Got Your Goats

Like swallows returning to Capistrano, scores of goats descend upon our neighborhood each June to eat the long, fire-prone, un-mowable hillside grasses. Where do they come from and how do they get there? I have been telling my kids that they come in scourges, like locusts. But I should probably stop the recreational fibbing and start teaching my offspring some practical goatherding, since holding that job is still one of my goals in life and I plan to make them my apprentices.

This year, instead of shrieking "THE GOATS! THE GOATS ARE HERE!" and almost swerving into oncoming traffic, I pulled off the road and took some snaps:

The goats are here! Click to embiggen the herd.


  1. Wow, that's a lot of them! We had a pair of Pygmy goats for awhile, but once the weeds were gone, so were they/ They eat everything in sight, stink like the devil, and mine had horns. I much prefer the horses.

    But they're incredibly efficient weed whackers.

  2. THAT is SO COOL.

  3. AWESOME. How did I live in Northern California for 2 years and miss that? Oh, I miss it - I will add seasonal goats to the list of reasons I didn't know I had to want to go back.

  4. Ahh, yes...the goats! I don't know if I told you, but 10 years ago we lived on Upland where we saw the goats full force each year! They so do not care about anything other than their grass. They are on a mission...like super goats!

  5. You asked for my citations on Autism-Back to Sleep Campaign a while back so here they are:

    Back Sleep in infants increased from 10% in 1992 to 65% in 1999 to 76% in 2007. National Infant Sleep Position Study - See Summary Data:

    According to the paper “Prevention and Management of Positional Skull Deformities in Infants” by Persing, James, Swanson, Kattwinkel, et al “The increasing incidence of deformational plagiocephaly is likely related to the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and others that infants be placed to sleep on their backs.”

    Infants who sleep supine compared to infants who sleep in the prone position are impacted in the following ways:
    - Social skills delays at 6 months
    - Motor skills delays at 6 months Dewey C, Fleming P, Golding J, the ALSPAC Study Team. Does the Supine Sleeping Position Have Any Adverse Effects on the Child? II. Development in the First 18 Months. Pediatrics. 1998;101:1-5
    -Increased rates of gastroesophageal reflux (GER) (Corvaglia, 2007)
    - Below norm AIMS scores
    Majnemer A, Barr R. Influence of supine sleep positioning on early milestone acquisition. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. 2005;47:370-376
    - Milestone delays
    Davis B, Moon R, Sachs H, Ottolini M. Effects of Sleep Position on Infant Motor Development. Pediatrics. 1998;102:1135-1140
    - Increased duration of sleep apnea episodes during REM sleep at both 2.5 months and 5 months
    Skadberg B, Markestad T. Behaviour and physiological responses during prone and supine sleep in early infancy. Arch Dis Child. 1997;76:320-324(April)
    - 6% decrease in sleep duration
    Kahn A, Grosswasser J, Sottiaux M, Rebuffat E, Franco P, and Dramaix M. Prone or Supine Body Position and Sleep Characteristics in Infants PEDIATRICS. 1993;91:1112-1115

    "Results: Infants with deformational plagiocephaly were found to have significantly different psychomotor development indexes and mental developmental indexes when compared with the standardized population (p < 0.0001; p < 0.0001). With regards to the mental developmental index scores, none of the infants with deformational plagiocephaly were accelerated, 90 percent were normal, 7 percent were mildly delayed, and 3 percent were severely delayed. With regards to the psychomotor development index scores, none of infants were accelerated, 74 percent were normal, 19 percent were mildly delayed, and 7 percent were severely delayed.

    Conclusions: This study indicates that before any intervention, infants with deformational plagiocephaly show significant delays in both mental and psychomotor development. Also of particular note is that no child with deformational plagiocephaly showed accelerated development."

    Neurodevelopmental Delays in Children with Deformational Plagiocephaly.
    Kordestani, Rouzbeh K. M.D., M.P.H.; Patel, Shaurin M.D.; Bard, David E. M.S.; Gurwitch, Robin Ph.D.; Panchal, Jayesh M.D., M.B.A.
    Journal of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
    117(1):207-218, January 2006.

    Basically, what if plagiocephaly is just a marker (identifier) for the long-term negative impact of the back sleep position. Could some cases of "autism" really be just that kids are having long-term negative consequences do to an underlying genetic predisposition combined with strict compliance of the SIDS Back to Sleep Campaign by the parents? I think it's possible. I think it's far more probably than vaccines, pollution, or anything else that is suggests:

    - It began at the same time as the Autism Epidemic
    - The symptoms are similar to the autism epidmeic

    All the Best


  6. Wow, Tom...I just read this information you posted for Squid and am glad you posted it. The back of my son's head is flat and we've always suspected it played a part. Ugh. More food for thought.

  7. Tom: very interesting. But I have to note that my son's head is nice and round, and that one of the brightest kids I know used to wear a helmet for his severe plagiocephaly.

  8. Thanks for commenting.

    I'm not saying "every" case of autism or even 50% of the cases of autism. I don't know. I'm just saying that in "some cases" it's possible that the SIDS Back to Sleep campaign played a part especially if a child was "borderline" in terms of the diagnosis.

    I just think it's too much of a coincidence. Since autism is thought to be multi-factorial I think that "back sleep" should be looked at as one of the many possible factors.

    Also, I think that new parents are constantly made to feel paranoid about putting their infant to sleep on their backs when the statistics are not really accurate (see Scripps Howard News Service, Shapiro-Mendoza, etc.). My other concern is that the Chairperson of the SIDS Task Force for the last 17 years had a child die at the age of 3 days and he is overzealous in preventing SIDS at the expense of all others. It's kind of like "What if Jenny McCarthy got an MD degree and was put in charge of the CDC." She'd still probably be very anti-vaccine.

    The one bright spot is that if "back sleep" is the cause of autism then I think it's likely that many kids can be cured or at least significantly helped with things such as Tonsillectomies/Adenoidectomies, CPAP's, Cranial-Sacral Therapy, ABA therapy, Hyperbaric chambers, Massage therapy, etc. Basically anything that increases neuron firing (ABA therapy), oxygenation to the brain (Hyperbaric chamber, tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy, CPAP, etc), or increases slow brain waves (massages, cranial sacral therapy and all of the above) should help kids with ASD in my opinion.

    Thanks to both of you for your thoughts and comments!


  9. Hi Tom,

    And I respect your opinion. You brought the topic up initially because I said I'd noticed that my son seems to share physical traits with many other kids with autism. Having a flat head is not one of those traits.

    More research!



Respectful disagreement encouraged.