Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gonna Move Up to the Country #2

Last week Eberle had an unnerving, but fairly typical “country living” experience: she was looking out the kitchen window & saw our alpaca Mo trotting up North Gray’s Creek Rd. Now North Gray’s Creek Rd is a dirt road, & not much traveled by cars or trucks; still when any sort of livestock manages to escape the fenced-in pasture, it’s always a frantic situation. I was in Donnelly, so I wasn’t much help—none in fact. Anyhoo, Eberle ended up tracking Mo down through our neighbors’ front yard & up to the fence line on the ridge above our house—essentially, Mo had gone back to where he belonged, but now with a barbed wire fence between him & the pasture he should be in. Fortunately, Eberle is a llama & alpaca wrangler from way back—her folks owned & operated High Llama Ranch up in Valley County, & she was taught by that notorious llama wrangler (& real cowboy) JD Smith. So she had a fencing tool & wire & a bucket of oats. Realizing that she probably wasn’t going to lead Mo a quarter of a mile back down the road to the pasture gate, she figured she’d take the shortest route & cut the fence, seeing as how Mo was already right there, though on the other side.

Now Mo is not the most tame creature ever; but oats are a great enticement for both llamas & alpacas; so after much waiting & coaxing & cajoling (& also taking care to get the llama Penelope well away from the now cut fence) Eberle was able to get Mo over to the proper side of the fence, & then splice the wire back together. She also repaired the section of fence we suspect (& at this point, hope) Mo managed to use as an escape route. Fencing is endless….

It’s an experience that leaves you frazzled—I know—a few years back I walked out the front door & saw all three llamas (we didn’t have Mo at that time) walking in the other direction down North Gray’s Creek Rd toward Indian Valley Rd—which is paved & does get some traffic. Not being as quick as Eberle, I headed off without oats; my wrangling episode involved hitching a ride in the back of a pick-up; getting a car to head the llamas off so they wouldn’t turn up the road toward Highway 95; & finally enlisting the aid of our neighbor to herd them back in the other direction (having initially overshot the mark after turning them back on Indian Valley Rd) & through the pasture gate, which they’d cleverly pushed open.

The pasture gates are now held shut with chain. More joys of country living….

Top pic: Mo was named after Maurice Sendak, because he looks like one of the “wild things” Bottom pic: Little Sister, Gertrude, Penelope w/Eberle & yours truly (& oats) – this pic by Margot Kimball

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