Sunday, March 28, 2010

More on Rabbits

Since all I have done is live, eat, and breathe rabbits this weekend, it seems fitting to do one more post on them. I went yesterday to pick some of them up. In preparation for this many more rabbits, I decided to 'make my job easier'. I cut the tops of all my water bottles so that I could just fill them with a hose without pulling the whole thing down. I didn't know that the drinker valves needed the pressure to keep from leaking. Oh, dear! The water was pouring out of them as fast as I could pour it in. Luckily, we scrounged up enough used water bottles to get through the night. This is only a temporary fix, since the bottles are pretty small. This may just put me a little closer to an automatic waterer. door closes and another opens.

Here are some pics of what I bought. This nowhere comes close to all of it, but it is a good start. I also have 5 more does with litters to bring home. Until the new rabbit shed gets here, I am at full capacity. In fact, quarters are very cramped right now!

The backside of the shed I built.

The front of the shed. I built the cages as well. I should have built the 'poop-shoots' with more of a slope, but live and learn. We used some of the corrugated pvc to put a roof between the two. It does make it nicer in the rain. I just took the tarps down yesterday. We had the entire thing enclosed to make a big shed and hung a shop light in the center.

This is Esme.

Esme's litter.

This is my new Flemmish Giant doe. She is pedigreed and will be bred once she is settled in a bit more.

My new NZR buck.

My NZR doe. Please excuse the mess in the background. This side of the shop has turned into mine, but I have so much stuff in there that I can't get it cleaned out.

God Bless!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Multiplying Rabbits

A while back, I had posted that I wanted to increase the size of my rabbitry, but that I was going to hold off since it wasn't looking like it would be in the budget. Oh, how things can get so twisted in my little world.

Yesterday, I got an email from someone that I had bought some of my breeding stock from. She is moving and in a hurry to sell out. She said she is offering some great deals, though I haven't gotten ahold of her yet to find out what those deals are. Since I would like to sell of my Californians and strictly deal with New Zealands, I am definitely going to find out what she's offering. I also know that once her rabbits go, she will be getting rid of her equipment as well.

I did some looking on Craigslist again today (ok, I look every day) and found another shed. This one is a 6'x8' for a steal! I called, and hope they will return my call soon. I have 7 available cages at the moment and if I sell the Cals off that gives me 4 more. If I'm very frugal with space, I should be able to fit 12 cages into that space. I don't like the idea of them being that cramped though (or having to triple stack), so there is the possibility of using the bigger shed that I'm picking up for the chickens and using the smaller 'going to the birds'.

In any case, it looks like I will be increasing the size of my rabbitry. How much depends on the deals she is offering and whether the shed I found this morning is still available. If we want to get really technical about the whole thing, it also depends on what Chris has to say about it, too . I didn't get his trademark eye-roll when I mentioned it last night, so I don't think it should be too much of a problem.

Take Care and God Bless!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Terrific Cereal Bars!!!

As the mother of a diabetic, I have to feed my daughter six times a day. I try to keep a variety of snacks on hand, but there are a few that have become staples. Yogurt, graham crackers, granola bars, and NutriGrain bars are among those. I have had a recipe for the NutriGrain type bars forever now, and finally made it yesterday. They are all kinds of yummy and in everyone's opinion, better than the store-bought ones.

Fruit and Grain Bars
1 Cup Butter or Margarine, Softened
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cups Oats
16 Ounces Favorite Preserves or Jam
1 Teaspoon Almond Extract

Cream margarine and sugar. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Add almond extract. Press half of crumb mixture into greased 9 x 13 pan. Spread with preserves or jam.

Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350* for 20-25 min. Cool and cut into bars.

Note: The entire pan has 680g of carbs and 28g of fiber. I'm too scared to do a calorie count, but had no choice but to count the other stuff. Next time around, I will try some of Splenda's version of brown sugar to replace a portion of the good stuff. I also think that you can cut the jam down to 3/4 of a cup and use something with less sugar added. I have a ton of peach freezer jam that I made last year that I will try next time.

I found this recipe here.

God bless!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Great Day!

Wow, two posts in one day. Get me started and you just can't shut me up!

I am so excited, I can't hardly stand it. I've been looking for a shed on Craigslist for about a year now, but haven't found anything in my price range. I really didn't want to spend $300 for a metal shed, since I could build something a bit nicer for about the same cost. I wasn't in a huge rush, so it wasn't too big of a deal. Today though, I found an 8'x10' metal shed for $125 (even has the floor). It's in great condition, all we have to do is disassemble and haul...then reassemble, of course.

I bought 18 chickens today and knew that I would need to build a coop right away. Now, I can just put in some roosts and nest boxes and viola, done! I really wanted the shed so that I could expand the rabbitry, but I think I will hold off on the expansion, since there are too many other projects to tend to around here right now.

So, like a said, I bought 18 chickens today. This totally freaked Chris out. I think that with ten cornish crosses and two impromptu turkeys on top of the 18 was overwhelming. He told me that three chickens would have been fine. I told him this was the plan this morning. Listening and hearing are two different things I guess. He couldn't for the life of him, figure out why I would buy turkeys either. We do have about 25 wild turkeys in our field at any given time. I let him know that they were 1/2 price. And there we have it...the eye roll.

I on the other hand am completely satisfied with all of the day's purchases. With what could be coming down the pike out of Washington tomorrow, I feel a little better knowing that we are another step closer to a self-sufficient food supply.

God bless!

Chickens, Chickens, Chickens

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine called me from the co-op. She was down there ordering her cornish-cross chickens. She had been all over me about getting some and wanted to know if I wanted to order some too. I broke down and told her to order us 10. After all, they are a short-term project (butchering around 8 weeks). She told me that she would keep them until they were feathered out and could be put into my chicken tractor (good thing I didn't tear it down).

Yesterday, she called to tell me that she had picked them up. I decided that we would keep them here, so that the girls could have the experience. I have to go pick up a tote to use as a brooder. I had never thought about using a rubbermaid in this fashion. I've always just used a cardboard box.

This same friend has about 50 free-range laying hens too. She is going to let us borrow her incubator, until I can build my own, and give us 18 eggs to hatch. I thought this would be a great science experiment for the littles and they can also take on some of the responsibility for caring for them. I'll post pics as we go along.

Now, this won't replace my plans to purchase my buff orpingtons. I want 18 of those too. This just means that I really need to get moving on my chicken house! I think this year it will be something simple, since the goats took a big chunk of my budget and I still have to prepare for the pigs that will be here in June.

I almost forgot to mention, we seem to have a stray chicken from the neighbors house. She was hanging out with me in the shop the other day when I was cleaning it out. Shyann and I have wondered if she's been laying eggs out there, but couldn't figure out where. When I was unloading hay last week, we found a 'nest' with several eggs. We found this by the horrific smell that it was letting off. She still goes home to roost, but in exchange for all of the bugs she can eat, has decided to grace us with an egg every day. If only we could convince a couple more of their chickens to do this for a few more months, we'd be set until we have layers.

God bless you all!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wasted Time

On Thursday, I got to take the girls to their first homeschool skate. They had a ton of fun! I think they spent more time on the floor than standing on the skates, but can't wait until they get to go back next month. Haily fell and boogered up her face some, but it looks like she's going to survive.

We left the skating rink and made a beeline to Medford. Chris has been down there working all week and the girls wanted to see him. I was pretty excited about it too! A hotel room, dinner out, and a fun trip to Science Works the next day. The best part was having someone reliable to come care for the animals while we were gone.

So here's where the wasted time comes in. The plan was to check out Science Works until lunch, go eat, and then drive home. Unfortunately, I got the stomach flu. I still took the kids to have their fun. I had promised after all. But we didn't get to stay long. I HAD to go. Driving two-and-a-half hours with the flu turns out to be a pretty cruddy experience.

We got home early enough that I could have gotten tons done, but it wasn't happening. I was sick all day yesterday, and again, nothing got done. In fact, it was bad enough that Chris ended up taking care of all the critters. That is wasted time. I absolutely hate being sick! I have too much to do without taking time out.

I made up for some of it today though. I sold some rabbits, picked up a bale of hay (getting 10 more tomorrow), ordered 3 pigs (Hamp/York cross) to be ready the first week of June, went to the dump, and did the grocery shopping.

This week will be our first fully packed homeschool week, so I am hoping that it goes smoothly. I also hope that the weather will hold out. This is the beginning of spring. I still have to build the chicken coop, start my seeds, butcher some bunnies, on top of trying to keep the house running. I know I can do it, I just hope I can figure out my juggling act fast enough to get it all done soon.

Take Care and God Bless!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I finally got the call yesterday saying that we can begin homeschooling. I was so excited! I called the school and told them it would be the girls' last day and that I would be picking them both up when they got out. I sent out our letters of intent. Everything was going great!!! Then I remembered last Thursday, when the girls came down with MMATSA (Mommy's Mad At the School Again). It was a bad case and I decided to keep them home and start using their new curriculum. It was a mess. I didn't know what I was doing...they didn't know what I was doing.

Today, was a bit better. Not much. If my three-year-old wasn't used to having me to herself all day, every day, she probably wouldn't throw such big fits when I am working with one of the other girls. Hearing her scream, "You need to color with me" at the top of her mighty loud lungs makes things tough. Then when you send her to her room for not listening or behaving, she gets louder. "I done being loud mommy. I done wit my fit!!!" Mmm hmm, sure you are!

I was told a week or so ago that I was in for a fun ride. At the moment, I feel like I'm in an old Yugo, broken down on the side of the road. A road with no passer-bys. I know it will get better. We are, after all, just starting. I just hope that by summer I will have upgraded to a Pinto.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

This weekend was a boon to my productivity! It began with a quick cleaning of Chris' shop so that the composter could be pulled out. With that monster in there, stuff got put where stuff would fit! Then came the greenhouse...

I drug the box down to the spot Chris had gotten ready for it and started unpacking it all. I had heard that the Harbor Freights are a nightmare to put together and upon reading the instructions found that was going to be the case. I've also read on the internet where people have said the directions are lacking, but that it's all just common sense. Common sense for a building engineer, maybe. My language, not too far into the project, would have made a seasoned sailor blush (and I'm not one to use a foul mouth).

My friend called in the middle of the frame and heard the frustration. She decided to get in on the fun and drove down to help. After glancing at the instructions, she told me she was glad she decided against one. She repeated that throughout the entire process, in fact. We did finish the frame on Saturday though.

This morning, I went out and started putting in the panels. This was almost as bad as the frame, but not quite. My fingers still ache from the clips, but it is done!!! The broken up areas of dirt soil, will get planted with flowers. I've been dying to have some color around here, but until the area around the house is done and backfilled, I just don't have another area to do it.

Chris swore that the tractor would move the composter. I had my doubts, but I kept my mouth shut. I've found that you don't bad-mouth Allis. Not even if she leaks, or doesn't want to start. She did it though. This meant I had to finish putting on the stain. I didn't use any pressure treated lumber, since that can cause some serious health issues down the road, but I got to thinking about the fact that I was using deck sealer. I don't know if this will cause issues, but if I start to shed water in the shower, I'll let you know.

Our garden goes behind the composter and the greenhouse. We pulled the fencing down, since we intend to at least double the size of it this year and he has the tractor and impliments to till it up with out using the small rototiller.

Chris also managed to get the gate hung on the goat pen. Hooray!!! No more fighting the make-shift jobby we had up there. When I go out there to feed, it's like an episode of "When Goats Attack" and fighting with what we were using was quite the juggling act. Having a real, live gate is awesome. All I had to do was put the latches on...done!

God Bless!