With what you are about to read, I thank God for how the circumstances turned out. My blog will have a lot of references to God and how thankful I am that He takes care of me, my family and this farm. As I finally got through to the end of this day at Emanuel Lutheran School, I thought if what I am about to tell you wasn’t enough to start this farm blog...nothing was. I am extremely thankful.
I began the day by trailering the farm animals to a local elementary school, Emanuel Lutheran, off Patton Ave. in Asheville, NC. I would be teaching all about fiber for their art class twice a month for one year. The first session was to be a demo and the older students would participate in hand shearing an Angora goat. Well, it started out great, all the students loved seeing and petting the animals. The catastrophe happened about lunch time. In the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of my sweet Llama loping over the pen panel. I knew what COULD happen, but I slowly turned to the teacher and asked, “Is there a fence along this school yard perimeter?” Well, you can guess what she said…..innocently, No..
Off went the llama, getting further and further ahead of me as she felt the freedom of no fences. Off I went, through brambles, through woods, through a neighborhood, trying to solicit help from any passerby. Right away, I thought, this is not ‘the country’ this is’the city’. People are cautious of helping. One man angrily asked me “What was I doing with that animal here?” I should have been funny, but I was not in a joking mood to tell him that I just moved in and I would be bringing the other 50 llamas next week.
No success in catching that llama yet.
Then my sweet llama went into a yard, a fenced yard. Yeah! I thought. Well, it was short lived. Before I could get the gate shut, the llama shot out of the yard like she knew exactly what she was doing. And we’re talking 160 pounds. There was no way I was ‘just’ going to grab her heck. I must have herded that llama a mile into that neighborhood. I came across two men and a woman unpacking their car, I actually asked them to help, they said they had things to do. I was a bit exasperated, Ha, with them or the llama? Haha. That was the point when I lost sight of the llama. Believe it not, we were back in some extremely high thicket wooded area and I had no idea where she had gone. Another letdown. But, it wasn’t too long that I caught a glimpse of a large wooly thing rustling about in the thicket. I never wished so bad that those thorns that were tearing me up would catch her. No such luck.
Then, help arrived. A man got out of his car and I told him if he could get behind the llama and herd her back down the street that would be great. I was planning somehow to get back to that fenced yard. He was helpful. The man stopped that llama, waving his arms, pushing that llama back down towards me. I stopped her from going past me and she went straight into the fenced yard. THIS time, I was going to shut that gate. The man helped shut the gate and I knew I really couldn’t ask him to help me catch her because if the llama accidentally bulldozed him over, who knows what court I would end up in. I was continuing to pray. It wasn’t long that the man asked if I had it under control now. I told him I did, but I lied. I told him thanks for his help and I wasn’t lying then. I continued to chase that llama all over that yard…UNTIL I noticed a dog lot in the corner. YES! I still had the llama feed bucket in hand, so I put the feed bucket inside the dog lot and slowly herded that blessed llama into the dog lot. Well, I knew I HAD her but it still took a little wrestling here and there, but I finally caught her. Put the leash on her halter and knew my disaster was over.
Well, fat chance. Ok, here I come back up the hill, a bit out of sorts, but happy because I HAD the llama. I trudged to where the students were and another teacher sadly came up to me and said, “Did you know your sheep is gone? I think it headed towards Patton Ave.” ….I almost cried. But I didn’t visually, I just brought in the ‘extra forces’…I prayed and as my friend, Debbie Hale says, Pray Hard.
Now, ensues the next ordeal. Well, I put that run away Llama in the trailer, and prayed; to be calm, to keep people in cars and on foot safe, for that sheep to get back alive.
Mr. Rush, the principal, came and calmly told me that the custodian saw the sheep go towards Patton Avenue. The custodian got me into his truck and off we went across Patton Ave, onto a side street. He remembered seeing the sheep trot down a side street, letting me know he had tried to get the sheep as soon as it escaped. . Meanwhile, all I am doing inside my head was praying that I would soon end this ‘Twilight Zone’ fiasco.
Lo and behold some people had stopped my little black sheep on a side street and all I had to do was cry out “Sheeeeep”. He ran to me like a little child to a favorite Grandmother. He knew where home was. On the way back to the custodian’s truck, someone stopped and asked if he could take a photo. I sure do wish I got that man’s name. I would have definitely put that picture on our website. “Sheep loose on Patton Ave. Oh My God, is all I said, all the way back to that school yard with a big black sheep on my lap dangling my legs off the back of that sweet custodian’s truck. What a story.
Yes, I did finish the day with the kids that had missed their turn with the only difference being the Llama was quarantined to the trailer. I never did ask Mr. Rush, if he said his prayers that night. I guessed he did! And it was on that day that I promised that it would be the very first blog entry for our farm. I will always be ETERNALLY grateful to my God for granting our farm animals and anyone walking or driving be have stayed safe that day!