Did you ever think you would be contemplating llama breath? Well, I’m going to give you some information that you might not have considered before. For the most part, llamas have very nice breath, mostly neutral, but often tinged with a slightly sweet smell of the fresh hay or grass they have been munching.
Or better yet, sometimes their breath makes you think of Christmas, and you know that they have been browsing on their absolutely favorite food, white pine needles.
Their second most favorite food is just coming into season: the wild spring onion. And you have no doubt in your mind at all when they have been indulging in this llama delicacy.
I’m sure most all of you are familiar with this scourge. It thrives almost everywhere that the urban homeowner aspires to have a lush, green, weed free lawn. They are strangely pungent and whenever I smell them, I’m thrown back to a time in my childhood when my Dad would mow the yard and the air would reek of a Greek salad.
We did a llama trek this past weekend in the Shenandoah River State Park. Llama trekking is our weekend business. We guide our customers on an invigorating hike through the park and I prepare a 4 course picnic lunch which we enjoy along the way. The llamas carry all the food, linens, utensils, and even folding tables for our meal.
This day, we stopped for lunch in a meadow overlooking the Shenandoah River. It was a glorious day, sunny and warm, and the river was dotted with red and green canoes. And the meadow was dotted with lush green spikes of wild onions. The llamas had an enjoyable break from the hike, grazing in the grass.
When we went over to load the llamas up for the return hike, we were blown away by the rank stink of their breath. As we walked along the trail, we followed in the miasma of their onion breath. And we also discovered to our dismay that an overindulgence in wild onions tends to make llamas quite gassy.
Fortunately, as a counterpoint to the malodorous onions, was the beauty of the Virginia bluebells, which fortuitously were at their peak bloom that day.
A little touch of the agony and the ecstasy.