Seems I am always doing something. Some days it’s just the routine stuff – hay, grain, water, turnout the horses, clean stalls, bring them in, hay, grain water – then there is the semi-routine stuff. The vet gives vaccinations twice a year, the farrier trims the horses’ hooves every 6-8 weeks, weekly lessons, weekly shopping trip for grain and bedding, fielding calls and questions about boarding or camp. Yesterday I had one of those really fun tasks – shearing the llama.
First, you have to collect the tools – hand shears (I don’t do it often enough to own power shears), hair brush, laundry basket to hold the fiber, halter and lead rope, and bandaids. The bandaids aren’t for him. They are for me. I always manage to shed my own blood.
Second, you have to collect the llama. Charlie doesn’t mind wearing a halter, but he would rather to roam free with his flock. Catching him involves approaching him slowly without looking him in the eye. It’s amazing how fast these things can run.
Once he’s tied to a sturdy post, the fun begins. With shears in hand, I gently push aside the fiber on his barrel to begin. That is when he begins to scream like a creature from Jurassic Park. You would have thought I was butchering something. So slowly I progress – snip, snip, snip. About this time, he begins to spit. It’s not your average everyday saliva. Oh no. It comes from the depths of his digestive tract. The smell is like that underneath the most vicious of carnival rides late on a Saturday night. Snip, snip, snip……..dodging putrid spray from his mouth which I might add is attached to the most prehensile of necks.
My friends are riding in the indoor arena several acres away howling with laughter at the sounds from the field below. They take a break to see if I am still alive. That’s when I try to cut off my own finger as I manage to evade yet another of Charlie’s attempts to kill me with spit – hence the bandaids.
An hour later, Charlie is ready for the summer heat without his heavy coat. He is pure white once again after I brushed out the hay chaff and dirt accumulated over the winter. The screams have stopped. He is happily grazing with his flock. I make my way back to the barn with yet although bag of fiber to be washed and processed. Boy, I am glad that I only have to deal with that every two years.