As a stay-at-home llama I get to see everything that happens at Old King Street Farm. Much of it is routine – my herd hangs out together, we lie in the field, stroll to the yard to see our people, sleep and watch over the youngsters. We graze and browse and some of the boys take guests out llama trekking which everyone enjoys.
As herd leader my main job is to oversee the herd. At the moment I have a herd of 12 other llamas. Meanwhile last year’s two young chaps, Croft Ambrey and Kennett have their own field where they remain, usually happy and content, and occasionally having the odd discussion. Further away is a llama I’ve never managed to get close to – he is called Pepsi, and at the moment, my girls are being taken off one by one to visit Pepsi, where they spend an hour with him before returning to my field.
I have to occasionally put someone in their place and tell them to mind their step – this is usually because one of the boys or youngsters has been a bit pushy or disrespectful so I just look at them with an air of quiet authority and before any trouble can break out, all is resolved. Of course, the stronger willed animals (and I include my usually loyal lieutenant, Silbury, here) sometimes decide to challenge me. It’s all show really, and it might be that he has managed to plonk himself on the far side of a fence curving round the field so that he thinks there is a barrier between us, or I might be grazing on one side of the lake, and Silbury is on the other, so he’ll try his foot at giving me a good snorting to attract my attention, followed by several clucks, and all topped off with a magnificent pose. Well, frankly this doesn’t fool me, and I can strike the most splendid llama pose to let the upstart know just who really is herd leader. When we meet again at a neutral part of the field all is forgotten and I am undisputed herd leader again.
I don’t often leave the farm on a llama trek as I have bad ankles. This has been a problem for me for a couple of years now. My people call it fallen pasterns. The lower part of my front legs has sagged so that my pasterns are nearly on the floor. I don’t take llama treks off the farm now, but the other week when the ground was softer I led a party round several of our paddocks. It was very interesting seeing all the fields in one go, and it’s the only time we’re allowed to eat when walking.
And then a few days ago, young Stanton Drew surprised us all. I was taking up my regular position kushed in the shade of the trees by the stream. As usual Stanton Drew and Hetty Pegler were charging round like mad things – one setting off round the lake that way, and one this way, till they’d meet on the far side and play about. Quite suddenly Stanton Drew was in the lake and splashing about. He’d slipped and fell right in. Straight away the rest of us went to investigate to see a poor, bedraggled and wet young chap dragging himself out of the weed-covered lake. His mother, Long Meg led her boy up to the yard and we all followed, me in my usual last place so I can make sure the herd is behaving itself. If something goes wrong it’s best we show our people – they usually know what to do. Stanton Drew was a sad sight – wet through and shaking through shock. Our male person dried the cria off (which Stanton Drew didn’t much like – lots of squeaking), and left us locked in the yard for the little one to dry off. He’s only seven weeks old and I think he frightened himself. We all went up to Stanton Drew and sniffed him to check he was okay – smelt a bit funny, though, don’t think pond water is all that nice – and reassured we kushed for a while before wandering back to Lake Field. For the rest of the day the youngster avoided the lake. There remains a gap in the weed to show Stanton Drew where he had his little accident.
The thing we’ve never understood is why our people cut our food right down. Last month there was some rain, and now it’s really hot and sunny, and the grass has been growing a treat. And then the big noisy orange machine comes out with one of them perched on top and they go and cut all the food down. We llamas can’t understand this at all. I mean, why cut all the food, and why not let us at it? I must say I have heard our people talking and apparently it’s something to do with ‘too much food, fat llamas, restrict the diet’ or some such tomfoolery. Our people do look after us though, and last week a big trailer with bales of hay turned up so that we’ll have food through the winter months.
More llama chat soon.