30 November 2016

Post-Thanksgiving post

Time flies when you keep yourself busy ... it's already the end of November??  That means my "baby" has had another birthday - he's 23 now.  Wow.

We hosted a small Thanksgiving here, with hubby's parents coming down.  I roasted a Muscovy duck, gifted to us by Frank and Caroline back when I helped them wrangle and castrate piglets and picked my three up.  I think that was September.  Along with the duck, I baked two decent sized sweet potatoes, then steamed some broccoli florets (store-bought, my plants are yet big enough to feed us) and opened a can of cranberry jelly.  Simple but very tasty.
roasted muscovy duck
That's the china platter I intended to send Feyd off on ... he would have filled it just a bit better, I think, but we were denied that by some nighttime predator.

Speaking of nighttime nuisances, egg thief number SIX has been trapped and dispatched.  This one tripped the smaller trap a couple times before finally getting caught in the larger of the traps.
possum number six caught
This one is pretty big, but still acted juvenile by opening its mouth and hissing at me.  I guess it grew up big from eating all those eggs ... the traps are set again, although one of the Flashy Girls sprung the larger trap again, thinking she should lay an egg next to the ones in the back of the trap for bait.

I put enough of a dent in the possum population to load up the incubator on the 1st, and chicks hatched on the 22nd.  I helped three out of the shells, as I had too many eggs in one plastic strawberry basket, but one chick was too weak and one had a dislocated hip, so eight chicks made it out of the incubator to be weighed and put in with Pollux.  The eight weights were: 1.2; 1.3; five at 1.4; and one at 1.5 ounce.  In the week just past, we lost two chicks due to smooshing (it's a technical term), likely from Pollux.  He didn't immediately adopt this group, and it's probably because I didn't take his last chick away soon enough for him to start feeling lonely and inclined to adopt any little ball of fluff.  We even had to set up the heat lamp and a tub of pine shavings for the chicks ... and of course there is always at least one who hops out immediately then cries about being alone and colder.

I weighed the remaining six chicks last evening, and had three weigh in at 1.9; one at 2.2; one at 2.4; and one at a whopping 2.6 ounces.  Next week I will be certain to have a paper bag I can fold closed to weigh them again!  The heat lamp provides just enough light for them to jump out of the plastic strawberry basket.  I know the original eight were five Bigfoot x Feyd's Daughters; two Azar x the Sisters; and one Tiny x the Pretties (the largest, also the surviving one I helped out of its shell).  I don't know which died.

Another note on those plastic strawberry containers: they don't even hold in/out newly hatched chicks.  I used four with the lids cut off to (try to) separate the eggs in the incubator, and it was not long after drying off that the chicks were up and over the sides of the baskets.  Lucky for me, I did not cut off ALL the lids on my stack of baskets, so I can try again with the current batch cooking in the incubator.  I had five breeding groups' eggs in there for that hatch, and this time I limited it to only three breeding groups (Azar x the Sisters; Tiny x the Pretties; and Azar x the Flashy Girls).  No eggs from Feyd's Daughters this time around, as one of the Daughters is broody and has been since the 17th.  She still has that crazed look in her eyes, so she may go the distance despite this being the wrong time of the year for them to go broody.  (NB: Lengthening daylight hours usually triggers those hormones, along with upping egg production just prior to broodiness.)

I'm also working on starting seeds, but I'll save that for another post.

17 November 2016

A few garden pictures

I may not have a green thumb, and still have more gardening fails than wins, but when something survives me - it tends to really thrive.  Here are a few notables thriving outside right now.
17 broccoli starts - all still going!
(Pac-Man hybrid variety, so no seed-saving)

the Greek oregano that must dream of world domination

3 hibiscus flowers in a row, that inspired me
to grab the camera and get pics

2 more hibiscus flowers

Italian oregano, two full season younger than the Greek
but expanding its reach nicely

surviving curled-leaf parsley
(the other is being choked out by the Greek oregano)

06 November 2016

Mystery kit and Daylight Stupid Time

First, before I do my semiannual rant about the clock stupidity, a bit of a mystery yesterday afternoon.  Hubby found a newborn kit (baby rabbit) on the ground by the right side of the cages.  Given this position, that ruled out Brooke, who is in the far left cage.  Shalimar was just bred October 23rd, so it was not hers.  Gracie had been in with George the week prior, but that would be early ... and when I pulled her out to inspect her, her nipples are tiny and hard.  So, I pulled out the new girl, Ginger, who I was assured was "definitely not pregnant."  Ginger was born in January, and not bred before I got her.  Her nipples were large and soft and a lot easier to find than Gracie's, who has had two litters prior to this breeding.  So much for "definitely not pregnant," as she must have gotten bred during the transit.  I called Lynn up, who says rabbits "usually" have more than one kit, but it isn't impossible.  Another possibility is that Cutie Pie, the outdoor cat, got any other kit(s).  So, Ginger is back by herself for a couple days for recovery before I toss her in with Jack again.  At least I now know why she was refusing to let Jack breed her.

Now ... about this idiocy with changing the clocks.  Where in the (*bleep*) did this crazy idea that somehow this is for "the farmers' benefit" come from recently?  There is not a single critter here that gives a flying leap what our clocks say, because animals are on sun time and not clock time, despite my best efforts to keep the goats on a 12 hour milking schedule.  The goats keep insisting I am early for morning milking and late for evening milking these past six weeks in particular.

Folks, for the record, Daylight "Savings" Time was started during World War Two as a way to conserve energy back home so more fuel could be used to power the war machine in both the European and Pacific theatres of combat.  Period.  It does not really affect a farming schedule, except for when us rural folk have appointments in town or need to be aware of business hours.  The energy conservation is much higher in the cities.  Basically, this is just a big annoyance, 71 years after the end of WW2.  The dog came in to wake me up the exact same time as he did yesterday.  Of course, I haven't yet changed my bedside clock so when I opened my eyes I just thought the dog was on time.  Anyway, y'all have now been informed so you know not to repeat the absolute ignorance of DST being "for the farmers' benefit," because the livestock does not care.

01 November 2016


Is it really November already?  Wow, time flies.  That means my "baby" will turn 23 later this month.

It's time for a rabbit update!  I even have pictures.  Dad informs me his wife LOVES my critter updates, so I should do them a little more often.  First up, I finally got a good picture of Shalimar, the solid blue Rex-furred doe I finally got from Wayne and Lisa.  They bought her at the auction the same night I bought Brooke and Gracie, and she's had a good litter for them so has a track record of breeding and rearing.  She ought to be pregnant by Jack, as I put her in on the 23rd of October and he bred her three times.
Shalimar, my solid blue Rex-furred girl
You can see why it's been more of a challenge to get a decent pic of her, with that color and trying to keep the bunnies in the shade during the heat of summer.  It is FINALLY cooling off at night - we've even had a couple nights below 60F!

I have a new addition to the bunny banks: meet Ginger.  She's Rex-furred, but is a cross between New Zealand (a large meat breed) and Florida White (a medium, compact meat breed).  I asked where the Rex fur gene came from, and was told it lurks in some Florida White lines, as there was a standard Rex or two in the foundation stock.  Here she is, in with Jack the Gigolo Rabbit:
Handsome Jack and Ginger

Ginger and Jack
Jack is becoming quite the gigolo, as he's been out to Flagler Estates to breed the mother of the young bunnies I got late spring, and in addition to Brooke, Shalimar, and now Ginger, my friend Lynn says she wants to bring her three meat cross girls to him.  She traded the lady I got Ginger from three guineas for three rabbits - and that was somehow MY fault for referring the lady to Lynn when she mentioned she wanted guineas.  Uh huh ... whatever.

Final big update: Lacey is now renamed Larry.  He was the only little bunny Lynn was not certain on gender ... I really hoped he'd be a she but there is no doubt anymore.  I kind of wish I had discovered it before I put Shalimar in with Jack, because she'd be a good cross for Larry.  Lynn is thinking she might breed one of her girls to Larry to see what she gets, considering he's an F2 Rex/New Zealand cross.

So there are my new(ish) rabbits.  Now it's time to check the girls to see if they have any buns in the oven (haha) while pestering Caroline's husband Frank for technical drawings of his rabbit hutch design.  I'd love to move the bunnies out from under the carport to inside the chicken's electric perimeter, especially since Brooke and George have now finally decided to let me pet them without shying away, cringing, or shaking themselves off ... it's been along time coming, but persistence pays off with even the more stubborn critters.