Thursday, December 20, 2012

Broad winged distraction

Today's post has no new photos because this morning when we left the house the dog startled out a huge barred owl, and we spent a lot of time trying to get good photos of it. Unfortunately, the best we got was a vague brown blur among brown branches. So instead of new photos, I'll be reusing photos, sorry!

So here's a picture of a baby bunny looking at the world.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ice Clad World

The up side, ice clad grass is gorgeous. The down side, if there's ice clad grass while it's still raining constantly that means there is ice EVERY where else. Getting up the driveway last night in a light car was a real adventure!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reality Check: Time Commitments

Above is a nice photo of Umbra investigating my sleeve, rather thoroughly, with his teeth. There are a lot of truths about life, but one that is inescapable is that you can only do so much in a day. There are a couple of different levels to that, but all of them matter to homesteading. Especially if you also have, as the Lady of the House and I both do, a job. The thing is, unlike a hobby, you can't not do your homesteading chores.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Strange misty days, and big baby personalities.

 Early on a misty morning, it is time for the daily mom pile. Well, not just mom, all are fair game for being piled on if they are near being in the way of food.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

New ideas, and stabilizing runts.

The babies continue to grow well, even the runts. That said, the runts are now about half the weight of the bigger babies. They are no longer in danger of not making it though which is a relief. As always for the winter, water is a concern since dehydration is one of the primary threats to a rabbit. Right now it is warm enough they can easily get enough water, and with the crocks that will ameliorate the problems on colder days.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Crocks! Also, tell us your dreams of homesteading.

No new images today because I foolishly forgot to grab the photos the Lady of the House had for me last night when I got home from work. I'd specifically wanted to have a few new photos of the babies who are doing well. Even the runt! I had really wanted the photos though because we have again been the beneficiaries of kindness, and I wanted to show folks.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

(Mostly) Growing babies

 The babies are growing well for the most part. All except for the one I mentioned before. I'm not sure why he isn't thriving, but we have started trying something to get him growing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving food, and thanksgiving surprises.

The obligatory first photo of cute baby bunnies. This is them a couple days ago, a much nicer photo than the ones I got today due to the better camera and better skill level of the Lady of the House. So, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, we had a fairly good time, other than a couple surprises.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Food Traditions

There is a lot that can be said about food and Thanksgiving in the USA. There is also a lot that can be said about food traditions, and what they do for our health and the generational continuity of families. A lot of good can come out of food traditions, but I figured I'd post this video for today since it's kinda a busy day!

It is a commercial for a boxed mashed potatoes.  Here a child is asking his mother about where they come from as she prepares them.  This is something that happens all over the country, particularly at this time of year. What do you think of her answer?

For nutrition facts look here at their own website.

For some information about what those numbers mean.

For what the nutrition on mashed potatoes made with whole milk at home.

And if you use butter.

Note that for the mashed potatoes made at home the serving size is twice the size. Also note that for Bob Evans original mashed potatoes that is without butter added.

Keep in mind too that the word farm often brings to mind a lovely pastoral scene ala Old MacDonald while the reality is more like science fiction, not to mention the underpaid workers in the fields and factories.

Sound off on what you think about this ad in the comments. For Tuesday I will try to have the recipes we used for Thanksgiving up for you all.

Enjoy, Happy Thanksgiving, and be well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Shameless baby photos, and seed saving

 Yep, I'm taking advantage of the fact that we have cute babies right now to distract from the lack of serious content right now. I'll talk more about that below the cut.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The babies are growing well

The babies continue to grow, and are now getting to be an adventure to control as we do weight checks instead of being primarily worried about keeping them warm while we do weight checks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lots going on right now, including rat rescue.

Obviously, first and foremost the babies are doing well. The one small weak one did not make it, dying the night after I posted concerns about his health. The rest of them however are as you can see doing well. They didn't get weighed today due to the rain and cold weather, but their eyes are opening.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A little snow, and babies furring out

 But they aren't growing quickly at all. Indeed, the babies are hardly gaining weight at all. I still haven't had time to fully do out the chart, but overall they are putting all of their energy into growing fur and staying warm from what I can tell. I will try to get the chart up this weekend to do some solid comparisons and have real numbers for everyone that cares. There's lots more photos below the cut.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cuteness on Voting Day!

 On this, the election day in the USA, we are fortunate to have some cute as a contrast to what is going on out near the poling stations. If you haven't voted yet, go do so before you partake of more cuteness below the cut.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

No Babies, and Blog Goals

Dawn still hasn't had babies yet. She should be popping soon, perhaps as soon as when we get home today. It is always tough to tell with her, and apparently with any rabbits. She is big, and has made her nice nest. She is also eating a lot, which is usually a good indication. That said, we will see. We are especially interested in seeing what comes out of a breeding of Dorado Right and Dawn Below. Genetically we know what will happen, Creme babies. But what will they look like as babies, and will they grow more slowly than the cross breeds between Dawn and Umbra?
I am expecting them to grow more slowly, and not be quite as robust. Umbra is a particularly good buck from what we can tell from his production, and talking to Michelle Chandler. He is an incredible starting point for us. I will be very curious how this breeding program goes, and tracking their growth. The closeness of relation between Dorado and Dawn is obviously a concern for us, but not such a big one for just meat and fur production. I will also be very curious about the temperament of the babies with Dawn so gregarious and Dorado so shy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Surviving Sandy

 As I suspect most of the USA and Canada is aware, Hurricane Sandy has been sweeping through the East Coast, and yesterday was the expected contact with us. We got lucky, and only got brushed by the hurricane. Due to being up on and off all night I didn't get photos to show. So this morning I got a couple photos of the river down near our house.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Babies in, Teenagers out, And a Recipe!

 Dawn is just about ready to pop, and started nest building yesterday. She hasn't yet started pulling fur but that will come just before she gives birth. She isn't thrilled at me for having opened up the private area of the hutch to get photos, but she is fairly even tempered fortunately.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day to day preparation for winter, and a seasonal retrospective.

Day by day there are fewer and fewer leaves on the trees in the back yard, and soon we are going to have to shift to heated water bottles, or crocks for water as it gets too cold every night. But we have been adjusting and getting ready for winter.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Much Kindness, and Delight's Unfortunate Malocclusion

The past two days have contained more stuff going on than they usually do, so today's post was easy to come up with just due to how much has been going on! Above is the wood pile this morning showing how much, and yet how little we did over the weekend.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cute Animals, and Learning to Buck Firewood

 It's always good to start a post with a cute goat. Well, as cute as a creature that looks like it is trying to see through your soul and or time can look. Disturbingly enough, the answer is very cute.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Delight's Arrival, Rabbit Reproduction, and Carpet!

 Meet Delight, tattooed as and originality named Teak from Michelle Chandler's Blessed Acres Rabbitry. She is a Cinnamon doe with an initially shy temperament.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Old Adage: Waste Not, Want Not

What happened to that being the norm in the USA? No really, we didn't used to be a country of rampant consumption, in fact it used to be that the government was big into saving, food efficiency, and similar practices. Notice the notation at the bottom, "U.S. Food Administration." For those of you who don't know, as I didn't before doing a little research into it, The U.S. Food Administration was in charge of food and making sure there was enough during WWI. During WWII that was rolled in with other rationing and there wasn't a specific department for it, though most of the food rationing and propaganda came under the US Department of Agriculture. The poster Right in my mind embodies how we should be thinking, though I think use less corn would be an important addition today.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Unexpected

Yesterday morning I woke up, and went about my as usual chores. As normal all of the rabbits but Sunny were out to greet me, and she was as usual not present but in her private space. Unfortunately when I checked on her for her daily health check she was dead.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Arrival of Autumn

Autumn has surely arrived, and trees have started their transition. Along with the arrival of autumn has come the standard "The school year has started" sickness. When you live around colleges that sickness blows through the community whether you are directly involved in the academic life or not. I am not, but got a light dose of what ever has been leveling everyone in the area. For that reason, today's post will be a bit off I suspect.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Borrowed Buck, and A Snow Blower

Meet the scab. With Umbra's sperm on strike demanding more treats, and more girls, we, much like the NFL have had to turn to replacements. Hopefully with less disastrous results.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Information Dump from the Big E

After a crazy busy weekend including going to the Big E aka. The Eastern States Exposition, there is a lot going on, but very little time to write about it. So today I am going to talk about some of what we found at the Big E.

First and foremost was the information we got from the local Department of Natural Resources. If you live in Massachusetts or the surrounding states you are probably already aware of the problem of invasive beetles. If you aren't take a moment to read about them.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tomatoes and New Hutch

 A lovely morning, and a very pleasant change from the rain and grossness of the past few days gave me an opportunity to get some photos of our rapidly expanding tomato plants. As you can see, this Cherokee Purple is thriving. In fact I had to re stake it because it was sprawling all over the place on us.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Antici . . . . . . . . . . .


Of waiting for new babies. It can get a little frustrating. We are actually starting to wonder if Umbra ended up with being heat sterile this summer.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Quick Hit: Studio and Tomato Terror

 The Lady of the House got a picture of the studio as it gets into being operational! As you can see we are still transitioning in to the studio. However, the lights are up, the fans are up, and we are getting the art supplies moved in piece by piece.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tomatoes, Pallets, and Babies on the Way!

Among the many things going on as we prepare for winter, we have been hoping for our poor tomato plants to give us a harvest before the first frost that seems to be very close given our 40 degree nights. While we haven't gotten a lot out of the tomato plants they are growing well, and have produced a few tomatoes that the Lady of the House has eaten. As you can see Above Right the one that the Lady of the House planted in a Dirt Bag has grown spectacularly well, and needs yet a new stake. We are considering digging up and potting some of our favorite tomato plants if they haven't produced by first frost so we can bring them inside.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Going Full Speed

Today's going to be light on photos, and have no new photos because we've been keeping busy lately and didn't get ahead on blog stuff unfortunately.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Updates on the Rabbits

Lately we've mostly been talking about other things, so I figured today would be a good day to touch on the rabbits and how things have been going with them.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Discussion: Is Ethics a Luxury?

To most people the answer is obviously no, ethics isn't a luxury. Ethical behavior is what keeps humanity from ripping itself to pieces. But really, beyond the knee jerk reactions let's look at it for real. For this post I'm going to confine it to, are ethical choices about food a luxury?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Splitting Wood

It's that time of year again. You know, the time of year when there's things you should have done over the summer but it was so hot, and winter was so far away, and so many other things to do. Remember those times when winter was far away? Well, now it's not, and I still have a vast pile of trees to buck and split.

That's about half of the pile of trees that has been sitting behind the studio long enough to show up on Google Maps. The Lady of the House's father was kind enough to come up and buck some of the trees for us a bit back, and will be coming up to show me how to properly and safely use a chainsaw to buck trees in the next month or so.

So, on Friday and Saturday I took a few hours and decided to see if I'd lost my skills at splitting firewood. Turns out, as one of my co workers said, it's a lot like riding a bike. You never quite forget, but you definitely aren't as good as you once were, or at least thought you were.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Cooling Stones, and Growing Kits

 Dawn's babies have been growing very quickly, and doing quite well. They're not easy to get photos of because they move around SO much. A good part of that is that it is nice and cool which means they are comfortable ricocheting around the hutch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Stacking Firewood

So in the list of learning experiences I've had since moving into the house this one is the one that could have most seriously injured me. While I was stacking firewood this weekend, the entire pile fell.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Final Breeding for 2012

Today the Lady of the House and I are finishing our last round of breeding for the season. This morning we bred Sunny to Umbra, and we will be doing so again when we get home this evening. Sunny is the last to get bred this round of breedings with Dawn having gone first on Monday, and Twilight having been bred yesterday.
We really need to get some new photos of Umbra.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Life Moves Quickly!

Life has been moving quickly lately, and a lot has been having to get done quickly. In the list of things that have been going on, we have started the next round of breedings.
Dawn was the first to get bred yesterday evening when we got home. We tried to breed Sunny first, but she refused to accept Umbra so we just swapped Dawn in. We learned that Dawn really doesn't like being taken out of her hutch after dark, it scares her badly so we are going to try to avoid doing that in the future!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Late Post, Quick Hit: HH SunBurst

Thursday's post is a bit late, I apologize.  Many things were going on this week.  Michelle in today, Coureton will return next week =)

We thought we'd update with some photos of how the male we pulled is growing.

More pics below the cut!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Busy Day Rabbit Pictures

 As Dawns litter starts coming out of their nest, Dawn gets more and more stoic. Eventually she'll start coming up to us with this look like, "When are they leaving?" The picture Above is one of my favorites that the Lady of the House got lately.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Our Experience Egg Tanning

The Lady of the House has been working extensively on the hides of our first two litters of rabbits, and has been doing a great job. I have mostly been a secondary assistant doing as I am told in between everything else going on. Despite life being crazy she has managed to get most of the skins to a fairly significant level of progress with the two Above nearly done. This is what we've been doing.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Our first rabbit dinner, Tanning, and Growing Babies

Life has been very busy lately between this, that, and the other thing happening in addition to our day to day routine. Going to check up on the rabbits every morning has become something of a calming ritual before greeting the inevitable insanity of the day. Seeing the babies had opened their eyes yesterday morning was a nice thing to wake up to.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

First Butchering Done

Yesterday we did our first butchering, and over all it went very well. We have one of the first two litters we are holding aside for potential breeding to bring Sunny's strengths into our American Blue lines if we can. As you can see Above he is still in the growing out hutch, and seems to be enjoying being able to eat without fighting off everyone else.

There are no photos of the process below the cut but there will be detail about the killing and butchering process.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ups and Downs

 Dawn is doing fairly well in the wake of giving birth to her second litter. She has been a little nervous and jumpy lately, but has been a good mother to her 5 babies. The main signs of her nervousness is trying to dig at the cage and occasionally chewing on the wire. I've been considering whether it might be good to shift her to the growing out hutch when butchering happens on Wednesday.

Dawn's second litter is still in the huddle in small balls in their nesting box. In this case, a literal nesting box. They are doing quite well for being at that age, and are very very energetic. I'm not sure how much of that is the warmth allowing them to use more of their food to move around rather than just live, how much of it is them, and how much of it is Dawn being a more experienced mother. In any case, they are all over the place. I look forward to seeing how fast they grow.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dawn's 2nd Litter Born

And as you can see they look a lot like Dawn's first litter in terms of basic appearance. There are five living kits. There were two unformed kits that were stillborn, likely due to the heat and stress from the repeated bear visits. There was also one large baby that was outside the nest on the wire in the main area of the hutch when we got home already dead. We tried to warm it up, but unfortunately it didn't come around. On the up side, all five of Dawn's babies are nice, big, and healthy. They are also very active and hard to photograph.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The State of the Garden

Michelle in today, Coureton's putting in long hours and couldn't write the post.

We're still waiting on the next two litters of bunnies to be born, both Sunny and Dawn are very large.

In the meantime, the first litters are ever larger by the day (except when the bear visits, which stopped last week out of the blue...hopefully for good?)  here the Himi demonstrates how not to do weight checks.  She actually turned out to be our most out-going and friendly baby so far, surprising as she's out of Sunny's litter who otherwise are quite skittish. She loves to be the center of attention, even over food.

Does this make my butt look big?
We've had our first fight--very minor injuries and some fur fluffs only.  Coureton and I treated them with hydrogen peroxide and neosporin-one rabbit had a bite to the ear which started healing within hours.  Both babies involved were from Sunny's litter, which is a week younger than Dawn's so unexpected.  One was licking the wounds of the other in what seemed to be a gesture of friendship--I'm not sure what happened.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Genetics Part 1: A Primer and a Quiz

Rabbit Genetics, Part 1:

Genes control everything in an animal, from temperament  to maximum size and growth potential.  It is why peanuts are born to dwarf rabbits and not in normal lines, and why some rabbits are lops or wooly. The easiest type of genes to see and study are the color genes, because it produces an obvious result that is only rarely affected by outside factors.  For this reason, I’m focusing on color so that you can get the idea.  

I’m going to assume you have the basics of genetics down, and can understand words like dominant and recessive.  I’m happy to answer questions in the comments!

You can find some well-written and enjoyable primers at these links:

Why do some litters look like a rainbow and others look nothing like mom?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Preparations For Litter 2, and Reality Reminder

Dawn has begun nest building preparations for her second litter as of this morning. When the Lady of the House went to put hay in, Dawn was so eager for it she was taking hay from the Lady of the House's arms. We were a bit surprised by this turn of events needless to say, given that this is day 24 of her pregnancy, and we wouldn't be expecting kits for 4 more days.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

General Update

Well, looks like I forgot today was Thursday. I have no new photos for you today, and nothing at all even vaguely planned too write. So instead I'll do a quick run down of where we are and our plans for the near future.