Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

 And a beautiful snowy new year it is. My apologies for not posting on the Thursday after Christmas, the Lady of the House and I both acquired a wonderful 36 hour stomach bug at Christmas Eve that manifested midnight ish on the 27th. We achieved exactly two things on the 27th, and those were feeding and watering the rabbits, and calling out a friend to bring us more snow blower fuel.

We were so sick that a normally 20 - 30 minute task of feeding and watering the rabbits took almost three hours, after which we were so exhausted we both went back to sleep nearly until dusk, only moving to reload the fire. It was a stark reminder that, no really, it doesn't matter how bad things are. The livestock gets cared for! I'm having trouble imagining trying to care for larger livestock when that sick in that exact condition. But, one manages when one must I guess!
We learned a lot about the snow blower. For one thing, keep lots of extra gas on hand. The machine we got is a beast, and moves snow like that is its only job. Funny story, it is. That said, for two passes of the driveway and the parking area which is about enough for a serious snow storm we go through a full gallon of gas. I also learned that without snow chains that getting the blasted thing up our driveway is an intensely physical job, and I am still sore from it. We are also ever so happy to present you a couple pictures of the learning curve.
Above you can see a classic example of bad aim in action, with the chute having just filled the shed with snow. Not a huge deal, but there is also a nice streak of snow across the windows of the shed. I also can't tell you how many times between bad aim and blow back I re snowed some blown areas. Speaking of blowback, Left you can see a beautiful example of it. You can't feel it quite as viscerally as I can. I was literally ice encrusted when I came back inside after working away on the driveway for a couple hours. This in a lot of ways comes back to "learn-to-aim-NOOB," as proper chute positioning combined with proper planning to compensate for the wind makes a huge difference.
There's all sorts of safety guidelines for snowblowing that are very important, but frankly you can and should read the instruction manual that will tell you about them.  I'm just going to tell you, know your machine, plan your paths, and aim your chute properly and a snow blower will make your shoveling faster by a long shot. Right is a beautiful shot the Lady of the House got of me actually blowing snow where it should go, into the woods.
There is a lot more going on for us to discuss besides the snow and the snow blower about homesteading, bunnies, and wildlife. Above is a photo from a trail camera the Lady of the House was given by her parents for Christmas. It is a great example of getting the right thing doesn't necessarily mean spending the most. At some point we are going to try to do a post with a lot of photos from it when it gets more photos. By getting a feel for the wildlife that uses our nearby area, we will be able to get a good idea of how we need to protect the chicken coop, and our crops as we grow them.
Also, and of course, rabbits. The rabbits are doing well, but aren't thrilled with the snow. The hutches however are holding up well despite the snow on them. Design wise they could use with a slightly steeper roof so the snow doesn't settle on them as much. Whether I can get a meaningfully greater slope without compromising on the design in some way is up for grabs. But it's an ideal to work towards. As you can see though, they haven't collapsed yet.

 Finally some cute rabbit photos. Dawns babies are growing well, and are just about to the size we need to move them out to the growing out hutch. Right shows all seven babies with mom taking up damn near the entire open floor of the hutch, which is definitely the time to shift them to a bigger space point. The lady of the House and I have also been thinking about using growing out size hutches for moms with babies to make things more comfortable, but that's another long term thing.
Some of them are silvering out more than others. One of them is nearly fully silvered out, and another is just about exactly half silvered. Watching the silvering process is always interesting for us, but we are enjoying it particularly this time because of how pretty the Cremes are.

Parental resemblances have been very clear for us the regular handlers since they very beginning of the lives of these babies, but they show very clearly now.  Right in the center of the picture looking at us is a mirror of Dorado's derpy expression. All of the babies that favor him look like we played golf with them using 2x4s to the face. It is just uncanny how they also mirror his very concerned expressions, even when they are happy.

Dawn also has babies that favor her facially and expression wise. The Lady of the House got a great example of it Right just after both of them had come up to greet me with a nose nudge. Each time I open the hutch if I give them their time instead of going straight to weight checks which we haven't done since the day before Christmas, they will each individually come up and nose bump my hand which is kind of sweet.

We also have adventure bunnies, that are interested in everything around them. There aren't any photos of it because we were busy reacting, but they also occasionally wonder what is outside and explore it via a flying leap. Or in this case they fall out because of fighting over position for food in the trough while the door is open. I'm not quite sure why they feel the need to fight over the trough while there are three crocks of food, but, it is what it is.

We also figured we'd get some photos for size when compared to how big the babies used to be. Left is the one that consented to being picked up and being held right now. As you can tell, they are no longer palm sized or smaller, and holding two of them like this would be a challenge. Below is a large photo showing you the "I am uncomfortable with this situation" expression just before demanding being put down.
 I figured including that photo for reference so people can see some of the rabbit expressions wouldn't be a bad thing. While our rabbits don't mind being touched and cuddled, they don't like being held off the ground and out of control of where they go for too long. That seems to be a true thing for even the most tame of house rabbits too.

Next post I'm going to try to have our resolutions and then start to get into all of the information and things going on here.

I hope you had healthy and happy holidays.

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