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.

Current Situation:
We have all 4 basic hutches and 1 growing out hutch up and fully functional. They still need better roofing, at least in the form of tar paper when we have the money. In the hutches we have Dawn the Creme doe, Sunny the Californian doe, Twilight the American Blue doe, and Umbra the American Blue (black) buck. Right now Sunny and Dawn are pregnant and should be giving birth in about 11 days to their second litters. Twilight isn't old enough for us to want to breed her yet, and we want to show her in a couple ARBA shows before she is pregnant later this summer.

The first butchering will be taking place in around two to three weeks when we will kill, butcher, and skin the first litter of babies. Michelle Chandler will come help out, supervise, and make sure we don't mess anything up which we greatly appreciate. While I'm sure it will be a tough day, we will do what we have to and make sure it's as humane as we can.

We continue to have issues with the bears which has significantly slowed down the growth rate of the babies, and scares the does regularly. We are concerned that continued problem will lead to smaller litters, or even perhaps no litter. The fact that they are regularly scared concerns us because part of our objective is to make sure they live as good of a life as we can give them, ideally without fear as much as possible. While it isn't our "fault" it is our responsibility and we are working on how to fix the issue.

The studio is nearly done, right now waiting on electrical inspection and final inspection before the artists can move in which will make the house feel much better. The living room portion of it will take a bit longer to get up, but even that won't take too much longer. That will be a major quality of life improvement for the Lady of the House and I, but not so much important on a homesteading side.

The Future
Right now our priorities of work go approximately as follows.

1: Finish the studio to the point it is usable.
     Projected time: 2 weeks.
2: Build at least 2 more standard hutches for quarantine purposes so we don't bring anything back to our colony from shows.
     Projected time: 1 month.
     Date required: August 15th.
3: Roof the rabbit hutches fully.
     Projected time: Unknown.
     Date required: End of October.
4: Buck and split the firewood for this winter.
     Projected time: Unknown.
     Date required: End of October
5: Finish the living room area of the studio so it is comfortable.
     Projected time: 2 months

1: Address the bear problem.
     Current plan: Get gel OC spray to scare it off more thoroughly, put myself at less risk. Use the gel version   so back spray doesn't get me or the rabbits in the wash.

2: Keep the rabbit hutches clean inside and underneath:
     Current plan: Continue cleaning under them every 2 - 3 days, and doing general interior cleaning every time it looks kinda messy. Do a thorough cleaning in September to get them fully clean before winter.

1: Put in rain water collection systems.
     We have a line on rain water barrels that are UV stable, we just need to be in a position to actually get them and put the system in. This could significantly reduce our impact and be very useful especially given how much rain we get.
2: Put in a starter vegetable garden next year.
     To do this I will need to turn all of the soil we plan to use before the ground freezes hard. That means we will need to do a solid plan some time this summer or fall.
3: Go to the nurseries at the end of the selling season and try to get fruit trees at a discount to start our fruit tree set up.
4: We plan to start chickens next year. I need to finalize the plans for the coop, and be able to have it finish-able within days of it being feasible next spring. This will be a post all its own.

We have a lot going on, but we're trying to do things in bite sized chunks rather than fully overextend ourselves. Looking at it like this, I think we can do everything we have planned and not flatten ourselves. We will keep you all updated!

Weight Charts
Between the heat, and the stress of the move there has been low weight gain and weight loss in some situations. To try to make sure that doesn't continue we have been giving plenty of food, lots of hay, and fresh greens which the babies seem to absolutely love. Weighing the babies has turned from one person doable situation to something that %100 requires two people.

Dawn's Litter Weight Chart

Sunny's Litter Weight Chart

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