Sunday, January 19, 2014

Winding Down…

It’s hard to believe that there’s just a few more weeks left to my internship. My project is done and I presented it last week. The director said I did an excellent job and is actually going to present it to the Council this week. She believes that there is merit to many of my recommendations and would like to see them implemented. It will be interesting to see what response she gets from the council members. I spent several months putting the report together….it took tons of research. Glad it’s off my plate.
herbal classYesterday there was an herbalism class at the White Violet Center. We covered teas, infusions, decoctions, herbal oils, tinctures, salves and creams. We were told what they are, how they’re used and how to make them. It was really neat info. We plucked the flower petals off of calendula and echinacea so Robyn (our instructor) could make a tincture with them. Tinctures are so expensive to buy ($15-20 for a tiny bottle) but are so easy to make and they last foresalvever. Tinctures extract alkaloids and resins from a plant that a water infusion won’t extract. Robyn made a salve from comfrey, lavender and calendula and we each received one to take with us. It smells wonderful and I’ve been using it as lip balm. There are a variety of uses for it, based on the several different ingredients that are in it. We also made a rose water based skin cream that had cocoa butter and shea butter oil in it and it turned out great. We used lecithin as the thickening agent, which is derived from eggs. All of the workshop participants, except the interns, got a sample of the skin cream to take home. Fun class…learned a lot and hope to do more of it. For any herbal tea drinkers out there, cover your cup and let it steep for a few minutes to capture all of good stuff that is otherwise escaping. It will do your body good !
Mariah isn’t doing very well. She is the focus of our attention for the next month to see if we can get her legs working. Tracy will be rigging up a sling and pulley system so that it will be easier to get her up on her feet and leave her there for a period of time to see if she will regain strength in her legs. If she has support to hold her up, then when her legs are fatigued, she won’t fall down but will be gently held up till she feels she wants to try and stand again. Plus, it will be easier to do some range of motion exercises on her while she is being held up. The alpaca standing outside her pen, in this picture, is Finesse…the matriarch of the herd. She’s the oldest female in the herd and as you can see, a caretaker of the herd. If she is hanging out with an alpaca, at the outskirts of the herd, we need to see what is going on because she is a good barometer for the overall health of the alpacas.
The weather has been goofy this week. The other day there was only a 20% chance of snow and no call for accumulation but it snowed all morning and we wound up with about 4” of snow. Yesterday we got a little bit more so it’s white and crunchy around here again. The chickens don’t like it and tend to stay in their coop and the alpacas don’t graze when the ground is covered so all the animals get a little cranky. Speaking of cranky, last night was my last night on alpaca “close” duty (I’ve been on it for two weeks straight so now I have two weeks off till it do it one last time) and Mariah got a little testy last night when I went to pick her up. She spit and got me on the side of my face, hat, and sleeve of my coat. When alpacas spit at each other, it’s really foul smelling, green stuff. If an alpaca gets spit on in the face, it locks their jaws and they can’t close their mouth for several minutes. It’s kind of funny when it’s feeding time and one gets spit at and then tries to eat but they can’t close their mouth and the food falls right out. They sort of look like alpaca zombies standing there with their mouths hanging open. I don’t think Mariah had time to get all of the stomach juices pulled up into her mouth before she spit at me cause it wasn’t near as foul smelling as it usually is….it just smelled like she barfed on me. It still required washing everything I had on and a shower for me when I got back to my room. The joys of animal husbandry! View from window
Still working on some weaving projects. I made three mug rugs and another scarf, although one of my warp threads broke and the tension got really weird and it didn’t turn out well. My yarn order arrived so I’m trying to experiment with some things while I have a loom to work with. We have Monday off, for Martin Luther King day, so I will put that to good use weaving and getting our tax info ready. Oh joy !
Hope everyone has a great week !


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