Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from the farm….

  LindaRustyAnn (2)Blessings to everyone for a great Thanksgiving with family and friends. I will be having dinner with the sisters in Providence Hall (the other dining room where the sisters live) across the street. I’m sure it will be a great meal. Every meal till Monday will be over there so they don’t have to have two staffs here over the holiday.
Peanut has her cast off !peanut without cast She went to the vet on Tuesday and he         x-rayed it. Everything looked great so off it came. She is confined to quarters for a week so she doesn’t get out in the pasture and go crazy trying to run and hurt herself. I saw her Tuesday night and she was walking stiff legged but the vet said within 2-3 days she’ll be bending it and walking pretty normal. Can’t wait to see her get turned loose in the pasture once she’s let out of the barn….look out other crias. She was giving them a run for their money WITH the cast on; she’ll be a force to be reckoned with without the cast.
It wajapanese turnipss really cold yesterday morning. 15 degrees outside but with wind chill it was 1 degree…..Luckily we only had to do some watering in the greenhouse so we weren’t outside for long. We packed the CSA on Tuesday (instead of Wednesday) in case were traveling for the holiday and they could have their food sooner. This week they got Japanese turnips, from the high tunnel. These are so mild and yummy. We also dug up the purple topped ones too. Just in one week they were frozen into the ground and we had to use a fork to get them out. We use a lettuce knife (I call it a machete) to cut the tops off while we’re out in the field. I had to use thepurple top turnips handle end to remove the huge clumps of dirt, that were frozen to the turnips. With the spaghetti and butternut squash we had in storage, they had a pretty heavy bag of food for this week’s pick-up.
We have a really serious health issue going on with four of the alpacas that are in pasture 2. Last week, Tracy noticed that several of them were really wobbly in their hind quarters and their gait was off. She called the vet and once he arrived we moved the herd around so he could watch them walk. Two of them seemed to short step with their hind legs and when they turned quickly, they’d fall down and have a hard time getting back up. He checked their temperatures and tested their hind legs. With all four, it seemed to be their rear left leg that was impacted. The vet checked the pastures, for toxic plants, because we think it’s really weird that four have come down with something at the same time. Their symptoms mimic what happens if they are infected with the meningeal worm. It’s a worm that is carried in white tail deer. The life cycle of the meningeal worm requires terrestrial snails or slugs to serve as intermediate hosts. White-tailed deer become infected with P. tenius by eating snails or slugs that contain the infective stage of the larvae. The larvae migrate through the deer's gut and eventually move into the central nervous system where they mature into adults, produce eggs, and the life cycle begins again when they excrete the eggs in their feces. However, when P. tenius-infected snails and slugs are ingested by aberrant hosts, such as small ruminants, the larvae migrate into the brain and/or spinal cord and cause various neurological problems.
In an abnormal host, the larvae do not mature into adults, but rather wander through the central nervous system causing inflammation and swelling which damages sensitive nervous tissue producing a variety of neurologic symptoms. Experimental evidence suggests that it takes approximately 10 to 14 days for the parasite to reach the brain and/or spinal cord after the animal eats the infected snail or slug. It’s a very serious disease that can be fatal for alpacas. Mariah seems to be affected the most. They’ve put her in a pen in the barn so they can keep an eye on her. She is able to get up on her own and all the animals, in that pasture, are being treated with medication. They get monthly worm medicine so we’re not sure if they got a bad batch or what happened but they’re aggressively treating it to try and reverse the affects and save the alpacas. I’m hoping that they caught it in time so they don’t lose any of the alpacas.
We’ve started some flats of seeds in the greenhouse. We have 13 of peas (we’ll harvest pea shoots from them), 10 of micro greens and 10 of lettuce mix. They get checked daily to see if they need to be watered. Depending on the outside temps, if it gets warm enough we have to vent the high tunnels. It’s been too cold lately to open them; there’s a fine line between keeping the heat in and building up too much condensation in them that they have to be watched.  
Oh, I promised a picture of my hat. front & back of my hatOnce I finished it up on Monday, I’ve been wearing it and it really keeps my head warm in all the cold weather we’ve been having. I got a bunch of positive comments from the sisters in the dining room the other day. They thought I did a really good job on it. I’m happy with it. I might try to find a small mold, from which I can make a little alpaca, and dry felt it onto the front of it. Will look for that this weekend. Lots to do on my four day weekend. Football, reading, eating, felting, working (I start to do the close of alpaca pastures starting on Sunday night) and resting…..Hope you all have equally fun weekends as well.

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