Thursday, October 24, 2013

Frost vs. freeze, healthy rabbits, and standoffish females.

So, what's the difference between frost and frozen? With frozen kale I can come out at 8:15 and get a last minute blog photo of pretty patterns on the leaves. As you can probably guess, winter has come, though I suppose technically it's still fall for a while longer. My thin southern blood still considers 20s to be winterish.
With the wintery feeling we got some things done that really had to be done promptly at this point. Namely pull in the last of the things we care about from the garden.  Pardon the awful photo Left but that's the stevia plant we put in the ground this spring. We kind of ignored it and wandered off instead of doing the care it really should get. If we had it'd have given us a lot more leaves of delicious sweetness. As it is, it's got a fairly good bunch of leaves it looks like to me. We're bringing it inside and drying it. The Lady of the House is trying drying a couple stalks and oven drying the rest of it since oven drying makes for a sweeter result. Apparently one can also do stevia extract much like vanilla extract. We may try doing that with some of it because it sounds interesting. Sounds like the sort of thing to research before trying though just so we don't waste materials. We also brought in the last of the tomatoes. None of what we brought in was really good to eat, most of it was lumpy and going soft. A bit frozen in places. Fortunately we have things to do with such tomatoes. No, nothing awful, we're just saving seeds from them. With saving seeds from tomatoes you can look up any number of tutorials online how to do it, and it's fairly simple. We just cored out the seeds from the tomatoes and put them in a bit of water to get the goop off. Fermented tomato goop. So as you can see for now we have the goopy seed bits sitting on the window sill with labels so we remember what they are. We saved seeds from the paste tomatoes, the cherry tomatoes I don't know the name of, the sun gold cherry tomatoes, and the green zebra tomatoes. The sun golds will be hit or miss with growing them since they were a hybrid. We're going to try breeding them out so they produce the same thing consistently, but that'll take a while. The last thing we brought in was the limon peppers. Tevis recommended we just pull the plants up and dry them on the plants, so we're trying that. We have 3 bushy limon pepper plants covered in peppers hanging over the stove. I look forward to growing those again, and eating the rest of the peppers on the plants!
So I'd promised some baby photos and discussion of the rabbits on Tuesday so here we go! The babies we have on the ground both teen and real babies are doing quite well. The runt of the teen litter is doing well, though it is still very small compared to the rest. As you can tell the teens are very hard to get photos of, and I'm getting fewer and fewer of them that are worth even bothering showing. They move fast, and are very happy to see us when ever we're near by. A friend that dropped by yesterday commented that they run through water fast, which is very true. It's tough to keep them in fresh water all the time. I'm starting to wonder if a 5 gallon bucket feeding the watering points is the way to go with the teens! As for the smaller one, all of the survivors of the first few days out of the Twilight and Halley litters are doing very well. Not having done weight checks I can't give you precise numbers on how well, but they're getting big. Twilight's litter is more friendly than Halley's but that's starting to just be understood as the norm right now. They're not bad kits, they're just a bit more skittish. We've bred Dawn and Sunshine, but when we try to re breed Twilight we've been having something of an interesting quandary. She has been reacting like she did last year when we first tried to breed her. We're wondering if she has a hard cut off of temperature past which she won't accept breeding. Fortunately she hasn't been violent to Starry Night, just standoffish to him. He approaches, they sniff, she grunts, he backs off. She eats his food and waits to go home. He sits in the corner and stares at her, occasionally coming up to sniff at her again. The other option is he's scared of her because she's half again his size . . .
For now we're not sure, and we don't want a late November litter, as much as the idea of "Thanksgiving Kits" sounds nice, I think trying to deal with very young kits during the holiday season when work is in full swing at the warehouse would be beyond what we could reasonably do. Speaking of kits, Sunshine decided it's time to start nest building. Not sure why she's doing so this early, but . . . there it is. I gave her extra hay so she feels comfortable, and I'll probably empty the nest in a week and give her straw. Who knows what goes through the minds of rabbits when it's nesting time.
That's all for this week. Tomorrow we head off to a convention for the Lady of the House to sell, and next week we'll discuss some of the challenges with that and the homestead.

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