Thursday, August 29, 2013

Rabbit Curry and growing squash as we live in waiting.

 I hope life is treating everyone well on what is a rainy day of weather transition here. We are doing fairly well, and glad to see rain since it's best to not water if possible, and with the regular rain we haven't been having to water often unlike earlier in the year where we were having flood then no rain for weeks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Friends old and new, learning, growing, enjoying, and aspiring.

Today is going to be a big picture light, especially given just how much went on this weekend. This morning was one of those days where I was just dragging every moment. That to be fair, hasn't really changed even now but there it is. This weekend was really busy for us and mostly in good ways!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Quick, look at the cute! Ignore the man behind the keyboard!

Today's post isn't going to have as much substance in it as I'd like since I've been sleeping very poorly lately. What I really wanted to talk about was a really awesome talk by Marion Nestle the Lady of the House located, and the information in it. Instead I'm going to coast by on cute rabbits, and getting into winter prep.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More and more fresh foods even as the mornings get darker.

A cool mid September morning, seeing our breath as we do rabbit chores, and things are normal. Aside from the fact it's mid August. I'm enjoying the really pleasant weather, but it is a bit of a strange weather pattern going on around here right now. The rabbits love it, but they won't if it continues to go on the seasons at this same rate by early October when our next litter is planned.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A very autumnal August as we muddle on through.

The Lady of the House is back, and we're back to having good photos! Lots is going on in our life, which seems to be a refrain right now. But let's start by focusing on the babies. Above is the runt of all of the litters that's still alive, and seems to be inclined to stay that way much to our pleasure and relief. Obviously in the realm of don't count your bunnies before slaughter date, but it looks like we'll have 20 survivors out of the 23 in these last litters.
Halley and Comet's litter has been a fairly significant focus for us in this last round which is why you've seen so many photos of their babies. The runt is from their litter, and the picture of the black and creme pile Left is obviously theirs. It has been a focus because we really want to see if it is practical to have parents in the same hutch. There seem to be definite advantages and disadvantages. Halley and Comet enjoy each other's company is a big obvious benefit to it. A down side though is they reinforce each other's fears and nervousness more than they reinforce their strengths. With the rather unique choice they made to lay in the same nest the up side is all of the babies can cluster together or migrate apart to be warmer or cooler to self regulate temperature a bit. The down side is that the phenomenon of some babies not getting enough milk is exacerbated because there are more babies in one place, and both moms seem to sometimes feed the same babies. Things I think could help for the future of two moms in a hutch. 1: Have three or four smaller nesting areas rather than two larger nesting areas. The hutch Halley and Comet are in suffer from being designed specifically as a growing out hutch, and it's really showing more than I expected. 2: A second level is a must for anything I hope to have as a two doe breeding hutch. Sometimes everyone needs a bit of alone time. Unfortunately (and this again, seems to be a refrain) I haven't had as much time to work on building new hutches as I'd like to have. It's the curse of working 60 + hours a week. It has been exacerbated by troubles that I'll talk about near the end of the post.
Before I move on from kits I want to address Monster Kit Right. The photo Above of a baby on the scale is about a normal sized kit, note the size in relation to the scale. Compare to Monster Kit barely fitting on the scale at just about the same age. We are kind of amazed at monster kit, and if it turns out to be female we may just have an American White, because that's going to be one big healthy kit it looks like.  618 grams today.

Gardening, intentional and otherwise continues. Let's start with unintentional, specifically the blackberry bushes that crowd the side of the deck and are absolutely Covered with berries that are still ripening at almost a cup a day! At this point we have a full 1 gallon bag of blackberries and about the same quantity of yard strawberries which is great. We need to make the time to make a pie, or a few. A few notes for those of you who are genuinely city folks and have never picked berries before, specifically blackberries. Their thorns don't point out so much as in, make sure you have a clear exit from the bush before you climb in to get at the big branch of ripe berries that's JUST out of reach. Also, while the idea of using gloves to pick berries to avoid the thorns sounds like a good idea, it probably isn't unless you like mashed berries all over your gloves.
Next stop, and virtually unmentioned for a while is the pepper plants. They're looking great, particularly the lemon peppers and the cayenne peppers. The challenge as first timers is, when to remove them. Something the Lady of the House cautioned me about is apparently you Must cut the peppers from the plants because pulling them off can kill the plant prematurely. Good to know when you want ever more peppers as I do! Our big concern with the peppers is keeping an eye on the weather, with temperatures dropping into the low 50s at night consistently in mid August we are obviously concerned because peppers are hot weather plants. The one you see in the picture Above is potted so if it gets particularly cold we will be bringing it in to attempt saving it and keeping it going all winter, just because.
Given it is our first year of gardening we were expecting a fair number of disappointments, and Left is the first confirmed disappointment other than the under producing Squash, the dead Sunflowers, ok so it isn't the first. If you can't tell what it is that's a single very small potato. It's all that came out of one of the 4 potato buckets. The other three plants are kind of still alive so we're hoping for better out of them, but, from the positive perspective, it's our first home grown potato! We've had a fair number of firsts this year, and for some reason I was really looking forward to having a bunch of home grown potatoes which is why I'm particularly disappointed about the potato plants just being mauled by bugs. We'll see what the other 3 buckets produce.
I mentioned complications in our life, and I am not sure if I've mentioned the big one. Our car died a bit over a month ago at this point, and it's made life complex. We have been VERY blessed by friends with two different friends loaning us vehicles so far, and a family member loaning us a car starting next week. The car you see Right is a rental as we try to figure out what we want, need, and can afford in a vehicle. It's led to the Lady of the House and I working on figuring out what it is we need in a vehicle based on our realities.

1: We live 25ish miles from work, and drive 500+ miles a week. We need to be driving something with a reasonable gas mileage which eliminates a lot of the things that would be particularly good for some of our later requirements.
2: Space is a consideration given that not only do we commute a lot, but we also need to be able to haul around lumber, hay, food, etc as well as ideally be able to fit a friend or two into the back seat. So based on that we've been thinking hatch back because a pickup truck is ruled out by the gas mileage thing.
3: Reliable, but I'm fairly sure everyone wants this in a car. What that means for us is also not too expensive to repair which usually means Honda, Toyota, or the like based on our area which unfortunately rules out one of our first choices, the Subaru hatch back line.
4: Inexpensive, we are not doing well financially, especially with adding in car costs we're having to watch carefully what we can get.

So that's what has been taking a lot of our brain sweat lately, trying to figure out the car situation. For now, the kindness of others has been keeping us on the road, but imposing consistently is something we'd rather not do, so hopefully we'll have our perfect mixed lifestyle vehicle that doesn't cost much to maintain or purchase soon. Hope you all have a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Welcome rain, fresh tomatoes, and a range of babies.

It's a very grey day as we get more rain up on the hillside which is a pleasant and positive thing after a few days of sun. If we got good soaking rains every third day after two days of beautiful, perfect sun I'd be thrilled, but that of course is how irrigation plans work, not reality. The rabbits are never hugely thrilled about rain, it affects their food and anything that affects their food isn't something they enjoy. Quite the contrary in fact. However, rain doesn't affect the quality of fresh greens, and the tiny baby Left, the smallest of Comet's babies is discovering the joys of fresh greens in the wake of me doing daily weight checks. An enormous offense to be sure.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Babies exploring, and food transition.

Today's post is going to be a little shorter than normal due to the scramble of getting the Lady of the House out on her way to Otacon where she's selling this weekend. The unfortunate part is with me taking the photos there aren't the good quality photos of the babies first wanderings outside of their nest we'd usually have.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eyes opening on a surprisingly cold morning.

It's getting towards peak cuteness, not there yet but the opening eyes days are always some of the most fun for us on the homestead seeing all of the little ones opening their eyes and experiencing the world for the first time. We haven't had any instances of nest box eye recently, but we always keep our eyes out for it so it doesn't become a problem.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Those delicate days

It's that delicate time where some babies are growing and some are struggling. As you can see above one of the average sized babies of Dawn with Comet's struggling 44 gram baby.