Tuesday, December 12, 2006

All Creatures Great and Small

We don't have either one of these.

I'm not quite sure why not; after all, we have two cats who think they are people, and of the 8 Christmas gifts I bought today, 4 of them were for cats (Sushi, Pandora, Tabi and Zelda will get presents...all of our other cat friends will have to make do with a card).

No question about it...an animal who comes home from the pound with one of our family members is a lucky animal indeed, and I'll add that we are lucky to have them.

A discussion of animals gives me a chance to put in a plug for one of my favorite charities, Heifer International. They do amazing work distributing farm stock to people in need, and at the same time providing the teaching and resources to encourage self sufficiency. Quite a few years ago, now, Mom and Dad offered to donate to Heifer International in our name as part of our usual lavish "American" Christmas. It has become a tradition since then, but as is often the case with such things, the first year was special. I recently found a copy of the reply that was sent to Grandma's and Grandpa's question of exactly WHICH animal should be donated in our names.

Mom and Dad:
As a family, we spent a fair amount of time looking at the Heifer Project site this evening. Here are the conclusions.

1. The "Ark", at $5000, is out of price range, though most desirable.

2. Whatever animal we give must most emphatically NOT be killed and eaten.
2a. This rules out all of the lower priced chickens, geese, ducks, rabbits, some of which might be egg-layers for a while, but ultimately...the cooking pot.

3. Isaac is strongly in favor of BEES. At $30 per unit of bees, he votes all bees. That is three stands of bees, coming in at under $100. He knows. He worked it out.

4. Goats were of major interest, as were trees, but neither drew as much interest as...

5. Llamas. Everyone loved llamas. The idea of those wooly, spitting, long-necked beasts, one of whom Mom (aka Jean) actually met in the backwoods of Sky Ranch...(actually, what everyone REALLY wanted was a camel, but that was not an option...). Llamas would provide wooly blankets for small children, perhaps even for the Baby Jesus. Llamas have lovely, long eyelashes. Llamas are wedding gifts to young brides. Llamas are companions to children, even more so than a burro or a horse, being by nature a more companionable beast (except for the spitting).
5a. Drawback. Llamas are $150, over our price limit.
5b. Saving grace: Llamas may be had in "shares", according to the Heifer Project website.

Conclusion, and a decision worthy of Solomon: We choose two stands of bees and some shares of a llama.

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