A highlight of life at the Old Convent has been the recent addition of our friends Carlos and Rocky. Carlos and Rocky are two retired trekking llamas that have come to live out retirement in the lush green pastures of the Old Convent back paddock. They have made their secret pathways to run on anytime we want to catch them and have their little poo corner that I nearly almost always forget about. They also love anything and everything green and leafy but have a particular liking for the clovers.
A couple weeks after their arrival, a couple students and myself thought Carlos and Rocky looked like they needed a walk. After chasing two llamas in gumboots for an hour, hopelessly trying to lasso them and being dragged by llama strength, we finally managed to summon our superpowers and corner the two before swiftly and calmly applying the harnesses. Their first Convent walk involved a parade around the building followed by a walk down the road. We only got a few stares and a couple laughs from passing cars.
Since our first day catching the llamas, every Monday has been Monday Llama walk day in which another student, Sarah, and I take Carlos and Rocky down the road and throughout the Convent property to feast on all the weeds and clovers to their hearts’ content. It’s also been really great getting to know the llamas’ personalities through Monday walk days. Carlos is for sure the boss. He’s smaller (and plumper) but feistier. He has the greater spitting capacity as well. Carlos’ favorite leafy green is clover tops but he isn’t picky. On walks, he’ll eat anything and everything he can get his lips on. He also loves to spontaneously start running as I am dragged behind tripping over my gumboots. He’s pretty great. Rock, on the other hand, is more shy and reluctant to eat in unfamiliar territory. It usually requires some hand feeding and slow walking before he begins eating his favorite treat of grasses. Both of them also love to make noises while walking close beside us that sounds like a whining dog.
It’s been so great growing closer to another part of creation this semester in learning just how interesting llamas are. I’ll definitely miss my Monday Walk Day buddies, but let’s hope the tradition continues. We’ve managed to get Carlos and Rocky comfortable enough with people here that it now takes less than five minutes to catch them and requires very little chasing a lassoing. We even managed to sneak our llama friends into our semester group photo because they’re basically family, of course! To my dear llama buddies, stay cool, keep spitting, and enjoy all the greens in the world.
-Bryce (Hope College, Class 2017)