Monday, October 13, 2014

How to catch a wild llama --- PRAY!

Today we went back to foothill property to load  our newest llama, affectionately called "mama Llama". What happened is nothing short of amazing!

Mama Llama is a female llama we brought on board just a few months ago to help guard the foothill property animals. She was purchased from a farm in bend, and moved directly to that property. Her exposure to any of us was very limited, and almost exclusively at a distance. In fact she has been living alone at foothill for weeks.  She is hte one that was constantly blocking our attempts to load the sheep sunday night.  So, needless to say, she was not going to be an easy catch.

Llamas are inherently different from horses. They are more like camels than horses. Their personalities are perfect for a guard animal... distrusting, alert, aloof, and difficult. We are by no means expert llama handlers either!  To make matters more difficult.. mama was out loose on 60 acres!  So.. yep.. here we go!

At first we tried to just herd her towards the makeshift holding pen we used for the sheep. No go. After running back and forth with 4 of us for an hour or so we decided that was pointless. So I tried to make friends... a bucket of grain and I could get within 3 feet, but no closer. Her hunger for grain didnt outweigh her distrust for me.

So what do we do?

At the moment of not having any ideas left... something interesting happened. I saw a vision. Walking across the pasture wondering if this was possible... I suddenly saw a movie in my head... a movie of us, walking across the pasture, holding a white rope maybe 50 yards long. We were stretched out in a semi circle, with the llama walking peacefully towards the open end.

WOW! What an idea!

So, we grabbed maybe 100 yards of white electric fence rope from the old sheep pens, folded it in half twice to make 4 "ropes" about 25 yards long, about aligned ourselves in a straight line evenly spaced out, and walked behind her.  At first she was a bit spooked and moved away quickly. WE followed, letting her set the pace. She walked towards a corner. At this point i realized the "rope" was too short, so we unfolded once to make it about 50 yards long. We were then able to circle around her at a safe distance with a half circle.  IT was WORKING!

As we slowly walked towards the holding pen, i realized that the holding pen was now behind the parked trailer and 15 passenger van (the "buggy"). I was a bit concerned thinking "how in the world do we squeeze past the trailer like this to the holding pen without loosing her? She seemed to repect the "rope" and wouldn't touch it, but arranging our half circle to get past the trailer looked impossible.
But then, as if hearing a voice in my head, the thought hit me... "Why are you going around the trailer... just open the back door".  Oh. Yea... lol.. why not!

So, here we are... I have one end of the rope, Brenda (now very pregnant) has the next corner, uncle Bradley has the opposite corner to me, and hunter has the other end. While holding the rope I made it to the trailer (we all move together keeping the rope taught at her back level) and open the rear door, then hunter moved to the other side of the trailer . At this point, her virtual "pen" only had one exit.. the trailer ! So we started closing in the pen, ever so slowly, to reduce her space until she was standing right at the open trailer door.

We gave her time.. a few minutes, and every so often closed the space a tiny bit more, everyone totally quiet. Finally, on her own, she just stepped right into the trailer! As we closed the door behind her, I was thinking "wow!" that was absolutely amazing!

SO yea, if you need to catch a wild llama, pray. Through divine inspiration we accomplished a seemingly impossible task in under 2 hours!

We owe so much of our success to our creator. Without His constant guidance, my inexperience would make this venture called farming wrought with mistakes! But fortunately, what He calls us to do.... He empowers us to complete!

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