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Josh

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Josh

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri April 20th, 2012, 12:59 am

I don't know if anybody can see this image (I stink at getting these kinds of things to work) but thought I'd post one of my pets. The llamas in the photo are, left to right: Joshua Tree (or, as we call him, Josh) Inca, and Pachacuti. Inca and Patch are good decent animals, but my special friend is Josh. He is the last of our retired commercial packstring, and I have packed thousands of miles with him -- he reminds me of his father, who was our first family pack llama.

Anyway, I have a story from our latest packtrip which shows how wonderful Josh is. He is 17 now, and we have not taken him out for more than picnics carrying the grandkids for two years. This trip, he was along just to be a good example and communicate to the youngster (Inca) that streams, logs, and other strange things are nothing to get excited about. We gave him a saddle, but no load.

To my dismay, he started sitting down on the trail just a mile in. I kep giving him time to rest, although I was surprised that he had gone downhill so fast. Besides, he wasn't puffing or otherwise disturbed, and got up readily enough a minute's rest. He continued this throughout the trip with no other signs of distress, which had me scratching me head.

Finally, on the last day, he really started balking. We had a long steep series of downhills, and everybody's knees were screaming so I turned to walk backwards. And that is when I noticed that Inca's fetlock tendons were so stretched he was almost walking on his fetlocks. Plus he had started to place his hind foot in a way that told me his patella was luxated. (kneecap out of place, I massaged it back.) The poor boy had never protested at all, and in all the rain and hail, I had not noticed.

Well, we couldn't let Inca continue with his load in that shape (His first trip is now his last one) and we were pretty knackered ourselves, not to mention that a pair of pack-boxes with nothing but saddle-clips to hold them by (lighter now, as the food was eaten) are an awkward load. So I decided to try them on Josh.

Bang! he popped right up, and set off at a good pace, no more lying down, all the way to the trailhead.

At which point we realized that, as herd leader, he had always been aware the Inca was in trouble (no doubt knew it from the field at home when we missed it, herd animals are hyper-aware of each other's condition) and all the pauses weren't because JOSH had any problem, but to alert us to INCA'S problem. Josh wasn't dysfunctional at all, his mistress was just stupid. But he is faithful anyway.

This is why I love my llamas.
my facebook posts https://www.facebook.com/emilylaurencotton are public, generally things I find amusing.
my passions: fair trade, ending slavery, and justice.
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers
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Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Postby Vanessa » Fri April 20th, 2012, 7:45 am

Bless! Clever!

No pictures, though - would love to see some of your llamas, MLE!

There's somewhere in the Yorkshire Dales which allows people to take llamas for walks (for a fee, of course!). Apparently the public footpath is past quite a few cottages - it must be a strange sight to see a llama on a lead (well, it is in the UK) but I suppose you must get used to seeing it! :D

Found the website - Nidderdale Llamas. The idea of a llama hen party makes me smile. Different!
Last edited by Vanessa on Fri April 20th, 2012, 7:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri April 20th, 2012, 2:47 pm

Okay, I'll try again. The order in this photo is Josh, Patches, Inca. Sorry it is so fuzzy, apparently Faceboook does that to photos when you copy them. I'll go find some others of Josh.
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my facebook posts https://www.facebook.com/emilylaurencotton are public, generally things I find amusing.
my passions: fair trade, ending slavery, and justice.
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers
User signature picture

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri April 20th, 2012, 2:57 pm

Here is a younger Josh on a trip -- he's the second llama in the string, behind his full brother Peppertree. Background is the John Muir Trail, the slope south of Thousand Island Lake. The second shot is from another packtrip, Bell Meadow in the Emigrant Wilderness.

That first picture made me sniffle-- it was taken in 1998, and of the ten llamas in that string, all good friends and patient co-workers, only Josh is left.
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Last edited by MLE (Emily Cotton) on Fri April 20th, 2012, 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
my facebook posts https://www.facebook.com/emilylaurencotton are public, generally things I find amusing.
my passions: fair trade, ending slavery, and justice.
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers
User signature picture

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Postby Vanessa » Fri April 20th, 2012, 3:32 pm

They're gorgeous, MLE. How long do llamas live for?

I'm singing songs from Dr Doolittle here! LOL.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri April 20th, 2012, 3:54 pm

In the Andes, llamas will live about 12-15 years, after which they go into the stewpot (they are a poor people, and forage is limited.) But there is usually one old guy, the packstring boss, who knows all the routes and can lead the string from village to village without the need of a human leader. They'll keep him until he drops, and some have lasted until their mid-twenties. but foir most, by mid-teens, the back teeth have all grown out (they grow constantly throughout their lifetime as the cud-chewing wears them away) and once they are gone, it is only a matter of months.

When Josh was fed carrots on this trip, he was working on only one or two back teeth, which means that his remaining time is limited. We give him mash and supplements, of course, but a ruminant who can't chew his cud is in trouble.

Josh's age-mate Cottonwood died last February. When we buried him we got a look in the back of his mouth (they have to be completely sedated or dead to let you do that) and he hadn't a tooth left anywhere.
my facebook posts https://www.facebook.com/emilylaurencotton are public, generally things I find amusing.
my passions: fair trade, ending slavery, and justice.
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers
User signature picture

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Madeleine
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: A Christmas Secret by Karen Swan & Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime
Location: Essex/London

Postby Madeleine » Fri April 20th, 2012, 4:04 pm

That's really interesting MLE. I hope you have Josh for a while longer, he sounds a real character, and bright too. The photos are lovely, they've got sweet faces.
Currently reading "A Christmas Secret" by Karen Swan & "Portrait if a Murderer" by Anne Meredith

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Postby Vanessa » Fri April 20th, 2012, 4:35 pm

Yes, I hope you have Josh for a while longer, too. He sounds quite a character. They look such gentle creatures.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri April 20th, 2012, 5:14 pm

In Quechua, llamas are called 'speechless brothers'. They certainly fit that-- so quiet, but with great wisdom and patience. They won't fawn on you like a dog or cat, and they don't like hands batting about their eyes and ears (though I teach my PR llamas to endure it). Their idea of friendship with other herd members and trusted humans is to hang near you, about two feet away to show respect, never in your space. My string leaders, like Josh and Cottonwood, Ironwood (Woody) and Tamarack, would all follow two feet off my shoulder with the leash tucked into their collar. And jump into the van or pickup and sit down on command. You get the kind of relationship that comes from long hours just walking together, working toward a common purpose. I love my dogs too, but there is a different quality with the llamas; they are, in a sense, more 'themselves' and the friendship is earned, which somehow makes it more precious.
my facebook posts https://www.facebook.com/emilylaurencotton are public, generally things I find amusing.
my passions: fair trade, ending slavery, and justice.
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects." Will Rogers
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DianeL
Bibliophile
Location: Midatlantic east coast, United States
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Postby DianeL » Sun April 22nd, 2012, 6:40 pm

MLE, thank you as always for the insight, wisdom - and a rather lovely story too.
"To be the queen, she agreed to be the widow!"

***

The pre-modern world was willing to attribute charisma to women well before it was willing to attribute sustained rationality to them.
---Medieval Kingship, Henry A. Myers

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