Andrew's Blog


A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
September 2011

If you have llamas, why not get camels?

I was pondering this very question just last night. If you have llamas (and alpaca), why not get camels. They’re all camelids. They have the same feet. And each species sure can spit! I guess it’s like, if you have a hamster, why not get a guinea pig? Or a rabbit? Granted, these animals are much smaller and easier to manage, but can you ride a rabbit? Or a llama? It would be difficult. Camels are made for riding. Why else would they have that nifty slot in-between their humps that perfectly fit human bodies?

I’ll admit these questions arose, initially, at The Wilds – where I saw these camels. And the wound was again re-opened last night as I watched a documentary about camel breeders in Mongolia. The movie focused around a gorgeous white baby camel that was born, and then rejected by his mother. Those Mongolians did some crazy things to get that baby his milk. Catching a camel and then tying it’s back legs together seems risky to me. But not to the herders – they’re crazy! Every person interested in caring for camels should take a week intensive course from them. Oh, that’s genius. I’m going to start those tours! Maybe the extra money will help bring DVR to the yurts.

The weirdest part of the whole movie? (And I say “weirdest” as my Western mind just doesn’t get it!) They reconciled the baby and his mother with a man playing a violin. And no Stratovarius here – a delicious 2-stringed Mongolian affair. And the mother accepted the baby – as the music resounded throughout the Central Asian plateau! It was weird. But, on the upside, now I know how to reunite a camelid and her rejected baby! Although that would be a pricey round-trip ticket. I have no clue how it worked. But it did. And it was amazing.

Strengthened by the fact that a 5-foot tall Mongolian man can capture a camel roaming freely, put a halter on it, and then tie it’s back legs together, I am prepared for my own, personal, camel adventure. How hard can it be? I’m ready for the challenge. And I bet Donnie would be thrilled! He could ride them throughout the countryside.

 

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My garden is over.

The tomatoes are finished. Not by their own accord mind you. I ripped them from the ground yesterday, their little roots screaming as a blanket of fresh air beaconed their demise. But I don’t care, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of watering. And tired of waiting for their fruits to ripen! And so they are gone. The butternut squash remains. They’ve guilted me into taking care of them until the harvest. They’re so close. It would be like catching a goat and only trimming 3 of its hooves. Or having enormous tomato plants and ripping them from the ground while still laden with heirloom goodness.

As the seasons change, so must the garden. If this was my own house, I wouldn’t mind letting the plants produce and wilt until Thanksgiving. But people demand gorgeousness. People demand seasonality. In September, people demand pumpkins. And cornucopias.

Next year, we’ll have a much larger garden. With tomatoes and peppers and corn. It’s like I’ve already forgotten the pain of watering. And weeding. And growing vegetables that no one will eat. I liken it to the curse of the puppy. Everyone loves a puppy, but they are a headache. But somehow, when they become full-grown, you suddenly find puppies so adorable and wouldn’t mind having another. It’s like they have a mind-erasing machine in their eyes. And they love eating cucumbers. Our rabbits love the herbs. And the groundhog loves the cabbage, the brussel sprouts, and everything else delicious I tried to grow. He won’t get me next year. I’ll be ready.

While the tomatoes wait to be transported to the burn pile, a cold London rain descends on Orchard House. The llamas are in cool weather heaven. The goats just want some food. The peacock wants her freedom. And Bob Evans is looking at me with his big-boy eyes and I’m thinking about how cute puppies can be. I need puppies. Lots of puppies. And I will housebreak them on my Persian rugs.

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I went to the bird hospital today.

One of the ducks is having a problem. What? I don’t know. So, today, we went to a bird hospital. It is a real veterinarian who only sees birds – mainly parrots – and cures their many ailments. The waiting room was quite possibly the weirdest place I have been in years. We don’t need a reality show, this waiting room does!

Old women, seeming normal couples, definitely odd couples, and “forever” single peoples packed this waiting room with numerous parrots in various travel containers. Did you know you can put a parrot in a plastic box? Or just carry one in on your shoulder like a pirate? Cat carriers were also popular. And cardboard boxes.

When parrot people meet other parrot people, they greet the birds and not the individuals. Suddenly the room is filled with kiss noises, or dangling keys. Like that annoying uncle trying to get a baby’s attention. And then, inevitably, a conversation will ensue between the parrot and the human. The parrot may bob it’s head, or make a popping noise. The human will compliment the parrot’s dancing or it’s beautiful noises. “Is Cassie excited to be at the doctors?” Barf.

And so, the duck? Who knows what’s wrong. Time will tell. But like cat shows and the people who raise dozens of ferrets in their basements, I have found a new fetish. A new documentary. I may make a name for myself yet at Sundance. Get me a producer. Oh, and have them meet my llamas. Wouldn’t they make a great reality show. Forget those darn birds!

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Daisy the Llama – an update.

For all those interested…Daisy the Llama either has A) some neck trauma from some camelid encounter,or B) meningeal worm, a small worm burrowing throughout her brain. Let’s hope it’s the former. But to be safe, she’s getting a vigorous regiment of shots and oral medications. Catching a llama is difficult, giving them shots is easy. Giving them oral medicine, as they like to spit, can be hard.

Half of her Vitamin B complex ended up on my hand this morning. I felt my heart racing, envisioning Vitamin B seeping into my hand, and then into my blood stream, and clogging up some vital organ. P.S. I’m crazy. P.P.S. I’m still alive.

Daisy continues to eat, frolic, and be a normal llama. (Aside from her crooked neck!) Let’s hope these behaviors continue. Four more days of shots ahead of us. And she’s already wise to it. This is going to be a long week! But they don’t call it Labor Day weekend for nothing I guess.

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