Thursday, August 13, 2015

Many good photos around the house.

The Lady of the House has graced us with photos from her higher quality camera, and it makes a hug difference. I love seeing the really good photos, especially since she's been getting better day by day at framing shots which really reduces the preparation work of photos. You can tell because I have a huge mishmash of photos today. As you can see Above Dorado still is our floppy bunny of please pet me. Every day when I bring food he of all of the rabbits wants me to open the hutch and pet him. I've been trying to make an effort to do so since I know it makes him happy. It's tougher than it used to be, I'm getting up at the same time and doing the same chores, but I'm so much more fatigued than I was pre Critter small things seem harder.

So I haven't touched on rabbits for a while, and part of that is that not a lot has been going on with them, and part of it is lack of good photos of them due to using my phone. The real reason not a lot has been going on with the rabbits is lack of breeding. Some of that is the lack of them taking to breedings. Most of it is that I haven't really been trying very hard to get them to breed. I'll try to get them to breed every couple weeks if that. You'll notice that the kits are getting quite big.  I have been hesitant to breed, or do anything with rabbits because of the fact I'm really not wanting to do the. The more I breed, the more butchering I have to do.
If we want to continue eating ethical meat, and we do, I have to get over it. Since the birth of the Critter I have only killed one rabbit. I'm having trouble bringing myself to do the sort of mass killing that I'm going to need to do as soon as possible, probably this weekend to clear out hutch space. In retrospect looking back I don't think I understood just how profoundly the birth of the Critter, and how it coincided with butchering would affect me. There's always a cost to killing, and it's why in religious law of some cultures it is recommended you switch who is doing the butcher regularly. Fortunately we don't do enough killing that I'm doing it constantly. Right now it's more anxiety about doing it than it is likely to really harm me. I suspect that a lot of my hesitation is due to over thinking things. This happens. That said, if I get breedings done in the next few days we can get 2 more litters and have enough meat for the winter.
On to other, happier things., or at least funnier things. You may remember our dog Rico, though I don't mention him too often in posts because he isn't directly related to our homesteading.
Recently the Lady of the House was out and checking on the raspberry canes in the back of the yard, and the dog made a discovery we may not be happy he made. He discovered the raspberries. Given that he's fairly inured to the pain from thorn bushes, he promptly dived in and started eating raspberries right in front of her. It's funny right now since there weren't many berries on the canes since they're first year canes. Next year if he remembers it isn't going to be nearly as funny. He doesn't remember the ground running strawberries year to year, so it shouldn't be too bad long term. We'll just keep telling ourselves that.

In the garden life is continuing as it has been for the most part. The beans wilt mid day in the full sun, and the cucumbers are growing. The cucumber plant isn't doing as well, but I put that down to the cold nights. As for the beans I think that planting them in a spot with less direct sun may be better for them in the future. It is interesting though that mid day they look bad, but morning and evening the bean plants look great. For all of the weeding we have managed between our work, and our friends help, we still have a lot that needs doing. Some of it I'm not too troubled about other than the fact that it is painful to touch, such as the thistles we have growing between some rabbit hutches and the house. I'm not going to be messing with this right now without gloves for certain. I should see if the rabbits would be safe to eat it as it is though, because that's a 6' tall thistle! Some of it ironically enough isn't so much weeding of destructive things but of escaped perennials. In the case of the echinacea and bee balm it's very pretty, but it is getting more than a little out of control. At least we're going to be able to have a lot of seeds to save for next year to share, even if we do wipe out most of the patch.

On the good news front, the turkeys and the remaining two chickens are doing well. I think part of the reason they've survived better is I put the chickens in early. This is very discomforting to the turkeys. For a few nights they settled on the rabbit hutch above the chicken run, and I'd pick the turkeys up with much hissing and kicking to put them into their coop for the night. Lately though the chickens are going to bed early enough the turkeys are just going off into the woods to roost in the trees which seems to work for them. My only concern with that is I hope that come winter I can either keep them in, or they will be safe despite the bad weather. What I'm going to do to try to keep them safe is make sure I keep a sheltered roost available and open for them through out the winter if I can't keep them cooped up the whole time.

Lastly for fun, the Lady of the House got some good photos of some of the bugs around the property. I mostly just wanted to share because they look really cool. Also the one of the Harvestman Below to me looks like some sort of alien war machine from War of the Worlds, or some kind of war game. My nerd side showing, but mostly I'm just really impressed with the photos and figured it never hurts to share. See y'all next week shy a few rabbits, and hopefully with breeding done.


  1. Ask Billye how she gets her turkeys in at night. She has trained them to follow her in to the coop.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, we'll have to do that sooner rather than later. The Lady of the House has been trying to go out and get them to trust her, but experienced advice is always worth having.

    2. Well...even with food it's a bit hard to get them to trust you when you have a yelling small-person attached to your chest >.>

  2. Dude! A heads up before a giant spider photo! Even if it does just look like a daddy long-legs.

    Breeding mammals can be a pain in the butt. It's surprisingly more work than "now kiss!". I remember reading a paper on mouse breeding that suggested if you're having trouble breeding a valuable female you should offer her her choice of mates. For lab mice that involved a complicated set up of plastic tubing in a T junction, with a male at the end of each arm so she could walk down and pick. I don't know how exactly you would do it with rabbits, but you probably don't need to build anything.

    As for the butchering, oy. The same books on mouse management suggest giving people a break from killing animals after the loss of a family member or pet, but it's kind of a case of getting back on the horse. Or finding someone to do it for you, which I imagine would be a lot harder. Would you consider using CO2 from a block of dry ice? I'm not sure it's better (and in research facilities you use piped CO2 rather than frozen) but it is an alternative (and the meat and pelt would be fine).

    1. Heh, it's not actually a spider, it's a Harvestman that is regularly mistaken for a spider.

      I've actually thought about setting up some kind of system that would allow females access to males at will. It would be harder to determine who bred who, and when given that we don't have 24/7/365 observation, but it might make them happier and more productive. It's actually an option that's part of a colony set up that's kind of cool, while also allowing for rabbits to be more comfortable. The only trade off is health of the colony.

      It probably is just a thing of getting back on the horse. We've considered CO2, but doing a good set up to use it properly and efficiently without the rabbit feeling the suffocation is difficult without using expensive materials. Done properly the cervical dislocation is just as fast, just requires a little more skill. Definitely something worth reconsidering every so often though.