Saturday, June 20, 2009

In This Mountain

Sometimes life is perfect in its imperfections. If you live in Northeast Pennsylvania, you have been slogged down by endless rain. When you walk on spring paths, you feel the feel the earth move downward, leaving a footprint that fills quickly with surface water. To the benefit, and there's much of that, water tables rise and the profusion of green goodness exceeds all other years. Safely for now, we are not in danger of flooding. Never in this mountain has life seemed to teem with God's blessings. But try telling that to the girls, who do not like self-imposed paddock and stall time. But that is another story of growing pains in a small herd.

Cover of "In This Mountain (The Mitford Y...Cover via Amazon

What prompted this post was a section from Jan Karon's Mitford series, the seventh book, In This Mountain. Interestingly, there was a passage about llamas with Dooley helping Doc Owens save a llama and her cria.
"We did a uterine torsion procedure on a llama yesterday."
"A llama?"
"There's a llama farm in Wilson Creek."
"What's a torsion procedure?"
"Sometimes a llama, even a cow, will have a twisted or torsed uterus. That means the fetus can't pass through the birth canal. Doc Owens says most fetuses are in the left horn of the uterus."
"Left horn?"
"The llamoid uterus has two horns. Doc Owens says most UTs are twisted in a clockwise direction so the left horn flips over the right horn. It's really hard on the llama and we had to work fast, so Doc Owen decided to do a plank in the flank."
"A what?"
"We used a 2 x 5 board, put it into the flank of the llama, and Doc Owen told me to kneel on the plank right over the flank area. Then we used ropes looped around the front and hind legs and rolled her over. See, what we wanted to do was hold the fetus and uterus in place with the plank and roll her to kinda catch up to the uterus. That solved the whole thing."
"It did?"
"Yes, sir. Her cria is really beautiful."
The short excerpt spoke to me; one of my llamas is with my breeder, Carol Reigh, at Buck Hollow Llamas, being bred. Since this llama is an older girl, it could be her last--or second last--breeding. Since I am so new to the world of llamas, anything I can glean adds to my experience. Karon's books are treasures, steeped in the richness of a mythic southern community (echoes of Faulkner, but only in creating community and that's where similarities end). Her books, real transporters (Gail's phrase), remind me of life in this mountain where I live. Suspect there could be a novel in these hills, but that would be much later, in my post-retirement phase.

About the time I was reading (I am an Audible user and read digitally), I received a morning Facebook message from a dear friend, also an early riser, and our conversations drifted to reading. From Gail I found two new writers, Beverley Nichols (whom Gail promises is HILARIOUS--I've added his books to my Wish List) and Jon Katz, whom I am added to my blogroll and Google Reader (and I suggest you do the same--another treasure--this time from the North).

Much as I wish for the rain's end, there is something so life-affirming about spring's downpours. As long as thunder and lightning do not come our way (and zap us for the third time), I will count my blessings and call life "as good as it gets" with my faithful black dog (think Barnabus) at my feet, although this one does not understand scripture.

Turbo Tagger

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