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Llama predicts early spring



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An early spring? Really? Are you sure? Okay, Ill tell the world Windstar Farm owner Mark Harries, of Oxford, listens to his weather-prognosticating llama, Tutor. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio (click for larger version)
February 02, 2011 - Given southeastern Michigan just got slammed by a blizzard, it's hard to believe that spring is right around the corner.

But according to Tutor, it is.

Tutor is Oxford's famous weather-prognosticating llama.

Early this morning, Tutor did not see his shadow while out in the pasture at Windstar Farm (2065 W. Oakwood Rd.), so he predicted an early spring is on its way.

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"After what we walked through to get out there, we could use one," said Mark Harries, who owns the delightful little farm stocked with 32 llamas.

Tutor always whispers his prediction in Harries' ear.

Technically, this is Groundhog Day, but Oxford doesn't have a groundhog anymore.

What this town does have is much more accurate and significantly taller than your average woodchuck.

Last year, Tutor called for an early spring, while his nationally-renowned Pennsylvania competitor, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted six more weeks of winter. In the end, Tutor was right on the money.

"In March, it warmed up and it stayed there right up until summer," Harries said. "He was the only one who got it right last year."

Not bad considering last year was Tutor's first-ever prediction. "Right now, he's batting a thousand," Harries said.

Tutor, who's now five years old, learned his weather-predicting skills from fellow llama Zac, who served as Oxford's official prognosticator from 2003-09.

Zac trained under the tutelage of the legendary Noah John, the famous one-eyed groundhog who captured this community's heart with his public appearances in Centennial Park every Feb. 2 from 1999 until his death in April 2002.

Having a weather-prognosticating llama certainly does garner some attention.

Last year, Harries was contacted by media ranging from The Indiana Gazette, which is actually a newspaper in Pennsylvania, to The Wall Street Journal.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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