Week one of Dairy Work Done and Dusted

Thursday was just as exhausting as I expected it to be.  It started with the morning milking at 5:30 am, followed by breakfast and then straight to tires.   The cows were a little weird in the morning, pooping more and extra fidgety, apparently that happens sometimes.  We drove up to the washout (where the cows are wintered) and picked up another truck and trailer load of car tires and drove it down to the drain.  We finished throwing them into the trench while Owner tied them together and covered them in plastic.  We finished the row by around 11:30 am and Owner used his tractor to fill rocks and dirt on top of them.  My classmate and I took the dog, Pippie, down to the river because there wasn’t anything that we could actually do at that point.

The river is gorgeous.  The water is crystal clear and cool.  It is low now because of the drought, but we can see how high it usually gets, so it is also deep and clean.  There are trout that live in it and we saw a few juvenile fish in the shallows.  Pippie chased sticks across it, but we didn’t go swim because it wasn’t quite warm enough to be worth it.  We stayed down there for about 30 minutes before heading up to the house to grab lunch because we didn’t want to end up missing it.  After eating we headed back to the drain and found Owner and the farmer building up a bank at the end using the enormous truck tires that were too heavy for us to actually lift.

Once that was finished, we put the unused tires back on the trailer and drove them over to the other drain that needs to be made and emptied them out.  I am so sick of moving tires at this point it’s not even funny.  We had enough time to have a cup of tea and the farmer to grab something to eat before we had to head down and get the cows.

The afternoon milking was worse than the morning milking in terms of having the cows pooping on us (afternoons usually are), and it took us longer than normal to get them through.  They also were headed up the hill again, so we had to wash everything down and then drive them across the road, which took extra time.  By the time we got home it was 6:oo pm, over 12 hours of work put in.

Yesterday wasn’t as bad.  We arrived for the morning milking a bit late because there was a house being moved down the main highway from Palmerston North to Ashurst.  That’s correct, an entire house.  Well, to be fair the house was cut in half, but it was still an extra wide load that could not be passed.  We positioned ourselves across the road from where the cows were going to cross and waited for them to arrive.  When they finally did we crossed them as quickly as possible.  This time there were a couple of cars waiting for the cows to cross, so I guess they will get to explain to their employers that they were late because of cows.  Things that only happen in rural areas.  The cows had a very good morning, only a few pooped in the shed and we were able to move them through quickly and get to breakfast around 8:00 am.  I did get my hand kicked into a pole, causing quite a nice bruise, but that was my own fault for not moving fast enough and reading her warning signs.  The farmer stayed down and fed out some balage so my classmate and I took the chance to grab a nap.

Apparently the owner was away on a fishing trip so no tires were thrown!  After sleeping for about an hour, the farmer showed us the computer program that they use to track the cows.  Information from the herd testing is stored and used to show which cows are problems and which cows are good producers.  There are far too many “dogs” in this herd.  Several with insanely high SSC’s and a few that are producing fewer than 5 litres of milk per day (which is the minimum amount of milk production for dry cow therapy to work).  We discussed ways that we would change the farm if it were up to us and not the Owner and his pocket book (and extreme reluctance to spend any money on the farm).  We came to the conclusion that the only solution was to beat the owner about the head and shoulders with a Clue-By-Four, possibly one with nails in it, and hope that either he brightened up or whoever inherited the farm after him had sense enough to change things.  His lack of willingness to change is impacting animal welfare in ways that drives me absolutely batty.

We lazed around the house and had lunch while the farmer waited for a call from someone that he was supposed to pick up in town (to help mend the fence over the weekend).  The guy never called him back, so we drove up the hill and walked the severely lame cow down to the yard to work on her foot.  Her abscess was so bad that her bad foot was easily twice the size of the others.  As she walked down the hill, the pressure from walking actually caused it to pop out the top and bleed a little at the hairline.  It took quite a lot of digging to find where the infection started at the sole of her foot, but eventually we found a soft spot and worked from there.  Her hoof was incredibly hard so it was slow going trying to dig down to the abscess track.  When we did find it, it smelled awful and was enormous.  We were finally able to dig out most of it while leaving her some foot left to grow back.  We applied a cowslip like we did on the other abscess we worked on, and then jabbed her full of antibiotics.  The withholding period for this antibiotic for milk is 2 days (4 milkings) but she is dry (not lactating) so that is not important for her.  The meat withholding period is 30 days, so it will be a month before she will be able to be shipped to slaughter.  Since she isn’t pregnant and so won’t be milking next season, there is no reason to keep her.  We had to fix her up though because it is illegal (thankfully) to ship lame animals and animals with abscessed feet can’t enter the human consumption food chain.  She will most likely be turned into ground beef and exported to North America or Asia for hamburgers.

After we finished her foot, it was about time to bring the cows in for the afternoon milking.  We moved her into the close paddock so that she can get a few more doses of antibiotic over the next few days, and then drove up to the house so that the farmer could get the two wheel motorbike and a cup of tea.  Then we drove down and herded the cows in to milk.  We had another amazingly good milking with very little pooping and not much general grumpiness.  We finished the afternoon milking before 5:00 pm despite starting a bit later than usual and made it home by 5:30 pm.  All in all a good Friday.

The weekend so far has been very relaxing and full of sleeping in and doing nothing.  I cleaned a little and did some laundry, but mostly I played Harvest Moon, because I didn’t get enough of milking real cows or something.

Edited to add a video of Happy Cows in a pasture

 

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Throwing Tires

Today was full on.  We arrived around 9:00 am and waited for the farmer to come up from milking.  We chatted for a short while as he ate his breakfast and had his coffee, then drove down to the lower part of the farm to see what Owner wanted us to do.  The plan for the day was what we were supposed to have started yesterday (it got postponed because of the broken farm equipment): building a drain out of old tires.

The property has several springs on it that burble out of the ground with fresh, clean water.  This water is cleaner than the stuff that comes out of the pipes in the house.  The problem is that at one point someone (clearly related to current Owner) put a concrete slab in, in an attempt to allow better drainage (or something).  That concrete slab broke and plugged up the whole area and caused the water level to rise – turning several paddocks into swampland.  The current Owner has devised a NEW plan (much better than the old plans).  He has dug a trench (presumably with the tractor) and built a drain pipe out of old car tires that he gets for free or cheap from the tire shops in town.  Our job today was to move tires around.  We went with the farmer to pick up tires in the trailer, then put them on the ground near the trench, then handed appropriately sized ones down to Owner as he built the tube-o-tires.  Once that pile of tires was used up (or all the good ones anyway), we were off again to another stash of tires to pick through and find the appropriate size (14″ and 15″ were the ones he wanted).  Lather, rinse, repeat.  We managed to snag 15 minutes for lunch while the truck was being gassed up, and then we were back to work.  Before we knew it, it was time for the afternoon milking.  We took a quick break to hydrate and sit, and then it was off to fetch the cows.

After milking we drafted off two of the more lame cows to keep in the lower paddock.  The one we patched up yesterday, and another one who looked like she was coming lame (and is still a mega producer).  The rest of the herd went up the hill and across the road to an upper paddock where the pasture is actually quite lush in spite of the summer long drought.  Tomorrow we will be doing the morning milking again and working through the afternoon milking.  Tomorrow will be a 12 hour day.  Tomorrow I might not be able to post.  However, the farmer told us that we get the weekend off, so I should be able to catch everyone up then.  Now for sleep, to sleep perchance to dream…..

Starting Dairy Farm Practical Work

Yesterday, Monday the first of April, 2013, I started working at an organic dairy farm just outside of Ashurst.  For my program, we need to complete 4 weeks of practical work on a dairy farm before the second half of third year (we also need 4 weeks on a sheep and beef farm, three weeks at a horse farm/stud, and three weeks of “other” which can be just about anything).  I didn’t know where I was going until I got there, and didn’t know when I needed to show up until around 9pm Sunday night, BUT it has been a good experience so far.

The farmer, K, is very nice; as is his wife D.  They have been share milkers on this farm for 2 years, arriving just as the snow hit in 2010, and will be leaving after this season.  The owner of the farm went from Father (who inherited it from his father) to Son some five years ago, and this year went back to Father (as Son was driving it into the ground).  After this season the farm will no longer be Organic, mostly because Son did such a terrible job that it really can’t be saved with anything but conventional methods.

The paddocks are full of weeds that were allowed to grow because of “bio diversity”, most of the herd is suffering from severe subclinical mastitis, there are a number of lame cows due to stone bruises and abscesses, there are several “carry over” empty cows that are costing money, and then there are the problems with the milking shed (which is 30 years old and so a problem with Father more than Son, though Son didn’t see fit to FIX the problem when he had possession of the property).

Yesterday my classmate and I arrived on the farm around 8:00 am and were given the grand tour.  We saw the milking shed, were regailed with the problems associated with the particular shed, and shown the paddocks with the cows.  We learned to drive the quad bike and where everything was, and spent a good deal of time sitting and chatting.  After several cups of tea and coffee we headed across the road to where a fence was down due to a fallen tree.  When we arrived  the farmer informed us that the fence had been down for several years, but that Son didn’t care to fix it.  There were several trees with branches or whole trunks laying across the fence, and one enormous blackberry bush had taken over the middle of the downed fence.  If you haven’t had the unique pleasure of pruning blackberries, I highly recommend welding gloves, anything less and the spines will make you bleed.  They are as bad as, if not worse than, roses.  We started at the top of an incline and the farmer used his chainsaw to hack away branches, which my classmate and I then dragged beyond the fenceline and chucked down a hill.  When the chainsaw got too dull, we broke for lunch.

After lunch we went back to the hill and attacked the blackberry bush with chainsaw and pruners and a rake.  It took a few hours but we managed to clear enough back to find the fence post and wires.  We had to reset one of the posts because it had been knocked over by the fallen tree, and we found another post that we couldn’t fix but got the wires out of it so we could mend the fence enough to keep the cows in.  By that time it was about time to go bring the herd in for the second milking (our first) of the day, so we drove down and herded them back to the milking shed.

Cows walk excruciatingly slowly.  They need to keep their heads down to watch where they are going so that they don’t hurt themselves.  When the race (the part they walk on between paddocks and the milking shed) is bad, they have to walk even slower.  The races on this farm are atrocious.  The farmer is exceedingly fed up with them, but Owner won’t fix it because Owner doesn’t have to deal with it.  So the cows walk at around 4 km/hr, and the slowest ones are closer to 1-2 km/hr because limping on rocks sucks.

Cows also balk at changes in ground, inclines, and changes in light.  The transition from the race to the yard is dirt to concrete, this is pretty standard and not terrible.  The first concrete part then goes to a sharp ramp (think the sloped curbs in some suburbs) which the cows don’t like so they stop and won’t go up.  Then there’s the light inside the milking shed, or the lack thereof because there is nolonger a roof to hold the light in.  So the cows won’t go into the shed to be milked.  There are two rows of 20 cows and one row of 20 milkers.  This means you put one side in, milk them, fill the other side and swap the milkers, and while the second side is being milked the first is moving out and the third is moving in.  Only, as I said, the cows don’t want to go into the shed so a good deal of time is spent convincing them (by yelling and patting and turning on a moving electric fence to push them from behind) to move forward.  All of this means that we milk 180 cows slower than other farms milk 400.   We finished milking and were on our way home by about 5:30pm.

Today, we woke up for the 5:30 am milking.  Which meant picking up the cows in the dark and bringing them to the dark milking shed at a ridiculous time in the morning.  My classmate and I drove the quad bike out to get the cows while the farmer set up the shed.  Cows have surprisingly good night vision, and still balk at all of the same things.  We milked the same routine as before, but a little faster since my classmate and I were a tad more experienced and the cows were slightly less inclined to poop on everyone.

Once the girls were milked, two were drafted off and held while the rest of the herd went on to the new pasture.  One of the cows needed a new ear tag so that she could be properly identified for the Herd Test that afternoon, and the other was severely lame in her left hind foot.  We put her in the crush and her head in the headbale (which took quite a lot of effort because she really did not want to go), and tied up her leg to have a look at it.  The poor thing had an abscess that went from the sole of her outside claw all the way to the top of it where it blew out making a visible crack where hoof met hair.  The farmer took his hoof trimming knife and cut away the hoof to expose the abscess track to the air (which kills the anaerobic bacteria).  Her other claw (remember cows have two toes) was fitted with a stylish shoe to protect it while she walked on it (rather than standing on the sore side).  She was then put out in a near by paddock so that she didn’t have as far to walk to be milked in the afternoon.

After milking was breakfast followed by attempting to get the irrigation system set up.  We collected hoses, laid hoses, ran out the big black hose so that the irrigator was at the far end of the paddock, went to turn it on, and the engine was broken.  Which was a manly man type job to fix (since I could tell that it was definitely an engine when looking at it and not much else), so my classmate and I stood around with our fingers in our noses (figuratively) waiting for some kind of instruction.  About an hour later the engine part that needed fixing was removed and we were sent back to the house for lunch.  While awaiting further instruction (drinking tea, eating sandwiches, and talking to the farmer’s wife), the farmer’s wife made an executive decision that since we weren’t needed for the afternoon milking we should get to go home early.  All were in agreement, and we were home by 2:30 pm, just in time to get yelled at by Mr. Shadow about the state of his breakfast.

The reason we weren’t needed for the afternoon milking was that the farmer was having the herd tested for performance and Somatic Cell Count (level of body cells in the milk which indicates the level of mastitis in the cow).  This requires special equipment which was delivered while we were fixing the cow’s foot after milking.  These specialised thingamajigs collect samples from each cow and record things about it so that the farmer can tell which cows are producing the most, which are full of mastitis, and which are producing the valuable milk solids.  These numbers let him know which cows need to be dried off and which can be kept milking till the end of the season.  This process takes longer and requires logging numbers while hooking up the milkers.  Too many people in that tiny shed would just make things worse, so my classmate and I got to go home early and get to sleep in tomorrow.

(Published without going back over it because I am incredibly tired, please forgive the copious typos and grammar errors.)

Week of Study

Since my last post, I have turned in a drawn assignment of the oestrous cycle of a mare and had a test on Renal and Reproductive Physiology.  Both were rather rough.  The test was on Friday, which is why I didn’t post last Thursday – I was studying my brain into mush.  Friday night was Mr Vet, and then Monday morning was a Genetics test followed by an Anatomy test first thing Wednesday morning.  In this time I also managed to get very sick and still manage to pass my tests.  So now you know where I have been.

 

I will start with my Physiology assignment.  He told us on his last day lecturing what it was he wanted and gave us precisely 2 weeks to finish it.  Me being me, I procrastinated and got it all finished on the last weekend, giving myself exactly 4 days to study for the test.  I put off all note-typing and focused on studying renal and reproductive physiology for the week (minus time on Wednesday to work on my anatomy pre-lab).  Thursday night my flatmates E and A and I got together to study together the last bits and by Friday morning I was as prepared as I was going to get.  E and I went over a bit of histology before the test and that was it.  I feel ok about the test, I’m reasonably sure that I passed.  At least it is over now and I don’t have to take it again.

 

Friday night was Mr. Vet, which is pretty much a beauty pageant put on every year by the 3rd year students.  Two male representatives from every class are chosen (either they volunteer or get volunteered) to compete for the pink sash.  They participate in a group dance at the beginning, a talent portion, a formal wear portion, and a swimwear portion.  The opening act was pretty hilarious with them all starting out in fuzzy girlie bath robes, doing a bit of stripptease down to a towel.  They danced around in the towels for a bit and then whipped them off to reveal daisy duke shorts (they also put on straw cowboy hats) and did a little line dancing before ripping those off to display either rainbow g-strings or leopard print briefs.  It was pretty hilarious watching them all dance around.  Some of them were clearly better at it than others (the two from my class looked like they had skipped a few practice sessions) but they all did a pretty good job overall.  Next was a mix of talent, swimwear, and formal wear.  I don’t remember them all perfectly, but there was one act that followed a theme – the Ginger from third year (maybe? I think? he may have been fourth year…I’m also reasonably sure he has a real name, I just don’t remember what it is.) had a running theme of a comedic history of the Ginger (from some pop reference I’m sure), except for his talent portion where he did a ballroom type dance routine with several girls from the class (which now makes me lean more toward him being 4th year), he also played guitar and had sparklers on stage for various other performances.  One of the other guys did a bit of trampoline acrobatics which was really amazing.  The Asian guy from 3rd year (?) did a magic trick for talent, dressed as a sperm for swimwear, and danced to “kung fu fighting” for formal wear.  There were several acts that did Lonely Island songs, and quite a lot of partial nudity (as in most acts ended with one of the guys wearing just underwear).  The boys from my class did a duet for the swimwear (and were so drunk by that point that they didn’t really remember their dance moves), one wore a dress for the formal wear, and one did a rap for the talent portion.  They were good sports for having been picked by the class (since no one volunteered).  Next year we will have a better team because we already have guys thinking about what they want to do.  In the end, the Asian from third year won first, the Ginger took second, and someone…else…took third.  It was a very fun night out.

 

Saturday I tried to study genetics, but ended up down with a migraine headache instead.  I managed to sleep it off by the end of the day and felt well enough on Sunday to actually get some study done.  Sunday night our friend A (A2 from now on) from down the street came over and we did some group study.  He stayed until around 10 and then we cleaned up and toddled off to our respective beds.  Monday morning came bright and early and unwelcomed.  I had started coughing a little during the group study, and it escalated till around midnight (keeping me awake) when I remembered that I have cough suppressant left over from last year.  So, working on few hours of sleep, and feeling like I’d been run over by a garbage truck, I went in to my test and actually did alright.  I went straight home afterwards and slept for 4 hours, woke up and had a drink of water, then slept for a few more hours before getting up and attempting food of some sort (managed a small serving of rice) and then heading back to bed.  Tuesday I didn’t make it to school because I still felt awful and wanted to be somewhat recovered for the Anatomy test on Wednesday.  I slept in till 10am, and studied in 30-60 minute blocks with hour naps in between.  By 5:00pm I was finally feeling more human and managed to get in a few solid hours of study before bed.  I woke up bright and early (6:00 am) and got an extra hour of study in before heading to school.  I managed to miss exactly 13 points, which I took as a lucky sign since I was relying on a great deal of luck to see me through.  The grade is passing, even if it is below average, and so I am happy with it.

 

Wednesday afternoon was our last anatomy lab on the face (after the mid-semester break we start on the brain), so there was not much time to do any pre-lab.  Thankfully there wasn’t much pre-lab to work through and we managed to crack through the dissection in about an hour and a half.  The rest of the day was spent in jubilation.  Finally done with the tests and lab so our only responsibility left before the break was to make it to lecture in the morning.

 

Today we made it to lecture, sat through all three, and then escaped into the beautiful sunny day.  After classes I went to town with a friend for her birthday and had Japanese food.  My stomach was telling me that I could eat the entire portion of their largest bento, but it failed me.  The food was very good though and I made sure to eat all of the parts that wouldn’t reheat well.  I now have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.  Tonight we are doing our usual Friday Flat Dinner because tomorrow everyone is leaving back to Auckland for the holiday.  So it will be just me and the cats for the two weeks.  However, I did manage to score some Dairy Practical work over the break so I will get that taken care of and only have 2 weeks left to do next mid-semester break.  This way I don’t have to work Dairy over summer and can spend more of the break home with my loved ones.  I still have to set up my Sheep and Beef work, but I might get to do 3 of those weeks over winter and finish off the last week in November and then fly home.  It will mean quite a lot of work and no rest, but it also means more time home over summer which I feel is worth it.

 

Thanks for sticking with me through that long post, here are some pictures from Mr. Vet for your trouble.

Mr Vet 008 Mr Vet 011 Mr Vet 012 Mr Vet 018 Mr Vet 019 Mr Vet 020 Mr Vet 022 Mr Vet 032 Mr Vet 036 Mr Vet 040 Mr Vet 043 Mr Vet 047 Mr Vet 055

 

New Posting Schedule

After nearly 3 full weeks of classes, I think that I have finally settled in enough to figure out when I will have the time and energy to post.  So far it seems like Thursday nights after Anatomy Lab is when I have both.  Usually I would be studying, but after a full day of lectures and gym and lab my brain is pretty much mush, so focusing on study becomes an exercise in futility.  Therefore, you will get weekly posts on Thursdays when I can manage it.  No promises though, and there might be a smattering of other posts if I can get there.

So without further ado, let me tell you about my first four weeks in New Zealand of 2013.

I arrived in the country on a very warm summer day and found myself delayed in customs for nearly an hour, eating up all of my time to change flights.  Thankfully a kind person in front of me let me through ahead of them so that I could SPRINT across the airport to the domestic terminal (a completely different location about 10 minutes walk…I made it in 6) just in time to make my flight.  Which, of course, was delayed by more than 10 minutes.  Rather than missing my connecting flight entirely (which I was afraid of), I actually had time to sit and drink water and cool down before boarding.  The flight from LAX to Auckland had been the most turbulent flight in my experience of flying, but the trip to Palmy was quick and easy.

I was picked up from the airport by the friend who took care of me while I was grieving last semester.  I stayed at their house that first night, and planned on moving all of my things from storage into the new flat the next day.  I slept in the way that only jetlagged and heat exhausted people can, and woke relatively refreshed the next morning.  I then waited for my friends to wake up so they could help me move my stuff because I have never driven with a trailer before and needed a little assistance.  We eventually got up and situated and ready to go, picked up the trailer, picked up my spider infested things, and took the whole car+trailer load to the flat.  From there we unloaded everything in the hot sun and got my room mostly set up with all of my things.  Unfortunately for me and Mr. Shadow, my bedding smelled RANK.  It smelled so awful that I was sure I needed to wash it at least three times.  Double unfortunately, the washing machine hadn’t been delivered yet and I was too tired to drive to the Laundromat.  With nothing left to do at the flat, and no way to stay the night comfortably, I took my helpers to lunch at our favourite sushi place.  After lunch I walked around town with one of my friends while the other went home to get ready for work.  I ended up spending the night at their place again and looking into internet options in the morning.

After that it was a great deal of waiting around for the router to show up and the connection to go through.  We waited an entire week from when I initially set it up to when it finally arrived.  Absolutely ridiculous.  However, the internet has not had any problems since then so I am willing to give this company a chance.  Also I signed up for a 2 year contract in order to get the router free…so I’m stuck with them.

The washing machine finally showed up on Saturday afternoon (I arrived on Wednesday and moved in on Thursday), so I was able to wash my bedding and everyone else washed their clothes.  I’m going to take this time to say that I REALLY enjoy my flatmates this time around (Henceforth referred to as A, E, and M).  They are fun, funny, weird, awesome, and awkward.  In no particular order.  We have dinner together at least once a week, we go shopping together when it suits us, and we can just hang out.  They have also encouraged me to start working out more regularly so I have done more exercise in the last 3 weeks than I did over the entire semester last year.  I also share the house with 3 cats: Mr. Shadow, Serrate (M’s cat) and Gremlin Fivetoes (a foster kitten for M’s friend who is looking for a flat that will allow cats).  Shadow and Serrate are both older cats and they both dislike the kitten, but unfortunately cannot use that as a bonding tool and also dislike each other.  Once the kitten is gone I think they will be better able to work out their issues.

My first week of classes went relatively well.  We were introduced to the paper coordinators and told a little about this semester, and then flung full speed into study.  My flatmates are also really good at studying, which encourages me to be good at studying and procrastinate less (which is why I haven’t posted every night).  We will see how long this habit lasts, but I am going to give it an honest 4 weeks to set in before giving up completely.

My schedule is pretty easy this semester: Mondays – 3 hours lecture starting at 9am followed by 3 hours tutorial starting at 2pm, Tuesdays – 1 hour lecture at 9am followed by one Physiology lab at 10 and one alternating lab/tutorial/field trip for either Animal Industries or Animal Nutrition, Wednesdays – 3 hours of lecture starting at 9am and three scheduled hours for Anatomy lab preperation, Thursday – 3 hours lecture starting at 9am followed by three hours of Anatomy lab starting at 2pm, and Friday is 3 hours of lecture starting at 9am and a free afternoon.  The times my flatmates exercise is during the lunch breaks Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday and 6am on Fridays.  I am going to start doing the Monday and Thursday lunch hour days (Body Pump = a weight lifting class set to music for 50 minutes, Body Attack a 30 minute aerobic class, and CX Works a 30 minute core workout) and do Yoga with some of my American classmates on Monday and Friday mornings.

As for specifics, I won’t regail you with all of the bloody details of the lectures which can be both intense and incredibly boring.  However, I will try to talk about my Anatomy and Physiology labs when they are interesting.

This week in Physiology we took a section of non-pregnant rabbit uterus and connected it to a pressure sensor.  The tissue was attached to a hook at the bottom of a bath apparatus (to keep it alive), and at the top to the pressure gage, by sutures.  We then introduced hormones into the bath one at a time, and then in tandem, to measure the reaction.  The experiment we designed was to test which hormones blocked uterine contractions during the fear response to prevent parturition.  There may have been a mix up in the labelling of our hormones, because we found that Nor-adrenalin stopped contractions while Adrenalin increased them.  This shouldn’t have worked and should have been the reverse.

This week in Anatomy we got to look at the eyeball and external ear of our dogs.  We were given back the heads of the dogs we started dissecting last semester and will be getting back the abdominal section later in the year.  In previous weeks we removed the skin to look at the muscles of facial expression which are mostly innervated by Cranial Nerve V.  The following week, we removed those muscles and looked at the muscles of mastication, which are mostly innervated by Cranial Nerve VII.  We also removed one mandible and looked at the muscles that the tongue attaches to.  By the time we got to today’s dissection there wasn’t much left of Buddy’s left side of the head.  We enucleated his left eye and studied the structures in and around the globe.  We also cut into his external ear canal to take a look at that, it was pretty gross in there.  There was also a freshly dead dog (not preserved) that we were able to practice with the auriscope on, which was really cool and saved a live dog the torture of 100 newbs digging around in its ears.  For anatomy, none of the dogs were killed specifically for the lab, they were all going to be euthanized for other reasons.  However, the lab demonstrators did euthanize the animals themselves so we respect our dogs very highly and do our best to learn the most we can from them.

That has been my last three weeks in a nutshell.  Now I am off to bed so that I can be awake for Yoga in the morning.

Back on the horse

I have made it back to New Zealand, and finally have internet set up in the new flat (quite an adventure that I will have to tell you about another time), so hopefully the blog will pick back up as I recover from prolonged jetlag (thanks to cat keeping me awake nights).

My first week of school is almost through and I seem to have survived it alright, though my brain is a tad bit fuzzy from anatomy lab today.  Tomorrow is Friday and a short day at that so hopefully I will have a much better post for you then.  (Possibly even a recap of my summer/winter adventures).

As of now, I am too tired to give more than this, so I will put myself to bed with promises of making things up to you.

Here is a picture of my cat for your enjoyment. Image

Home again home again jiggidy jig

I made it back to the States in one piece.  Spent the first week with my mum and people I love.  Had a wonderful thanksgiving, and soon will have another (which will make 3 in 2 days).

I still have a cold, and transferred my southern hemisphere germs around all week.  Hopefully everyone else has an immune system that works.  The only person I’m worried about is Grandpa, but we will keep an eye on him and get him to the doctor if it looks like he’s coming down with it.

Today is “black Friday” and I managed to leave my wallet at home, so definitely no shopping for me.