Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back to the normal life, plants, and rabbits.

The Lady of the House is back, and I'm very happy! The rabbits are still very active and hard to get good photos of, but at least I was able to get a couple of the Lady of the House holding onto fast moving babies so I could get photos. The one above is from Sunshine's litter since I still haven't gone after the wasp nest in Dawn's hutch. Below the cut will be more baby photos.

 As you can see she has to be very active in keeping hands on the blue baby, I wanted to have her hold one of each to show the size difference, but it didn't work out that way, she could only safely hold one at a time, so we got separate photos. The blue kits are a fair amount larger than the blue kits at this point, though it is harder to show without them next to each other. As usual Twilight in her golden milk tendencies has her kits fat and fuzzy. Not saying that Dawn and Sunshine's kits aren't good looking, but they just aren't as big. At one point the Lady of the House asked me if Twilight wasn't worried about me coming in for the kits anymore, then she provided me with this nice shot before I got out of the way as she growled her way up to me. She isn't quite as aggressive as she used to be when she was younger, but one still shouldn't mess around with handling her kits without preparation and alertness or she will still scratch or pounce.

 With the Creme kits the Lady of the House and I have a concern. Herbie had 2 litters of 2 come out of him, and 2 non pregnancies. The numbers are bad. This year it hasn't been a problem because the Lady of the House basically hasn't been eating meat, so we haven't Needed the meat as much, but producing so poorly isn't something we can keep having. We're going to give Herbie one more shot, but if he has another round of barely anything to zero production we're going to have to figure out what to do with him. We're definitely concerned about that, and if he is a non producer we'll be a bit disappointed because of how much effort we went to getting him. Fortunately we still have Dorado, but he isn't what you'd call a great buck despite how friendly he is. Right now he looks very messy or there'd be a photo of him here. Instead, here's a photo of the teens from the last two litters, all six of them. Right now we've produced 17 kits all year when we should have produced 64 so far based on the number of breedings we've done. Definitely a concerning number, and strongly affects our cost to return on the rabbits which we have to keep down for financial reasons. Given our current situation we aren't in a terrible situation, but the lack of production can't continue. If on the third shot he still has the low to zero production we're going to have to cull him, either over to a show breeder who doesn't care about production numbers, or we'll have to kill him which we would rather not do, but we can't keep breeders that don't produce.

On the other side of things, we're finally starting to have some things show up in the garden that we're thrilled about.  Let's start with the first ripe tomato in the garden, it's not much, but it's something. I knocked down a few non ripe tomatoes off the vine when weeding this weekend, I was very careful around the ones that were looking particularly large. The Lady of the House is very much looking forward to having fresh sungold tomatoes again this summer. This time we're not going to end up with nothing canned having made fresh salsa every day for a few weeks, this time we are planning to can tomato and meat sauce so we have that to eat for a while. We're really looking forward to learning how to pressure can with the pressure canner we were given for our wedding. My plan is to roast rabbit, and after eating a serving, pick the rest off the bones and make tomato sauce with the rabbit as the meat element in it. I've been poking around for recipes to try out for that, though I am tempted to just go with my mom's very simple turkey based meat sauce. We'll see, and I'll be updating here as we do that.

Otherwise we do have our first eggplant set, unfortunately it seems something finds it delicious. So far we haven't applied anything even vaguely pest repelling on any of our plants, relying on the spiders, wasps, frogs, toads, etc. we have wandering the gardens to take care of pests. So far it's mostly worked, but we may have to use neem oil on the egg plants if we want to eat any of them instead of just feeding the critters around the garden, and really, feeding ourselves is the focus here as much as they may not believe us.

I figured I'd also throw in a couple of photos of some of our squash. Right is a relatively recently fertilized female butternut squash flower. You can tell because the bulb at the base of the flower is expanding instead of fading away. Bottom Right is one where the flower has nearly entirely died off, and the fruit is set and looking good. We're going to be happy to have more squash this year than we did last, despite the lower numbers of squash plants we have this time. One thing of note, we've been trying ground running squash, and while it does work, they take up SO much room without trellises. We have to discourage the squash from overtaking the stairs up to the house. It's the one place weeds haven't really been a problem because the squash are firmly winning against the weeds. The one thing that I have noted is that some of them are starting to have leaves go yellow. I haven't had a chance to look into what would be causing that in squash, but I do wonder if that's just because of the unseasonably cold weather we've been having. It was 59 in the house this morning, which is just strange for mid august. I've been hoping for another few weeks of 80 - 90 degree days, but it is starting to look like we won't have that unfortunately. As things go that's not the worst thing ever, but given our current financial situation trying to have stored food for the winter is actually a priority. So here's hoping we get some surprise warm weather soon!


  1. You could tell Herbie "Hump, or you're a hat!" (Not that I've ever had any luck with that.)
    Have you tried making stock from the rabbit bones yet? Given their size and the age when you harvest them, I'd be you'd get a really collegen rich stock (it'll firm up like jello in the fridge) and frozen stock keeps a long time. You might even be able to can it, but I'm not sure.

    French and German cookery have lots of interesting things to do with rabbit too. I had a rabbit pot pie a while back that was amazing (except for all the rib bones).

    1. Yeah, we're basically telling him that before this round of breeding. We haven't tried making rabbit stock yet, but we want to. We actually have a few grizzly bags of rabbit bones sitting in the freezer for that. It would certainly make for tastier rice than water if nothing else!

      I've been looking up lots of fun recipes, but I do have to admit, I hardly use recipes any more. I think the favorite thing I made was a curried rabbit with apples and raisins. I wonder if I wrote that down . . .