Tuesday, September 17, 2013

New friends, moved kits, and escape artists.

It really struck home in a new way just how much the season has changed already. Never mind the frost warnings, well, mind them but the thing that struck me is how much less light we already have. The same time we're out every morning, and just before we leave there still isn't full sun anywhere on our garden, there's barely full sun on the side of the house. Logically I know exactly what time the sun rises and sets, but seeing the light difference really stands out to me due to my lighting design background.So now with the garden we are just trying to squeeze the last bits out of it. We have a very large number of green tomatoes still on the vines and many of them aren't even starting to change colors yet. I'm guessing it is the curse of indeterminate tomatoes, there's always going to be more green on the vine when the season ends. That may not be the case, but it certainly seems like it from my perspective as a first timer with the season running out and lots of tomatoes on the vine.  Over all though I'm fairly happy with the garden, and am starting to save seeds from the peppers and tomatoes as we use them up. Next year, definitely more preservation on the mind and less "YAY We grew food, eat it now!!!" This has also been a strange growing season so we shouldn't feel too bad about eating most of the tomatoes as soon as they popped up.
So, if you look closely at the bottom right corner of this photo you'll notice something a little out of place. That's Sergeant out of the run, and the door to the run is closed. This has become something of a pattern unfortunately. We really have to remember to close the door to the coop at night or when we come out in the morning, she will be out and about really wishing she weren't!  Now part of this isn't a big deal, is easy to solve, and is totally our fault and that is the close the pop hatch at dusk as we should be anyway, and this won't happen. The other part, well, the chickens can fly over the fence to get out. They can do it easily and consistently if they want to do so. As some friends who came up this weekend said, fences are suggestions to chickens. Our options are to put a top cover over which might be wise anyhow to protect them from aerial predators, put a roof over it which might be wise to give them shelter from snow, or give up and let them roam free. I think the third option probably isn't wise, but the first two aren't really in the cards right now. We'll see what we can pull together. I'd think Sergeant would stop letting herself out since she's clearly uncomfortable every time, but it seems to be a pattern now.
Last but not least, the kits have been moved from their parents hutches over to the growing out hutch, and I need to get another growing out hutch built ASAP! As you can see even being substantially smaller than the teens were the kits are taking up a good portion of the hutch. The second level takes a lot of the stress off though which is good. I want to separate Twilight's kits ASAP since they are HUGE in comparison to the others and I want to make sure they don't bully any of the smaller kits away from the food. So far it hasn't been an issue that I can tell, but better safe than sorry.
In other news with the rabbits the Lady of the House and I were out getting feed Saturday, and our tendency to talk to anyone and everyone about dogs when we notice other people noticing a cute dog made us new friends that just happen to also have meat rabbits! The folks we ran into and started chatting with at the feed store are just getting started with rabbits, American Chinchillas to be specific, and it was just fortuitous that we met them and started chatting. They got into the rabbits without the mentor situation we were fortunate to have, and didn't really know a lot of things about what they were getting in to. So the Lady of the House and I told them that the timing was lucky for them, it was butchering day and offered to have them come up and watch and learn.

They did actually come up and learn how to do the butchering of the rabbits, and two of the three of them actually hands on did a killing, cleaning, and skinning. I feel good about helping other people learn to humanely do that particular set of tasks, and knowing that it'll make their lives better as they get in to meat rabbits, and their first butchering day. That said, it is a bit rough normally doing a killing day where we go through a large number of kits, and teaching makes it a bit more stressful. I'm not saying I don't want to do it again, just that next time I'm going to fortify myself a bit more and rehearse what I'm going to say and demonstrate before people come! I definitely have more than a bit of social anxiety and public speaking anxiety so between the tough day of killing and that I ended up being fairly stressed.

In the end though that went well, they learned how to do the killing, and nothing went wrong in the process. I just learned that next time I teach this particular aspect of what we do that I need to be a bit more prepared for it! Even without the preparation it was well worth it to make new acquaintances of a similar age with similar interests in the same general area which is something the Lady of the House and I have been very much wanting to do.

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