Thursday, April 26, 2012

Today, Hiking!

The last two days other than take care of the rabbits, I haven't done anything homesteading related. Partially due to fatigue, partially due to rain, and partially because I didn't feel like building or digging. This led to me not having any idea what to post about today, so I figured I'd post about what I have been doing, hiking around behind the house. All of these pictures are from within a 30 minute hike from the house. As a caveat, my hiking pace is a little faster than some consider to be a normal pace so take 30 minutes with a grain of salt.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: The Backyard Homesteading Guide to Raising Farm Animals

The lady of the house suggested that I do a review on some of the books that I've been reading for homesteading since I didn't have photos ready for a new post at the moment. Rather than flailing around for something last minute that I don't know enough about I decided that was a good idea. I decided to start with the first book that I picked up for this particular project, "The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals" edited by Gail Damerow. This book is well written, extensive, and easy to find information in. Of all of the books on homesteading it is one I would strongly recommend for those looking to raise animals in their homesteading projects.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cooling Your House Without A/C

Not necessarily a Homesteading specific thing, but more of a how to live thing for those who want to reduce their electric bill, and can tolerate some temperature variation. There are a few requirements for this particular method to work out. The first is having a house that has windows that open, as well as having blinds. Preferably good thick blackout style curtains. Second is that the house is well enough insulated that heat transfer takes a good long time. If you've got wind whistling through cracks in your walls you're fairly close to stuck with the outside temperature plus or minus a few degrees. Third is paying attention to the weather. If you have all of these, you can get by without AC and still be comfortable.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Progress, slow though it may be.

We are slowly making progress on the homesteading projects, though not as fast as we might like given that we also have everything else that we have to do going on. Things like work, job hunting, and occasionally being something resembling sociable. Oh, also lately taxes. While we should have done it sooner now we have to get it done and that is demanding attention rather strongly. Never the less, we do have real progress happening, some of which is fairly exciting.

Sunny, Dawn, and Umbra have settled in nicely for the most part, though Dawn still hasn't quite figured out the water bottle and still only uses her water bowl. Dawn was bred on the 31st of March, and took readily to both breedings on that day. Sunny on the other hand refused breeding until yesterday, the 11th of April. She wasn't quite as sanguine about the breedings, but accepted being covered both times yesterday. That means I need to have a nesting box done in the next 2 weeks to put in for Dawn, and that I need to get the next 4 hutches made within the next 4 weeks. Both of those goals are easily achievable even with the unexpected happening, so long as I don't procrastinate.

We introduced toys to the rabbits, and all three of them enjoy toys to various extents. Umbra likes moving around the blocks of wood I put in, and shredded the corn husks that were hanging while leaving the willow wood alone. Sunny has been chewing the wood avidly, and also shredded the corn husks, again leaving the willow wood alone. Dawn on the other hand has been destroying everything put in reach, and very actively is interested in the willow wood ring that is hanging. She is the most active of our girls, and her hutch is the only one that has been having flooring issues with some of the staples coming out. To deal with that I am going to be screwing blocks in to prevent any sagging and take the staples out of the equation.

There have been some interesting behaviors that have come up with the rabbits around breeding. The one that stood out to us the most we already checked in with our mentor Michelle Chandler on, and she assured us it was not a problem. After being bred Dawn jumped up and peed on Umbra while he was lying there stunned after breeding her. The lady of the house and I were very confused by the behavior.

The other behavior that interested us was Umbra after breeding. After breeding he for a few minutes stomps the floor. If anyone knows what that is we are curious. We were guessing it is announcing he just had sex.

I have been working on digging up ground for planting. It is slow hard work , and rocks are a major product. That said, I hope to have some news about that sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Quick Hit: Conventions

The lady of the house went and sold art at Anime Boston this past weekend. I've never done Anime Boston with her, but usually when she does cons I go and do security there and help her out. It's an obvious thing but I realized how much it would have cost if we'd both gone this weekend instead of me staying home. Now that we have a dog, and the rabbits it's no longer a quick simple once a day thing we ask a friend to come and do. Now we'd have to hire someone to come in, walk the dog, feed all of the animals, and make sure everyone's ok. That said, there are conventions we will both be going to, but we have to factor another $50 per day we are both gone. We will also have to make sure with our breeding to make sure none of the rabbits will be kindling while we are gone. Butchering can be delayed by a few days if need be, but we want to make sure we are around for births at least.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why Still Pay Attention To Politics

It came to the attention of the Lady of the House yesterday via a community she is part of online that the Department of Natural Resources in Michigan is implementing an order that could lead to small scale farmers being declared felons. The law itself isn't specifically targeting these farmers according to the MDNR, it is targeting feral pigs. However it is defining feral pigs by their physical characteristics, not by whether or not they are loose. If you look up this order from any sort of major news source it is reported as a positive thing, backed by environmentalists and pig farmers both, but a little more research is always a good thing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Settling Into The Rabbit Routine

Dawn, Sunny, and Umbra have been with us for almost a week now, and so far the routine has been fairly easy to settle in with. There have definitely been a few learning experiences that have come up, and a couple funny moments. The personality of the rabbits has also been coming out very clearly as we interact with the three of them. I have also learned that I need to get clip on water dishes.