Friday, July 29, 2011

Cuisine, Condensation and Canine


Haven't updated in a while because of the Canine.  But, I'll get to that.

The garden is doing as well as it can, considering the weather's been hotter than Satan's furnace these days.  I'm having to water the vegetables at least every other day, but the flowers and the new beautyberry bush are having to get a daily dose since they're not yet established.  It looks like there will be a small veggie yield all around, and smaller than usual plants.  Thus far, I've gotten enough of the Japanese eggplant to make only a loaf pan-sized dish of eggplant parmesan, but the "regular" eggplant is coming along okay and that should be enough for more yummy entrees plus some baba ganoush.  There aren't nearly as many tomatoes as I'd hoped for juicing, so I might be able to make ten or fewer jars this year.  The bell peppers have a tough skin that's not very tasty, too.  The squashes have tons of blooms, as do the beans and okra, so I'm keeping my hopes up that they'll produce a decent amount.  The corn is only about as as tall as I am, but has ears almost ready to be picked so they're small and I'm afraid they'll be empty when shucked.  We'll see.  Bit of a disappointment for the first garden I've had in several years but hey, there's nothing I can do about the weather.  Update:  I only made three pints of tomato juice last night (the day of this post).....*sigh*....and I don't think there will be many more.

I spent part of one of my days off this week under the house working on the air conditioner.  The house had started to smell a bit musty so I went to see if some of the recent storms had flooded the crawlspace.  There was about 1/2" of standing water but it was immediately apparent that it wasn't from a storm since the majority was around the air handler.  I knew from experience that meant a stopped-up condensation line.  Hearing the water drip inside the unit and seeing nothing coming out of the line outside confirmed it.  I cut and disconnected the line from the unit and flushed out the sludge from the drip pan and line, and made some modifications prior to the reconnection.  Since there were four or five couplings where every time someone has had to remove the line they've had to cut it and put it back together, I put in a union so that in the future, all I have to do is unscrew the connection instead of cutting the line to unscrew it from the unit.  I also installed T with a plug about 3' out from the unit, so that when I'm home I can unscrew the plug and capture the condensation into a bucket to use for watering plants because the line's too close to the ground outside to sit anything under.  I'm cheap, I know.

Brian can't vole hunt anymore.  He had to have surgery on July 6 on his neck, so digging is out of his future for good.  It was a terribly scary time for me to see him go in two days time from a healthy and happy dog to having a life-threatening condition.  He was diagnosed as having Canine Intervertebral Disc Disease (link to explain:  Veterinary neurologists Drs. Bergman and Brofmann at Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Matthews, NC performed the surgery and I couldn't be more pleased.  As much as I really really hate Charlotte, I was fortunate to have been close to a major city when Brian fell ill because there were only two veterinary neurologists between Atlanta and Raleigh, and they were both at the Matthews office.  Dr. Brofmann has since relocated to Charleston, but at least Dr. Bergman remains.  It was rough on me when I first went to pick up Brian after almost a week in the hospital, seeing what a large incision (about 3.5" long and 11 staples) he had and how badly he was bruised but it's amazing how much better he seemed to feel despite his appearance.  We were so happy to see each other!  Brian, my little buddy, the true light of my life and honestly the center of my heart, is making great strides in his recovery with plenty of pampering and a few lifestyle changes.  He's not supposed to do much (if any) jumping, so he can't sleep on my bed anymore.  He now has his own "big boy" orthopedic bed from that's beside mine and he's adjusting fine.  Honestly, I think it's harder on me than him to not have him snuggled up to me while I'm sleeping.  I also purchased two sets of Pet Gear steps from Wal-Mart (their prices were way better than other companies for the exact same product) for him to use for the sofa and loveseat and he looks really cute going up and down them.  What was originally a 5-15% chance of survival at the time of diagnosis will now be a 95-98% recovery.  He's getting a lot of encouragement and support (physical and financial) along the way from friends, relatives and especially, his mom.   She does love her granddog.

I'm so proud of how he's doing, and would do it all again if I had to.  Like Other Half said, he better live to be the world's oldest living Boston Terrier and make it to at least 80 or else I'll have to be committed.  I realized this morning that if Brian had a gang name, it could be Fi' G since his surgery and related expenses were right at $5,000.  He even has a gang sign that would look like this:

5-G, yo

Here's a picture of his incision and bruising when I brought him home, and how it looks now with the staples out.  He's got a really sexy scar now to show off his toughness.

Poor little buddy's bruising.  It was even in his armpits.

The Herman Munster style zipper

Almost all better!  No more staples!  Chest hair growing back!

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