Sunday, July 17, 2005

Smooched by Llamas and I Lived to Tell About It

It's been a fun week. Never before have I been both mauled by a dog and kissed by a llama. At least not in the same day.

Thursday I had an assignment to photograph a lady who owns Tralfamadore Farms in Broadway, Va. She raises angora goats, llamas and sheep (among other animals), and then shears them and spins all the wool. I drive up to the farm on a long gravel road, and upon opening my car door, am immediately jumped by a very LARGE dog. Did I say it was a large dog? And seriously psycho. Like I open my door just a crack and the next thing I know it's scrambling for a spot on my lap. The dog probably isn't expecting such a bony lap target, but he remains pretty undeterred. I'm not sure how this lady feels about me kicking her dog, so I try shutting the car door on him instead. Doesn't work either, seeing as how both front paws are securely fastened to my thighs. I can see the lady I want to shoot (ha! both with a camera and something else by now) standing outside my car, snickering a bit while calling to the dog, but it just doesn't seem to be working. At some point, I shove the dog and actually make it to a standing position beside my car when I'm nearly knocked flat by the stupid dog again. This time he leaves a calling card - muddy paw prints on my white shirt. Nice.

"Next time he does that, just kick him," the lady calls out. Thanks for the tip. Could've used it like five minutes ago.

We meet, and take a little tour of the farm. Suddenly there's like a pack of llamas descending from their barn/shed thing. (Pack, herd, tribe, band, bevy, what the heck do you call more than a few llamas? I actually googled "animal congregations" and found everything from a prickle of porcupines to a bloat of hippopotamuses, but alas no llamas.)

“Now they’ll want to come sniff you out, so just stand still with your hands behind your back and let them kiss you,” she says.

Umm excuse me? Llama mouths are just about last on my list of acceptable things to touch my lips, right after lip gloss and Johnny Depp. “Umm... okay. As long as they don't spit on me."

"Oh no, they're friendly llamas."

I stand motionless and receive my llama kisses from about five llamas at once. A bit of a strange feeling, these llama kisses. More like hot stinky animal breath and tickly whiskers (do llamas have whiskers?!?) all over my face.

Anyway, I got some good pics from the whole ordeal. Here are a few of them for your viewing pleasure.

Originally uploaded by emster214.
Sheep and goats are just a few of the many animals raised on Tralfamadore Farms in Broadway, Va.

Originally uploaded by emster214.
A peacock sits on the fence at Tralfamadore Farms in Broadway, Va.

Originally uploaded by emster214.
A curious goat sniffs out the camera during a visit to Tralfamadore Farms in Broadway, Va.

Originally uploaded by emster214.
Hand-dyed handmade yarn rests on a small table in the workroom of Nancy Slye, the owner of Tralfamadore Farms in Broadway, Va.


Steven said...

That story is too great! I hear Johnny Depp kisses like a llama.

Lori said...

You must be excited--there's an entire hurricane named after you!

Emily said...

I'm getting ready to fill out my name change form as we speak. Do you know how many times this past week I have heard:

"Hey Emily, that's just like you to destroy the whole Yucatan peninsula."

"Hey Emily, did you know you've almost graduated to a Category 5?"

"Hey Emily, did you hear about your hurricane?"

Better watch out. I might sic my storm on you.

Just kidding. I think it's kinda funny too.

Emily said...

I didn't mean it's funny that people are getting hurt and entire places are getting destroyed, just that people seem to associate it with me. Sorry, I reread that and realized it sounded a little wrong.

Vavoom said...

These photos are absolutely gorgeous. I am really really impressed!

Steven said...

I'm sure if there were enough hurricanes to get to the "S 's" there would be Hurricane Steve. I'd probably blow though.

I wonder how far up the alphabet a hurricane season has gone?

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

This is a fantastic story. And I love those visuals as well.

Now, you will have to compare men's kisses to those from llamas!

Jamie Dawn said...

I love the up close goat face shot.
My daughter got some good pics at a deer farm we visited last fall.

I won't even say anything about the hurricane named after you.... ooops! I just did.

Rachel said...

1) Um, I've actually kissed Johnny, and he definitely does not kiss like a llama. OK, just kidding. I couldn't kiss Mr. Depp after his creepy role in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
2) These pictures are amazing! I'm so impressed by your ability to make a regular picture just seem so intriguing.

Courtney said...

Lama smooching. Hmm. Sounds like fun. Great pictures too. I just love your blog.