So it’s been a bit chilly here lately. The weather-people were calling it The Polar Vortex. I called it winter. Albeit a wee bit on the nippy side, but it’s winter - it’s supposed to be cold. However, when I wake up one morning and the first thing I hear on the radio is that the temperature outside is only one degree warmer than the South Pole, I wondered if I should be concerned…
The three ‘normal’ shaggy guys seemed fine – the cold weather didn’t seem to be affecting them much at all. I did notice Allbus, one of the suri llamas, was shivering a bit, which started me worrying. I suppose it made sense – he didn’t have the really thick wool that the other guys have, so the cold would affect him more. Strangely tho’, Olliver didn’t seem to be bothered by the cold, but I kept an eye on him.
What I ended up doing was making coats for the two of them. Allbus got one made of two polar fleece blankets I picked up at the Salvation Army sewn together for lots of warmy-goodness and Olliver’s coat was made out of an old comforter I had. Allbus was the first priority and therefore the guinea pig of my initial llama-blanket-making experiment. Thank you so much to Dragonfly Llama for the pattern to get me started – it was perfect for someone (me!) on a limited budget.
What I learned from my first try:
- I learned that I love Allbus more and more every day As usual, I was expecting the worse and tried to head off any possible fight/rebellion/resistance… I let Allbus look at the coat. He couldn’t care less about it. I let Allbus smell the coat. He couldn’t care less about it. I kind of plopped it on his back so he could feel it on him. He cared for about three seconds and then ignored it. I figured at that point I would just go for it and put the thing on him. He stood still for me the whole time I was figuring it out – I was very pleasantly surprised at how good he was
- I learned that Velcro just doesn’t cut it with llamas. I has sewn almost 2-foot strips on each strappy part, thinking that they would great for adjusting and being able to fit different size llamas if needed… Not. Even though I picked up the Heavy-Duty-Industrial-Strength Velco, it didn’t hold more than five minutes after Allbus started moving around. I ended up temporarily using safety pins until I could find something better. I finally decided on some cam-lock buckle thingies, which I found out are mankind’s greatest invention since the wheel. They are so easy to thread and adjust – even with gloves on and they hold tight… I love these things! I am so glad I picked up a bulk bag of them (cheap!) – I’m going to be using them for a lot of things in the future.
- I learned that Allbus must have a longer body than the llamas the pattern was made for. I had to sew some extra onto the back of the coat so that his butt would be covered. There’s nothing worse than having a draft on your butt.
The coat definitely helped and I honestly believe that he realized after a short time that the coat was a really good thing to help keep him warm.
Olliver didn’t get his coat until a day later than Allbus. Unfortunately, the weather had turned rather nasty and he didn’t get the luxury of having the option to decide if he would like the coat or not. I pretty much just put it on him – I think I did it so fast, he didn’t even realize what happened
The weather had warmed up since then (it went up over 30 degrees in two days ) and the coats came off, which allowed to me make a couple minor adjustments so they would fit a bit better.
The temperatures dropped again the other day (this morning they said on the radio that we were colder than Fairbanks Alaska…) – I was glad that I was prepared this time and I think Allbus and Olliver were glad too. They almost seemed happy to get their coats on
Here are my GQ Boys sporting their toasty new look: