Leah likes llamas. We got married back in August, and though I’ll have to write about the wedding sometime, I bet right now you’re thinking “Wedding? No, tell us more about those even-toed ungulates!” So Llama Fact #1: Llamas are in the camel family. They have slender necks, long legs, and three chambered stomachs. Llama Fact #2: Camelids are camels, llamas, alpacas, guanacos, and vicuñas. Those last two animals have never been domesticated, and all but camels are native to South America. Llama Fact #3: Llamas like beets (bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica). And Blog Fact #1: One of those facts isn’t true.
If you are having trouble playing this version of two truths and a lie, to complicate matters, llamas are vegetarians. That might be why Leah likes them so much, and to return to my lovely wife, a month after getting married I wanted to take her to a farm to meet llamas. I grew up around llamas and consider them to be weird creatures, though harmless, and it seemed like introducing Leah to a few would make her day. So I found a farm outside Charlotte where we could go on a llama hike. We did the drive, and after running a 5k at a lovely vineyard next door we showed up at the llama farm. And Leah got to walk a sheep.
To their credit, the farm was neat, and it was just their llama was being finicky (classic llama, right?). So the next month, bound and determined, we went to a NEW vineyard that had HUNDREDS of llamas. Leah was assigned a very cute specimen named Grey Door. He was slightly under two years old, spotted, and loved neck rubs and nuzzling. I was assigned an old llama named Phoenix (he had a second part to his name, but I forgot it). He started off as a naughty llama who kept trying to jump and kick me. I’m assuming he was old, and he was an ugly combination of orange and black. Leah had a blast though, and that was the goal.
Llama Fact #4: Llamas have foot pads and very large nails, and they are often herded with sheep because they protect them, kicking predators like coyotes and wolves to death. Also, I dodged every one of my llama’s attacks, so I guess I’d be pretty good at preying on sheep. And the hike was truly great—two hours, with a small break, and I eventually figured out my llama wasn’t trying to jump away from me, but rather was trying to jump to food. Turns out the guy was just really hungry, and with that realization I started walking Phoenix Whatever from tasty bush to tree to bush instead of straight down the path. After that we tolerated each other well.
The only incident that occurred happened when we stopped to get a snack. Phoenix Something-or-Other sneezed on Grey Door. This made Grey Door mad, so he tried to spit back, and Leah and I got stuck in the crossfire. In the end though we all made it back saliva-free and were able to finish the day with lovely class of wine. Except for the llamas, which ate grass and leaves outside the vineyard patio. Llama Fact #5: Llamas don’t drink wine.
I’d highly recommend checking out Divine Llama Vineyards if you’re in Piedmont area of North Carolina. And if you do, please give us a call. We’d really like to go back!
–Jeff and Leah