So: winding down


pepper haul (from top): bell peppers, Anaheim peppers, jalapeño peppers

2013 is winding down and this lucky, yet turbulent year is promising to end on the same chaotic, always changing, yet exciting note that it started.

First, a quick Urban Farm update: After last week’s earliest freeze in 13 years, I lost pretty much all of my pepper plants. They were covered with peppers so we were able to save the peppers even though the frost killed the plants.  There are two which are now cut down to tiny things and one that was more protected that’s still looking nice and bushy. We’ll see what happens in the next week or so since we have snow predicted. After I harvested all of the peppers, my plan was to can “cowboy candy” aka pickled jalapeños this evening to give out as holiday gifts, but the powers that be had other plans and I was not in the right frame of mind to can. Spending a chunk of the afternoon at the vet, giving the old credit card a little bit of a workout will do that to a gal.

I also lost the beautiful malabar spinach vines, but not the plants. They’re still hanging on and I’m hoping they hang on through the winter and do their thing all spring and summer again, even though Bruce really isn’t all that crazy about their thicker, more juicy than North American spinach leaves. The haricots vertes aka green beans were also murdered by the frost. The last ones were quite good and worth planting again in the spring. One hidden basil is hanging on, though it will most likely be a casualty in the coming weeks. Still I supplied many people with tons of basil this summer/fall and that was really gratifying. Plus, we have a bunch of pesto in the freezer.

On the plus side, we are having a lovely bok choi harvest, growing plenty of leafy salad greens for lunches, and enjoying the beauty of tons of bushy kale and brightly colored chard. The radishes were also quite good, though they are done. Hopefully the carrots they were planted next to can do their thing. The beets are pitiful compared to the spring ones, but I’m hoping that the ones that are there are at least delicious. Snow peas are slow growing for some reason. They are not loving North Texas fall. The herbs are all growing like champs.

The Gs are also in rare form these days. The cooler weather is bringing forth some rowdiness and naughtiness, although you wouldn’t guess it from the dogs spread out across the kitchen floor at the moment. But they’ve had a tough couple of days.

You see we’re trying to give Gidget more freedom and less crate time. Yesterday’s weekday attempt was a bit of a fail. Notice in the photo below that there are little yellow-orange half-chewed pumpkin-y things lying on the dog beds and floor. Those are the decorative gourds that I’ve had kicking around since Canadian Thanksgiving and was hoping to keep around until American Thanksgiving (a week from Thursday). That is not to be since George and Gidget think they are delicious. George greeted Bruce at the back door with one in his mouth last night. Godiva also took several dainty bites out of a bright orange mini pumpkin looking gourd. Needless to say, we have no more gourds lying around the house. And I’ve moved my big pumpkin and anything else that might look tempting to Gidget to higher ground. At least no one experienced any GI issues due to the gourd consumption.


the Gs gourd-ous handy work

And then there’s the vet. He has just joined the practice and the 4G network just might be his opportunity to put his kids through college. Last week it was Guinness with an ear infection. He is prone to them and no matter what we did ourselves to doctor him, it wasn’t enough this time, despite training from the vet, consultation from our vet tech friend, and OTC products. He’s now doing much better with special ear meds and a prescribed course of hard core cleaning. Cha-ching!

This week (today) it was Godiva. Cha-ching! I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it to say, she must not lick a certain body part for the next 3-4 days so she’s going to wear the Cone of Shame when she’s not being supervised by us. She is on some serious antibiotics and steroids to get the itchy situation under control. And she’ll be hanging out with me at work for the rest of the week, since leaving her at home in the cone, puts her at a disadvantage with the rest of the Gs. It also makes her very sulky. And that in turn, has made me feel rather sulky. Or maybe I am just suffering from lack of natural vitamin D.

Gratuitous dog photo of the day is of disgruntled Godiva:


poor Godiva


So: Guinness scare


Today I had a big scare. Guinness, the stoic one, was crying in pain. Yelping. Whining. Acting very strange. Crouched down low. Tail tucked. Shaking.

We couldn’t get an appointment at the vet until 3 but I couldn’t leave him alone. Was the shaking a seizure? Was he hurt? Were his organs messed up?

Of course I discovered all this as I was running out the door for work. I had an important 8:30 am meeting.

My coworkers and boss got emails and calls that I was working from home and why. I took my meeting via cell with Guinness’ head resting on my leg. I answered email, wrote copy, solved a few challenges, offered naming suggestions, and who knows what else while sitting on the floor next to him.
He wasn’t getting worse on my watch!

I consulted his pet sitter and a friend who is a vet tech.

And I was ready to drive him to the vet in a flash if things took a bad turn.

We were early for our appointment. Bruce came too in case almost 80 pounds of black lab couldn’t walk from the car to the clinic. He did fine, a few squeaks, but fine.

The vet poked and prodded. Moved and grabbed. Lifted and pinched. We know its definitely not an infection because he didn’t have a fever. But that’s the only definite.

It may be his neck vertebrae as the main issue and it’s causing pain in his entire spine. He’s on rimadyl and novox, rest, no walks, no playing for 3 days for now. If he gets worse overnight, they will do X-rays and reassess tomorrow.

It could also be a nervous system issue given his existing issues. (He has a parasympathetic nervous system issue and cannot void his bladder on his own unless he has 10 mg of phenoxybenzamine a day. Bruce and I also know how to cath him.) Not sure what that could mean.

If would be so much easier if dogs could talk and just say, “my neck is killing me”. Or if people could understand dog language.

George and Godiva know something’s up. They guarded Guinness this morning with me. They freaked out when I put him in the car but let them out to pee. Godiva’s seen sick Guinness at many times (identifying his nervous system issues, heartworm treatment x 2, TPLO surgery) since he moved in and she doesn’t like it at all.

Guinness ate several treats and wagged his tail for the vet and the tech which is always a good sign. He also made sure to make his mark on the clinic’s bushes on the way to the car, another good sign.

Once we got home, I fed him his pills in chunks of cheese while Bruce took a conference call. Then I covered him with a blanket. He’s snoring next to me.

So, we’ll wait and see.