Denver Green Channel

The roots of the sustainability movement in Denver

Hard Things

by Robbie - May 6th, 2011.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

Nature is sometimes gentle, sometimes hard, and wields both forces in infinite wisdom.  Students and stewards of Nature seek to emulate Her, but we have limited wisdom.  We make mistakes.  Sometimes this hurts.

This morning wasn’t hard.  Just a reminder how hard it can be.

Hardening off seedlings is a process of gradually acclimating them to things like temperature flips and desiccating winds.  My tomato seedlings are ready to be potted up.  Actually, they’d rather go in the ground.  Now-ish.  I have to throw the bones and take my risk on frost dates.  I’m chicken to kill my carefully nurtured heirloom tomato seedlings, but I also need to plant them soon enough to get a good yield.

My new Angora rabbit, Plum, was nervous the first day I brought her home.  There were a lot of temperature fluctuations that night, too.  I kept her cage clean, free of drafts, and made sure she had a straw tunnel to hide in.  Prey animals can die of stress, so they need places to hide.  Yesterday, her second day here, I noticed there had been clear discharge around her eyes.  The breeder’s voice mailbox was full, so I prevailed upon Bob’s first Mommy, who’s a vet tech.  She told me Plum likely has Pasteurella, because most rabbits test positive for it and can live comfortable lives with it if their immune systems are strong.  Plum probably was exhibiting signs of it because of dust particulates and the stress of moving.  So I’m heading to the drug store for neomycin.

Before I called my vet tech friend, this morning Plum had been rambunctious in her baby cage, so I thought some time on green gass, protected, might give her a stretch, but when I put her in her playpen she just stayed frozen, so I took her back to her cage.

She’s sitting on the towel I set her on, as a transitional texture.  She’s only ever been in a cage and never on grass as far as I know, but she had been on the towel when I pet her.  Made no difference.  She just froze.  That’s wicked stress.  I sweet-talked her as I took her back to her cage, but she’s withdrawn again now.  I look for and encourage animals to be curious, sassy and playful.  That’s thriving.  Plum isn’t thriving yet.  But I’ve got my eyes on that prize.

I’ve talked to farmers who’ve said, basically, “Farming is the fight to keep things alive,”.  Sometimes it is, and I’ve lost lost before.  But I’d much rather fight to protect living things than fight to contain corporate panic attacks.

I’ll always prefer to serve Nature than man.

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