November 5, 2010

Ankle Destroyed, Garage a Wreck, and Bird Trivia

I went to the orthopedist on Tuesday, and she confirmed that my ankle is basically destroyed.  I have a class 3 sprain (i.e., tendon tear), which is as bad as you can go, and I have tendinitis in two other tendons.  She had also previously told me that x-rays of my ankle revealed signs of arthritis.  I'm being sent for physical therapy, which will hopefully postpone surgery.  While I was at the doctor's, I asked for a handicap tag for the days when I re-injure it or it's feeling really gross.  Perhaps I don't take my ankle as seriously as I should because I was a bit surprised when she agreed that I should have a tag for those emergency days.

I turned 29 yesterday.

Despite my ankle existing more in the technical sense than in the practical sense, I've been working like mad on the garage to get it ready for overwintering.  We purchased a large wire shelving rack for plants and screwed hooks into the ceiling.  We've been clearing out clutter and organizing.  My hands are torn up from various scrapes, and my fingertips are particularly painful.  It doesn't help that I wash my hands frequently and the air is dry.  Still, it has to get done before the nightly low drops below 40F.  Some of my plants should be inside already according to the experts, but I haven't seen much harm  previously at 40F and would prefer the plants stay out for as late in the year as possible since the garage is potentially more dangerous than the nightly lows.

When I was at The Natural Gardener a month ago or so, I saw that they were selling three kinds of gourmet suet blocks for birds.  Two were somewhat common like blueberry and grasshoppers or something like that, and they were nearly gone.  The third was a hot chili pepper, and nearly all of them were still there which kinda made me laugh.  I told my mom, and she asked who would want to buy suet to scald the mouths of poor little birds.  I imagine this was the reaction of most people which explains the abundance of that particular suet block.

Capsaicin, the molecule in chili peppers that makes people reach for a tall glass of milk, does not affect birds (or fish for that matter).  It only affects mammals which makes it great for discouraging squirrels and rodents from eating precious plants, but it won't do anything to discourage birds from doing the same.  So, with a smile and chuckle, I bought the hot chili suet and put it out for the birds who might need some extra calories as the weather cools.


  1. I was guessing you knew birds eat hot peppers. I have a Cockatoo that loves all kinds of peppers. All your birds will be quite happy for the feast.

    Hope you ankle gets repaired. I broke mine ten years ago and have been in pain from it to this day.

  2. When I was around 25 I sprained my ankle while backpacking. Hiked out 2 miles with the sprain. It took a few years to get over it entirely, now 54 no problems with it. Just take care of that sprain and rest up.

  3. You are the smartest 29 year old I know!!! Happy B-day!!! Who woulda known the chili/bird thing??? WOW...I learn something new from you each post...and I am an old person (54)...LOL!
    Have a fun 29th year!!! Hope your ankle will spontaniously repair itself! Best wishes with getting it to feel better and heal.

  4. GardenWalkGardenTalk - I sure hope the birds like it and start eating it soon. And YOUCH! A broken ankle sounds like a real nightmare!

    Randy - I originally sprained my ankle when I was 16, so it's been over 12 years now. The most recent sprain didn't even result in any swelling or bruising, and I heard the crunch and felt it too. The one tendon is pretty much gone, but now other tendons are being affected. Ick! I'm glad you recovered from yours though! Sprains are nasty business. Thanks for the comment!

    Julie - I wish my ankle would spontaneously cure itself, too! I don't think 54 is old, and I always learn something new and interesting from your posts! I think I learned about the chili thing from Mythbusters or maybe a PBS program or maybe both. I double checked before posting anyway. Thanks so much!

  5. So sorry aboat your ankle, Red. Do take good care of it now, so it doesn't get worse over time. And thanks for the hint on the peppers. Anything to discourage the squirrels! Take care.

  6. webb - Thanks! I'm trying to look after the ankle, and hope the tip helps!


Every time you leave a comment, an angel gets his wings!