Monday, July 22, 2013

Henna, the Heat, and Harvesting Garlic

Two items dominated our thoughts at home last week. Henna returned home from the Vet on Wednesday after a 28.5 hour stay. She was having problems keeping food down and her stools were soft. We suspected either Giardia or a blockage in her stomach, or both. An x-ray showed gas bubbles in her stomach. Our Vet suggested an IV to pump fluids into her system to push through anything that might be stuck in her digestive tract.

The sleepover at the Vet's seem to do Henna well, although whether she swallowed something that got stuck or whether she just had a bad stomach flu caused in part by Giardia (which she tested positive for), we still don't know. The tab for two x-rays, IV fluids, lab test, Vet evaluation, two medications, two cans of dog food, and 24-hour care was $350. If that was a human medical visit it would have been in the thousands of dollars. Dr. Williams and his staff at Arbor Veterinary Services in Lee, New Hampshire are caring, thoughtful, and quite reasonable in cost.

Henna (on right) at The Yellow Dog's Barn dog daycare in Barrington, NH
-- she'll return there this week after recovering from Giardia
The other news of last week was the beastly heat. It peaked on Friday, reaching 100 degrees. Some time during Saturday night the weather finally broke as a cooler breeze wafted into the bedroom. After too much rain during June, now it seems too dry. A good rain would be helpful. It's been a tough growing season for some crops, especially tomatoes and summer squash and zucchini, at least in our garden.

On Saturday, my sister, mother, and I harvested our garlic, which we plant at my parent's Winterberry Farm in western Massachusetts. We pulled more than 400 bulbs, most were of medium size, some were small, and a good number were large. The latter will be saved for the fall planting.
My mother helps prepare the garlic for drying.
I brought home and cleaned a handful of bulbs. Good to have fresh garlic again and to throw away the dried up bulbs from last year that we'd been nursing along until the new crop arrived.


  1. So much of this sounds familiar Ellen: beastly heat, garden chores, sick pets and good vets.

    I hope that Henna continues to improve. We've had two of our oldest cats die within the last year, the latest one a day or two after our wedding anniversary last month. The deaths were both made easier by having a vet that we trust. It's difficult to spend the money but even worse to spend it and not know whether it's being put to good use. With our vet we've come to completely trust her. My wife's the real cat lover but I don't believe she's ever had a vet she liked as much.

    The last few days have been beautiful here with nights in the low 60s. Hot weather peaked on Sunday but it was still warmer, buggier and more humid than we liked through the first half of the week. Finally now we have weather that we just completely enjoy.

    Everything is lush here as well but I realized that one of our tomatoes is over 6 foot tall and still hasn't fruited. When I looked more closely I found a few brown flowers. My guess is that the rain stopped pollination. Fortunately most of the other 6' tomatoes have more fruit.

    We've also noticed how totally horrible local stone fruit is this year. My guess is that all the rain had something to do with it.

    Just the other day I planted new beet greens, dandelions, kale and choi in plastic containers. Hopefully they'll be ready to go in the ground in a few weeks when I pull the last remaining chards, beet greens and dandelions, all of which were tremendously successful this year. Must have been all that cool wet spring weather. Some times the weather helps you as with these and sometimes it hurts you as with the unpollinated tomatoes. All part of the story of gardening I guess.

  2. Hi Ken,

    Thanks for the note re: Henna and the gardens. Henna is doing much better. She is young and energetic and ready for hiking.

    Friday was a perfect day and now we are back to clouds, rain, and humidity. We are seeing several spring peepers in our yard -- a true sign that it is a wet summer.

    My tomatoes are tall and spindly and being eaten by chipmunks. The san marzanos have blossom end rot. Sigh. I am considering building a small hoop house to grow tomatoes next year. It seems so hard to grow good tomatoes outdoors anymore. Like you, the Swiss chard and kale looks great.