in pairs or add to a herd, as they are herd animals, and not meant to be kept alone (so I've recently learnt!).

Brenda Jean said...

Have you seen they have mini sheep, mini cows and mini goats now? I think they should have mini llamas too:)

We have ten acres but I haven't attempted animals yet other than cats. A lot of people in our area have horses, but they are very expensive!

appleleaf said...

You must have missed them so much when you had to auction them off. I think I know you well enough to imagine the tears.
Those guys have such gorgeous eyes! Great wool too. Would you ever have any again?

Mama Self said...

What a great story! I would have never guessed that you once had llamas.

Sorry I've been out of the loop this summer with all of our travels. Hope your summer was great and that you have a wonderful week!!

Mama Self said...

Loved your comment on my blog - you are so funny! Too bad you can't just adopt us as extended family, then you could come visit us on vacation. :)

Have a great rest-of-the-week.