Saturday, November 3, 2012

Random Rambly Randomness...

When I got off the plane from Mexico, I discovered that something TERRIBLE had happened while I was gone:  WINTER ARRIVED ("Ohhh Nnnnoooooo!!!").  It was cold and drizzly and it *smelled* like rain.  Boooo!!!

I did learn one valuable lesson though.  See, when you fly home from Mexico (mid 80's, every day - to upper 60's at night), and you find that "Home" is now upper-60's by day, and 40's at night.  Well, take a little side-trip to someplace BALMY like f**king Idaho, right?!!  Mid 40's by day, and I don't even wanna know what the nighttime temps were!  And the wind..???  Good Gawd I had *almost* forgotten about the bitterly cold wind in Idaho.  

I did a semester-and-a-half in Idaho - including being Out-The-Door of my apartment, and down at the barn at zero-dark-hundred - to shovel steaming piles of horse sh*t (part of my Horse-Training and Stable Management Curriculum) (Yes, seriously!).  In the winter, the poop-elevator (which carted the manure up, and into a large trash-container), crapped-out (pun intended), and we'd have to load the horse bedding onto a trailer, behind a tractor, and spread the manure onto the cow pastures - in the dark, freezing, bitterly-cold, take-me-out-and-shoot me wind (Srsly - you could feel your nose hairs freeze-up!).

Anyway, I worked VERY HARD to forget that wind!!!

Oh, and Buffett ROCKED, BTW (Yay!!!) 

So yeah, we also had a layover in Denver (35*!), and now Northern Cal doesn't seem so bad anymore!!!

Actually, I had one day between trips, so I shoved a couple of loads into the washer, then came out and puttered around in the veggie beds...

I harvested more 'maters (Yayyyy!!!)

Kellogg's Breakfasts in the back
Early girls and one lonely San Marzano Paste (the ONLY SM I got this year!)

And I decided to tackle the Former Finny Farm bed.  I had already amended it, a week or so earlier, with organic blood-meal (to bump-up the nitrogen and give it a chance to get watered-in).  Then I added some organic compost and a bag of steer manure from Home Depot.

P happened to mention that OSH (Orchard Supply Hardware) had transplants of cool season veggies, so I dropped some $$ there and picked-up 6-packs of Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbage and Swiss Chard.  They also had transplants of Radishes (with the radishes already nearly fully-formed) - now that's just plain silly!  So I planted an assortment of kohl crops throughout the beds - although I still haven't ripped out the maters from the other two beds.  I was being optimistic, but I'm beginning to realize that NOW it's time to remove 'em.  I'll just have to be careful not to rip out the cool-season stuff at the same time!

Anyway, here is the Former Finny Farm:

Kohl crops and I also sowed a row each of carrots and radishes

Barely a week later, and some of my seedlings are starting to appear - Yay!

I also purchased a couple of mini-greenhouse frames that *should* fit over these beds, just fine.  I just need to decide when (how) I'm gonna rig 'em up and/or if I'm gonna be hiring Rent-A-Son-Services...

Oh, and I sowed various lettuce and spinach seeds in my patio planters, so hopefully I'll be able to pick fresh salads thru winter (I say that EVERY year and I think it's only ever happened ONCE! - Ha!)

More backyard chores:  Weather's still too warm for fruit-tree spraying (hell, they've still got most of their leaves), so I'll hold off on that.  I *do* need to clean-out my greenhouse and tape new bubble-wrap to the inside of the walls and ceiling.  Thennnnn...  I need to drag the marginals into the greenhouse...  I might also think about firing-up my hydroponic garden and try growing some lettuces - just for grins...

Annnnnddd...  We've still got a boatload of patio furniture to put away - yet. :::sigh:::  I did start moving the lounge chairs into a horizontal plastic storage bin.  We need to take down the palapas (thatch umbrellas on the Tiki Bar and dining table :::BIG SIGH:::).  Followed by COVERING the dining table and Tiki Bar (That's *more* than a :::sigh::: - that's more like a :::SOB!!!:::).  

Then break-down and store the backyard stereo; move/cover the bar sink; and move the fridge over to the front-porch of the storage shed.  Those are definitely "Rent-A-Son" Chores.  Hmmm...  Wonder if he needs money?!!

Yep.  Plenty to do, and need to get to it before it starts raining.  Damn........

So far, the weather does seem to be holding up - but I fear I am pushing my luck a little too far with all this Yard-Chore Procrastination Stuff!

* * * * *
In other news...  (Warning: Not for the squeamish, nor Ultra-Conservative!)  I haven't p*ssed and moaned about my psoriasis in awhile.  It's definitely still "There" - but it is starting to become a bit more manageable.   I'm not exactly sure what I attribute that to, but I will be performing some "Experiments" to see if I can pinpoint it.

I'm really kind of debating whether I should be blogging about this - I am "mostly anonymous" - but there ARE folks who know me, and my blog...  But what the hell, right?  I mean, it's not like it's ILLEGAL (well, not "Completely" anyway!).  

So I did survive my trip, in spite of a significant amount of WALKING - between airports, TSA strip-searches, hiking to various gates through various airports, and vacationing in Mexico, and then going to the Jimmy Buffett Show (and I did NOT avail myself of handicapped parking at ANY time - thankyouverymuch!).  

What it all boils down to is: The more walking I do, the more "tender" my feet become.  And the thing about psoriasis is: It causes skin to re-generate FAR too quickly (which results in thickening, unbearable itching, and ultimately peeling which leaves raw, open sores behind).  I am now on my fifth dermatologist (and I swear-to-Gawd, she must be, like, a MAJOR stock-holder in Big Pharma - given her propensity for prescribing ONLY the latest and greatest NAME BRANDS of ridiculously-overpriced medications).  

I don't even want to list all of the medications I've tried.  Most have been high-powered steroid-based topicals (Nasty, nasty stuff).  Some have been so irritating that they BURNED and then caused me to break-out in hives ALL OVER.  I had done well with Narrow-Band UVB light-treatments but then, inexplicably, that stopped working.  

I've tried various and sundry "Systemic" medications.  Soriatane (which I couldn't tolerate), and Methotrexate (Nasty-Nasty Sh*t - left me feeling like I was having a heart attack and "If I am - Can I please just die QUICKLY and get it over with already?!!") (I *wish* I was exaggerating!).  There may have been one other systemic drug that I've forgotten but - basically - the systemics are the same drugs that they give to organ transplant patients to keep their immune systems from rejecting their new organs...

So the latest drug I am on (in addition to all the Steroid Creams that cost a freaking fortune!), is Humira.  If you're in the U.S. you have, no doubt, seen advertisements for this drug.  It's a full-on Immune Suppressant used to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Plaque Psoriasis and probably a bunch of other stuff as well.

Key-words here: Immune Suppressant.  Now yes, I understand that psoriasis is an auto-immune disorder.  But I also understand that I have a bunch of other icky health issues, annnnnd we are heading into winter, and the LAST THING I need is to have my immune system supressed!  To say nothing of the fact that Humira BURNS like the fires of hell when you inject it (It is BAD.  Really-Really excruciatingly painful!).

And then there's the cost.  Oh my, yes.  Humira is still under patent and it costs.......  Drum-roll please....  $2,700.00/mo for maintenance doses.  Grant you: My co-pay is only appx $55.00 but - Seriously?!! - $2700/mo?!!  No effing wonder our insurance rates are doubling!!!

Yeah.  I really DON'T like Humira.

So, the other night, Hubs was watching some documentary on Netflix about Medical Marijuana and that got me to thinking...  Or, more specifically, Googling.  Turns out, there is some guy on one of the Medical Cannabis Boards (sorry, can't remember which one!) who combined concentrated THC with Coconut Oil and used it as a topical cream on his psoriasis lesions.  And it actually worked!  In just a matter of DAYS!!!

WTF!?!  That just might be worth trying, right?!  Hell, at this point, it can't hurt.  Also, one of the pills they prescribed for me is an Anti-Anxiety/Anti-Itch medication that DOES help me to sleep - but it turns me into a freaking ZOMBIE the next day!  I'd certainly like to wean myself off of those!

Sooooo...  Long story short (Too Late!).  I Googled further and found a Medical Doctor who - more or less - "specializes" in writing Cannabis recommendations (Yeah, no surprise there).  So, $90.00 later, after expressing my dismay over the prescription of "Anxiety Meds" I have to take, and explaining how "My anxiety exacerbates my psoriasis" yada-yada, I am now a Card-Carrying Cannabis User.

Now, lest you think I am a complete Loser-Stoner, I should probably explain that - Yes, I did smoke recreationally back in high-school and even a little in college.  And, if I am in a Party-Type environment and a joint is placed in my hand, yes - I probably will take a hit.  But overall, we REALLY aren't big pot-heads (at all!).  I think we bought an 1/8th about three years ago - AND WE STILL HAVE MOST OF IT!

Honestly, I am really not looking to "Get high."  In fact, my primary interest in cannabis is as a topical preparation to moisturize my skin and STOP the itching.  I was thinking I might try to incorporate a small quantity of hash oil into my next batch of hard-lotions (but hash oil is awfully damned thick and sticky - and stinky! - I've discovered).  In the meantime, one of the dispensaries had a product called Kind Rub which is sort-of like a cross between Ben-Gay (in terms of smell) and Vick's Vap-O-Rub, in terms of consistency/color.  Although it's kind of greenish and pasty (and greasy - all at the same time!).  It's meant as a muscle or joint rub ("joint" as in elbows and knees!).  I've been using the Kind Rub (Google it, if you're interested) on my hands/feet for the past several days and I have STOPPED all of the steroid creams and ointments - cold turkey!  I have to say, since I started this new regimen, my hands have cleared-up DRAMATICALLY.  My feet still itch and peel a bit, but even they seem to be improving as well.

And, as far as I can tell, the Topical preparations have NO hallucinogenic properties.

I daresay that I am VERY pleased with the results I have gotten, so far, with the Topical Cannabis Rub.  I suspect if I mention it to my dermatologist, she is gonna claim that "it's the Humira kicking in" (and it may well be). So I think I may need to experiment with STOPPING the Humira for a month or two - to see if the psoriasis returns.

Interesting world we live in, now.  Prop 215 has made it easier for patients to seek relief with cannabis - which is a good thing.  And, hopefully, this will open-up opportunities for "Science" to dive in and identify/isolate different cannabinoids to address specific complaints (There appears to be some good research *starting* at least!).

Nevertheless, I'll be doing a bit more research on my own, and probably experimenting with different home-made topical preparations to see what brings me the most relief.  Although - with the Medical Cannabis Boards, it's kind of difficult to separate "useful info" from some of the "Duuuuude...  I got sooo f***kin WRECKED on that sh*t!" posts, unfortunately (and yes - I suspect that not ALL visitors to the dispensaries are there for "Strictly Medicinal" reasons!  I just hope the "Duuuuuudes" don't spoil it for those of us who have a real medicinal need, right?!)

I do believe that there is definitely room for some "Legitimacy" in this new industry.  I really hope that it pans out!  And if I find things that DO seem to help (Honestly, anything's gotta be better than the Pharmaceuticals I've been taking), I'll post my findings.  Maybe, just maybe, someone else will find it helpful.

Oh, and to answer one final burning question:  What with this post being about Gardening and Medical Cannabis..?  No, I will NOT be growing my own!

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