Catch me if you can… (Part 2)Posted: October 24, 2013
In our last episode, you will recall that the plan worked; ambush successful. The llama escaped. And the ‘hooman’ wound up on his keister. Oh, did I mention it’s been raining a lot down here lately? Rain plus ranch equals mud! Pretty much everywhere. Including where I had just fallen. But I digress. I got up and brushed myself off. I was now in condition “red”. The OODA loop had advanced so far beyond me at this point that it was merely a history lesson. I had a loose llama on a stretch of road that sees at least 3 to 4 cars a day and I was surrounded by angry mutton. Not wanting to be completely foiled (I was, I just didn’t know it yet), I made my way out the gate to try to reason with Frenchie. I tell my wife all the time not to reason with our dogs. That pretty much goes the same for llamas. I’d walk toward Frenchie and she’d walk a little further down the road, stop, and take a big mouth full of lush green grass. And snicker. I’m sure she was snickering on the inside. I still had one shot though. I went back to the truck, cautiously I might add, and retrieved my secret weapon. A bucket of llama treats! Surely I could lure her back in with those. Funny how they don’t compare to tons of lush, green, grass. The treat trap failed.
It was time to radio for reinforcements. Except I didn’t have a radio. So I got in my truck and drove up the hill to the house instead. Mary, my faithful wife and all around ranch partner, had started to feed the critters. I’m sure she marveled at the easy time she was having since all the animals were busy pummeling me just down the hill out of sight. I drove up next to her and yelled “The llama is loose!” Then I rolled down the window and yelled it again so she could hear me this time. She dropped the feed bucket right there and hopped in the truck. Then we noticed that the herd, knowing that it was dinner time, had followed me up the hill. So we hopped back out of the truck and got them into the corral where we normally feed them and shut the gate. That, at least, got most of the perpetrators out of the way. Then we hopped back in the truck and went down to the gate. Frenchie had not gone far. She was just standing there, eating the plentiful, lush, green, grass. And snickering. I’m sure she was snickering. I told Mary to try to get on the other side of her and move her back toward the gate. Mary, like a lot of people, has things she’s good at, and things she’s bad at. Maneuvering around animals and coaxing them into going where you want them to go would fall under the “bad at” category. Frenchie just kept going down the road a few feet at a time, stopping to get mouthfuls of the plentiful, lush, green, grass and snickering. I shouted at Mary that I was going back to get the rope and the cattle prod. I raced back up the hill and found that Raye, hearing the commotion, had wandered out into the yard. I shouted at her that the llama was out and to grab my lasso and the cattle prod. She ran back inside to do just that. So I waited.
After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, it dawned on me that I had hung my lasso up on a hook in the house that “I” had to reach up and stretch to get it down from. I’m six feet tall. Raye is about four feet tall. After I did the math, I figured I just might be waiting an eternity if I didn’t go in there and help her. Sure enough, she had drug a chair over to where the lasso hung and was furiously trying to get it down. Had it not been tangled up, she might have succeeded with no help. She’s talented that way. Since I was there, I grabbed it and we both ran for the truck, got in, and drove down the hill. I never did tell Mary to stop trying to get around to the other side of Frenchie. They were both now down to the end of the road (which is fairly close to the gate). We drove down there and tried to rope Frenchie. I may dress like a cowboy a little but I have not one finger full of cowboy talent when it comes to roping. Frenchie just snickered. But being the free spirit she is, and currently being free to boot, she decided now would be a fabulous time to run! And run she did. Down the neighbors driveway. Around here it’s pretty much all ranches. So when you think “driveway”, it’s not the subdivision type of driveway. It’s more like a long dirt road. Frenchie came to a literal fork in the road. Well, not a literal fork like you eat with, but the road did actually fork, as opposed to the metaphorical fork in the road. Fortunately, instead of turning toward the river and endless open spaces, she chose to go into my neighbors property. I did my best Dukes of Hazard impression and slid the truck sideways into the gate, blocking her escape. Actually it was more like a bad parking job but you get the idea. This area was fenced so we knew we had her! There could only have been 50-75 acres for her to run around on now. She was virtually cornered!
My neighbor’s property has no animals grazing on it. There are acres of plentiful, lush, green, grass. Frenchie was in llama heaven. Humans, on foot, are slow and unwieldy. We suck at trying to catch virtually anything faster than a sloth. This was no exception. We are, however, marginally smarter than llamas. The neighbors property was, as many a ranch is, squarish. Thus, it had corners. Had it been round, I would likely still be out there to this day trying to catch Frenchie. Our team of three gathered quickly to discuss strategy. About this time Paul (not his real name), my neighbor, came out on his porch. I explained the situation and asked permission to do some llama wrangling. He agreed. I’m sure he figured this would be highly entertaining. Once again I find myself tired as I re-live these events. I tell you what, it’s not easy dealing with PTLSS (Post Traumatic Llama Stress Syndrome). So if you’ll excuse me, I’m just going to go to my online therapy session and call it a day. Tune in next time for the final chapter of Frenchies Great Escape! Same llama time, same llama channel.