Thursday, June 26, 2014

Eyes and Weeds and Travel, Among Other Things

We are still having timber harvested and this is a huge oak log that comes up to my hip at the widest point.  I know it is sad to see huge trees like this cut down, but it helps to manage the forest and allows younger trees to grow.  

I traveled to Michigan this past week to visit my aunt and my cousin.  I met my mother in Toledo and we also visited my niece (who is 8+ months pregnant) and her husband, which was very nice.  We left Mom's car with them, which cut out an extra 7 hours of driving for me (to Mom's and back).  Had a great time in the Leelanau Penninsula of Michigan, which is famous for the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and where my aunt and family have had a condo for about 20 years.   Our weather was mostly very cool and overcast, but we still had a lovely sunset or 2 from the deck.

Prior to leaving, just after our Tuesday night agility class, I let the dogs out around 10:30 as usual and Grover obviously tangled with a raccoon.  He lost a good bit of skin around his eye and also on the inside of his upper right front leg.  On first glance, it looked really nasty, but both injuries were only flesh wounds and now are healing up nicely.  But it did give me a fright when I first saw it!

 Then, on Thursday morning as I was doing my chores prior to my anticipated 1 pm departure for Michigan, I was horrified to see that my oldest alpaca, Chiquita, had sustained an eye injury sometime since I had fed her the previous day.  I was able to determine that something very sharp had gone completely through the eyelid and torn the lining of the upper lid.  It looked absolutely horrible and had drained all down the side of her face.  I called the vet, who was available to come right away (this never happens).  She put some green stain in the eye to see if there was damage to the eye, which was extremely little, just a slight scratch.  Then she injected a long-lasting antibiotic into the upper eyelid, which is much preferable to attempting to apply ointment several times a day (especially as I was leaving all this for Sam to deal with).
 As of this morning, the eyelid is still swollen as you can see (left eye) and you can see a big scab where the foreign object punctured the lid.  But I tell you. this looks 100 times better than it did a week ago!

In 15 years of raising alpacas, I will have to say that eye problems have been probably the most common injury.  It may have a lot to do with how large those eyes are and that they protrude a good bit.  The most common injuries have been scratches, most likely from a head being thrust into a pile of hay.  But I have had 2 alpacas who had to have an eye removed, one from what the vet determined was a blunt force trauma causing the iris to rupture, most likely from a kick from a pasturemate, and the other was a cria with some kind of nerve disorder that caused him to be unable to close that one eye.  I generally keep antibiotic opthalmic ointment on hand and can  medicate minor scratches without veterinary intervention, but this one of Chiquita's was not one of those.  I used to be really squeamish about eyes (and many other things), but I seem to have gotten over that.

So while I was away, the weeds crept in and took over my garden.  Seriously, it rained a lot while I was away.  My rain gauge had almost 4" in it, but I don't know how long ago I last emptied it, probably a couple weeks ago.  But that is still a lot of rain!  My little herb garden is doing well, though I accidently pulled up my oregano while weeding.  I have basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme and 1 tomato plant and all are doing quite well.

Remember I re-planted my corn and it is coming up, but something is eating it from underground.  There are long tunnels right along the rows and there is no corn coming up over those tunnels.  But there is still some corn coming up.  It is hard to see since I have not yet been able to weed it, but it is there!

And my buckwheat is beginning to bloom.  It is also about 18" tall now!  According to my internet research, the buckweat should continue to bloom all summer, providing nectar for the bees.  It does say the nectar is only available in the morning, so bees might be grumpy if I open the hive in the afternoon.  Interesting.

 The blooms are not yet open.  Here is a close up.

Another plant the bees love is getting ready to bloom in the same field.  I was once told it was called orange butterfly weed, so that is what I call it and it is very orange.  I think it is lovely.

Its blooms are not yet open either, but very soon.  There was quite a lot of this, but it was growing where we tilled for the buckwheat, so I'm not sure how much there will be this summer.

I started a new knitting project before I left for Michigan because I figured I needed something that required no real thought and concentration.  This scarf/shawl was just the thing.  It is hard to see but there is sparkle in that green and purple yarn.  I love it!  The pattern is called Trillian   and is a long narrow triangle with and eyelet pattern on 2 sides.  Very easy mindless car knitting.

I can also post some of my secret knitting because most of it was for my niece's baby and I gave her the gifts this past week.  So here is a little sweater I made for him out of machine washable fine wool.

And the baby blanket I made from a cotton acrylic blend, also machine washable.  Important with baby items.


And finally, a shot of Lake Michigan from Pierce Stocking National Park Scenic Drive


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