The Lama Rama Ding Dong
Does anyone out there harbour the notion that one day you might be, ah, discovered? You know, it’s a bright sunny day, you’re walking down the street, a flashy convertible drives by, brakes lock up, a Hollywood producer hops out, runs over, signs you up to star in his new blockbuster which for some reason needs a scruffy 66 year old guy, because, I don’t know, Walter Brennan is dead.
Far fetched? Not really, look what happened to kale, one day it’s just another underutilized leafy green, the next thing you know it’s being crammed down your throat because your wife read in Better Homes and Gardens that your toxins need busting.
Or how about llama manure, the latest Tom Cruise of the manure world? One day you can’t give the stuff away, the next week it’s featured on Oprah, at least I think that was the backside of a llama. Either that or one of the larger guests.
All I really know is my wife wants llama poop and will accept no substitutes, so it’s off to visit the local farmer. I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found those who profit from the sale of excrement a little iffy. First off is their look of superiority as they stand in rubber boots with a full 18 inches of freeboard, while you hop out of your brother- in- laws’ new truck, which you borrowed for the occasion, into three inches of “YUCK!” wearing flip flops.
Though they may look like scarecrows with their straw hats and funny bib overalls, and live on a place called Excrement Acres, Where Good S**t Happens, never underestimate a farmer’s intelligence. He’s the one dumping crap into the pristine box of your borrowed fifty thousand dollar truck, not the other way around.
Don’t let their innocent façade fool you. For example, there’s no reason the manure can’t be stored behind the barn where the ground is solid. But no, it’s stored out front by the road, where it becomes painfully obvious you don’t know how to drive a truck in axle deep mud. At least you’re hoping its mud. Regardless, you’re stuck in it, and the whole community knows about it as they drive by, saying to each other, “Boy, I’d never lend Delbert my truck.”
But the cards aren’t all stacked in the farmer’s favour. The relationship is actually symbiotic. While you’re under pressure from your wife not to come back empty handed, oops, maybe better make that empty trucked. The farmer is under pressure from his wife to “get rid of this shit,” because the way it’s mounting up, pretty soon she won’t be able to see out the kitchen window.
To further establish your relationship with the farmer it is necessary to demonstrate to him, despite the flip-flops, you are no fool. Sometimes unscrupulous farmers will try to trick people who are dressed up better than they are by substituting less desirable cow poop for the coveted llama crap.
Since you can’t tell a llama from a guest on Oprah, this is an easy trick to fall for. Fear not, llamas are easily identified by a quick inspection of what is known in polite circles as their manure dispenser which shoots out easy to use pellets much like a 250 lb rabbit on laxatives.
Manure fanciers call these pellets llama beans, which can get a little confusing come time for bean casserole. That’s why llama beans must never be stored next to the lima beans, although if you use enough chili powder, who is going to know?
Llama beans are considered a super nutrient that will make even the most reluctant plant get up and stay up. That’s why some call it the Viagra of the soil. As one enthusiastic guy put it, “Llama beans rev up the soil for a springtime sprint.” To which I say, “How about we use your truck then?”
Llama manure is prized for a number of reasons, one being it is not hot, and can be directly applied to your plants without fear of burning. This is because at the llama factory, each new llama must swear never to eat East Indian food. If a llama is caught ordering Indian he is immediately separated from the herd and is only allowed to dispense pellets on a non-combustible surface not prone to spot fires.
Llama pellets are also prized for being rich in nitrogen. That is, rich in comparison to other manures. Compared to anything manufactured by Monsanto, well, no contest. In fact, if pushed, even Mr. Sprinting Soil will admit the pellets are more a soil conditioner than a fertilizer. Let me see now. One truck of llama pellets is equal to one small bag of 10-8-6. Humm.
Llama manure can be applied to your garden in two ways. The pellets can be sprinkled on the soil, where their slow release format can kick in when it rains. Or a tea can be made, and after a day or two of steeping, can be sprinkled over the garden. Which brings up the question, if this is what tea tastes like, is it not time to change beverages?
Personally, I think llamas are grossly underutilized in the garden. We’re totally neglecting the animal’s defining characteristic… it spits. If they were mounted on turntables and spun around, they could function simultaneously as sprinkler and fertilizer dispenser. About 100rpm should do it, double that for a larger yard.
Though you’d think llamas would be basking in their newly acquired “superstar of the garden” status, this is not often the case. Llamas are prone to severe depression. As one large animal psychiatrist put it, “When you’re prized for what comes out of your backside, this is what happens.” I don’t think all this talk about using them as sprinklers has helped either.
If you’re interested in something that doesn’t come out of the back of a llama, pick up a bottle of Thelema Mountain Red, $20, from South Africa.
– Delbert is the co-proprietor at Mahle House Restaurant in Cedar. Read more of his articles at Slightlycorkedandmore.wordpress.com