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Voices of Spencer Creek

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Llamas, the New Aura of Spring

When we see their "shadows of forgotten ancestors," the Oregon llama seems strangely at home.

By Lois Barton

Posted on Feb 25, 2005

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"Black and White Baby llama and Mother," photo by Sue Monahan

Spring hovers on the threshold, promising renewal of all aspects of life. As I anticipate its growth to fullness I have remembered other springs and signs of their arrival.....

One of the heart warming signs that has been a part of my experience these 86 years is that of birth in the animal world. On the farm there were new calves, colts, piglets, bouncing baby goats and sheep, kittens, puppies, a broody hen with her downy chicks around her feet or cosily sheltered under her wings.

Beyond my past domestic census, I can now see a doe with speckled twin fawns slip from sight into the roadside brush. A wild turkey leads her nine poults through the meadow. The grass is alive with little garter snakes wriggling towaard shelter. Miniature baby wrens sun themselved excitedly on the garden fence rail.

My list goes on and on, but the spring of my 87th year has brought me a new and unexpected experience. In a pasture along the road to town I sometimes see a llama or two. They always stir a sense of the exotic, the unusual, in this Oregon countryside.

Intellectually I know small wild camels were indigenous to North America, migrating to South America. There the llama as we know it evolved. According to National Geographic, llamas were a key aspect of the development of the Inca's Andes Mountains empire. As transportation, source of fiber, sacrificial food, and a "tax rebate" for the low-income folks of that day, llamas were vital. Now they have been re-introduced by human agency to their ancient home turf to be pets, guard animals, source of fine fiber and mountain pack bearers.

So I did a double take the other day when I spotted a bright black and white baby llama eagerly nursing at her mother's side in that pasture. Never before had I even seen a baby llama, nor had I been obliged to realize that, of course, they are a natural, maybe one could say even native, part of that exotic life form which I'm still learning to expect in the pasture along my road to town.

And this spring wears a unique aura thanks to a baby llama.

"Apple the Llama", photo courtesy of Llamapaedia

Visit a llama at the Pleasant View Farm

Looking for a rescue llama?
 P.O. Box 291, Dexter, OR 97431
(541) 988-3170
"Our mission is to help llama’s whose well-being may be compromised.  We provide information and support to llama owners and caretakers, as well as rehabilitation and placement through foster homes and adoption."
You may enjoying visiting our Archives on traditional arts using llama and other wool:

Joan Swift, Weaver

and Loving The Loom: A Visit to the Eugene Weavers Guild

Sad to say the local website link to a wonderful llama farm is not in service at this moment.

Copyright ©2004 by Lois Barton

Now Available on Compact Disk: Stories from The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte

Three and a half years of years Lois Barton's stories–so you can read them without going online!

Lois Barton's Selected Works
Volume I, Chanticleer's Tales
Send $10, plus postage of $1.50 to
84889 Harry Taylor Rd.
Eugene, OR 97405

Writer and historian
Lois Barton

Lois Barton is an 85 year old mother of eight children. She has lived on the same rural acreage just south of Eugene, Oregon for more than 50 years. All their children learned to milk, to keep the woodboxes filled, to do their share of household and garden chores. Her first book, Spencer Butte Pioneers, was published in 1982 when her youngest started to school. Since then she wrote five other books: Daughter of the Soil, now out of print; One Woman's West; A Quaker Promise Kept; and Through My Window, autobiographical sketches, sequel to Daughter Of the Soil.

Through the years Lois has been a 4H leader, president of the neighborhood association, a precinct committee woman, election board clerk, editor of the Lane County Historian, and a life long Quaker. She spent a month in Southeast Asia in 1974 as a member of a church peace mission, after working for ten years as director of the Eugene Chapter of the World Without War Council.

Follow the links of the Voices of Spencer Creek for the most recent articles by Lois Barton, including The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Cranberries,
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Endurance Riding,
The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Butterflies and Community Development,
and The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Last Gift.

See more of Lois Barton's articles in West By online magazine's archives:
Visit the Heron Rookery
Sauerkraut and All That
Charlotte's Overdose - Just who is Charlotte and what did she take?
The Midwife- The midnight call awoke an unusual midwife.
The Mystery of Fox Hollow - Fact and fiction meet in this story of the origins of Faith Rock.
Trees, Tame Trees and Squirrel.

© Copyright 2000-2004 by West By

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