We stumbled across her in Middleburry. Her name is Consuela. She is a llama farmer of great renown. She also manages a pan pipe band.
We stumbled across her in Middleburry. Her name is Consuela. She is a llama farmer of great renown. She also manages a pan pipe band.
Her stint as a giraffe jockey was short lived, but Consuela once held licenses in both the Tanzanian and Saharan racing leagues - the only woman to ever have done so. When asked what she missed about racing these majestic beasts, she smiled coquettishly and said "in those days, neck-and-neck really meant something."
Her stint as a giraffe jockey was short lived, but Consuela once held licenses in both the Tanzanian and Saharan racing leagues - the only woman to ever have done so. When asked what she missed about racing these majestic beasts, she smiled coquettishly and said "in those days, neck-and-neck really meant something."
In a smoky Parisian coffee haus, Consuela once held an entire audience of disaffected Frenchmen in the palm of her tiny hand, singing what was later described as 'bewitching hill folk dirges'. This evening kicked off a whirlwind tour for Consuela and her band, the Lima Libations. She describes this time in her memoir ("Don't call me Inca", Random House, 1986), as "a colorful row, stitched into my life by a slightly drunken seamstress."
In a smoky Parisian coffee haus, Consuela once held an entire audience of disaffected Frenchmen in the palm of her tiny hand, singing what was later described as 'bewitching hill folk dirges'. This evening kicked off a whirlwind tour for Consuela and her band, the Lima Libations. She describes this time in her memoir ("Don't call me Inca", Random House, 1986), as "a colorful row, stitched into my life by a slightly drunken seamstress."
"I had all sorts of people in my cab. Big wigs, cardinals, and once even four Rockettes squeezed in the back seat. My favorite fare was Lauren Bacall. She said to me 'Consuela, the lines in your face tell better stories than most of Hollywood put together.' I liked her. She classy lady." - Excerpt from 'Don't call me Inca: the Consuela Gonzalez story', Random House, 1986
"I had all sorts of people in my cab. Big wigs, cardinals, and once even four Rockettes squeezed in the back seat. My favorite fare was Lauren Bacall. She said to me 'Consuela, the lines in your face tell better stories than most of Hollywood put together.' I liked her. She classy lady." - Excerpt from 'Don't call me Inca: the Consuela Gonzalez story', Random House, 1986
When asked why she gave up an adventurous life for such a humble one as a llama farmer, Consuela became visibly agitated. Stomping her foot angrily, she replied, "You know nothing of this life. Of what adventure and enrichment these animals bring to a human being." And with that, Rolling Stone's 1992 interview was promptly declared over.
When asked why she gave up an adventurous life for such a humble one as a llama farmer, Consuela became visibly agitated. Stomping her foot angrily, she replied, "You know nothing of this life. Of what adventure and enrichment these animals bring to a human being." And with that, Rolling Stone's 1992 interview was promptly declared over.
She worked the door in clubs in Hamburg, Milan, and Manchester, but for Consuela, her time outside this door deep in the Appalachian Mountains was the best. "I always liked the backwoods places. Locals called this drinking soak hole "creechis" and when I would ask them why they say 'cause after the 'shine, you n'vr know what creechis you gonna get.' I like to bounce doors like this. Enough drink and they think you their mama. Deep down, they all good boys." Consuela continued to work the door at the Squirrel's Notch until one career-ending night when she tweaked her knee escorting an unruly logger, whose coonhound had recently passed on, from the premises.
She worked the door in clubs in Hamburg, Milan, and Manchester, but for Consuela, her time outside this door deep in the Appalachian Mountains was the best. "I always liked the backwoods places. Locals called this drinking soak hole "creechis" and when I would ask them why they say 'cause after the 'shine, you n'vr know what creechis you gonna get.' I like to bounce doors like this. Enough drink and they think you their mama. Deep down, they all good boys." Consuela continued to work the door at the Squirrel's Notch until one career-ending night when she tweaked her knee escorting an unruly logger, whose coonhound had recently passed on, from the premises.
They went to the march as strangers, they left as allies in a global cause. When Consuela met Karen at the Million Candy March in 1966, she had no idea the change they would bring about for those struggling in the little known world of piñata content fraud. "Although it really had nothing to do with my struggle at the time, said Consuela,"I felt a strange kind of kinship with her. The constant worry of children cracking open a piñata and experiencing the poisonous rain of candy tasting like wet sock that's spent a summer fermenting under a leaky freezer is an issue for all humanity, not just mothers like Karen." This march and collaboration led to rewriting of international law that governs where and how piñata candy is sourced, eliminating many 'dodgy brothers' operations the world over.
They went to the march as strangers, they left as allies in a global cause. When Consuela met Karen at the Million Candy March in 1966, she had no idea the change they would bring about for those struggling in the little known world of piñata content fraud. "Although it really had nothing to do with my struggle at the time, said Consuela,"I felt a strange kind of kinship with her. The constant worry of children cracking open a piñata and experiencing the poisonous rain of candy tasting like wet sock that's spent a summer fermenting under a leaky freezer is an issue for all humanity, not just mothers like Karen." This march and collaboration led to rewriting of international law that governs where and how piñata candy is sourced, eliminating many 'dodgy brothers' operations the world over.
A thumb, a thigh, and wink of an eye. In those days, you could catch a ride using wiles and wit alone, but for Consuela, it was more than just a convenient way to travel. "I hitched from Alberta to Teirra Del Fuego and got enough raw source material to create my first symphony," she said. Classical Quarterly Digest's head reviewer, Tarquinn O'Shea, described her ground-breaking opus as 'magnificently earthy with the subtle undertones of the industrial complex rubbing pleasantly throughout. No doubt, Consuela is the truth seeker of our generation.' To this, Consuela shrugs and says: "I am but the humble receiver of the signal noise."
A thumb, a thigh, and wink of an eye. In those days, you could catch a ride using wiles and wit alone, but for Consuela, it was more than just a convenient way to travel. "I hitched from Alberta to Teirra Del Fuego and got enough raw source material to create my first symphony," she said. Classical Quarterly Digest's head reviewer, Tarquinn O'Shea, described her ground-breaking opus as 'magnificently earthy with the subtle undertones of the industrial complex rubbing pleasantly throughout. No doubt, Consuela is the truth seeker of our generation.' To this, Consuela shrugs and says: "I am but the humble receiver of the signal noise."
Whilst holding down jobs as both a motorcycle mechanic and vaudevillian talent agent in the East End of London in the 40s, Consuela was also known to roast a pretty mean street chestnut, hawking them to the punters pouring out of the dog races at Walthamstow on Saturday nights. The East End street urchins who ran between bookies at 'The Stow' lovingly referred to her as 'Hoopy', though it is unclear why. She describes these years as 'lean'.
Whilst holding down jobs as both a motorcycle mechanic and vaudevillian talent agent in the East End of London in the 40s, Consuela was also known to roast a pretty mean street chestnut, hawking them to the punters pouring out of the dog races at Walthamstow on Saturday nights. The East End street urchins who ran between bookies at 'The Stow' lovingly referred to her as 'Hoopy', though it is unclear why. She describes these years as 'lean'.
Activism doesn't come without a price. After learning of the drug mule epidemic in the '80s, Consuela began an underground movement to smuggle mules from Colombia to safer climes. After an initial miscommunication (where, under cover of darkness, 17 actual mules were chaperoned through the rugged mountains and across the border to safety), Consuela personally saw to the escape of hundreds of potential human drug mules, many of them clueless tourists who claimed to be "here for a good time, not a long time." Her daring underground "Mule Highway" raised the hackles of drug lords and a bounty was put on Consuela's head, leading to three long years of ducking into alleys and hiding in the shadows. Children of this time will remember "Don't be a mule, stay in school!" the award winning ad campaign inspired by Consuela's cause.
Activism doesn't come without a price. After learning of the drug mule epidemic in the '80s, Consuela began an underground movement to smuggle mules from Colombia to safer climes. After an initial miscommunication (where, under cover of darkness, 17 actual mules were chaperoned through the rugged mountains and across the border to safety), Consuela personally saw to the escape of hundreds of potential human drug mules, many of them clueless tourists who claimed to be "here for a good time, not a long time." Her daring underground "Mule Highway" raised the hackles of drug lords and a bounty was put on Consuela's head, leading to three long years of ducking into alleys and hiding in the shadows. Children of this time will remember "Don't be a mule, stay in school!" the award winning ad campaign inspired by Consuela's cause.
"In the summer of '53, I was commissioned to raise seven barns in Pennsylvania. I drew up blueprints myself. I always carve a boat in the third cross beam of the main loft - that's my signature. I don't believe in possessions, but I like to think that every barn Consuela ever raise, is child of Consuela. Secret? Secret is good wood and cold sangria." Now known amongst architecture aficionados as "Consuela Sailor Barns" these proud structures have been known to increase property values by 30%. (To arrange a "Consuela Sailor Tour" please contact the Pennsylvania Barn Appreciation Society. Group discount available.)
"In the summer of '53, I was commissioned to raise seven barns in Pennsylvania. I drew up blueprints myself. I always carve a boat in the third cross beam of the main loft - that's my signature. I don't believe in possessions, but I like to think that every barn Consuela ever raise, is child of Consuela. Secret? Secret is good wood and cold sangria." Now known amongst architecture aficionados as "Consuela Sailor Barns" these proud structures have been known to increase property values by 30%. (To arrange a "Consuela Sailor Tour" please contact the Pennsylvania Barn Appreciation Society. Group discount available.)
Headhunted away from NASA to work with an 'unaffiliated nation' on their burgeoning space program, Consuela was alarmed to find upon arrival at the secret headquarters, the entire operation administered by two characters of extreme ill repute. She refers often to the pair as "Mister Crooks and his good friend Shyster," and made it her mission to sabotage their ambitions. "It was easy," she said. "My ally was science. Theirs was high-grade idiocy." Image: Consuela in front of Missile Silo #2. Location: redacted
Headhunted away from NASA to work with an 'unaffiliated nation' on their burgeoning space program, Consuela was alarmed to find upon arrival at the secret headquarters, the entire operation administered by two characters of extreme ill repute. She refers often to the pair as "Mister Crooks and his good friend Shyster," and made it her mission to sabotage their ambitions. "It was easy," she said. "My ally was science. Theirs was high-grade idiocy." Image: Consuela in front of Missile Silo #2. Location: redacted
Clean up operations for the worst spill of primordial marsh moss began early morning, September 7th, 1972. Whilst the Amazonian government managed to keep the spill under wraps for several days, Consuela was alerted to the crisis by her network of underground whistleblowers and was able to hop mail planes through 2 continents to join the clean up crew. "I smelled very bad for three weeks after this," she said. "But my skin was softer than baby llamas ears!"
Clean up operations for the worst spill of primordial marsh moss began early morning, September 7th, 1972. Whilst the Amazonian government managed to keep the spill under wraps for several days, Consuela was alerted to the crisis by her network of underground whistleblowers and was able to hop mail planes through 2 continents to join the clean up crew. "I smelled very bad for three weeks after this," she said. "But my skin was softer than baby llamas ears!"
"To think like the bird, you must live as the bird." This quote, carved above the entrance foyer of the Consuela Gonzales Birds of Prey Conservatory at Oxford, is more than just a question under the Notable Quotables square on the television program Jeopardy. Consuela spent three months living in an abandoned nest of the shyest taloned predator in Argentina, the giant Barn Door Hawk, observing other hawks nearby to see how they hunted and lived. This photograph, captured by noted nature photographer Christopher P. Riekert (1932-1996), is the only known photo of Consuela in the nest. The nest is now an exhibit at the Museum of Ornithological History.
"To think like the bird, you must live as the bird." This quote, carved above the entrance foyer of the Consuela Gonzales Birds of Prey Conservatory at Oxford, is more than just a question under the Notable Quotables square on the television program Jeopardy. Consuela spent three months living in an abandoned nest of the shyest taloned predator in Argentina, the giant Barn Door Hawk, observing other hawks nearby to see how they hunted and lived. This photograph, captured by noted nature photographer Christopher P. Riekert (1932-1996), is the only known photo of Consuela in the nest. The nest is now an exhibit at the Museum of Ornithological History.
Behind the scenes: Erick M (my boss), found a mounting stick (a piece of wire) in a crappy barn. It was perfect.
Behind the scenes: Erick M (my boss), found a mounting stick (a piece of wire) in a crappy barn. It was perfect.
Photo: Chris Reikert
Photo: Chris Reikert