Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

First day outside!

It was almost 50 today and the rain held off, so I had a chance to get outside and play for the first time this year.  I started out by building the two rabbit hutches I got for Christmas.  It was fun watching them adjust to the new cage and it took over an hour for them to figure out what the ramp is for, but they seem ever so happy with their new homes.

new hutch 1

This is a view of one of the hutches. They are really cute, but built with smaller rabbits in mind. The board on the front door was supposed to block off a little nesting area in the top section, but the opening was way too small for my big boys. Instead I put it on the front to block the wind and turn the whole top into a cozy area for them.

new hutch 2

The drop tray pulls out, but you can also lift the roof up for easy access. The extra board against the back wall with a heart latch on it is to close off the bottom area (would be useful if the bottom gets muddy during heavy rains).  I like this pic because you can see Socks poking his head up to keep an eye on me.  He’s quite the character.

new hutch 3

Wide load!!!

new hutch 4

Enjoying the new found freedom. :)

Garden-wise, I started 72 more plants on Wednesday: Celeriac, Cockscomb, Oregano, Marmande Tomato, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Jersey Giant Tomato and nearly all of them are sprouted already. Outdoors, I cleaned out the strawberry bed to find some sprouts out there as well.

strawberries

And finally, these are the egyptian walking onions I got from a forum friend late in the season last year. I was very glad to see all three made it and have sprouts poking up. I covered them with a bit of mulch for now so the wild rabbits don’t eat them on me.

egyptian walking onions

Wordless Wednesday – Sunbathing

Picture 297

Freezing water

It’s been below freezing here for some time.  That means lots of extra trips outside to bring the rabbits fresh water.  I’ve been worrying about this because the new semester starts in a few weeks.  I have class Mondays and Wednesdays, and Master Gardener training Tuesdays.  That means 3 days in a row where I’ll only be able to check on the rabbits twice a day, once before work and again when I finally get home before bed.

So when I saw heated rabbit bottles at Farm and Fleet this weekend, I didn’t think twice.  I feel much better now knowing they have constant access to unfrozen water…I worried about them with me at work during the day. I also did my big stock up trip. Getting enough rabbit feed, bird seed for rabbit treats (which they are really loving!), cat food, and kitty litter to last until spring. Probably longer…I’ll have to start keeping track so I know exactly how far supplies stretch.  Either way…since I picked up 3 bales of feed hay from a farmer earlier this week, I’m set for critter supplies.

pixelpainted original by niabunni at livejournal - hands off!

Name the Bun game

After losing my big sweet angora on the 4th, I considered my options.  The breeder I deal with had two adorable blues available, but my city only allows 2 outdoor rabbits.  And the rabbit I had left was not very friendly and had bit me before.  Although I felt bad doing it, I had to vote the unfriendly rabbit off the mini-farm.  If I can only have two I want them to be two I enjoy having around.  Not one that growls and stomps at me.  But it still ended well for her.  I found a woman to buy her as a show rabbit for her kids to take to the fair.  She left on Thursday, and Saturday my new arrivals moved in.

Bun 1 is grey with a dark grey face.
Bun 1

Bun 2 is dark grey with a black face.
Bun 2

They are both bucks and brothers from the same litter.  I don’t like the names on the pedigree (they are named after breakfast cereals, must have been running out of ideas), so I’m looking for help finding names that suit them.

What would you name these two boys?

First critter loss :(

I lost my cuddly German angora today. The noise of the fireworks all around in the city last night was too much for her, she must have had thoroughly lost it and threw herself around the cage trying to get away from it because I found her this morning with a broken back. I had time to comfort her and was on the phone with the vet when she died. She’s been buried in the back yard and I’ve since contacted the breeder to locate another rabbit so the French I have left isn’t all alone out there.  It looks like she has some lovely juvenile blues available.

I was a lot more shaken up then I expected.  I don’t do well with emotional junk and avoid it where I can because it gets me all weepy, so I think I come off as a bit cold in real life.  But I do have a tender heart and love me some critters. Still, as one of my homesteading friends reminded me, that’s how it goes on the farm…even a mini one like mine.

RIP Snowball.

french angora

Frugal Friday – community events

One of the free/donation events I found was for Vermicomposting.  Or as I think it should be called, squirmycomposting. The Victory Garden Initiative hosted the class last week and I thought it was a lot of fun. This is another project that’s been on my to-do list, so this seemed like the perfect time to start.

vermicomposting class 1
Photo courtesy the Victory Garden Initiative

Matt Ray from the Fernwood Montessori School shared a lot good advice and tips about keeping our red wigglers happy and producing lots of worm castings for us. The class ended with us each making up our own bins.  I bought a 10 gallon bin from Menards for $4 with tax.  Holes were drilled in the bottom for drainage and it was filled with a layer of wet shredded paper.  That was covered with 3 quarts of soil.   The owner of the store Future Green, where we met, even donated his worms and gave us each a handful from his own bin.

The handout for this class was emailed out, I’m sure there’d be no problem with forwarding it to anyone who’s interested. Just comment or email me :)

red wiggler

Around the Urban Homestead

I had a surprise chore this weekend, because I saw the trailing rope of hair on the German Angora that signaled she was ready to be shorn. There was a lot of research I needed to do before I was ready to get started on harvesting my rabbits, but they set the time table here not me. So once again I am learning something new by fumbling my way though it.

2054

So my goal for today was just getting hair off the bunny without her clawing me to death. I succeeded there at least. I got the hang of handling her and rolling her on her side to keep her calm. Putting my hands on her ears to stop her when she got impatient with me. Holding the hair down and sliding my scissors under small rows to cut close. I think by the end I was doing all right. I’m sure the fiber isn’t perfect, but since one of my next projects will be to learn to spin I now have a bag to practice with.

2058

I knew from the breeder that I’d need to cover her to keep her warm. Luckily this old sweater arm was just the right size. I’ve left the fur on around her bottom and shoulders since she lives in an unheated sunroom and it’s snowing out. I’ll just trim around her bottom so gross things don’t get caught down there. I like how it leaves her looking like a slinky dog.

2055

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