Poorly piggies and dry gardens take time

I’ve been really busy over the last couple of weeks and it seems that the only things I have done are feed and give my guinea pigs their medications (as well as taking them on long trips to the health specialist) and water the garden, trying to keep the plants growing healthily on a minimum amount of water.

George has been having tooth troubles once more, but we now seem to be over the worst of it, although that could be an illusion.  His weight has dropped from 1340 gms to 1120 two weeks ago, and from 1120 to 1040 in the last week, although it’s been steady for two days now.  Occasionally you get people (including vets) saying that guineapigs are a little overweight.  George’s problems demonstrate the need to keep guinea pigs at a weight with a little extra to spare… when they are ill they lose weight incredibly quickly.  The late great Peter Gurney, piggy guru, used to recommend keeping them on the heavy side for that reason.

We have finally got to the bottom of Hugo’s squeaking when pooing and peeing problems, and his loss of weight.  Despite having scans at the vet and various medications to no avail and no real diagnosis, when the Cambridge Cavy Trust xrayed him, he clearly had bladder stones.  He stayed in for four days to see whether Rowatinex would help them, and came home after a second xray showed they were starting to disperse.  He’ll be on the medication for another 2 weeks then go for another xray.  Fingers crossed it’ll clear them up; he can look forward to a low calcium diet from now on.

Which means he won’t be eating any of the kale, broccoli, kohl rabi or parsley I’m growing in the garden.  I’ve managed to keep everything growing ok during our drought, partly through judicious placement of a bucket during my morning shower, to catch about half of the water used in that, and avoid the  most soapy.  It’s fine for veg at this stage.  The runner beans are now out, although I think I put the French beans out too early, before they had developed their proper first leaves, despite their size.  They are starting come on now.  The cucumbers have to be covered up some nights as normally I wouldn’t have planted them out till the end of May, but I think they’ve done well to be in the ground looking for their moisture, enjoying the sun and getting covered up when the temperature has dropped some nights.  I think the first sowings of everything have now been done, and I’ve sowed some succession pak choi (the first of which is being harvested), chard and coriander this week.  I also filled in the gaps in the rows of the carrots, possibly scratched away by the birds desperate to find food.

The broad beans are podding, the rocket is giving baby leaves, the winter lettuce is excellent eating, the pak choi needs to be kept under control also through eating, and we’re just getting one of the showers that were forecast.  Joy!

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