We Welcome Everyone
More of the flavor of the world is scattered in bits and pieces throughout my rare blog postings, and I welcome thoughts.
You can find more about us and our llamas on our home web page at Roads End Llamas.
If you want to reach me privately feel free to drop a line.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
The experiment is;
1. What will I replace the inane time spent bouncing from meaningless social post to another (including my own) with,
2. Who will discover that they can no longer find me within the social media circuit,
3. How long will it take and,
4. Will they make ANY extra effort to find me at all beyond waiting for some social media post?
Oops, forgot one....do I care in any fashion?
Have a nice day.....
Sunday, August 19, 2012
The list of great creatures, was long, way to long to list. And despite the tales woven after their passing by men they all were gentle and kind. When man emerged from the jungles, he could not understand the Great Magic. The Centaur, Cerberus, the Hydra, and the Chimera all played a part in the Great Magic. And there are those whose names no longer can be found that roamed the world.
By far, the most magical, powerful and guardian of the Great Magic was the unicorn.
Long, long ago, the last pair of unicorns on earth realized the only way they could survive would be to disguise themselves and their magic from the world. Man had chased and hunted all but these last two, and it was a bad time for Magic. The lesser creatures had long since hidden from man, and given up their magic. The
Because they were the last and greatest of the Magic, the unicorns were asked by all the lesser creatures to stay and protect the earth. They ran away into the deep high mountains of
One day the youngest child saw strangers riding up the trail that led to the high mountain valley where the two unicorns lived. Even the child knew why the strangers were there. She didn’t understand it all, but man couldn’t seem to live in a world with Magic. She ran ahead to the unicorns and told them what she had seen.
When the group of men arrived in the valley, there was no trace of magic or the unicorns, just two creatures way off in the distance walking heads high over the ridge.
One day her father followed her into the hills and heard the strange name she called out. "What else would I call them father, she said.”You Are Magic Animals, of course".
Friday, March 23, 2012
They told me the big black Lab's name was Reggie, s I looked at him lying in his pen. The shelter was clean, no-kill, and the people really friendly.
I'd only been in the area for six months, but everywhere I went in the small college town, people were welcoming and open. Everyone waves when you pass them on the street.
But something was still missing as I attempted to settle in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn't hurt. Give me someone to talk to. And I had just seen Reggie's advertisement on the local news.
The shelter said they had received numerous calls right after, but they said the people who had come down to see him just didn't look like "Lab people," whatever that meant. They must've thought I did.
For some reason, his stuff (except for the tennis balls --- he wouldn't go anywhere without two stuffed in his mouth) got tossed in with all of my other unpacked boxes. I guess I didn't really think he'd need all his old stuff, that I'd get him new things once he settled in. But it became pretty clear pretty soon that he wasn't going to.
I tried the normal commands the shelter told me he knew, ones like "sit" and "stay" and "come" and "heel," and he'd follow them - when he felt like it.
He never really seemed to listen when I called his name --- sure, he'd look in my direction after the fourth or fifth time I said it, but then he'd just go back to doing whatever. When I'd ask again, you could almost see him sigh and then grudgingly obey.
This just wasn't going to work. He chewed a couple shoes and some unpacked boxes. I was a little too stern with him and he resented it, I could tell.
The friction got so bad that I couldn't wait for the two weeks to be up, and when it was, I was in full-on search mode for my cell phone amid all of my unpacked stuff. I remembered leaving it on the stack of boxes for the guest room, but I also mumbled, rather cynically, that the "damn dog probably hid it on me."
Finally I found it, but before I could punch up the shelter's number, I also found his pad and other toys from the shelter. I tossed the pad in Reggie's direction and he snuffed it and wagged, some of the most enthusiasm I'd seen since bringing him home.
But then I called, "Hey, Reggie, you like that? Come here and I'll give you a treat." Instead, he sort of glanced in my direction --- maybe "glared" is more accurate --- and then gave a discontented sigh and flopped down ... with his back to me.
Well, that's not going to do it either, I thought. And I punched the shelter phone number.
But I hung up when I saw the sealed envelope. I had completely forgotten about that, too. "Okay, Reggie," I said out loud, "let's see if your previous owner has any advice."
To Whoever Gets My Dog:
Well, I can't say that I'm happy you're reading this, a letter I told the shelter could only be opened by Reggie's new owner. I'm not even happy writing it.
If you're reading this, it means I just got back from my last car ride with my Lab after dropping him off at the shelter. He knew something was different. I have packed up his pad and toys before and set them by the back door before a trip, but this time... it's like he knew something was wrong.
And something is wrong ... which is why I have to go to try to make it right.
So let me tell you about my Lab in the hopes that it will help you bond with him and he with you.
First, he loves tennis balls. The more the merrier. Sometimes I think he's part squirrel, the way he hordes them. He usually always has two in his mouth, and he tries to get a third in there. Hasn't done it yet. Doesn't matter where you throw them, he'll bound after it, so be careful -- really, don't do it by any roads. I made that mistake once, and it almost cost him dearly.
Next, commands. Maybe the shelter staff already told you, but I'll go over them again: Reggie knows the obvious ones --- "sit," "stay," "come," "heel." He knows hand signals: "back" to turn around and go back when you put your hand straight up; and "over" if you put your hand out right or left. "Shake" for shaking water off, and "paw" for a high-five. He does "down" when he feels like lying down --- I bet you could work on that with him some more. He knows "ball" and "food" and "bone" and "treat" like nobody's business.
I trained Reggie with small food treats. Nothing opens his ears like little pieces of hot dog.
Feeding schedule: twice a day, once about seven in the morning, and again at six in the evening. Regular store-bought stuff; the shelter has the brand.
He's up on his shots. Call the clinic on 9th Street and update his info with yours; they'll make sure to send you reminders for when he's due. Be forewarned: Reggie hates the vet. Good luck getting him in the car. I don't know how he knows when it's time to go to the vet, but he knows.
Finally, give him some time. I've never been married, so it's only been Reggie and me for his whole life. He's gone everywhere with me, so please include him on your daily car rides if you can. He sits well in the backseat, and he doesn't bark or complain. He just loves to be around people, and me most especially.
Which means that this transition is going to be hard, with him going to live with someone new.
And that's why I need to share one more bit of info with you....
His name's not Reggie.
I don't know what made me do it, but when I dropped him off at the shelter, I told them his name was Reggie. He's a smart dog, he'll get used to it and will respond to it, of that I have no doubt. But I just couldn't bear to give them his real name. For me to do that, it seemed so final, that handing him over to the shelter was as good as me admitting that I'd never see him again. And if I end up coming back, getting him, and tearing up this letter, it means everything's fine. But if someone else is reading it, well ... well it means that his new owner should know his real name. It'll help you bond with him. Who knows, maybe you'll even notice a change in his demeanor if he's been giving you problems.
His real name is "Tank."
Because that is what I drive.
Again, if you're reading this and you're from the area, maybe my name has been on the news. I told the shelter that they couldn't make "Reggie" available for adoption until they received word from my company commander. See, my parents are gone, I have no siblings, no one I could've left Tank with ... and it was my only real request of the Army upon my deployment to Iraq , that they make one phone call the shelter ... in the "event" ... to tell them that Tank could be put up for adoption.
Luckily, my colonel is a dog guy, too, and he knew where my platoon was headed. He said he'd do it personally. And if you're reading this, then he made good on his word.
Well, this letter is getting downright depressing, even though, frankly, I'm just writing it for my dog. I couldn't imagine if I was writing it for a wife and kids and family ... but still, Tank has been my family for the last six years, almost as long as the Army has been my family.
And now I hope and pray that you make him part of your family and that he will adjust and come to love you the same way he loved me.
That unconditional love from a dog is what I take with me to Iraq as an inspiration to do something selfless, to protect innocent people from those who would do terrible things ... and to keep those terrible people from coming over here. If I have to give up Tank in order to do it, I am glad to have done so. He is my example of service and of love. I hope I honored him by my service to my country and comrades.
All right, that's enough. I deploy this evening and have to drop this letter off at the shelter. I don't think I'll say another good-bye to Tank, though. I cried too much the first time. Maybe I'll peek in on him and see if he finally got that third tennis ball in his mouth.
Good luck with Tank. Give him a good home, and give him an extra kiss goodnight -- every night -- from me.
____________ _________ _________ _______
I folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope.
Sure I had heard of Paul Mallory, everyone in town knew him, even new people like me. Local kid, killed in Iraq a few months ago and posthumously earning the Silver Star when he gave his life to save three buddies. Flags had been at half-mast all summer.
I leaned forward in my chair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the dog.
"Hey, Tank," I said quietly.
The dog's head whipped up, his ears cocked and his eyes bright.
He was instantly on his feet, his nails clicking on the hardwood floor. He sat in front of me, his head tilted, searching for the name he hadn't heard in months.
"Tank," I whispered.
His tail swished.
I kept whispering his name, over and over, and each time, his ears lowered, his eyes softened, and his posture relaxed as a wave of contentment just seemed to flood him. I stroked his ears, rubbed his shoulders, buried my face into his scruff and hugged him.
"It's me now, Tank, just you and me. Your old pal gave you to me." Tank reached up and licked my cheek. "So whatdaya say we play some ball?"
His ears perked again.
"Yeah? Ball? You like that? Ball?"
Tank tore from my hands and disappeared in the next room. And when he came back, he had three tennis balls in his mouth.
A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America' for an amount of 'up to�
and including their life.'
That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.
"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him."
G. K. Chesterton
Sunday, November 27, 2011
It disturbs me that the 48th Anniversary of the assassination of JFK came and went as a footnote in almost every national and international newspaper, not to mention the entire world of "social media", though not surprising.
After all, the movers and shakers who live in the world of Blackberry's and iPhone, and 3G and 4G hardly have time to consider the death of a President almost half a century ago relevant to anything impacting their lives. But lord help the cell phone provider who crashes, or even worse a natural disaster that pulls down their ability to stay Faced, or Tweeted, or Tubed. They should pause to consider that the "Space Age" heralded the eventual creation (albeit decades later) of the publicly available PC's, and Mac's, and the internet, and then commercially available cell phones and all it has brought to the world.
Technology is an interesting beast. Henry Ford predicated the mass produced automobile would bring more leisure time to America, because after all we could get where we needed to be faster. How is that working for you now that you can go faster, further, and do it all while linked to your work world 24/7?
But I ramble as I am often wont to do, so I will put forth the following predication:
November 22, 2013 will be the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of the 35 President of the United States. As that day approaches whoever manages to confuse America to electing (or in all fairness re-electing) them to the highest office in the land will scramble to use that horrific day to attempt to link their political battle of the day to the passion and patriotism this country felt about JFK, despite his flaws, and the unity that came for brief moments after the announcement of his death. And yes, I was old enough to remember to grief AND fear of all the adults around me, though not quite old enough to understand why. I am still not sure I am old enough to comprehend it all.
It scares me because there have been no great men of social vision, regardless of their flaws since JFK, RFK, and MLK, not because there are not great men of vision out there, but I would think that the intended consequence of greatness has for the past half century been sucessfully recognized as dangerous.
People state that Steve Jobs was a great man of vision, or that Bill Gates and Mr. Facebook himself are people of great vision. I would suggest that while they may be brilliant, their focus was/is not on making humanity greater, just making technology greater. If you pause to consider what it has done to your lives I believe you will find it has made life more constraining, addictive, and for the unfortunate majority of our future generations numbing to many of the realities they will face.
So my predication is the 50th Anniversary will come and go, and politicans will do everything they can to make sure the media links their names, faces and causes to JFKs charisma in the day, and that nothing will change.
The llamas say hi.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
And that's how we got there. So two options, let it spill over the top of the glass (which means what exactly if those are the 'births'), OR pull the tape off the hole on the bottom.
There is a third choice just to mess with the metaphor, shatter the glass completely. But this is even MORE fun to think about. What weighs more, the total biomass of humanity, OR the total biomass of bacteria? The answer certainly lets every germaphobe (?) in the country vaildate their fear. Along with Humans, Who else Is In The 7 Billion Club?
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment." He was right, that generation didn't have the green thing in its day.
Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
But they didn't have the green thing back in that customer's day.
In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.
She was right. They didn't have the green thing in her day.
Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn't have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts - wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But we didn't have the green thing back in those days.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for you.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. I used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But the old lady was right, we didn't have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn't have the green thing back then?
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
As of today, the final evacuation of the surviving llamas is in the end game and the last of the transportation is on auto-pilot. As I write this llamas are being loaded to go to Washington State, followed by the transport of llamas to California. A small group of special needs llamas will be going to Colorado, and a few will be removed from the Sanctuary but staying in Montana. They will all finally be gone from their own private hell that was supposed to be sanctuary.
Those that didn't survive remain where they were dumped by uncaring hands of prior caretakers- in the death ditch. The land is there, the buildings are there and there are plans to sell the property by the self-centered member of the board of directors of the Sanctuary. The ghosts of the dead will wander the land forever. I hope the new owners appreciate these ghosts bring their own special power and spirit to the land's new and hopefully brighter future.
The llamas that managed to survive have found their third chance at life. I have made my peace with my own helplessness to save them, but thanks to the efforts of others, hundreds have found new homes. I have said my private prayer for those that have died, and may still die despite the best efforts of others greater in strength of resolve than I.
This should be a moment of glorious celebration but instead I am left with anger and the foul taste of deceit and lies that penetrates deep into my soul. Outside of the llama community, organizations spun wheels within wheels within wheels playing politics and games creating obstacles and telling lies upon lies to anyone who would listen. Self possessed and self serving individuals wrote glorious diatribes about their personal sacrifices, focussing more often than not on their efforts to save lives when in the end 4 llamas were put to death. The pain and suffering these four llamas continued to have at this grandiose savior's hands was unnecessary. Her all consuming narcissism was incapable of grasping any reality but her own. They should have been put down long before the first of the year. She claimed to care yet interfered at every turn, disrupting evacuation arrangements, and has threatened to collaborate with others to malign the integrity and efforts of hundreds of people across the country who successfully evacuated the llamas long before she imposed her philosophies into the mix of problems being confronted by the llamas and the people who WERE helping. These same people will be the ones that continue on caring for the llamas and finding them homes long after she slinks back to her corner of the world and shouts to anyone who will listen that she alone saved the llamas. And so....
It is time for me to not so quietly move on. It is time to focus on my life, my family, and my llamas. Everyone will have versions of lessons learned from the disaster that was the Montana Large Animal Sanctuary. Mine is perhaps self centered and selfish when looked at by others, but is true to my heart and recognizes for the first time in more than a decade since I found the magic that llamas have brought to my life, what my limits are. I should be celebrating that the llamas will live on in new lives, but I am filled with anger.
It is time for privacy, for quiet, and for peace in my life. Good night, god bless, and may you all find peace in your lives.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Virginia Christensen, one of ALSA's founding members, died November 5, at the age of 80. She was at home in Gardnerville, Nevada with her husband, Dick, visiting with neighbors over coffee and cookies, when she was struck by a heart attack and died instantly.
After purchasing, with Dick, her first llamas in 1982, Virginia trained and became one of the original ALSA judges in 1987, was appointed to the fledgling ALSA board of directors as its secretary, and in turn became one of the original ALSA clinic instructors. She remained on the ALSA books as Member #1 for the rest of her life.
For over 20 subsequent years, Virginia judged llamas and alpacas, trained new judges, presided over the ALSA judges' committee, served as a tireless volunteer for numerous lama enthusiast groups, wrote educational articles for a variety of publications, and tended meticulously to her own llama companions, many of whom still grace the field behind her home.This list of accomplishments does little to illustrate the true power of Virginia's influence in the llama community.
Her dedication to strong ethics and a moral commitment to her unending sense of responsibility toward the animals who brought her great joy over the years, made her an inspirational leader to countless people. In addition to ALSA, she provided expert support and formal work efforts to every major camelid organization in the country, including ILR, LANA, ILA and RMLA.In 2006, Virginia was honored by a three-day event in her name, The Virginia Christensen Classic.
At that time, The Virginia Christensen National Llama Welfare Award was launched, a cash award given to individuals who work for the welfare of llamas. There have been four recipients since the award's inception, which will continue in memory of all Virginia stood for.Virginia Christensen is survived by her husband Dick, her daughter Claudia, son Richard, her grandchildren, her cat Toonie, a small herd of llamas, and an enormous network of close friends."
Gayle Woodsum, The Virginia Christensen National Llama Welfare Award
As one of the National Llama Welfare Award winners I will cherish what it represents even more in honor of all Virginia gave to the entire llama community. I only had the pleasure of meeting her twice, but in those brief encounters there was nothing but joy, happiness, humor and passion in every word she spoke. Never one to pull punches, and never one to be vindictive in her comments, she will be missed by more than just those who own llamas. She was one of those rare women, who once met were never forgotten
Monday, June 28, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
The last thing anyone would call me is a tree hugger, but if works, it works, and at this point BP needs all the help it can get.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Well on Friday around 4PM I am out and about doing my llama chores, and there stuck to the inside of her thigh is her mucous plug. About time. Of course in the past when and it happens rarely I notice a mucous plug you can figure the baby the next day. WRONG! Keep in mind she is already at day 367, so I guess she decided that enough was enough and it was time to get rid of this creature.
She goes from mucous plug to stage one labor almost immediately. And from there she starts doing the whole roll on the ground, pop up, spit at every other llama that comes near her, up and down, and thinking about pooping and peeing but stopping.
By 7:45 I decide to tell her that she really only has bout an hour left of good daylight, while I am scrambling around, putting power in the big shelter, running straw, setting up additional dividier walls (keep in mind that our first baby STORM RUNNER was born on Wednesday jut before this (PS she now weighs in at 34.5 pounds).
And FINALLY, Katee decides to deliver. We have nose and toes at NINE PM, with a baby on the ground at 9:40 PM. She is not quite the blower and goer as Storm was, and does not nurse at all until 12:45 PM, but she did finally nurse. I was worried about her being underweight; UNTIL I put her on the scale and she comes in at 23.8 lbs. Now compared to her half sister who came in at over 29, that may seem small, but still very acceptable and in my mind very much so for a maiden. And so without further hesitation, Roads End Llamas brings you Willow of the Wind (Royce's Kissamee Katee x Bitter Creek's Buckskin)
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Actually this year I could have pretended it was time to shear in February, with warm weather the rule this year rather than the exception, but then came March with rain, and April with surprisingly colder than usual weather. We even had chain laws in effect for some of the mountain passes separating western and eastern Washington during the first week of May!!
So.... today I start with the shearing ritual. It is a fun time and I generally take my time. I may do 4 or 5 llamas on any given day, depending on my mood (and of course THEIRS). The rule around here is no muss no fuss, no massive tying up or even (take a deep breath) chutes. We have them, but our gang just all goes pretty much with the flow. And this is a shot of what I mean by go with the flow from our own beloved Cayan, who defines the word "mellow".
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Do llamas count the sunsets? Actually do humans bother to count them? The answers I believe are yes, they do and no, we don’t, but should.
So today I counted the sunsets. 20,214 have passed before my eyes; and with God willing I will see sunrise 20,214 tomorrow.
It’s like choosing to pause and sniff the roses; we all should, but don’t and the reasons are as varied as there are people on the planet, but more often than not it’s just because… Not because of anything mind you, just because. Just because I have to fight the traffic to get home, just because I have to get the lawn mowed before the sun goes down, just because I am standing in line at the grocery store, or too busy shopping at the mall, or too busy writing a blog to talk about smelling roses or watching sunsets.
And yet, llamas count them. Well maybe not count them, but they do indeed watch them, with passion. They watch every single one with an understanding of just how important and significant its passing is as part of their life; yes llamas are that smart.
It doesn’t mean they will live to see another day, but it means they LIVED today. And llamas live every moment to its fullest. And so much about my life is measured against my llamas' ways of living; it provides upon occasion perspective, on other occasions passions, and sometimes simple tranquility that could perhaps be compared to what others see in a powerful sunset.
What triggered this today in extreme contrast to my past two self absorbed posts (Red and Black Letter Days- All About Llamas and The Black Letter Day) was hearing on the radio that two children, an eight-year-old boy and his ten-year-old sister, had been pulled from the rubble that used to be Haiti after 7 days of missing sunsets and sunrises, unaware that there was anything significant about their coming and going. At that age I don’t even know if their own potential death is something they were capable of understanding, even though in Haiti I imagine death is familiar to them.
20,214 sunsets, and not a one I can point to with certainty was a remarkable moment. It bothers me more than a little because there have been significant moments in my past where I truly did not think I would live to see the sun rise.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
For the rest of us, it is a self-serving and solipsistic way of sharing with the world what more often than not they really don't give two hoots about; but makes the author feel so much more important because he too has cluttered the Internet with one more piece of what only he considers important. So as not to confuse the reader here, between the two I most decidely fall into the latter category.... which may give you good reason to simply move on to anything more important than this.
Inflected Form(s): plural epiph·a·nies
Etymology: Middle English epiphanie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin epiphania, from Late Greek, plural, probably alteration of Greek epiphaneia appearance, manifestation, from epiphainein to manifest, from epi- + phainein to show
Date: 14th century
1 : capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration of the baptism of Christ
2 : an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being
3: (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something
(2) : an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple and striking
(3) a : an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure
b : a revealing scene or moment
And while an epiphany should denote something of substance that brings positive enlightenment to one's perspective and place in the world bringing with it solace and comfort, I suppose in the most literal definition of an epiphany being an intuitive grasp of reality through something (as an event) you could find yourself on the other side of that coin from an event.... and I did.
When I wrote and published my Red Letter Black Letter Blog I fully expected to follow it up with this blog which was going to be about the death of a community, full of finger pointing and self righteous anger at those whose sense of importance blocked and locked out those interested in becoming a part of a community of people with a common love and interest in llamas. I considered naming names, and pointing fingers and telling blow by blow the whole story of how I had tried to rise above the fray and take the high road, only to be pushed and shoved into a what THEY as a community expected of me and nothing else.
It dawned on me (with the passage of just a couple of days) that it was not they alone responsible for this transition of my involvement; it was indeed me. For those who own llamas and are part of the llama communities throughout the country, they see the changes as they are happening and acknowledge the diversity of cultures that exist nationally, regionally and locally and understand the structure of those cultures.
There are names of those within the communities that influence the llama world at all of those levels for good, bad or nothing in between and it really doesn't matter much anymore to me.
It's short story (no really it is) about a person who called me from way too far away for me to help directly, and my attempting to reach out to find someone closer who might be able to assist. It's a story about one person responding by forwarding my request to one of the people who's influence in the national community for better or worse (and I most certainly have an opinion which I choose not to share) to see if they might have a resource available to help. And from there it spiralled into not quite sure what. I asked for a way to contact that local resource from the somewhat unfortunate person in the middle, and it went from bad to worse and I actually just did not care in the least to understand the angst of the person in the middle. (that's the short way of confusing you as a reader, I know, but trust me it's better that way). Short version, the person in the middle got annoyed at whatever communications she was reading between the lines, told me and the person at the other end of what she must have assumed was some sort of power play how irritated she was.... and I told her didn't really care so just take a leap into whatever hole she wanted and I would be more than happy to back-fill it for her, just leave me alone now and forever.
And that was the epiphany; I just didn't and apparently don't care to play in other peoples' sandboxes anymore. I don't care to be scoffed, but turned to when it suits others needs. In fact for the moment at least I don't think I want to play in any sandbox. There is something fundamentally disturbing when your role in a community is defined not by what you do or attempt to do, in TOTAL, but only by what pigeon hole others have walled you into and regardless of what you would like to do build that wall higher and higher if you dare try anything beyond their definition. Be there when and where and how they want you to be, or don't be there at all is an awful mantra to be subjected to.
The llamas in my life help make me complete, and I enjoy and cherish that feeling. There are llamas in other peoples lives and I fully understand they too enjoy and cherish them. And then there are others who have llamas in their lives for their reasons and surround themselves with other llama owners for reasons because of the need to loved and adored and idolized. The two extremes have to exist in order to define a community when one exists or pretends to exist.
For now, I think I will just focus on enjoying my llamas; most certainly in a bubble without what for me used to be a sense of camaraderie with those of similar passions, if for no other reason than that sense of camaraderie I have come to believe existed was as I see it now misplaced.
History is already written as each moment passes and there is no dwelling. What the future brings is written in the clouds and remains as ethereal. And for now I choose to stand aside and enjoy the llamas that bring more to my life than I could ever give to them, or even more importantly than they would ever want from me. Would that people could be that giving without being asked.
And I think this counts as a black letter day. :(
And I don't know if two reds offset one black or not, but in my mind they have to in order for me to begin to be able to understand what is happening in what used to be an important part of my life with llamas --- that of what used to be a solid sense of camaraderie with the greater llama community.
But first for the RED LETTER moments and they are both all about Joey (who?). And of course there is always rambling if you have ever read my posts and this one will be no different.
12 months and 2 weeks ago a simple but very wild llama joined our lives. He is a mature adult male, now gelded, who at the time had spent an unknown amount of his life living tied up either to a tree or a fence or other types of tethers by his neck, never haltered, never walked around, and living as he could. Not mean, or angry, or as best we can tell beaten, just wild and unused to any types of human interactions. And oddly enough he actually had a name; Joey. He didn't respond to it, but somewhere along the way someone at least gave him a name.
The story about how he wound up with us, and his situation is long and convoluted, and for the sake of my version of not rambling let it suffice to say it involved a rifle wielding neighbor, a llama at large dragging a rope, and a deputy sheriff standing there in total disbelief that in front of God, country and the OWNERS of the llama this guy was about to shoot him.
When we got him home it was literally the day before we were projected to get what for us was going to be a monster snow storm with bitter cold... and both proved to be true.
The snow hit hard, fast and deep; the cold came in equally fast and by the time it was over, virtually all our llama shelters have collapsed or had been damaged. But Joey was here and actually had the best of all worlds for shelter and protection since he was confined and in quarantine in the first step of our processing new llamas.
From there, after the weather finally broke, Joey was moved into an upper paddock that provided him with shelter and an area in full view of the males in our herd that he would eventually be living with. Through the entire quaratine period and virtually all of the time he was in the upper paddock area, the closest I ever was able to get to him, without forcing a major confined area of 12 x 12 was approximately 20 feet. He NEVER would eat anything if I was in his paddock.
He would watch and learn and wait until I left before he would go into his shelter to eat, and at the slightest indication I was coming in would beat feet for the furthest possible corner. Well, by May (SIX MONTHS LATER), I could stand within 10 feet of him and he would watch me like a hawk, but he would eat.
We kept chipping away at things like showing him halters and lead ropes, working him into the 12 x 12 area and just forcing him to stand without touching. We worked on touching him in that area with nothing more than a stroke alongside his body, AND we sheared him.
From there the transition is all but complete. A little more negotiating with llamas as they get to learn Joey is here for a while, making sure the three dogs understand he is now part of their job to protect, and everything settles down for a fun and wonderful summer!! Hot, and dry but fun.
Our llama Charles has been on feed supplements every winter for several years now just on account of his age and the tough time he has keeping his weight especially in the winters. That process involves a corral with a 4 foot gate and a private feeding area for him to have his special supplements without interference. Well, we decide to supplement Joey not so much because he desparately needs it, but because now that the weather has turned, he is low man on the pole and doesn't always get a spot staked out to eat hay even though there is one spot more for eating than there are llamas. And a new routine starts. Charles comes galloping into the corral, and Joey gets worked so he goes in and gets his grain. And at least once a week we play, here's your grain supplements, and now that you have eaten, "Stand" and be handled.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
The number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on U.S. airlines in September 2009 increased by 0.8 percent from September 2008, growing by 0.5 million to 54.7 million, the Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today reported (Table 1). September was the first month with an increase in passengers from the previous year since March 2008 following 17 consecutive months of decreases (Table 2).
BTS, a part of DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, in a release of preliminary data, reported that U.S. airlines carried 1.2 percent more domestic passengers than in September 2008. International passengers on U.S. carriers decreased 1.7 percent (Tables 7, 13).
For the first nine months of 2009, the number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on U.S. airlines declined by 6.8 percent from the same period in 2008, dropping to 533.3 million, 38.8 million fewer than a year earlier, and the lowest January-to-September total since 2004 (Tables 1, 2). For historic numbers, see Traffic.
U.S. airlines carried 6.7 percent fewer domestic passengers and 7.6 percent fewer international passengers in the first nine months of 2009 than during the same period in 2008 (Tables 7, 13).
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Bureau of Transportation Statistics
Census Bureau Projects U.S. Population of 308.4 Million on New Year’s Day (2010)
AND POINT THREE:
Murder Victims--Circumstances and Weapons Used or Cause of Death (2007)
And NOW I get to ramble:
During the first nine months of 2009, the total number of people moving across this planet INTO the United States exceeded the population of the country to the tune of almost 173%.
Two years ago, over 14,000 people were MURDERED in this country with both feet planted firmly on the ground.
Since the horror of 9-11 triggered America's "War on Terrorism" and Homeland Security became an insidious, albeit necessary intrusion quietly in some cases and not so quietly in others on our daily lives, there has not been one single successful domestic airline bombing. But, at the same time more than 14,000 were murdered in this country IN ONLY ONE YEAR. Multiply that number and the number of passengers moving into this country since 9-11 and do some simple, though not statistically solid math, you have over 100,000 people murdered in this country ONLY, and people flying with landings within the United States that comes very close to exceeding the estimated population of the entire planet.
Not particularly surprising, everyone top to bottom in the government, the news media, and dare I say Americans in total are screaming with one voice, that one single idiot with a major extremist view on the evils of America managed not only to enter the country, but actually ignite a device that should have blown a plane up.
And yet in the face of raw statistics, the fact that there has not been a successful domestic bombing of a passenger flight since September 11, 2001 is in its own way a breathtakingly remarkable statistic, or like the passengers sitting on Northwest Flight 253 has just not been our day for disaster. Take your pick.
Don't misunderstand me here. The fact that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the Bloomer Bomber; I like it so much better than the news media's attempt to call him the "crotch bomber" which was shut down mysteriously after just one day of labelling) was able to board a plane and make it from Nigeria to the United States before attempting to blow up Flight 253 and get the explosives on board at some point in his travels, is fundamentally disturbing.
However, the realities are that the BB's bombing attempt was inevitable and while we would like to think totally avoidable it simple is not a truth and it is time that Americans realize that fact. The phrase "To him that will, ways are not wanting (proverb first accounted in1640)", was not some arbitrary utterance, but a statement of fact. It doesn't matter that in hindsight screening technologies are being challenged, not does it matter that representatives from Homeland Security are going to travel to foreign airports to review security measures to prevent this from happening.... it is merely a matter of time that it will.
Complacency is not the answer and that is not the intent of my ramblings. What is the intent is that Americans in every form must acknowledge the simple truth that we are NOT nor ever have been immune from the kinds of events that are considered daily realities in other parts of the world.
Plane bombings in Russia, suicide bombers at soccer events in Pakistan, daily suicide bombings in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Israel, and throughout Europe, all hit the news and leave the news in this country in one day without anyone in this country thinking "there but for the grace of God...".
And yet it is not but for the grace of God, it is plain and simply put just dumb luck. The security efforts in this country have reached epoch proportion and are an economy of scale that has taken on a life of its own. It is a fine line walked, protecting our country's borders and it's citizens abroad, without letting it be known that everyday once taken for granted freedoms are being nibbled away at by every agency assigned to protecting us from terrorism. And it is time for Americans to understand and recognize that this is the life we will live from day one of our war against terrorism that began on that awful day in September 2001.
Even worse is the fact that sooner or later despite every human effort to prevent it, catastrophic events will happen in this country. So for the sake of raising the level of paranoia you dear reader should have answer the following:
- You are driving to drop off your daughter and son-in-law at the airport. How many cars are in line in front of you... or behind you... or alongside you? Which one has the potential to have a terrorist in it?
- You are walking downtown in Anywhere USA. How many cars are parked neatly with their parking meters fully paid, empty of people and just 'parked?
- A van pulls up the main entrance of your favorite shopping mall, ostensibly to pick up someone. Who or what is inside?
There is no real safety from someone who wants to do harm, ask 14,000 plus people murdered in this country.
What can be done is being done to protect us from extremism of all kinds, but the realities are there is no, nor ever will or can be total protection. I for one would love to believe there is a way, but it is just a matter of time. And the clock has been ticking in our favor for way too long for anyone sincerely deep in their hearts of hearts, and souls of souls to believe otherwise.
So...... that's my rambling.
Friday, September 11, 2009
The Sport of Kings? Not really, but don't tell the llamas that
Wisconsin community takes its goofy annual race to heart
By Andy Rathbun
Updated: 09/11/2009 01:30:14 AM CDT
Photo courtesy of Michele Lyksett of Central St. Croix News. Anna Hartliep runs with El Corazon to a first place finish during the 2007 Running of the Llamas in Hammond, Wis. Hartliep traveled from Milwaukee on her birthday to run with the llama, which has run in the festival every year since it started in 1997. El Corazon is a llama to be feared.
Feared, though, only if you're a llama hungering for victory this weekend during the Running of the Llamas in Hammond, Wis. El Corazon, a 15-year-old gelding, is the llama with the most wins in the event's history.
"He's got a good gait, and he likes a crowd," said owner Sheila Fugina, of New Richmond.
El Corazon — Spanish for "The Heart" — is one of 12 llamas that will compete in Saturday's race. The three-time champ will have plenty of fans as crowds gather along the streets of downtown Hammond — about 35 miles east of the Twin Cities — to watch the llamas run with their handlers.
It's the 13th year of the event, which, like so many wild ideas, got started with a beer.
Paul Kremer, owner of Dick's Bar and Grill in Hudson, crafted a beer years ago that sported a llama on its label. He adopted the llama as his mascot and began holding a one-block llama run to raise money for cerebral palsy.
"People giggled and laughed and thought it was the silliest thing they ever saw," Kremer said.
After taking over the Hammond Hotel, he came up with the idea of the "Running of the Llamas."
"We really tried to focus on family and make it a total community event," said Kremer, who sold the Hammond Hotel last year.
The hotel's new owner, Don Fowell, moved this year's event from Thursday to Saturday, which he hopes will double attendance from a high of about 800 people. Also new this year is a
weekend roster of activities starting today in conjunction with the race. There will be a rib festival, live music, parade, and other activities for kids, including crafts involving llama hair.
It's the llama's coat that the animal is bred for, said Fugina, who heads up Shady Ridge Farm. The hair — commonly called llama "fiber" — can be used much like sheep's wool in clothing and other products.
There are a surprising number of farms in western Wisconsin raising llamas for
their fiber, said Fugina, who added that the state ranks in the top 10 of llama-producing states in the country.
Llamas are ideal for small farms and do very well around humans, she said. But as more people buy them, more llamas are found needing help, especially in these economic times.
"People are abandoning their foreclosed farms and leaving their animals on them, sometimes including llamas," said Fugina, who also runs the National Lama Intervention & Rescue Coordination Council.
While llamas may not be as graceful or as fast to start as horses, they can move quickly — about the speed of deer, said Fugina. They're fast enough to sometimes outrun their handlers, who occasionally take a spill during the races.
Llamas can also be temperamental, running only if they feel so inclined that day, said Fugina. Seeing other llamas running can get them going, however, and some, like El Corazon, enjoy performing for a crowd.
The race, which begins at 3 p.m., lasts about an hour and features four heats of three llamas. The winning llama, not the handler, gets the grand prize — a bouquet of assorted vegetables to munch on.
"They just think it's a hoot," said Fowell of the race's spectators. "They're just dumbfounded that it's this much fun."
Fugina expects El Corazon to have a decent chance of taking home the carrots and celery this year, though his past wins have gone to his head a bit.
"He thinks he's pretty good," she said.
Andy Rathbun can be reached at 651-228-2121
The trailer for a 30-minute documentary on the race can be found at youtube.com/user/pangolinpix.
"El Corazon," handled by Anna Hartliep, heads for a first-place finish in the 2007 "Running of the Llamas'' in Hammond, Wis. El Corazon will compete again Saturday in the 13th annual event.
IF YOU GO
For information about the race and other events surrounding the Running of the Llamas, go online to therunningofthellamas.com.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
But you really need to watch it to the end, where she decides to torment Dahli who is NOT her mother, and observe the constant and predicatable gentility Dahli shows and has always shown to babies.
Stay tuned for more on Rosa now that she has grown!!!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
The text of this article and the links contained within provide more than just a small glimmer of hope for camelid owners.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
The weather broke for real, and the first loads of hay are hauled. Moved 10+ tons into storage and the good news was prices are definitely down from last year. Not as far as I would have like to see from our hay guy, but that’s ok. Still holding at 200 a ton. I even found some amazing stuff locally in mid May from the feed store that was about that same price.
I’m nursing a few interesting friction blisters and some muscles I didn’t know existed much less could hurt [even more than there were last year], but it’s always a comfort having the barn full. I even had to pull my wedding band off, had a blister UNDER it. Yeah I know, wear gloves, but some old dogs just really never learn.
Here’s hoping the prices hold, and we get a bit of rain off and on for a while. It’s been 8 weeks without any measurable precipitation, and while us PNW folks complain about the weather as a rule regardless of what it is, upper 80’s and low 90’s on this side of the hills is bit disquieting for June and July. Our hay guy irrigates, and of course the more he has to irrigate, the greater the risk of prices going up.
The boys pastures are pretty much cooked out right now, and though it’s essentially standing hay, it won’t be long before I’ll have to start throwing hay at them as more than just dry matter if we stay as dry as we are.
The girls’ fans are on timers, the boys roof sprinklers are up and running, and almost everyone who has to be sheared has been sheared. That’s part of today’s projects.
They claim today will be the last of the comparatively hot weather for us for a week, but they aren’t talking about rain, just temps back to what we consider survival mode. Tipper  and Buckskin LOVE the heat, and as usual scare the daylight out of me on a regular basis. Tipper is eastern Oregon born and raised, and still thinks 90 degree summers and 2 feet of snow in the winter is cause for celebration. Buckskin is Montana born and raised and thrives on those extremes.
We survived the fireworks torment and terrors that come with the fourth of July. We had to bring Gracie [Pyr] in the house at dusk; she does not do fireworks or thunder. Then around 10 last night Yogi and Luna had had enough of the torment and were freaking out with Gracie gone, so they came in for the night. Made for a very crowded gathering in the house.
Usually folks around here are relatively intelligent about fireworks and dry land issues, but this year seemed worse than ever. I always tend to stay outside during the fireworks hours with tractor ready to blow and go and cut firebreaks if needed. This year it was so bad, you could literally see and smell the burnt powder from people setting stuff off hanging the air, and it was a crystal clear night with almost a full moon.
I enjoy the moment July 4th provides to celebrate the power of the freedoms we enjoy; just wish there was another way to celebrate without letting idiots playing with matches and gunpowder.
Just some early morning ramblings from a guy who obviously just keeps getting older and grumpier with each passing year before I head out to do some more shearing.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
PLEASE take the time to read the story about Lilly's courage so far.
There is nothing more heartbreaking while at the same time soul inspiring than watching humans and animals work in harmony to overcome obstacles for survival.
Lilly's story is best told by the people who have committed themselves to making the end of this story as sucessful as possible for Lilly.
Perhaps the most exciting piece of news recieved today is that Lilly is home, recovering and now eating! Time and dedication will drive her recovery now.
Unfortunately as you read her story, there is also the ugly harsh realities of money spent for her surgery and post surgical expenses.
You will find that reality also shared on the pages being dedicated to her by the people at Midwest Farm Animal Rescue.
It's alway a bad time to ask for money, and with the economy and people's lives in the kind of turmoil it is in now, it is doubly difficult.
As a family faced with many of the same hardships this economy is presenting to all of us, we found some money stashed away to help. And so I hope can you.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
It doesn't matter, West Coast, East Coast or anywhere in between, the need often comes close to totally overwhelming the available resources, but great people continue to step up, and continue to fight the honest fight.
For another intense perspective, complete with photos please feel free to visit one of my favorite animal and farm blogger's site. Teri Conroy is as gifted with words as she is with animals.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Woke up to rain that quickly and I do indeed mean QUICKLY turned to snow. I am up without fail very close to 5am as a rule, and by 6 it was snowing. By 6:30 the satellite dish transponder was covered with snow, so
Up on the rooftop
Click, click, click
Down thru the chimney with
Good Saint Nick went I...
But unlike Good Saint Nick nearly slid my way back down again. Our woodstove chimney was the only thing that kept me up there.
AND today of all days the Danby Rd Llama Girls were to finally leave their horse stall life for the past 3 plus weeks to a foster home.
Well by 7am there was 4" of snow on the ground with no real indication of letting up. By 10:30 the temperatures were moderating and it had stopped snowing and changed to rain.
Grabbed Chloe, hooked up the horse trailer and down the road we went to re-locate the Danby girls to their new for now and probably knock wood forever home.
Below find them discovering their new digs. They have a bit more than 4 acres to romp on, and I do wish that I had taken my video camera with me to share with you their excitment over being out in the open for the first time in 3 plus weeks! ALL of them spent 20 minutes or more exploring the fence line, then just started jumping and snorting and pronking with the spirit and magic that only those who have watched or own llamas can knowing and cherish. Their new care giver was attentive to every answer to every question she asked and she asked ALL the right questions. Their shelter is a touch smaller than might be 'perfect', but it is solid, built against the weather and will accomodate all 4. We talked about the roughened concrete floor and the need for deep bedding preferably straw, and she immediately went and got 2 bales of HAY to put down because "I don't have any straw right now, and something is better than nothing".
It soften the edges a bit for me, and I know for Chloe over losing Sunny yesterday. This woman knows nothing about llamas, has never owned or interacted with them, but her heart and soul is in the right place and she has all the tools and basic skills to get them healthier than they are now, and wants to learn.
I will take that for now.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
LW Someone Wonderful
Born September 15 1993, died March 14 2009..... at my hands.
And what was left of my soul passed with her passing and the act I committed.
Her favorite phrase during her last days with us was 'SCRATCHES'. With that word she simply stood and waited for every inch of her to be scratched and rubbed as the tickle reflex kicked in and she lipped in shear joy and relief from the pain the cancer was causing.
I have been angry and grief stricken in the past as the llamas have come and gone, and now there is nothing left but numb, down to the deepest place the soul should reside.
And now, I suppose I am in mourning for myself and for the death, I fear, of my soul.