Too much seriousness lately...the readers are getting restless. Then the following article blasted across my consciousness like a Howitzer
LA County says OK to couple's goats, llama, emu
Not only does this article mention a llama (only in passing), but also an emu and lots of goats. It seems there is a quota system in place in southern California. As hard as the conservatives fight it, there is not the kind of goat freedom most expect in America. I am glad they were allowed to keep the llama (and emu), but worry that the noble creature's significance has been overlooked. I also wonder if the smell of 10 goats is that much different from that of 15.
So this got the llama part of my brain working. We all do have llama parts of our brains, you know. It's very close to the corpus callosum, just below the part of the brain dedicated to sudoku. My llama brain segment is larger than most (not that I am bragging). So I wondered if there were any other significant llama, goat, or even emu stories that I have missed. Are there any new llama websites? Is there a new version of the llama song?
Did you know that llamas eat from Frisbees?
So I set out on a quest for knowledge.
The first thing I found when Googling "Llama goat" was the various sites dedicated to "Guard Llamas." No, this isn't like the National Guard, where llamas would be called to active duty in case of a national emergency (although it appears this may not be a bad idea), it appears that llamas are quite effective guards of sheep and goats against canine predators. One website quotes the International Llama Association Educational Brochure #2:
Llamas, who are long-lived, can provide an effective, long-term and economical alternative for predator control in a variety of farm and ranch conditions. Sheep and goat producers currently using llamas to guard their flocks are experiencing high levels of protection from predators
This made me wonder if this couple was using the llama to guard their goats. Perhaps predators are a problem in the neighborhood. Perhaps they are using the llama to scare away pesky neighbors. Perhaps the neighbors have pet coyotes. The explanation continues:
Llamas have proven to be very effective against canines, especially dogs and coyotes. Over half of the llamas guarding sheep are 100% effective, completely eliminating losses. Many of these producers previously suffered losses of over a hundred lambs per year. Some have not suffered a loss to predators in two to ten years after purchasing guard llamas. An additional 40-45% of the guard llamas were highly effective in dramatically reducing predator losses.
That explains the llama; but what about the emu? Googling "guard emu" uncovered this incredible story:
Epileptic emu farmer frets over windmills
Published: April 13, 2009 at 8:44 AMA Canadian emu farmer in northwestern Nova Scotia said he is concerned a proposed windmill nearby will kill his birds or trigger his epileptic seizures.Davey and Debi VanTassel run the Ocean Breeze Emu Farm in Gullivers Cove, and told The Chronicle-Herald newspaper in Halifax one of 20 proposed wind turbines will be about a half mile from their property.The couple said emus have been known to die from noise and vibration. They said a test mill erected last year in the county drove coyotes from the area to their farm, where five emus were killed this winter.
Debi VanTassel also told a recent community meeting she feared for her husband's health, as the flickering of sunlight through the windmill's blades could trigger epileptic seizures.
She said they avoid dances where strobe lights are used and they have no wallpaper in their home, as patterns can trigger a seizure, the report said.
Their town is considering a proposal to erect 20 turbine towers with an output of 30 megawatts, the newspaper said.
There is no question that this is far worse than a windmill.
I did find few possible clues into the mysterious llama-epilepsy connection as I searched the web for llama-related health discoveries:
- Llama antibodies may help prevent dandruff. Geographically, dandruff and epilepsy are really close, but I am not sure if the LA couple or the Canadian farmer have a problem with dandruff.
- Scientists use llama droppings to combat water pollution. I am not sure how this ties in, but it does make an ironclad case for llamas as leaders of the green movement. I don't mean to imply that their movements are green...I meant the environmental movement. Their movements may be green, but regardless of color they can be part of the larger movement. Nothing is coming out right. I need to move on to the next point.
- Llamas may be able to defeat biological weapons. The antibodies will not only help us if terrorists attack us with epidemic dandruff, they will help against smallpox and other bad illnesses.
- Monks, llamas and nuns are teaming together to help our troops. Llama wool can be used as helmet liners (and that may help with dandruff as well).
- Llamas are useful for guarding Christmas trees. This shows their versatility. Perhaps the couple in LA also was thinking about this.
- Don't try to have more than 10 goats in Los Angeles.
- If you have anything that needs guarding, get a llama.
- Keep your emu from vibrating things.
- Dandruff and chemical warfare may become history thanks to llamas.
- Canadian farmers are a bit neurotic.
- The Llama Song is hard to get out of your head once you hear it.
- Avoid using the word "movement" too often in a paragraph.
Have a great day.