Sunday, December 12, 2010

So I Finally Bought a Llama - Sort Of....

Please consider supporting my effort to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through participation in their Team-in-Training program.  I am training to run in the Canyonlands Half Marathon on March 19, 2011.  You can support my effort by pledging contributions to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on my Team-in-Training web page at:

All contributions are tax deductible.  THANK YOU!!!!!!
As many of you know I have been interested in buying a llama or two for last year.  My reason for wanting a llama has been simple.  As I am getting older I am finding it more stressful on my back to backpack with a large load on my shoulders.  I tend to hike a lot but the loads that I normally carry do not weigh more than 20 pounds.  However as I want to take my nature photography to higher standards the amount of gear that I should carry should be much heavier.  For example, I have an inexpensive camera tripod that probably weighs a grand total of 1 pound.  For really good pictures I have should have a much more expensive and much heavier - 10 pounds or more tripod.  On top of that when I go to take pictures I should be taking numerous lens, filters, light meters etc.  All told I would estimate that I should have a kit that weighs in excess of 60 pounds.

Carrying 60 pounds of photographic gear can be done, but then my back and shoulders will be screaming at me for days because of it.  Hence the need for a llama to carry my gear.  Llama's for small loads under 120 pounds are great pack animals.  They are relatively compact, don't require a huge amount of food and are relatively nice.  Well - there are some that are known to be big spitters and biters but mine won't be like that.

So last Tuesday I decided to bit the bullet and get a llama.  Now of course he/she isn't in my backyard.  As a matter of fact they aren't even here in North America - the llama is somewhere in Peru.  My sort of buying a llama is I bought one through Heifer International (a charity) and the llama will be donated to a poor family living in Peru.  Heifer International makes a big push during the holiday season to gather donations like this.  Beside llama's they also do donations of flocks of geese, goats, sheep, cows (heifers - hence the name), water buffaloes, pigs, etc.  Water buffaloes are expensive!!!

Anyway - just some humor to some degree about me purchasing a llama!  Our weekend has been very low key.  I done a ton of chores around the house and got a bunch of Christmas decorating completed.  Zack got a new pair of tennis shoes as his old pair was totally shot.  My team in training group run on Saturday morning was especially grueling as we did an hour of solid non-stop running.  I figure it will take me about 2 - 2.5 hours to run the half marathon so I am approaching being able to run 1/2 of the time required for me to complete it.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and is ready for the week ahead.

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.



Mary Kay Chicoine said...

you had me for a while. But I was wondering if you had a big enough back yard and if Zack was into scooping!

tcsTenor said...

I would say you are a "green" tree hugger, but I won't.... LOL!!! You are now bordering on abusing animals by loading theirs backs down with your equipment. You would then be accused of violating much!!

Anonymous said...

Heifer International (HI) is an organization that claims to work against world hunger by donating animals to families in developing countries. Its catalog deceptively portrays beautiful children holding cute animals in seemingly humane circumstances. The marketing brochure for HI does not show the animals being transported, their living and slaughter conditions, or the erosion, pollution and water use caused by the introduction of these animals and their offspring.

By definition, animals raised for food are exploited in a variety of ways. The animals shipped to developing countries are often subject to; water and food shortages, cruel procedures without painkillers, lack of veterinary care resulting in extended suffering as a result of illness or injury.

A large percentage of the families receiving animals from HI are struggling to provide for themselves and cannot ensure adequate living conditions, nutrition, and medical care for animals they have been given. HI provides some initial veterinary training to individuals and the initial vaccines. But, long term care for these animals and their offspring is up to the individuals.

To make matters worse, animal agriculture causes much more harm to the environment than plant-based agriculture. The fragile land in many of the regions HI is sending the animals cannot support animal agriculture. Although they say they encourage cut and carry feeding of the animals to avoid erosion, the reality is often quite different.

The consumption of animal products has been shown in reputable studies to contribute significantly to life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a variety of cancers. Regions that have adopted a diet with more animal products see an increase in these diseases. The remote communities supposedly served by HI have no way of dealing with the health consequences of joining the high-cholesterol world.

While it may seem humane and sustainable to provide just one or two dairy cows here or there, the long term consequences are an increased desire for animal products in local cultures leading to an increase in production. These communities may be able to absorb the additional water use of one or two cows, what happens when there are hundreds or thousands of dairy cows, each consuming 27 to 50 gallons of fresh water and producing tons of excrement? The heavy cost to animals, the environment and local economies is not figured into HI's business practices.

tcsTenor said...

Anonymous isn't living in the real world. Good grief!

downlights said...

nice posting keep blogging

Mjs said...

If Heifer International was so bad - then why do so many Christian Churches support this very valuable needed organization? We have been members of our faith and church for too many years to mention, and the Heifer project is one which we always support. I support the Heifer program and kudos to you, Jerry for doing likewise. Too bad for the person who wrote such a negative comment.