2010 Baby Bunnies


I had the great pleasure of breeding my Queen mama rabbit, Daisy again this year. I was breeding some meat rabbits for the freezer, so I decided to also breed Daisy so that I could have an Angora litter to play with. Luckily, I put her with Zorba to see if I could get some lovely colored rabbits. The next week, Zorba died suddenly and surprisingly. I spent 3 weeks biting my nails hoping that Daisy was in fact bred so that I could keep a kit from the litter to continue on his bloodlines. I was overjoyed when Daisy had 8 beautiful bunnies at the end of March.

Daphne has been loving and playing with the bunnies as much as she possibly can, and as a result, they have had incredibly temperaments. We sold 4 bunnies right off the bat to local families with children who are interested in learning how to spin rabbit fiber (yay)! I decided to keep 2 bunnies from the litter for now, one black buck and one chestnut doe. That left 2 available to sell. After posting an ad 2 days ago, I have now sold one bunny to a sweet couple looking to get into raising angoras and I have someone interested in the remaining doe. It seems like they sold so fast, and I’m kind of sad to not have an angora litter around to play with.

I DID get some photos of the bunnies at their most adorable stage.

This is the black buck that I am going to keep. He is a bit on the small side, which I am liking, but his fiber is quite light for a black bunny. His name is Peter T. Hooper. Peter T. Hooper is a character in the Dr. Seuss book, Scrambled Eggs Super.

Look at this beautiful fiber.

He is already turning out to be a really sweet, nice little bunny for our herd.

This is my sweet, little chestnut doe. She is still unnamed, but she will get a name inspired by a Dr. Seuss book for sure. I adore the chestnut color with the reddish tips and the blue fiber underneath. It will blend well with some wool to make a sweater for someone.

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Rabbit Update


It seems that I am long overdue to give an update on how the rabbits are doing.  I got a bit preoccupied at the end of the pregnancy, and I have been quite busy since Cyprus was born.  There is a LOT to update you on.

Thing 2 finally kindled successfully on June 17th.  She only had 4, which I found quite surprising.  I kept going back out to the box over the next day or two looking around expecting to find a pocket of 5 more, but that was not the case.  I was sure that she was going to have 12 like her sister.  The truth is that it is a blessing that there were only 4.  The rabbitry got up to over 30 rabbits during its height, and that is QUITE enough bunnies if you ask me.

Thing 2 had 3 black babies and 1 white baby.  Here they are nice and brand new.  There is even still blood on the paper from the birth.

Thing 1 did an incredible job with her babies.  I finally weaned them a few weeks ago because they were old enough and they were driving her nuts.  The day I weaned them I sold a white buck to someone who is looking to  breed some meat rabbits for home production.  Here is Thing 1 with her 8 babies.

The babies sure are cute.  These are some photos I took of the black and the white ones quite a few weeks ago.  I will get some new photos in the next day or two.  It is amazing how much they have changed.  The white bunnies now have dark ears, feet and tails, just like mama.

I finally got a good portrait of Thing 1.  She looks so mama-like to me in these photos.

The angora babies are doing great.  They just keep getting bigger and more fuzzy.  They don’t look much different than the photos I took a while ago.  Ok, they have more hair now, and they look more mature.  I’ll get some more updated photos soon, but these will have to do for now.

The angora babies are doing really well.  I only have 4 left, and they are all for sale.  One of the babies we found dead when I got home from the birth center.  I’m not quite sure what happened.  The bunnies had food and water and were all doing fine when we left.  We were only gone for a little more than 24 hours and Jared came home to check on them.  I sold 2 of the white bunnies to some nice ladies who will love them and take care of them.  I also sold the agouti tipped bunny (remember the one I thought would be chocolate?).  The final ones are advertised for sale.

I have a butchering appointment for all of the bunnies for the 25th of August.  I am taking all of the meat babies and any Angoras that I have not sold.  The Angoras are definitely big enough and meaty enough to go for meat at this point.  I was worried that Thing 2’s babies would be too small because they are 4 weeks younger than Thing 1’s babies.  When I weaned them, I put them all together in the same pen, and you can’t even tell who belongs to who.  It seems that the 12 from Thing 1 grew more slowly because there were so many and the 4 from Thing 2 grew more quickly.  It all evened out.

I am excited for the butchering appointment.  It is going to make things a lot more sane around here in terms of the chores that need to be handled.  It has been a struggle keeping all the babies fed and watered adequately in the 108 degree heat we have had.

I decided on a complete restructure of the rabbitry so that it is a more manageable operation with a newborn.

I decided that I was going to sell Poe.  I bought him when I had no bucks in the warren, and I really needed to get Daisy, Thing 1 and Thing 2 bred or I was possibly going to lose their ability to reproduce.  (If you don’t get a successful litter out of a mama by the first year, it becomes increasingly harder and harder).

Poe is one of the most sweet rabbits I have ever had, and I am sad to see him go.  I really liked his fiber quality, but it came down to the fact that he just didn’t fit the master plan.  I am looking to keep 100% bloodlines, and with him being 60%, he was not close enough in either direction to keep.  Also, I have 5 shearings of black fiber from my black bunnies, and I didn’t feel compelled to keep him.  He went to a really good home, and I am happy that is the case.

I also decided not to keep my black doe Lydia or my blue doe Ava.  It came down to what I was looking for.  I only want to keep a maximum of 4 angora rabbits at a time.  It is just too much work to keep any more than that with all the other things I have going on.  The blue doe was beautiful, but she just again was not what I was looking for to keep.  I sold them to a woman who is really getting into Angoras, and I am very happy they went with her.  She seems incredibly knowledgeable, and she has the time to work with them.  She also bought one of the angora babies.

We have had some incredible heat here, and I am sad to say that Thing 2 didn’t make it through it.  She had a heat stroke when it started to build up to getting hot.  It was only in the low 90’s that day, but it was too much for her, and she didn’t make it.  She had plenty of food and water and shade.  Sometimes, in extreme weather, there isn’t much more that can be done, and I feel that what happened was beyond my control.

I did make the decision to keep Zorba even though he doesn’t match many of my specifications for the rabbitry.  He is only 60% German, but his coloring is lovely, and I can honestly say that I have never seen such a lovely looking bunny.  I just took his hair off or I would show you some photos of how lovely he is.

So, I have things the way that I want them.

The head of the rabbitry is Daisy, who is 100% German.  Her and I are in it for the long haul.

Zorba is the first mate.  I think I will try breeding Daisy to him at some point in the fall when life is normal again.

Thing 1 heads up the meat rabbit section.  I am going to keep her for her productive breeding life.

There is a brown-eyed-white rabbit that I own but do not yet posess.  He is 100% French, and I am excited to go pick him up soon.

As soon as the babies are gone, that is all that will be left.  It is the perfect set up for me for now.

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Mama Daphne


While I was pregnant, Daphne was definitely intersted in playing like she was the mama.  She loves the stroller that she got with patty.  She also has loved raising baby rabbits.  They are, afterall, real live babies you can play with.

I couldn’t stop laughing one day when she got the idea to put the rabbit in the stroller to transport it around the house.  Like I said, she was really channeling her inner mama!

The good news is that these rabbits are angora rabbits, and since they are being sold as pets and as fiber animals, the more they get handled the better.  I don’t think the bunny minded too much.

And she did eventually take the time to snuggle the bunny by hand.  Look at how happy Daphne is to have a little playmate.

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Bunny Update


Enough time has passed that I think I owe you an update on how the bunnies are doing.  I was thrilled to take photos each day at first because the changes were dramatic.  Though they are still growing quickly, the growth is not as evident from day to day as it once was.  They seem a little bigger every day that I go out to check on them.

The Angora bunnies are incredibly happy.  They are living with their mama full time.  They chase her around when they want to nurse, and I never have to go out and hold her for them anymore.  Every time I pick up a bunny it has a nice full tummy.  They are totally thriving, and I expect no more problems in the future.  They have learned how to eat pellets and drink from the water bottle without any problems.  I always find them running around and jumping up and down.  They love to sleep on top of Daisy.  I am not sure that she is thrilled to have 8 bunnies jumping around at any given time, but she tolerates them.  She gets as much feed as she can eat these days, which makes her happy.  She is always trying to convince me that she is going to starve.

The bunnies are going to lose their nesting box this weekend because it looks like Thing 2 is going to have a litter after all.  They are perfectly happy to sleep in a pile outside of the nesting box as it is, so I don’t think they will even notice.

They look so happy to be eating and drinking here, and she just looks THRILLED doesn’t she?

I always find the babies stocking the food and water.  Sometimes they are a strong enough force to keep their mama away.

The white bunnies look exactly like there mama, and if you hold them just right, the size is the only thing that clues you in to the fact that they are not full grown bunnies.  This photo looks particularly adult.  Check out all that Angora fiber!

Here is a black kit not looking as furry, but trust me, they do have a lot of fur, and it is growing more and more every day.

I am going to look at sexing the bunnies in the next week or two and start listing them for sale.  I should not have any problems selling the Angora babies.  I did decide to cull any that have odd coloring on them.  I feel this is my duty as a responsible breeder.  That does, unfortunately, include the black bunny in the photo above.  He has too much white on him to keep those genetics (and possibly pass them down).

Daphne has been working hard to help me socialize them.  She loves to hold the bunnies and play with them.  She prefers only to play with the white ones, and I discovered the reason for that.  She was peed on by a black bunny a while ago, so she thinks they are not good to play with.  I tried to hand her a black bunny yesterday and she told me to give her another one because she didn’t want to be peed on!  All in all, she does an incredible job taking care of the rabbits for a 2 year old girl.

The story with the meat rabbits is a little more sad.  Things were going really well for me until Thursday.  When we had our big storm, I opted to not take the rabbits out to nurse for the night because of how crazy it was.  I have done this one other time in the past, and it worked fine.  The trampoline was on top of the rabbit cage anyway, so it would have been almost impossible to make it out there to get them nursed (despite the rain, hail, wind and lightening).  The next morning, I took the babies out to nurse and all was fine.  By Friday evening, it was clear that there were 3 babies that were not getting as much nutrition as they needed.  Upon examining them, I discovered that the mama had developed mastitis.  She has been nursing them for less time lately and acting funny when one or two got too agressive.  I took it as normal behavior, but when I examined her I found some large swollen lumps near one teat.  She must have been keeping the kits from nursing on the front 2 teats leaving only 6 teats for the 12 bunnies.

I noticed the three babies were having trouble, so I let them nurse an extra long time on their mama on Friday night.  I even took them over and let them nurse from Daisy (who is always glad to help in my crazy adventures).  It wasn’t enough, when I woke up on Saturday (my birthday) two of the black bunnies had died.  My suspicion is that they didn’t get to eat one feeding because of the lack of teats and then became progressively weaker and weaker.  With each missed feeding they were being pushed aside more and more easily.  When I let them nurse extra, their sucking powers must have been greatly reduced, and despite the fact that they were trying, they must have not gotten any milk.  I was sad from the loss, but the truth is that 12 babies is a LOT and the fact that they made it that far was a miracle.  Though I don’t hope for any babies to not make it, it is a sheer fact of raising livestock, and I must not let it get me down.

Besides, I had one more sick baby to turn my attention to.  This one was a white baby.  I took it out and let it nurse again and again and again, and it didn’t seem to be improving.  I finally concluded it was not getting any food and I went out to get some kitten formula for it to try to get some food into it.  When I got back from the store the baby was so sick that it was pretty much in its death throes.  It was flopping around much the same way a chicken does when it has been dispatched.  I was sure that it was gone.  My sister even watched me futliely trying to feed it, and she offered to take it outside and put it out of its misery.  I decided to persist.  I fed it as much as I could force down its throat and put it back into the nesting box very much expecting to find a dead rabbit when I checked next.

I found the opposite.  The bunny seemed to be a little more lively, and though it still looked sickly, it was much improved.  It was no longer flopping around, and it was willing to respond to stimuli.  I fed it again that night expecting to find a dead rabbit in the morning.

Much to my surprise, on Sunday morning, the bunny was alive and was much stronger than before.  It seemed to be a fighter.  My sister was eyeing the bunnies thinking they were wonderful, and when she saw that this rabbit was going to need hand feeding she offered to “take it off my hands for me.”  Bunnies have a survival rate of about 10% when taken away from their moms, and from the look of it when they took it, I was thinking maybe it had a 50% shot of making it.  She reports to me now that the bunny is doing really well.  It is happy and fuzzy and playful.  Its ears are standing up, and they can barely keep it out of trouble.  I suppose that it is fitting that the bunny be allowed to be a pet after making it through such an ordeal.  So, I started with 12 meat rabbits, lost 2 to unfortunate circumstances, and another to my loving sister and her family.

This is what the bunny looked like as I was getting it ready to send off.  It looks sad and sickly.  I still ask my sister every time I talk to her if the bunny is still alive, and she assures me that we are past the point of having to worry about it.

Mama bunny is still having mastitis problems.  I have her a round of penicillin, which seems to help, but she still has a really big lump around one teat.  The bunnies are nursing on that area now though, and I check to make sure they are all getting fed every time.

I moved the bunnies out full time to be with their mom, so if they are getting too hungry they can chase her and ask her for milk if necessary.  She is taking good care of them.

They have started to eat pellets and drink water following her lead, so I think that things are going to be find with the rest of them.  After all, they are a little over 3 weeks old at this point.

This is a beautiful black bunny.

This is a lovely white bunny.

That is the update from bunny land.  Hopefully it will be a lot less problematic from here on out, but I am curious to see if Thing 2 has a litter this next week.

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Baby Countdown


I am in a discussion board online with other people due around the same time that I am.  One of the ladies just had the baby.  Though it is a bit early, the baby was totally fine and didn’t need to spend any time in the NICU!  It really started to hit home the fact that I could have a baby at some point soon.  I am totally ready, but my world may be turned upside down for a while.  I would like to get some projects completed first before I go leaping head first into newborn land.

I realized that we have very little time to get some big projects done around the house, so Jared and I spent Sunday attacking them.  Everything on my list got done, which is amazing.  The old chicken coop was turned into pieces to make future rabbit hutches if necessary.  The garage got cleaned out.  I spent several hours cleaning out the car interior.  It is perfect.  I even put the infant car seat in because I have had people coming places with me that have little babies.  We might as well put it in and leave it in at this point.

I even got all the projects from the backyard handled.  Jared took apart the chicken run from the meat birds and helped break it down.  I am no longer doing the meat bird thing in this small space we have.  I cleaned all the chicken pens and reduced my chores to just the chickens and the rabbits–much less than a week ago.

Daphne has been really wonderful and helpful lately.  She LOVES taking care of the baby bunnies.  She can’t get enough of holding them.  I moved the angora babies out with their mom yesterday during the day, and they are spending the night out there tonight.  Daphne will miss going to get them herself, but I am sure that she won’t lack time playing with them.

Of course mama gets to help play too.  That is a rabbit on top of my very pregnant belly.

And a rabbit snuggling down in my shirt.

The babies want to be just like mama.  They are learning to drink from the water.

And they are learning to eat out of the feeder.

Curious little buggers.

They sure do like to hang out on mama.  Look at the bunny under mama trying to nurse.  Daisy really is not totally thrilled with 8 babies running around demanding that she play.  It has been exceptionally hot here recently, and I am sure it is not easy to cool off with youngsters sitting on you.

All the white bunnies together.  Look at how exhausted and hot Daisy looks.

All the bunnies in the box.

They like to explore.

This is Thing 1 nursing her babies.

She really is a pretty rabbit.

The babies opened their eyes over the past two days, and it really does a lot to make them look cute.

It got really hot outside, so I rigged some extra shade for the bunnies to hang out of.  It is a real high tech solution.

The chickens got some shade for their nest boxes, and they started to use them again.  This completes almost all of the things that need to be done for the chickens.

The chicken run is now almost complete except for a 15 minute fence repair I hope to make it to this week.

Big news!  We got a garage door opener.  We can now park the car in the garage.  The car is clean, the garage is clean, and the car stays out of the hot weather for the small children riding in it.  This has made a wonderful improvement in our lives.

A clean car in a clean garage, what a great feeling for a pregnant woman.

I packed a to-go bag for the baby to go to the birth center with me.  I’ve got clothes and diapers.  For now, all this stuff is sitting on the freezer in the garage, but it will soon just live permanently in the car.  I made a bag of things for Daphne to eat and to do while she comes with us.

I made Daphne some wipes for a baby we are going to give her when our baby is born.  They went in the Daphne to go bag to the birth center.  I think she will appreciate them.

Daphne sure loves to hang with her daddy.

I am feeling really tired as the end of being pregnant draws near.  My birthday is on Saturday, and I feel like there is an awful lot that needs to get done before I have no more energy.  My feet are starting to swell up and I am having trouble doing the same things I could do fairly easily only a few weeks ago.  I spend a lot less time on the computer because it is not good for my feet or my morale, so that is why I have been skipping days and not posting things like my no dairy, no sugar ice cream recipe.  All in good time.  There are plenty of adventures to be had.  Until then, I am going to join my baby in this position.

The Rabbit Plan


The baby rabbits sure are getting big.  I don’t feel like they are making as many changes lately, so photographing them every other day or so seems to be working fine.  However, I do still see the changes when I photograph them.

The Angora bunnies are getting bit.  Their toenails are pretty sharp, so Daphne loves to play with them, but she often ends up with little scratches everywhere.  They go away quickly, but I feel the sharp little claws when I hold them as well.  For whatever reason, when Daphne goes to get a rabbit to play with, she only gets the white bunnies.  I am not sure if she prefers them or if those are the only ones she can see in the dark with the light off.  I much prefer it that way.

It looks like Thing 1 is a wonderful mama.  She is able to keep up with producing for all 12 of the babies.  She hops in the box no matter what time I bring it out to feed them, and she stays long enough to get them all fed.  I have not had a problem in the last few days when I checked with anyone needing more food.  Even the small and runty baby I was talking about before really started to pick up speed and can no longer be distinguished from the other rabbits.  When I brought them in from nursing today, I discovered that someone that its eyes open, so they are really starting to progress a lot.  The baby that was wounded is completely better.  I did have to spend time draining it every day, but the TLC paid off, and it is now running around with just a small scar that is working to heal.  It looks like all 12 are happy and are going to make it with no problem!

The Angora rabbits are also progressing a lot.    They have learned to hop and they can get in and out of the nesting box with no problems.  I noticed that they were trying to much on their mamas food the other day, so I gave them a little bit of pellets to chew on.  They were very happy.  So, they are starting to eat.  I put them outside with mama today during the day so that they could nurse more and so that she could be in charge of them.  If they are old enough to cause trouble, they are out of my disciplinary range.

They sure are getting cute, and they hear about it every time I talk to them.

Looking more and more like Angoras every day.

The chocolate candidate.

This is “Blaze” with the white leg (not a good thing).

I have been doing a lot of evaluation of the rabbitry lately, and I think that I have come to a conclusion of where I want to go.  This may not be the plan that works out in the next week or even in the next year, but I’ve weighed all my options and made all of my decisions.

I currently have 1 100% German Angora doe, 2 100% Californian does (these are meat rabbits), 1 ~80% Black German Angora Doe, 1 ~80% Blue German Angora Doe, a 60% Torte German Angora Buck and a Black 50% German 50% French Angora Buck.  That is a lot of information to take in, but the important thing to consider is the percentages and the breeds.

I LOVE the German Angora breed.  They are large rabbits, have lovely temperaments and they produce a very dense wool.  Since I keep them for their fiber, I like this.  My 100% German doe eats the same as the other does and produces MUCH more wool every 90 days.  Also, the German breed is a white breed, and though I do like the colors that can be gotten by crossing German and French, when all is said in done in spinning, I can dye white any color I want.  I am limited with the other colors.

I am also enjoying the idea of raising rabbits for meat animals.  There are so many benefits and so few drawbacks.  With raising meat chickens, it is a fast project, but it is a smelly project and a project that ANYONE ends up hating at the end.  The birds have been engineered over the last 50 years to grow MUCH more quickly than is healthy.  Though I do appreciate the feed conversion, I don’t appreciate how unnatural it is.  The birds are disgusting.  They don’t forage, and they die quickly from various health problems if kept longer than 12 weeks.  Though I do plan to raise a few birds once a year to have a chicken dinner here or there for my family, I do not plan to use Cornish Cross in the future.  That leaves me with the problem of having a much tougher bird that takes 2 times a long (and 2 times as much feed) for a smaller bird.  These are the drawbacks.

Rabbits are a completely different story.  Rabbits can finish to 5-6 pounds in about 8-9 weeks.  They are raised entirely by their mothers at that time.  Though the feed conversion is about half that of the Cornish Cross chickens, it is a pretty good conversion, especially considering that the babies nurse from their mother for the first 3 weeks almost exclusively.  A lot of people think that rabbit tastes a lot like chicken, some people can’t tell the difference.  It is one of the most nutritious meats available in our market.  It has more protein and less fat than any commonly eaten meat.  And yet, it is something that is disregarded by and large by mainstream America (Europe appreciates rabbit).

I bought two Californian meat rabbits last year with the intention to breed.  They are Thing 1 and Thing 2.  Now that I am in the middle of raising them, I am realizing that keeping 2 may not be necessary for my own personal meat.  Rabbits can be bred 4 times a year, and they produce average litters of about 8.  If I kept my one meat rabbit in heavy production, I would have 32 rabbits from this one doe alone.  I don’t need to double that.  As it is, 32 is enough to roast whole rabbit almost every Sunday dinner througout the year!  I have decided that I am going to sell Thing 2, and keep Thing 1 for this purpose.  Thing 1 is turning out to be a great rabbit.  She is a great mother now that she has figured out she is supposed to nurse the babies.  She instinctively had the kits in the nesting box, and they survived.  A lot of first-time moms are air-headed and have the rabbits on the wire, where they eventually die from exposure.  Though she had a very aggressive temperament (I have scars on my belly from one particular episode), she has mellowed out incredibly since having the babies.  She is definitely on my keeper list.  I am selling Thing 2 because she hasn’t produced a live litter for me yet.  She lost her first litter and did not take to being rebred.  That’s not a terrible sign, she can be bred, that just is the decision a breeder has to make.  Who has the best characteristics?

I NEEDED a mature buck very badly so that I could breed the meat rabbits before a year of age (rabbits get harder and harder to breed as they get older).   I spent almost a year looking for a meat specific buck, but I was unahppy at the thought of keeping a meat animal around simply for breeding 4 times a year. I found someone who was selling out of their Angora herd, and she had a 50% French 50% German rabbit for sale.  I bought him.  He is the daddy of both of the litters I currently have on the ground.

Angora rabbits are a dual purpose breed.  They can be used for meat and for fiber.  Though a lot of fiber people will tell you that it is horrible to butcher such a lovely creature, I tend to stand with the other breeder who believe that it is a responsible thing to cull out the rabbits only keeping and/or selling the ones that exhibit the best of the breed.  Don’t pass on characteristics that don’t help set the breed standard.  The most commonly used Angora breed for meat is the French Angora.  I was happy to use my buck (his name is Poe) to breed to the meat rabbits.  Not only will the stock exhibit excellent meat characteristics, I am not being forced to keep a meat-specific buck around who I am only feeding for his breeding ability.  This is a win-win situation.  That said, I am not planning to keep this particular buck forever.  His hair has too much guard hair in it for me, so I hope to retire him at some point and use him for fiber only.

What I would like to do is obtain a 100% German buck OR breed Daisy to a 100% German buck.  I will then be able to keep any kits from the litter that work for my purposes and sell the rest.  That would go a long way to making a start to a German herd to preserve any lines that I want and still have the wool density and the sweetness of the German Angoras.

On the meat line, I plan to find a 100% French buck that I can use to breed to the meat doe/s.  This will give me the best meat body available while still maintaining animals that produce for me as well.  As soon as Thing 1 runs out her life span, I will consider replacing her with a 100% French Angora doe and breeding her for meat purposes.  The French have coloring in them unlike the Germans, so I can also add any color to the herd that I like.

As for the other three colored animals I have, I have no plans for them.  I enjoy very much having the color around, so they will stay in the herd for my own purposes and pleasure, which is just fine with me.

Currently, this means that I need to set up an appointment to butcher the young litter I have, since they are meat rabbits.  I need to have room for them in the freezer!  That is a lot of meat produced.  I have also decided that any of the black Angoras that are not suitable for me will also go to the butcher at that time.  One of the black ones has a white foot, another has a white leg and yet another is looking like it will not be black at all.  I will keep the bunny if it is going to be chocolate colored, but anything else is undesirable at this point.  The REW (Ruby-eyed-white) babies will all be for sale, since they are looking very good in many regards right now.  I’m glad Daphne likes playing with the REW rabbits the best because they need the socialization!

Today, I didn’t feel well


Ok, so this really applies to the last two days.  This weekend Jared was hit with some kind of bug that wiped him out completely on Sunday.  It made the rounds, and I finally got it on Tuesday.  Yesterday morning, I was sitting down, and I literally had NO energy to do anything.  I sat with Daphne and sang songs to her for a while, which always makes her happy.  She wasn’t interested in being too active either.  The weather is getting pretty hot here, so besides getting a bit of cleaning done and just spending time with Daphne, the morning was a total wash.

I saw a popcorn commercial a few days ago when I was hungry late at night.  Of course I went to the kitchen and made some for myself.  I love popcorn with lots of butter.  I always think that I am going to make too little, but the pot always overflows with popcorn.  It’s OK.  Daphne enjoyed the leftovers the next day.

Whenever I pull the camera out, Daphne loves to give me smiles.

Check out the dirty face!

My friend Rebecca came over during the afternoon and we went to the Nature Preserve sponsored by the Rotary Club in Mcminnville.  It is a lovely little spot to go for a walk, and it wasn’t so big that we got lost.  Rebecca has a baby that is about a month old, so the walk was nice for everyone.  Daphne loved seeing the river and the wild flowers growing everywhere.  I think it will be a place that I go back to more and more as it gets hot.

I still didn’t feel really well this morning, but I decided to put on a good face and try to do some of the usual activities that we do on Wednesdays.  I managed to make it to the grocery store, and Daphne was so helpful.  She helped me push the cart around, and she didn’t fight me at all, it was such a relief.

Even though story time is not happening for another month, we went to the library to return some books and get some more books.  Daphne was thrilled.  Of course, nothing is better than watching the hampsters run around.  They have been asleep every other time we have stopped to look at them, so she was thrilled to see them running around.

After the library, we ate a snack while playing in the park and went swimming.  Daphne was wiped out when we got home, so she ate her burrito and took a nice long nap for me.

I’ve been wanting to make something special for the past little bit.  Though I’m not craving sugary things really, I do enjoy a nice treat here and there.  I had some marscapone cheese in the fridge, so I decided to make a tiramisu.  I used a recipe from Food Network, but I altered it to have almost no sugar.  Instead of ladyfingers, I made some cookies that were whole wheat with no sugar (recipe coming soon).  I dipped the cookies in coffee instead of using ladyfingers.  It looked really good, but I haven’t had it yet because it is still setting.

I managed to sit down and completely my lovely one-size fitted diapers.  Julie and I have been working on them for some time.  I will post some photos tomorrow.  I think that I will not be able to stop, and the second I finished them I considered making some more.

Since it was so hot out, I took Daphne outside with me to do some chores.  She enjoys running around out there.  She helped me water all the rabbits and she made a nice attempt at watering the garden.  I have a lot of chores to do now that I have chickens and baby rabbits going.  Thankfully, I’ve got an appointment to butcher my chickens on Friday, and I must say that I am not one big sad about it.  They look like mindless drones to me.  I got a quick photo of them sitting in the shade this afternoon behind the fence.  Maybe you will see the same ugliness I see in them.

I decided to clean out the nesting boxes the baby rabbits were in.  I took them all out and let them play outside for a while while I did it.  You can see the size difference for sure now.  The meat rabbits are getting hair on them now though, and they will have their eyes open by the end of the weekend, so I think that they will look like rabbits soon.

Can you find 20 babies here?

The angora bunnies are getting more and more cute every day.  They look like real miniature rabbits, and it is hard to believe that 10 mintues of nursing a day has gotten them as big as they are.  Their ears stand up, and their eyes are open.  They even are getting the hopping motion down.  Though they sleep all day with no attemps to get out of the nesting box, the second I put them down outside they started to hop all over the yard, especially my little odd colored man.  I need to figure out what color this is.  It sure does have a lot of personality, and I would be sad if it exhibited the broken agouti gene.  I’m having a hard time deciding who to cull, and the faster I find out the faster I can attach or detach myself from this bunny.

The little white bunnies sure are cute though!

Of course, Daphne is helping me socialize the bunnies.  They get held and played with ALL THE TIME!

I decided that I wanted to make a really nice dinner so that I don’t hate eating food so much.  I had thawed some Sirloin steaks, so I got busy.  I made a Ceaser salad, rosemary potoato fries and steak with mushroom, leek and scallion.  It sure was tasty.  The meat is from our family ranch, and it was cooked perfectly, so nice and tendar.  Daphne had no problem getting bites of it down, which is not the case with all meats.  I sure am excited to get some Tiramisu soon to wash it all down.

I managed to sit down and spin a few rolags of Angora fiber last night while Jared sat and talked to me.  It was nice.  I plan to do the same thing again in a few moments providing that there is nothing else that needs my attention on the computer.

We Went to a Fair, Monday, May 25, 2009


Mondays are usually pretty boring around here.  It is always sad to send Jared back to work and be “on my own” even though he is on the other side of the door if I really need him.

I spent about 2 hours this morning cleaning the house.  I got the laundry sorted out and cleaned the bathrooms.  I even managed to get on my hands and knees to scrub the floor in the bathroom and the laundry room.  There are still so many little things sitting around the house that need to be put away.  As I slowly work on it, I realize that I am getting closer and closer to having the baby, and all this work is not for naught.

I finally moved into the kitchen to get some good food going to keep me energized.  I decided to make some jerky.  I have some rump roasts in the freezer from our family’s ranch.  I thawed one out this weekend so that I could get some jerky made.  After cutting it with the grain into thin slices, I got it soaking in vinegar.  According to my preserving class, soaking the meat in vinegar for 10 minutes before marinating it will help to kill any microorganisms that might survive the drying process.  I then got it in the marinade.  I will be breaking out the dehydrator again tomorrow so that I can have jerky for snacking on.  I sure hope the jerky turns out to be tasty.  It just looks like raw meat now.

After several days of dehydrating onions, I finally got them all done.  That sure was a lot of onions to dry out.  You dry them to paper like consistency.

After spending a minute or two in the food processor, I had made onion powder!

I happened to hear on the radio that that Multinomah County Fair happens on Memorial Day Weekend.  I decided that I was going to check it out on Monday if it was still going on.  I discovered that today was the last day.  It is only a 3-day fair.  Even though Multinomah County is the most populated county in the state, it is also the least agricultural.  County Fairs seem very agricultural to me, so I was unsure of what to expect.  The good news is that it was a free event, so even if it totally didn’t work out, I was only out the gas it took to get there and get back.  I invited Julie to come with me. and she accepted.

I DID have quite a bit of fun, but it was definitely my least favorite of all the fairs I have been to.  There were no livestock, ZERO.  The “rabbit show” that we saw was simply a display of many different breeds of rabbits that were sponsored by a local company.  People voted on their favorite breed.  Though I liked seeing the different breeds, one of my favorite things about county fairs is seeing youth involved in worthwhile learning actitives.  This seemed to be more centered on the rides, which I had no interested in participating in.

We did find ways to have fun.  We managed to watch the duck races, which Daphne thought were mildly interesting.

They also had a great little tent with activities like what we saw at the Agricultural Festival.  Daphne especially LOVED the corn sand box.  I have an idea to make her a sandbox so that she can play in it.  She really has been interested in the sandbox idea lately.

Daphne even got to milk a cow (no, not a real cow).

She also got a chance to do her own duck racing.

We had an awful lot of fun, but it’s not the kind of fun that I would expect from a fair.  I am looking forward to taking Daphne to the Yamhill County Fair and the Harney County Fair later this summer.

When I got home, I had chores waiting for me.  I fed the baby bunnies and fed my family (we had duck)!

The baby bunnies are doing well.  Thing 1’s babies seem to be hanging on.  As long as I keep the wound open and let it heal from the inside out, the wounded bunny seems to be doing well.  In fact, it has the most full belly of all the kits today (the little porker).  The skinny bunny is definitely still the smallest and the thinnest, but I let it nurse extra, and it never really has been lacking in food or starving.  I think that it will make it just fine as long as I keep an eye on it, it might just grow more slowly until the bunnies can eat pellets in 2 weeks.  They look cute in their nesting box.  That’s a lot of bunnies.

The Angora bunnies are a little more active these days in their nesting box.  Though, they do still spend a good amount of time asleep.  They will go out with their mama when they get more adept at hopping both out and back in to their box.  I have no need to have baby bunnies scrambling about the house when they are safe with their mama.  I estimate that I’ll move them out on Saturday.

They sure are cute with their eyes fully open and their ears up.  They are learning to hop like their mama, and it is cute to see them take their first hops.  They have been shaky on their feet until now.

Where am I (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) Edition


I am liking the format of summarizing what has gone on throughout the day.  They have been a little bit long lately, but I have some ideas to whittle them down and still provide other useful posts.  I am having ahard time sitting down at the end of the day.  It makes me extremely uncomfortable to sit down and do anything, and by the time I have read my email, I barely have any tolerance left to sit and type.  I’m debugging this, but that is why it’s been 3 days since I posted anything.

Sharing lots of photos has helped a lot with me documenting my life more.  Some weeks I used to go without picking up the camera at all, and I don’t like that at all.  Though not all the photos I am taking lately are professional quality photos, I am working on my photography skills in general, which is important right?

Friday was a fantastic day.  I try to go on lots of outings during the week to keep Daphne happy and busy and to keep me from going stir crazy in the house.  One of the regular things I do on Friday morning is go to Scotty’s.  It is a local play place that is indoors.  It is run by a church that allows free admission.  It has such a clean and friendly atmosphere, and it is nice to let Daphne play how she feels like for an hour or so.

The big news for Friday is that we went strawberry picking.  Though we are getting closer to that time of year, it is still a little bit early to get out and get lots of berries.  We got some rhubarb the other week from our CSA, and I froze it so that I could pair it with some strawberries to make some jam.  The early berries are great for jam because you don’t want to use overripe fruit in your jams.  I’ll post a little tutorial on the jam in another post.  The goal of picking strawberries was to get enough to make a batch of jam and to eat for a few days to satisfy the spring berry craving.

This is the third season that I have been berry picking with Daphne, and I must admit that I really love it.  The first year I just put her in a sling.  Last year, I just sat her down with a bucket of berries, and she ate whatever she wanted.  This year, she was actually helpful–well sort of.  You see, we are still working on colors, so when I told her to pick the red berries that sometimes meant that I got green berries.  She was so excited to help, so I spent a lot of time going around finding ripe berries and letting her pick them.  She really liked that.  The only problem is that she made up a rule that any berries she picked she got to eat, so a lot of the berries that I found, she ate (harumph).  All in all, it was a blast, and I totally plan to revisit next Friday to get some more yummy berries for eating next week.  The berries were totally gone by bedtime on Saturday.  It’s not like we love berries around here at all.

When I got the berries home, I washed them up and took about half of them for jam.  We only managed to pick a little less than 4 pounds in the 2 hours we were out there.  The picking was slim, and having a baby to watch really didn’t help.  However, those 4 pounds cost us only $4.  If we were to buy them already picked, we would have been paying $3 per pint.  Besides, they can’t weigh the berries that are in your tummy by the time you make it back to the register, and let’s just say there were a few of them in there.  (Ok. in all fairness, I held great restraint in eating while picking because I understand that not getting paid for something you grew is more than unfair).

While I was in the kitchen getting things ready for jam, I also got some onions on the dehydrator.  I decided to dehydrate all the onions that I had and make onion powder out of it.  This is the method I use for my veggie salt (yes, recipe coming soon, I promise).  I had WAY more onions than my dehydrator could handle, so the third batch is in there drying as I type this.  They should be done tomorrow.  The 2 batches I already did have been food processed into powder and put in a bag to be used in future cooking endeavors.

While Daphne took a nap on Friday I managed to get out and work on my herb garden.  I have always wanted an herb garden.  I had a pretty sucessful amout of herbs come out of the garden last year, but I was hoping to increase it this year.  I actually pulled up all the mature plants I had and ended up moving them around to put them all in the optimum space to grow me more herbs.  Now I have Greek Oregano, Chocolate Mint, Thyme, Marjorum, Parsley, Rosemary and Bay Laurel.  I am happy with the new arrangement, and if the plants don’t show any more shock from being moved, everything will go on for a nice herb season.



I made some tacos for dinner on Friday, and they were tasty.  The strawberries made a fantastic dessert with some fresh whipped cream I managed to whip up.

Saturday and Sunday were rather uneventful.  Unfortunately, the camera is really giving me problems.  The battery is almost dead, and I misplaced the charger and the spare battery.  I’ve been through the entire house trying to find it to no avail.  I skipped 2 days of bunny photos because I knew I was almost out of batteries, and nothing else got photographed either.  I’m hoping to find the battery tomorrow, otherwise, I am going to be very sad.

I made some progress sewing the elastic into my diapers and then serging them.  I have very few steps left before my one-size fitted diapers will be totally done.  They are looking really beautiful, and it makes me feel good to have lovely diapers.

Jared and I took Daphne to the park today today play around.  Carlton was really hopping with people out wanting to taste wine for the Memorial Day Holiday.  More power to them.  Our town is so lovely because these kinds of events really do bring in a lot of money for the local people.  I don’t mind sharing our little piece of Heaven with people on the weekends.

The bunnies are doing really great!  I can’t believe the changes I have seen in the Angora kits since they opened their eyes.  It seems that the black ones did it a lot faster than the white ones, which I assume is related to the fact that all the white bunnies are albinos.  Now that they have their eyes open, they are becoming more and more adventurous.  Though they are still staying in the nest box for now, I have a feeling that that will change over the next few days.  As soon as they can get in and out without problems the kits are going back out with mama.  They are getting good socialization for sure, but their mama can do a better job raising them than I can when there is no danger of them being killed from the cold nights.  They do spill out to get their mama when it it time to nurse.

Happy babies in the nest.

I’ve still got my attention on Thing 1’s babies.  There are 12 of them, so though she happily nurses them when I sit with her and help her, she only has 8 teats (it might actually only be 7).  That means that some of the little porkers get fed really well while the rest of them get little to eat.  The little bun that I  noticed was small and hungry the first day that held it’s own, but I am seeing less and less growth.  I can feel the ribs of the baby, and when I check to see that everyone is full at the end of the feeding, I am always finding that there are consistently 2-3 that need more to eat.  Thing 1 has had no problem with me giving them extra nursing time, but I’m not sure that she has the milk supply for it.  I would just foster them over to Daisy, but the week difference is HUGE in rabbit time, so I think it would be a worse situation.  I actually did end up letting them nurse from Daisy before her own babies got a chance tonight.  They seemed to be more full and happy than usual, but they were still very much more skinny compared to brothers and sisters.  If they manage to keep their own for another few days, their chances of long-term survival is greatly improved.  I’ll continue to foster nurse them and make sure that they get plenty to eat.

Chaos at feeding time.

This is a well fed nest of bunnies.

I have some other bad news.  The first day that Thing 1 had the babies, she was a little air headed, and she scratched one of the babies.  The wound looked like it was pretty bad, but manageable.  Over the next several days, I looked for the wounded baby (it is a black baby), but was never able to find the problem again, so I assumed it was not a problem or that it had healed.  On Friday night I was checking to make sure they all got fed and one of the black babies had  a misshaped tummy.  When I looked at it, it was in fact the wounded baby, and the wounds had gotten infected.  The hair in the nest had attached to the wound opening closing it so that it would not drain properly and so large absesses were growing.  I thought the baby was a gonner.  However, I cleaned out the wound (I’ll spare the gory details) and let the baby nurse an extra amount.  I’ve been keeping an eye on it every day.  I was sure the baby would die that night, but when I checked to see that everyone had eaten tonight, the wounded baby was the most feisty and the best fed of all the kits.  I’m not totally out of the woods on it yet, because it is still infected and needs to be cleaned 2 times a day, but every second the baby lives and is not listless and on its way down gives it a better chance of recovery and survival.  My hopes are high.

I took some family photos for Julie recently, and Daphne tagged along with me.  She thought she needed to be in many of the photos.  I did end up taking photos of her to oblige her, but she was so out of place in many of the photos I took!

She was trying to mimic a pose one of the girls was doing.

It must have been as good a time as any to take off the clothes and run around.

This is a blooper of the family, but Daphne really doesn’t belong either!

Always my little model.

This was in the middle of all the other photos.  Daphne really loves to sit at her stool like it is a little table.  This is how she ate lunch on Saturday.  A nice tasty Oregon burrito was consumed at her own little table.

Consider yourself updated.  Until tomorrow.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I’ve been meaning to clean the car for a long time.  It back back from California with a lot of food bits everywhere, and it really just needed a good cleaning.  Being the pregnant nesting woman that I am, of course I’ve been worried about the dust that has collected under the place where the glass hatch opens in the back.  I spent an hour this morning cleaning out the back half of the car.  It is much improved, but I still know there is a lot to be done.  I spent another hour in the evning before dinner cleaning sections of the outside of the car that were dirty.  There sure were a lot of bugs stuck on to the front of the car, and I’m not sure that all of them are ever going to come off.  A girl can dream can’t she?

It was doctor appointment day.  Jared had his yearly appointment with his surgen and I went to the midwife and to the imaging people to get an ultrasound.  I haven’t posted a lot lately about the Gestational Diabetes I’ve been working with.  That is partly due to the fact that I’ve been processing a lot and partly because I have little to nothing figured out.  It seems that the problem is my 12 hour fasting levels much more than my levels after eating.  On Saturday I eneded up eating a hamburger, fries and fried asparagus at Burgerville.  Though it was pretty good food, it really sent my blood sugar out of control.  I got really worried, upset and overwhelmed by it, but it turns out it wasn’t even that bad (167, 2 hours after eating).  I am still sorting out what to do.  After seeing the midwife today I feel more comfortable.  It turns out that there is NO glucose in my urine, not even the amount for normal people.  That is a good sign because it shows that things aren’t terribly out of control.  I think the hardest part of this whole thing is that I have had to break my sugar habit.  I have been addicted to sugar for at least 6 years.  The fact that sugar could be really harmful to me and my baby and ruin my VBAC has really stopped me from eating any of it.  Though I still LOVE to eat sweet things, I don’t really have much of an urge to sit and eat sweet things all day long.  On the flip side, I’ve really lost interest in food in general, so it has become more of a chore to eat than the culturally wonderful thing that it used to be for me.  I’m sure this will improve over the next couple of months.  Of course, I wouldn’t turn down a watermelon slice if someone offered it to me, and I do plan to pick strawberries tomorrow, so I do have some guilty pleasures still, just not the chocolate cake and ice cream of yesteryear.

I am glad that I got to meet with the midwife today.  She will not be working during the month of June, so I will likely see her next time at the birth and that is all.  I have 2 midwives, so someone is always available to me, it was just nice to meet with her and get things sorted out.

One thing that is cool is that I plan to make a birth sling that can be attached to the ceiling at the birth center.  It is something that has been used for many hundreds of years in other cultures, but it is not common here.  It is something that can be leaned on during labor or pushing to make things easier.  I am making it for me to see if it would be helpful in my own labor, but I plan to donate it to the birth center when I am done.  In exchange, they are going to set up the hardware for it to hang from the ceiling securely.  That’s a pretty good deal.  This is the room that I plan to have the baby in.  The tub is wonderfully HUGE!

Daphne came to my appointment with me.  She was really good as long as there was something to occupy her.  You have no idea how much fun a tourniquet is until you are a 2 year old!

I am very much interested in an intervention free pregnancy.  It recently was brought up to me that I might want another ultrasound to determine the placenta placement and try to see how the baby is doing.  We want the placenta and the cord to be as far away from the scar as possible.  It turns out that everything looks fine.  It was nice to see the baby and make sure that everything was fine.  I am measuring a little bit ahead, but that means nothing, it is all based on averages, and everything is well within normal range.

When we got home this afternoon it was time to dig in to make some bread.  The dough was a little bit wet, which is odd because it was a pretty dry day.

Daphne seems to think that bread dough is the best thing to eat in the house, and I couldn’t keep her away from it.  I don’t really mind at all, and it makes for a happy baby..

Look at all the dough and flour on her face!

The bread turned out perfectly though!

After dinner I turned the table over to clean it.  We got a new table from Jared’s grandma Lois.  It is a big of an heirloom.  I love the table, but it was a bit dirty, so it needs some cleaning (and possibly a sanding and restaining.  Daphne found a new use for the table.  Looking awful medieval.

Thing 1 is turning into a much better mama.  She jumped in to nurse the babies today both times I took her the box, and it made me feel better.  I think she trusts me more now.  My decision to keep them inside was confirmed when one of them held on to the teat while Thing 1 jumped out of the box.  I was busy feeding other animals and didn’t notice for a while.  The baby was very cold and limp when I got back to it less than an hour later.  I let it nurse again and then put it in with its litter mates.  It seems to be doing fine, but if I had not gone to take the box back away from her, the baby would not have made it.  This has happened on at least 3 other occasions with Daisy as well.

They are still small, but they are all getting fed and they are growing nicely.  I think we are out of the clear on losing any of them at this point, but I wouldn’t put any money on it yet.

Here is a comparison of the two boxes.  The older bunnies sure do show a difference in growth.  They have started to spread out over the litter box, and they get comfy.

All of the black babies have their eyes open now, but none of the white babies.  All in good time, I am not worried about it.  I also discovered yesterday that one of the black bunnies is not actually black.  It might be chocolate or agouti.  I need to wait a bit and ask some people who know more than me.  If it is a chocolate torte, I will keep the bunny in my own herd.

They look like little baby rabbits now rather than hairless rats.

I found a snake in the back yard today, so Jared was sent out to cut the grass.  Even though it was a harmless snake, I don’t like them, and they tend to make feasts out of baby rabbits when possible.

Strawberry picking tomorrow as well as some other gardening projects.

Until then…

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