What a Day

May21

I really like the blog format where I post what went on during the day along with photos.  There are also definitely posts that deserve their own spot, but for now I am going to try to make this work.

I have been carrying the camera around with me a lot more lately, which really helps me document the day and the things that go on.  One of the only things I have from my mom (who died when I was 3) was a journal that she kept about what was going on and the changes I was making as a person.  I hope to pass this on to my future family.

The only problem with a daily post is that at the end of the day sitting on the computer is the last thing that I really want to be doing.  I’ve gotten everything else done I HAVE to have done, but I’m still feeling exhausted, and I want to go to bed.  Thank goodness we have laptop I can use to post while in bed.

We have a lot of potatoes that we got from the CSA over the past several weeks that I have been unable to find a use for.  Jared suggested that I try to make a sort of Oregon Burrito with them.  Oregon Burritos are a tupe of burrito that you can get from a local restaurant called Muchos Gracias.  It has steak and potatoes and cheese and other good things in it.  I sliced up the potatoes and fried them up in the grease that was left over from making my morning sausage.  I also added some home made veggie salt to it (there is a post coming on this, I’m still experimenting a little).  They came out pretty well.

Today was the last story time for a while.  The library follows a schedule closely related to the local school system.  They stopped doing story time during spring break, and they are taking some time off now during the end of school.  I personally think it is crazy, but no one asked my opinion.  The next story time will be at the end of June, so our Wednesday mornings are going to be empty for the next month.  Of course there were bubbles at the story time, and Daphne had a blast catching them and playing with them.

She is so nice and she brings the bubbles to me to check out when she catches them.

After story time, we headed over to the park to do some playing and eat some food.  Daphne had a blast running around on the play structure, and we even got some eating in as well.

The play structure is really cool!

After eating, we ended up going to the swimming pool to get a good hour of swimming time in.  People are really impressed by Daphne’s bravery in the water, and I must say that I am very proud of her.  I almost feel totally useless as a caregiver in the pool because she is so self sufficient.  I really hope to start teaching her how to swim under the water soon.

The day kind of went downhill from there.  Daphne refused to take a nap when we got home and then her friends showed up.  I spent at least an hour sewing while I was interrupted every few minutes to handle the fact that she would not lay down to take a nap.  I finally gave up at 4:00 and told her that she could come out, but when she does not take a nap it takes a toll on everyone.  She spent the rest of the day totally unhappy and upset.  She was impossible to please and she made a game out of everything she was not supposed to be doing.  It was not a lot of fun.

When I finally managed to coax Daphne into the bedroom, she found her keyboard and sat down to type.  It is not connected to anything, but she informed Jared and I that she was sitting down to type a post on her blog.  I am trying to limit the time that I spend on the computer so I direct more attention to Daphne, but I had NO idea she even knew what a blog was.

I started to feel like the house was a little too messy and out of control so I went on a cleaning spree.  I mainly was worried about the kitchen because even if the smallest bit of food gets left on the counter the ants come in in droves!  What a total pain.  I did manage to get some things put away so that the house felt cleaner.  However, only 2 hours after going to bed, Daphne woke up upset.  I think she was sick.  She keeps telling me that her body hurts.  She was crying and grumpy and inconsolable.  I finally managed to get some things done by putting her in the big bed and letting her watch “Babe.”  However, she didn’t look good.

Thing 2’s litter is doing great.  I think having 12 kits as a first time mom really startled her.  When I went out in the morning she had pulled out a bunch more fur trying to make a nest to convince me to give them back.  She has less trust of me than Daisy does.  She has been reluctant to nurse, so I have had to force her to sit and nurse the babies which has resulted in injuries to 2 of them (while she struggled to get into a different position).  The scratches have healed pretty nicely though.  I have checked to make sure that all 12 have been fed and full each time I have taken them out.  It is hard for me to keep count, so I can imagine how overwhelming it must be to her.  The smaller kits are keeping up with the bigger ones.  They are not THAT much smaller after all.  I’m glad to see that they are aggressive nursers, so the baby I thought I was going to lose is in the clear now.

I am a little more hands off with this litter than with Daisy’s babies.  It is partially out of respect for the mama’s wishes and also because I’m not wanting to get attached to the babies because they are slotted and designated as meat rabbits.  I will love them and take care of them for sure, but making them tame pets probably isn’t the smartest thing to do.

Julie is getting interested in buying a meat doe because of the possibility of a nice meat source that is relatively easier than chickens.

Now you can really see the difference in this litter and Daisy’s babies.

Daisy’s black babies started to open their eyes today!  None of the white babies have yet, but I suspect that is because they are albino or REW (red-eyed white).  They sure are cute with their eyes open, but they are very squinty because all of that extra light seems to be a little overwhelming.

They are still very snuggly in the hand when you hold them.  They are almost too big now to safely hold in one hand.

The last part of the day involved cleaning off all the onions that we harvested from the garden before turning the soil.  We got 12 pounds of green onions.  After letting them dry for about a week and a half I cut out any bad parts or any stems that were not happy and got them ready for my next project with them.  I am going to dehydrate them and add them to my veggie salt (yes, I promise to tell about that more later.)

Tuesday, May 19–Baby Rabbits Day 10

May19

Today was pretty crazy for me.  I’m still working on the cleaning.  I wasn’t as tired as yesterday, so I managed to get some important things done, which is great, but as I walk around the house, I see things that really need to be done.  I am hoping to make some more progress on this tomorrow.  It seems that any speck of food left anywhere brings the ant army back.  The vacuum has been located peremently in the dining room for weeks now.  I finally broke down and bought some Terro at the store today. I am hoping that I will poision the little suckers out of my house.  I’m tired to cleaning them up 3 times a day.  The kitchen is clean enough that they shouldn’t be here at all, but one little nut left on the floor from Daphne’s lunch is enough to bring in a whole hive again.  How frustrating!

Daphne woke up upset this morning telling me that her body was hurting.  After coaxing more information out of her it becamse clear that the had a stomach ache.  I got a lot of breakfast down her, but the only thing that she wanted to do was snuggle her mama.  I spent the morning sitting with her watching TV.  She got to watch Sesame Street, or, as we call it, “Monsters”.  I let her watch about once a week, so it was a nice treat for her.  When I got tired of the TV, I turned it off and sang songs with her.  She likes “Itsy Bitsy Spider”, “I’m a Little Teacup”, “ABCD…”, “There’s a Spider on the Floor” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”  I spent over an hour being told to sing things again and again.  The whole time I was happy to spend time with her and see her smile.  It felt like real quality time.  Snuggling was an important part of the entire process.  She had to be wrapped up in her comfy blanket the whole day as well.  It is called the comfy blanket because a book she got for her birthday called the “Cat Book” refers to putting the cats to bed with a comfy blanket.  This is her comfy blanket.

I got the elastic marked for my diapers so I only have to sit down at the sewing machine now to actually sew the elastic on.  We will have to see when that happens.

The rabbits are definitely growing a lot.  I feel like I have seen a change in them.  They should start opening their eyes in the next day or two, which I think will be a lot of fun.  They are certainly more active now rather than spending the whole day sleeping.  I think it would be nice to see where they are going.  I’m worried about sexing the rabbits because I don’t know if I will botch it.  A lot of people can do it from birth, but I’m just not that good.  They are all just “baby rabbits” to me.  Daphne calls them all “her”, which I can see.  Rabbits are a more feminine animal, and Daphne doesn’t really have the whole male/female pronoun thing down yet.

This is the only bunny that does have a name.  All the black bunnies have a little white stripe on their head, but this one has a leg that is also white.  Unfortunately, it is kind of a flaw, from what I understand, so it might not be sellable, but it is kind of cute.  Maybe someone won’t care about the flaw, but for now I am worried that it might designate the kit as a meat rabbit.  Anyway, this bunny is named Blaze.

I think they are looking much older.

When I gave up on Thing 2 kindling it was time to start worring about Thing 1.  I moved the nest box into her pen, and she was totally happy to start digging in it.  I was almost certain that she was bred, so I stalked her a little last night thinking she would kindle soon.  When I went out to take the angora babies to Daisy, I looked in and saw that Thing 2 had in fact kindled, and I must have just caught her in the act.  There was still fresh blood everywhere, and the babies were still quite damp.  She did a good job though.  She had pulled fur out from her belly and covered them right up like a good mama.

I let her be for a while and then I decided to inspect and make sure they were all alive.  I counted 10 kits at first, which is totally surprising because this is her very first litter.  They were all alive and doing quite well.  I let her be with them for a while.  I went back out later in the day to bring the box in because it was raining and cold, and it turns out that there were actually 12 of them.  She had done such a good job making a nest for them all that I couldn’t find them all at first.  They were all alive but hadn’t been fed yet.  I decided to keep the box until dusk and then return them to her to see if she would nurse them.

There are 6 black and 6 white kits. Do you think you could count them all under that fur and paper?

The progress of the 10 day old litter now is very clear to me.  These bunnies are super small and hairless!

They are all doing Ok for now.  A litter of 12 is really huge, especially for a first-time mom, so I am doing everything I can to keep them alive at this point, but I would not be surprised if I lose one or two of them.  I took them out to nurse around 7 tonight.  The mama was interested in them but not ready to nurse yet.  I ended up putting her in the box with them, and most of them got the hang of it.  However, she wasn’t totally into being helped, so she jumped out before they all got to eat.  She only has 12 teats after all.  I ended up looking through them and finding the ones that had not nursed and getting them latched on to her.  I also found unfortunately that she had stepped on one of them, so he has scratches on his side that I hope will heal up well.  There was one kit that was clearly not done nursing, but despite all my attempts, it would not latch on to its mom.  I even tried letting it nurse Daisy, and though Daisy didn’t mind, the kit just wasn’t interested.  I hope that this is not a bad sign because I would hate to lose one, but only time will tell what is in store for that baby.  I’ve done all I can do at this point.

Daphne thought the apron I was wearing to cook dinner was awful exciting so she took a turn trying it on before going to bed.

I’d like to get some spinning done before heading to bed, but the crying baby in the next room has other plans.

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Monday, May 18–Baby Rabbits Day 9

May19

I’m going back and forth a little bit on how I want to do the blog posts.  Now that I have caught up on older photos and stories, I am free to blog about things that happen throughout the day (and trust me, there is a lot).  My hope is that I will be able to post a “summary” post of the happenings of the day with any photos or updates on life.  That doesn’t mean that I won’t be making other dedicated posts about other things, but a day summary type post could help tie in photos and stories that don’t otherwise really NEED their own blog posts.

Monday was a fantastic day.  I’m entering the very end of my pregnancy, and it really is starting to take a toll on me.  I’ve been working hard trying to get everything done so far so that I wouldn’t have anything to worry about when I got to this point.  Surprise, I’m at that point, and though not EVERYTHING is done, I am at a managable stage where I can remain sane and still take it fairly easy in what I do.

One of my goals has been to get the house in order.  Generally, the house is very clean, but there are random things laying around everywhere that need to go where they belong.  It’s kind of crazy because Ihave to constantly tell everyone to not touch this or that.  If I just spent the time cleaning up and putting things away, I wouldn’t have the problem of having to contstanly clean or chase people around to get things clean.

One of the important things to do was the laundry.  I just love that my little munchkin is old enough to ACTUALLY be useful in some regards.  She puts her stool next to the washer so that she can put things in it, and she actually managed to get the whole load in without much help.

Julie came over to sew after Daphne took her nap.  I have been working on a new style of diaper that I wanted to try out making.  Though I have plenty of diapers, I figure that they always have value, so I can sell them if I realize I don’t use them or don’t like them.  I like having something to sew right now because it keeps me focused and makes me happy.  I don’t think that Jared minds too much.  The diaper I am making is a diaper that is supposed to be one-size fits all.  It is a fitted diaper, so it requires a cover over it, but the one-size concept is really nice.  The only problem is that it requires an awful lot of snaps on it to make it so adjustable.  I’m making 15 of the diapers, so I spent the afternoon getting all the snaps on them.  They are just ready to have elastic sewn in and then to be closed and I will have some new lovely diapers.  I am very happy with the colors I chose to make, and when they are done, I will be posting some photos.  Until then, check out all the snaps.

Of course Julie’s kids wanted to check out the bunnies.  They hadn’t been over since they were born, so the bunnies got plenty of socialization.  They were generally very good with them, and I am happy to have the rabbits be handled by humans.  I’m hoping to sell the Angora rabbits as wool animals, so the more gentle they are the better my case as a breeder is.  Audrey loved the black ones and Copper prefered the white.

I sort of feel like I am taking the same photos over and over of the bunnies, especially the photos of them in their nest.  It seems that the photos look the same every single day, but I’m really starting to see some changes in the bunnies.  Their ears are starting to stand up  like real rabbits, which goes a long way to make them not look like rats.  They are also growing hair at a very fast rate.  Now that we are past the week mark, I am pretty much in the clear that they will all survive.  They are starting to move around a LOT more.  They are agressive nursers now, which I find comforting because at least I know that they are all getting milk.  Mama is happy to nurse them in the morning but more reluctant at night.  Rabbits generally ignore their babies except to nurse them at dawn and dusk.  They are born in such a fragile state that if the mama was to spend time fiddling with them during the day that she would reveal their hiding place to any predators.  The buns have their eyes closed until a week and a half old, so they really have no defense against themselves.  This is why it is viable and successful to keep them inside and take them out to mama.  I don’t like them getting too cold or the possibility of the fact that one could get out of the box at night and die from exposure.  I also like to actually see the mom nurse the babies so that I can check them afterwards to see that they have all been fed.  A litter of 8 is a pretty big litter to care for.

I passed the 36 day mark for Thing 2, which means that she was not bred.  She was lactating, but she must have been experiencing a phantom pregnancy, which happens when you try to breed a doe and she does not actually get pregnant.  I put her back in with the buck, and she was VERY receptive to him, which made me comfortable to know that she was not pregnant.  I have marked my calendar, and I may be doing the baby rabbit routine with her again in 30 days.  I am disappointed that she didn’t kindle.  I have not had the best of luck in the past, but I am feeling that she is definitely bred this time.

When I came in from feeding the animals Daphne was ready to go to bed.  She likes to go into her daddy’s office and lay down on the couch and pretend to sleep.  She wrapped herself up in some fabric that Copper left here and declared she was sleeping in her daddy’s office for the night.  I should have left her there too.  She ended up waking up at 10 pm in her cradle very upset.  It took a good 45 mintues to get her back to sleep.

After I got Daphne to sleep I managed to sit down and card some Angora fiber to spin.  I spent about an hour and a half adding more to my bobbin.  I am excited to fill the bobbin completely so that I can get started on a hat for the baby.

Baby Rabbits Day 8

May18

With the bunnies living inside for now, Daphne really loves to play with them.  I managed to get these photos of her playing with them that really do show how much they’ve grown.

They should open their eyes this week!

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Baby Rabbits Day 7

May17

We were out for most of the day on Saturday, so when I got back to feed the kits, they looked a lot different to me.  Their ears are starting to stick up a bit, which helps make them look even more cute.  They are also growing hair at a fast rate.

I went out to check on them the other day with their mama, and one of them had gotten out of the nest box.  I decided to keep them inside and take them to their mama to nuse to avoid losing one of them.  This has been successful so far because they only eat every 12 hours.

Do they look different to you?

So snuggly.

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Baby Rabbits Day 6

May17

My counting is a little bit off I guess because I counted the day they were born as day 1, or maybe I screwed up somewhere, so I’ll call Sunday day 8 even though that’s a week from when they were born.

I didn’t get a good day 6 photo reall, so here is one of them in the nesting box all sleeping.  Silly bunnies.  They sure do like to jump, sleep and nurse.

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Baby Rabbits Day 5

May14

The weather improved today, so I was able to leave the bunnies out with their mom.  I can definitely see the logic of leaving them inside though.  I am starting to get nervous that they are in danger of wiggling out of the nesting box.  As soon as I see a little bit more movement from them, I think that I will be bringing them inside for the night so that no one wiggles out of the box and is lost to the cold.  Daisy really doesn’t mind when I mother her young, so I’ve not got a lot to worry about in terms of her rejecting them.

Daphne and I spent the morning outside because the weather was finally nice.  I have been trying to get around to planting my garden for almost a month, so I finally forced myself out there to do it.  I have a hard time bending over a lot at this point, so I was not looking forward to it.  It was not TOO bad, and Daphne even managed to help.  I’m hoping to upload some photos of the garden and the garden plan to share soon.

It was nice to spend some time outside with the animals.  They were all very happy, and I got to talk to them and play with them.  Daphne even got to hold the baby rabbits for a while, which really made her happy.  I’m still stalking Thing 2 wondering what is going on.  I’m more worried today than I ever have been that she could possibly not be bred.  She is lactating though.  She hasn’t bothered to make a nest at all.  I guess I will leave the box with her until day 37 and then try re-breeding her.  If I get  a litter out of her, that would be great, but I’ve not had great luck with my rabbits breeding sticking.  In other news, it’s time to put a nesting box in for Thing 1 who is due on Sunday.  She is also lactating, so I’d love to see simultaneous litters out of both of these girls this month.  At least I have something to worry about right?

My nesting box photos today aren’t really good because they were all in contorted positions under eachother.  I tried though.  I am definitely seeing changes in them.  They have much more hair on them than just 5 days ago when they were born.  Their ears are also coming loose and aren’t pinned back flat.  It will be fun to see them open their eyes next Thursday or Friday!

My childhood could have been better if my sister and I had snuggled each other like these two do, rather than the bickering that went on all the time.  As a funny side note, I was thinking the other day about how my sister and cousin tried to sell me at the State Fair for $.05.  Apparently no one wanted me.

Baby Rabbits Day 4

May13

We had awful weather today. It was doing nothing but raining sideways the whole day. The wind has been blowing and it has been non-stop pelting rain. Definitely not a fun day. I decided that it was safest to bring the babies inside during the storm. Even though they are well protected, they could still possibly get wet, and wet cold babies can perish very quickly. So, the nesting box stayed on top of the dryer all day while I checked on them and admired them. I must appreciate that Daisy trusts me so well because she didn’t mind one bit when I took the box from her. When I returned it, she made sure everything was fine and went right back to what she was doing. The babies were well fed when I went to check on them just before it got too dark.

I did clean out the nesting box for them a little bit even though it wasn’t really necessary. One of the bunnies had gotten some wool fiber wrapped around its neck pretty tightly. I was able to catch it before it became a problem, but it made it clear that it was necessary to cut the fiber up into smaller bits for the bunnies. They move quite a bit, so they can get into trouble very quickly. They went back out to their mama with a nice clean, safe nesting box.

Daphne was very happy to hang out with the bunnies while I cleaned the box. She insisted on holding and kissing them as much as her daddy would let her. I think it is good for them to get used to excited children. I like the idea of well-socialized babies, and Daisy doesn’t mind Daphne one bit either.

This little sweetheart spent about a half hour sleeping in my hand while I was getting some other work done. It didn’t mind at all, and I can’t say that I really did either.

They are getting cuter by the day, don’t you think?

I am still stalking Thing 2, but she hasn’t kindled yet. I think she realizes that I am on to her. I am worried that she might not be bred, but that is just paranoia because she IS lactating AND I palpated her and felt some baby buns about 14 days after I bred her. I hope to find a litter out with her in the morning, but you just never can predict these things.

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Hairy Daisy

May13

I posted a photo the day the babies were born of Daisy so that you could see what she looked like.  However, I did manage to take a photo of her before I sheared her about a month ago.  All the photos I see people take of their Angora bunnies have them looking like lovely fluffy little things.  Not only does Daisy’s hair look totally wild in this photo, she looks kind of angry also.  Oops.

I must say that the shearing I took off her in April was by far the best shearing I have had from any of my rabbits, and I was incredibly impressed with her fiber quality.  I plan to enter it into the Yamhill County Fair if I can keep it off my spinning wheel before then.

I am planning to take some nice photos of the bunnies when they all have grown their hair back up so you can track with who looks like what.  Until then, enjoy this photo of a grumpy bunny with wild hair.

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Rabbit Stalking

May12

I wrote last month about the problems I was having with kindling. I’m very happy to be caring for live baby rabbits from Daisy, but I’ve also got my fingers crossed for my bunny Thing 2.

Thing 2 was the bunny that had about 5 premature kits that didn’t make it and 5 more full term babies that didn’t make it. I’m pretty sure that I know what happened at this point, but the important thing was that I re-bred her right away, as I am told is good practice. It’s been a full 31 days, she is actually due today. I gave her a nesting box a few days ago, and I’ve been stalking her ever since. I’m not sure that she totally gets why I keep checking in on her, but I do, and I will continue to until she kindles. It sure would be nice to have a set of live babies to raise. These kits are for meat though as long as my California/Angora cross breeding program has been successful.

And so we wait…

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