We were up early yesterday morning. We had rented a power washer, more about that later, and it had to go back to the rental company by 1 pm. Ron was working on the front garden fence and I was going to be up next to do the studio screens and porches.
I jumped out of bed, grabbed the dog and headed out to the barn. I was just coming out the tack room door with goat chow in my bucket when I see three llamas casually walking down the driveway between the barn and the studio. That would be well outside of their fenced pastures. Crap.
The first thing I did was check for open gates. Yup. The gate to the drive that goes around the arena was standing open. Crap. That meant that all the livestock, 4 llamas and 6 goats, had the opportunity to run free. Interestingly, only three of the llamas had taken the plunge and wandered outside their pastures. I can only assume that the goats hadn't noticed the open gate. They love to run free and I'm sure they would have taken advantage of it if they had seen it! I ran out and closed the gate. Yes, I actually ran. It's not something I do very often these days and I certainly do not do it well, but I ran out and closed the gate before the 4th llama, Smokey, could make it through the gate.
This is where the only truly painful part of the day occurred. While I was chaining the gate, I was stung on the ankle by a red wasp. Ouch. I took a picture of my ankle but it was totally unimpressive. A bit of red and bit of swelling just didn't do justice to the immense and immediate pain. And now, 24 hours later, my ankle is still swollen, red, hot to the touch, tender and a weird combination of painful and itchy.
Then I ran back through the barn and pulled the goats in. They needed to be out of the way since I wasn't sure yet how to get the llamas back in the pasture. And having friendly pasture pals in the barn makes it look more safe and inviting.
Of course, Sadie was running around through all of this. I would never have thought a year or two ago that she would turn into such a good dog. Apparently, Sadie was following the llamas. They were headed towards the front of the property but Ron was in the front garden with the power washer running. He never even noticed that anything was amiss since he was focused on not destroying the fence boards. I guess the llamas didn't like the noise and turned around to head back up the property.
By the time I had the goats in the barn and was headed out with a bucket of llama feed, here come the llamas. They buffaloed Sadie out of the way and hurried into the barn past the tractor, headed for their regular stall.
Well, damn. This truly couldn't have gone any better. I knew the front gate was closed but I envisioned Ron and I trying to steer three frazzled llamas around the property for hours until we could get them into a pasture. I guess they had had enough of freedom and just wanted to come back home.
The general consensus is that llamas will never push on a gate. I certainly have never seen any of mine even so much as lean on a fence much less push on a gate. It is true that Stash managed to break the cartilage in his ear at some point so falling, running or being pushed into a standing object can happen. I'm thinking that the gate wasn't latched properly and the storm that came through the night before blew the gate open enough for them to get through. All gates have now been checked and are securely closed.