Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My newest creation, IT LIVES!!!! Muahaha . . ahem.

It's a new week, and life continues to move on. The stresses of last week while not entirely gone have been mitigated, and we're getting back on track with our lives. Not entirely coincidentally it's stopped raining for a couple days, and while it may be hot it has allowed us to get back down to business with the rabbits.
Specifically, rabbit hutch creation which leads to happy rabbits. As you can see, barring being painted and the angle braces I'm going to put on around the legs when ever I have a few minutes and some scrap wood, the working prototype of the new model of breeder hutches is up and functional. Above is actually some rabbits in said hutch. The ladder to the left of the hutch in the photo Left gives a nice size comparison for you. As with everything, there were learning experiences involved in building the hutch. For one, make sure when you do measurements, make sure in getting the ideal measurements on one side you don't throw off the other side so much you have to do significant modification to make it work. The side with wire on it had to have 2 extra 2x4s cut and added in to give the wire something to be stapled in to because the front of the hutch is over 3' tall. I figured this would allow the rabbits to be able to utilize the second level I made for them better, and I'm sure it will when they start going up there. Just in the future I will have to make certain I don't make it so tall the wire is floating in the wind.

 On the up side, there is plenty and more than plenty of room. The smallest portion, the nesting area is clearly big enough for Twilight to fit in as you can see Right. I made the nesting area smaller and tighter to make the mothers more comfortable with it since smaller seems to be just as good if not better according to them. I made the small side hatch so I can get in to check on the babies easily. The first night the hutch was finished it got its first test, we had a clever pest visit last night, a raccoon. The Lady of the House heard thumping around down from the rabbits and grumbling about "They're just being playful late at night" I went on out to check in a towel and unlaced boots. I promptly came back up for the dog, pants, and a rifle after seeing a raccoon on the tree next to the hutch, running up and away. Everyone's ok, and it's good to know the hiding spot serves its purpose of making them feel safe, but I'm not happy to see a raccoon for the first time since moving in.

Speaking of pests, let's move on to the squash which seem to be the epicenter of a bugsplosion. We've finally resorted to stronger options than hand picking because we don't want to lose the plants! We're still hand picking and killing the beetles ourselves, but as you can see Left we also got our hands on yellow sticky straps, and that's the result of a day of them being up. They seem to be fairly effective, though not 100%. We also got Neem Oil to try to act as a bit of pest control. It interferes with bugs ability to feed thus killing them off and protecting your plants. It hasn't yet stopped them from mating as you can see Left in the lovely squash flower. We're still doing regular checks and bug killing rampages. I seem to mostly specialize in killing mating pairs. What that actually means is, I'm bad at sneaking up on them and catching them on their own the way the Lady of the House is.

I also found a bug that looked a lot like a Japanese Beetle  but with vastly different markings than a Japanese Beetles. I had intended to take photos of it and then kill it on principle, but it flew off as I was snapping the last photo. Anyone know what this is? I haven't had time to look it up yet due to work + life. I still am fairly happy with having gotten the photos because it's kind of cool looking.

Last, but most certainly not least, especially not in their dinosaurian minds, chickens. It's hard to really get a sense of scale from the photos, but they've grown a lot since we got them. We did in fact identify the method they were using to get out, and so they're in when we want them to be in, and are only out when we're around to observe and protect them. The social structure is interesting to observe as the head bird I've been calling Haystack Below Left stays head bird, and the challengers rotate. There is a whole lot to say about the chickens, but for now I'm going to leave it at, they eat lots, they poop lots, and they make a lot of noise. The Lady of the House is really enjoying having them for their chickenness alone as well as collecting their feathers for art and craft purposes.

I hope everyone is doing well in this mid summer, and as a friend says, "Stay out of the hot sun."

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