Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Baby photos from Sunshine, finally!

Finally beginning the post with real baby pictures again!  I'm finally comfortable taking Sunshine's babies out to look at them despite the weather because they have fur. Still not taking them out for long because it is very cold, but at least we can share them now. All 5 that were alive the first day are still alive it looks like. At this point I'm just plunging my hands into the nest after warming them up as much as I can and trying to count by feel. Sadly it looks like Dawn wasn't pregnant it seems, so just the one last litter which should put us enough to eat for the winter.

The babies still don't have their eyes open, but they're now furred out and you can see the nice orange of the very sleepy creme kit the Lady of the House is holding for me. I'm glad to see them growing fast and fattening up well. At 8 days old they're still too young to open their eyes. If I can scrape the time together when they're out of the nest on their own I'm going to start weighing them and try to keep records then. I'm not even going to try now, it's too much of a risk of chilling babies having them on the scale. Fortunately the straw that we got from Crabapple Farm has stood the nest in good stead, and the nest is as warm as I've ever felt one. Sunshine has made a really good nest, and if she'd stop eating the straw which is virtually nutritionally null it'd be great!
We've been learning a lot from Crabapple Farm in general, but since the last post alone they've been very  helpful in a few ways. 1: We're doing some joint ordering of bottom wire with them. That's going to be important since we're getting new stock in tomorrow! We're not prepared for it fully, we can make enough room, but just barely right now. Having more bottom wire to make more hutches will be really helpful since I have enough for just 1 more hutch when I can scrape together some time. Probably what I'm going to be doing Thursday before going to a Thanksgiving celebration.
2: They had a thought today that I'm going to try out in the future. Obviously this is the time of year where water freezes right quick. Like, within 10 minutes the water bottle is out of commission because of the vulnerability of the ball in the stem construction. They suggested trying giving them loose snowballs. The idea came from the fact that their sheep eat snow fairly regularly when the snow is fresh. Obviously this isn't wise with dirty snow, but I think it's worth a try!
3: They gave us some really important advice at the seed swap on Saturday about the mulching of beds. If it's not all rotted and is still identifiable don't stir it up in short. The important part is, when adding to a bed it's going to lead to some nutrient imbalances, especially around the bits of matter you're adding. If you wait for it all to compost down before mixing it in, it'll lead to a more stable soil environment for growing at the lower dirt levels so you'll have a less spotty garden. I'm glad to have that advice before spring when I was going to mix up the stuff I'm putting on beds to try to add to the soil long term.
That brings me to the Hilltown Seed Saving Network seed swap this weekend which went really well. The photo Above Right is a combination of what we had left that we brought back, and what we took from the seed swap! We took home a little bit of a lot of seeds. I can't imagine we'll have room to grow all of them, but it's a great variety that includes a bunch of vegetables from artichoke to squash, and some wild flowers to attract pollinators. The Lady of the House is very excited about the things we picked up, and we need to sit down and catalog them. There's lots to say about the seed saving event, but for now I'm going to leave it at, lots learned, lots of seeds.
 Rico is happy to have snow, in this photo he's trying to figure out why I'm having him sit longer before throwing the ball and holding something up to my face. He just doesn't get it. This is also a shameless dog photo.

Moving on.

So as you can tell the snow is here, and it's probably not here to stay quite yet. We're predicted to get rain mixed with snow on Wednesday. Of course when we're getting new stock we're getting wintery mix which is weatherman for, bend over, this is going to be awful. Fortunately we have how we're going to handle getting the new stock all set. We're bringing Dorado into the studio in a 4'x4' rat play pen we have from being rat rescuers, butchering out the teens that need to be on the way out anyway, and dividing their 8' growing out hutch in half for the time being. As soon as I can I'm building two, 6' hutches, one for each of the new moms. An in a final slight digression, I have a really cool idea for a hutch for two mothers to share with lots of space. It'd be a good bit of work to make, but I think it would work well. Essentially a horse shoe accessed from the inside of the horse shoe. I'm going to have to do a little research since I haven't done roof hips yet so I'm going to have to figure that all out, but I think I can figure out how to make anything since I haven't botched anything yet!

So signing off for now, and next time I post we'll have pictures of our new creme stock. I'm not going to be posting on Thanksgiving for obvious reasons, and I hope you all have a good holiday if it's one you celebrate!

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