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.

Overall Halley and Comet's babies are doing alright, but I am starting to think two litters in one nesting area is not ideal. There are definitely days where some babies don't get milk leading to slow growth overall or weight loss some days for some individuals. Obviously one data point doesn't make for something being declared a bad idea, but it is something to keep an eye on, and may mean that when we separate the babies from their mothers that we keep Halley and Comet's babies in a separate growing out hutch from Dawn and Twilight's litters, alternatively we may do growing out hutches by weight when we separate the litters out. With 20 babies that's probably 2 full sized growing out hutches worth anyhow.

Terribly sorry about the picture quality Left. Twilight is difficult to photograph on a sunny day, when it's dark and gray it's even more challenging because of her color. She was very protective of her kits today, not enough to attack me, but definitely a factor as I did weight checks. I was glad to get a shot of the white monster kit up next to his mother who is a big rabbit. This is a 2 week old kit that is 600 grams, 1.32 lbs for those of you who think in non metric weight. 310 is the next biggest baby from the same set of litters. Twilight's biggest previous kit at that age was 414 grams, so this kit is really exceptional. Its siblings are also very big at 520 and the runt at 440. Still bigger than the biggest previous kit on the same day. It is a really stunning size difference. For those interested in looking at the logs of the current kits they are here.
Twilight Dawn Comet Halley

Onward to less scientifically kept livestock, the chickens who in distinct contrast to the rabbits, Love rainy days. I'd wanted to get a more in the woods picture of them today, but they really seemed to be keen on being in the gravel driveway near the barn, so that's the picture I managed to get for today. They have grown quite a lot, and seem to have shifted almost entirely to chicken noises from chick noises. They really enjoy spending time lazing around in the tall brush between the studio and the rabbit hutches which can be kind of surprising when you walk that way and a chicken head pops up out of no where.

Finally, the garden which is thriving in this weather is doing well. We are finally seeing a fair number of tomatoes ripening up, specifically the cherry size tomatoes have been doing so. Above Right are the sun gold cherry tomatoes which I have been told taste almost pumpkiny which sounds fairly delicious. The ones Above Left in the back ground are some variety of cherry tomato we got from the seedling swap and has just exploded everywhere. In the foreground are a larger variety of tomato that hasn't yet ripened, but is bigger than my fist. We are going to have so many more tomatoes than we know what to do with, and that's ok! We'll find something.
Last and unfortunately least, our one poor Harry's Squash. We have figured out it must be some soil related deficiency since when we checked with the folks we got the starts from theirs have been setting plenty of squash, so we'll try to figure out what's causing the only male plague in our squash so it doesn't happen again next year.

One of the somewhat frustrating things about gardening is a mistake where you want to try something different takes a year before you can carry out the experiment again. It just means we have to settle in for a longer more involved set of learning with gardening than with things like rabbits where the feedback of is this ok is fairly quick.

The Lady of the House is back from Otakon, and resting so things are moving slowly at the house as she gets back on her feet. Thursday hopefully I'll be able to get her to take some photos so you aren't stuck with mine again!
Enjoy the rain.

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