germs domestic and foreign

Monday, November 5:

I thought I would give the Sustainable Farm Science 101 people a thrill on Thursday and lance an abscess on Isabel.  She came up for milking last night with a golf ball-sized lump on her jaw.  This is not unusual in cattle; a stick, even a sharp piece of grass or a pointed seed, can puncture the gum leaving soil bacteria to create an abscess.  The infection remains local, and is too encapsulated to be reached by systemic antibiotics even were we inclined to go that way.  So you wait until the thing comes to a head and forms a soft spot, then you get your handy-dandy razor blade and make a nice, deep incision, and another across it a right angles, and you clean the darned thing out.  Yep, clean it right out and squirt in some seven percent iodine solution and leave it open to finish draining.  Just the sort of thing the Farm Science class would – love.  Only tonight the swelling, whatever it was, was gone.

Thank goodness.

We can erase one more job from the list on the board – the garlic is finally in the ground.  Theory says we may plant our garlic in November with impunity; we hope the garlic knows that.  Two-hundred fifty row feet of garlic, the best bulbs from this year’s crop, so big they looked like small elephant garlic.  The next warm day we will let the ground heat up a little and then cover the bed with straw to insulate it.  Afraid to put it in too soon because it might make too much top growth, now we want to insure that it makes some root growth before cold weather throws it into dormancy.

Take note:  this lifestyle is just the one for people who like going out in the cold rain and getting their heads and feet wet when they have a bad cold.

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