Since I started blogging, I've received many comments saying that, in spite of my name Sheepandgoats, the animals in my profile picture are not sheep and goats. I've paid no heed. Surely those comments were submitted by religious cranks intent on making me trouble or otherwise distracting me from my Mission.
However, this year for Ground Hog Day, my wife gave me the handsome coffee table book All About Animals. I thumbed through the pictures and…..by golly, they were right! Those animals are not sheep and goats. They are creatures from South America called llamas.
The llama (Lama glama) is a South American camelid, widely used as a pack animal by the Incas and other natives of the Andes mountains. In South America llamas are still used as beasts of burden, as well as for the production of fiber and meat.
The height of a full-grown, full-size llama is between 5.5 feet (1.6 meters) to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall at the top of the head. They can weigh between approximately 280 pounds (127 kilograms) and 450 pounds (204 kilograms). At birth, a baby llama (called a cria) can weigh between 20 pounds (9 kilograms) to 30 pounds (14 kilograms). Llamas are very social animals and like to live with other llamas as a herd. Overall, the fiber produced by a llama is very soft and is naturally lanolin free. Very intelligent, llamas learn simple tasks after a few repetitions. When using a pack, llamas can carry about 25% - 30% of their body weight for several miles.
Llamas originated from the central plains of North America about 40 million years ago. They migrated to South America and Asia about 3 million years ago. By the end of the last ice-age (10,000 - 12,000 years ago) camelids were extinct in North America. As of 2007, there were over 7 million llamas and alpacas in South America and due to importation from South America in the late 20th century there are now over 100,000 llamas and 6,500 - 7,000 alpacas in the US and Canada.
Here: (not via Wikipedia) are pictures of actual llamas.
Now be honest. Mine look more handsome, don’t they?
How should I rectify this error? Of course, I could just flat out apologize, but….you know, I hate to admit being wrong. Moreover, might not an apology trigger lawsuits from readers outraged at being deceived so long? Be assured I did much soul-searching. In the end, stickler for accuracy that I am, honest conscience won out.
There! I’ve made a clean breast of things. Nobody can say I haven’t. And as an added bonus, for any misled readers who now have no idea what sheep and goats really look like, I found a site with lots of informative pictures. It is (not surprisingly) www.sheepandgoats.com
The people involved with this site appear fine and upright and have no connection with me. I notice that they sell sheep and goats. For the sake of authenticity and to prove to all that I am not a charlatan, I ought to buy one of each. Trouble is, I've grown attached to these llamas and I'm not sure they would get along. Winged Migration Man told me llamas can be "ornery."
Alright, alright.....it's a lighthearted post. I admit it. But the atmosphere is lighthearted these days. It’s Lilac Festivalhere in Rochester. I've tentatively put the snow shovel away. Spring has pounced upon us emphatically. And I am about to take a stroll through the lilacs with the lovely Mrs. Sheepandgoats. How can a person not be lighthearted about such things?
So far music highlights at the festival include Donna the Buffalo(another animal!....I like this group already), a backwoodsy Appalachian band with huge energy that had everyone bouncing. The female vocalist plays every sort of hillybilly instrument under the sun.....she must be Donna, you can't help but think. But no, their website tells us....the band just has a thing for Appalachia and buffalos. Here and there in the crowd you'd spot people in DtB sweatshirts: a goofy cavedrawing of a buffalo on the front, "herd of em?" on the back.
Earlier in the program was a young woman just now finding notice, Alyssa Coco, still in high school [!], who appeared with keyboard and three backup musicians, including a drummer so immersed in his material I could only think of a bobblehead. Mrs. Sheepandgoats liked her music, so I bought my wife a CD. I think it was the singer's mom at the CD table. That's fine at Lilac Festival, which is family oriented. You couldn't do it at the Water Street Music Hall.