Yesterday, on my way to the Diabetes Support Group meeting, I came upon the flock of sheep that move from field to field here each spring, eating wild grasses and thereby reducing fire hazards around town. In this picture you can also see some of the wind turbines in the hills.
The Franciscan Padres were the first to bring sheep to California in the late 1700s. And sheep have been a large part of farm and ranch life in this area. Large sheep drives of up to 10,000 sheep came through the Tehachapi valley in the late 1800s on their way from California to New Mexico.
For many years, sheep ranchers in the San Joaquin Valley hired Basque shepherds to drive their sheep from the valley to the mountains, where they would spend the summer grazing in the mountain meadows.
They drove sheep through town until 1970 when modern life caught up with them. I think it's great that sheep are still useful, helping to reduce the risk of fires in this area. I often mention the winds here and if you look at the trees in the background, it's easy to see how they are affected by the more or less constant winds. The prevailing winds come from the west or north-west here and all trees get bent accordingly.
I want to share just a couple of things from the meeting: If you have diabetes, you know to stay away from sweets, but did you know how fatty food affect you? If you eat something fatty, like ice cream or pizza, your sugars will first rise from the carbohydrates, but then they will stay high for a long time due to the fat in the food. So fatty foods, in addition to all the other bad things about them, are a serious health hazard for people with diabetes.
I guess most people know by now that 33% of the U. S. population and 17% of children are obese. But did you know that this causes 6,000 deaths per week!!!
The most interesting new devices for making our lives with diabetes easier were: In Europe, a device that is implanted in the head has been approved. It can detect low blood sugars by measuring brain waves. And in the U.S., Ford Motor Company is working with Medtronic to develop a diabetes management system for cars. You would have to wear a sensor and take a reading, then the car's dashboard would monitor you for low blood sugars. This might seem strange to healthy people, but passing out from low sugars while driving is hazard to both diabetics and any healthy person who may get hit. Ford is also developing a car that can detect alcohol levels. So if the idea of big brother monitoring you is scary, how about your car doing it?
Finally, the gorgeous bird above belongs to someone whose office I visited yesterday. He comes to the office with this guy and since he was so pretty, I asked if I could take his picture. To add a bit more color after all those sheep.