In the first few days after the last post, eating became substantially easier. I still have to be careful with temperatures, make sure I chew everything very thoroughly, and swallow small amounts at one time = but I am eating almost normal amounts of softer foods = noodles, ground meat in soups, fish, and vegetables. I’ve already picked up about 2 pounds of what I lost, so I should be able to get back to what they will consider an acceptable weight for next week.
Temperatures are starting to drop at night (-9C or 15F), but we are still getting reasonable daytime temperatures (10C or 50F). If I can get enough energy together, carrots and spuds will hit the pit in the next couple of days, provided we don’t get rained out of digging. Still have to get the macerator and press wrestled out of the basement, so we can make some apple juice = I don’t think we have enough pears left to make pear juice, but I might try a small batch, if we can find enough to make it worth while.
Canned 44 quarts of pears, which finishes what Shaoling has not given away or been frozen. I guess we must have had a few nights that were colder than I thought, because we lost most of the remaining Asian pears to water core, which means they were frozen. Checking the max/min thermometer memory, we have already been down to -14.5 C (5.9F), so I guess the water core should be no surprise. I suppose they could have gone to a juicing attempt, but it didn’t occur to me until later.
I caught part of an interesting discussion/explanation of epigenetics on CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks” on the way home from my second to last chemo treatment.
It is standard knowledge that DNA is formed from a combination of the parents DNA, and does not change through the life of the progeny. Epigenetics were explained this way = If you take the DNA as a string of letters that gets punctuated into words and sentences, epigenetics is what happens when the progeny are still in the womb, or in the early stages of life. Experiences and circumstances that significantly impact the mothers health and life style or quality, alter the punctuation to prepare the offspring for life. It does not alter the actual DNA, but rather alters the state of the expression of the DNA = turning some processes on, and others off. For example, if food is in short supply for the gestation period, then the ability to convert food into energy and save it is cranked up, trying to ensure the progeny will be better able to survive. If water is in short supply, the processes that regulate water utilization are fine tuned, to allow better usage in the progeny. The epigenetic “punctuation” may be changed to some degree by life experiences, or perhaps by chemical means (something they are trying to figure out).
The study that found this, used data from a long term, large bodied medical study, (for what I dis-remember) that had blood samples of those studied for a long period of time. They were looking for information that could show if there was any genetic footprint left on DNA by living in poverty. They tested DNA for individuals over a period of ten years, and could see the “punctuation” was altered by several indicators of poverty during the gestational period and early life. The “punctuation” was so definitely changed, that they could pick out individuals whose mother had smoked during the pregnancy, and even to some degree, the children who had two parents who smoked while the children were young. This would also tend to explain Fetal Alcohol Syndrome = scrambled “punctuation”.
The above might be something that would appear a bit strange in a gardening blog, but the phenomenon would be the same in the plant world = what your plants experience in your garden influences what their progeny are going to act like in the next generation. Gives you pause to think about how you might be able to “engineer” a little change in production or size in a variety, by how you treat this years plants. It would also explain why some varieties change over a fairly short period of time when grown in the same location year after year = epigenetics start changing the punctuation. Good examples are Blacktail Mountain, and Small Shining Light watermelons = first time I grew them, they came in at a size that was just about perfect for two people for one meal = this year they are about three times that size. And my weather conditions here are almost identical to those that Blacktail Mountain was developed in, with the exception that I have been feeding and watering mine somewhat more than the originals got. I have heard of people who have grown Blacktail Mountain for longer periods, and are now getting 20 - 30 pounders. I suppose the way to get back to the original size would be to grow them in less than optimal conditions for a few years, and get some of the original “punctuation” back, or re-punctuate in some way.
It is going to be squirming its way through my so called mind quite a bit now = what changes could I make if I........
I am now eating almost normally = only a small amount of pain when I get careless with swallowing. Tomorrow I get my last chemotherapy treatment. Sometime around the end of the year I will have another CT scan, and talk to both the Chemo and Radiation oncologists sometime in early January. There will be periodic checkups after that, to make sure things stay good, but other than that, I expect life will get back to what it used to be for many years to come = Shaoling says she wants "at least twenty years", and I intend to give her as many of them as I can.
We did get one carrot bed dug and into the spud pit = 6 pails worth. Still have almost as many more to pull from the other bed = they have sized up much better than I expected them to. I have a feeling the church is going to be getting quite a few of them, so I will have room for the spuds in the pit too.
This weekend should see us making apple juice, if the weather cooperates. I will be stripping the apple trees on Friday, weather permitting. For a change, all four trees have a good amount of fruit, and they have had enough water this year that they have a reasonably good taste = juice should be very good. I am fortunate enough to have a very good wine press to process the apples with. I'll try to remember to get the camera out and document the process, from box, to macerator, to pressure cooker. The result always beats anything you can buy.
And the adventure continues.