Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Attack Rabbit

You'd think I'd learn from my last Rabbit show experience.
Apparently I am destined not to learn from my mistakes.
My mistakes; attending a Rabbit Show after having worked a night shift - sleep deprived, seeking counsel from a family member who has ulterior motives, and last but not least ignoring my own plan of action.
It's hard when you enjoy a homesteading activity such as backyard rabbit meat production not to be like a kid in a candy store. Soo many rabbits soo little space. It's hard to make an intelligent decision that is appropriate for your situation.
Hence the Satin Angora Angst of 2007 where I bought over $100 worth of Pedigreed Satin Angora buns only to give them away a year later. While I have nothing against Angoras that was the wrong breed for our application. No one had time to groom let alone spin the wonderful fiber those buns produced.
So here I am alone in the Dome Arena in Henrietta, New York, attending a Rabbit Show.
So far so good. No one to cloud my judgement as Husband was window shopping at a Gun Show in another area of the Dome. Children were home.
It's just me, grasping a dog carrier. Cold hard cash in my pocket burning a hole. I meander leisurely about enjoying my urban homesteader's shopping spree stopping to inquire about this breed and that breed. I linger here & there letting my hand glide down the backs of bun's who's fur feels like velvet.
After two passes in the exhibit hall still intending to stick to my game plan I stop to talk with a breeder of Giant Chinchillas.
I listen to his enthusiasm.
I enjoy the gentleness of the breed.
Their curious nature.
Their lack of shyness.
Their big 'ss size.
Then I realize I could kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.
Yeah I could have it all.
A buck for my meat production & an attack rabbit.
See who's laughing now my alternative lifestyle neighbors with their foo-foo 4 pound dogs that run a muck muck down our driveway. Leaving lil turds trailing behind them that generate empty promises of removal by their owners.
Visions of a bloody massacre with the only thing left being pink rhinestone collars danced in my head. Let your dog groomer sort it all out later.
I would have a decent poker face when they dog warden came calling wanting to know the facts.
"Just the facts Ma'am".
"Just the facts I nod".
"A Rabbit they said, size of a poodle or a poodle that looked like a huge rabbit. No dogs listed for this address Ma'am".
"Yes, that's right we have no dogs" I gesture towards my tiny city lot.
"Nice bunny rabbit Ma'am".
"A Cotton tail Warden".
"Nice garden Ma'am".
"Thank you" I beam.
"Sorry to have bothered you Ma'am".
"Here enjoy a tomato Warden, It's an heirloom variety named Cherokee Purple".
"Thank you, Ma'am never had one before".
"It's to die for Warden".
So I paid the breeder and told him I had to go find My Man who no doubt was next door caressing Smith & whispering sweet nothings into Wesson's ear. Be back in a few I yelled over the crowd as I asked to leave my one carrier with him.
Long story short Husband fell in love with a blah blah blah (can you tell I'm a one gun gal type person so every gun looks alike to me) so to alleviate some of the "you bought a what" heated conversation that would no doubt had taken place on the ride home he began his plan of attack.
"That's a nice big rabbit", he said standing with his hand on his chin rubbing thoughtfully.
"What's it dress out as", as he poked a finger in the 3 hole cage.
"Not sure but I was planning on using him as a buck to our Cotton tails and later maybe to a New Zealand doe", I smiled pleased with my selection. "But it's just a Giant Chin then gotta be @ least 8 pounds a good sized fryer huh". Didn't mention that I had deviated from the NZ buck plan in favor of a dual purpose bun
He nodded slowly with a smile had I not been tired and excited by my purchase I would have recognized as his "let's have a barter deal".
"Wouldn't it be a good idea since we're here to go ahead & get a doe to match", he spoke into my ear pulling me closer to him. The faint smell of testosterone distracting me.
"Then later if you have a change of heart and want to have more Giant Chins ...", he smiled or was it a smirk?
"I see no evil if you see no evil", said so mater of fact. "See if you can find a doe you like to match". "I'll be back in a few there's something I need to go see about".
Gone in a flash back to the Gun Show.
Long story short I picked up a Giant Chinchilla doe non papered with a great disposition.
Which worked out good 'cause I ended up carrying her out in my arms as he toted the dog carrier with my buck. And his blah blah blah neatly holstered out of sight.
As he guided me out the door and past a local news reporter with cameraman looking for an angle to a lead story on gun toting attack rabbit owners from the hood he leaned into me planting a kiss on my forehead.
"Good doing business with you my wife".

Everyone knows that if you only bring one carrier you'll only buy one bun, right?

This is the buck that I bought out of Michigan being judged.
Would like to write what it is that the judge said but I can't remember other than he said work with him & see you next year.
Curse or insight?

~~ pelenaka ~~

P.S. nice post on my husband's blog about how a simply old fashioned chore binds a family together Woodsrunner's trail: Bread, the families staff of life

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Urban Winter

Some where under neath all that snow is my flower garden.
It has been bitterly cold for a very long time here in Western New York. Normally we only have to suffer though two or three weeks of temps in the 20's and below. This Winter it has been a good portion of December, along with the majority of January.
Despite night time temps of zero or near zero we've been good about keeping the furnace set on 64 degrees when everyone is home from work & school.
During the day when it's only me @ home I keep it on 54 since I'm sleeping (night worker) under 6 or more covers.
Fleece P.J.'s and a lined hoodie. Two pairs of wool hunting socks. Knit hat. And sometimes cotton gloves. Needless to say as I get older I grow colder.

So far the heating bill (natural gas 80% efficiency furnace) has been $100 ish to $160 this Winter. This also includes the hot water tank which is 8 y.o. set @ 125 degrees. Our area had an increase in the cost of natural gas earlier in the fall.
New to the on going saga of installing a wood stove is that we finally have all but 2 pieces to complete the class B stove pipe (buying parts on discount as fiances allow). That's the part of the pipe that will be on the outside of the house. Left to buy is the fireproof backer board for the hearth, grout to lay the hearth tiles we bought last Summer, and well the stove & inside stove pipe.

My heart has been set on a Morso Classic that has an upper chamber shaped like an arch. I have only seen one online so once I'm actually get up close & personal could all change.

The second choice is a Jotul black bear model.

Goal is to only heat half of the house at one time with wood heat. If we tried for more we wouldn't be able to use the room the stove was installed in not to mention that is alot of firewood to find & store. Learning curve remembering to open up the bedrooms to allow the heat to rise before we need them to be warm.
In addition to installing the whole stove set up we will also have to rehab a spare door close off the stairs. Depending on how well that goes then I'd like to put back the pocket doors that once closed off the living room or parlor.

Urban Pantry Challenge - To be truthful it's not going as well as my reality depicted it (stop laughing my husband!). But it has kicked my butt into high gear to be more resourceful.
One example is to use more of our whole wheat that we grind in everything that would normally call for white flour. So far we have been making from scratch one egg cake recipes with 1/3 of the cake flour replaced with whole wheat.

So this month I bought a pound of German bologna for school lunches, bacon that was price as a bogo (thinking of making German potato salad & quiches) , gallon of 2% milk on sale $1.99 and 5 dozen eggs (79¢ per doz) @ my local mega mart on the 2nd.
On the 4th at Aldis I bought a bag of brown sugar, bag of raw baby carrots (fav of DD 14) and two bags of tortilla chips for nachos.
Yesterday we bartered freshly ground rye flour for organic grapefruit & oranges. The rye berries were bought last year or so for $50 a bushel, certified organic. Needless to say I still have about half a bushel left.
DH also bought two pounds of Italian sausage & ground beef from the butcher. I'll have to wait to post what he spent there.

Lessons learned - research making whole wheat tortillas and work up some bartering ops.

Neglectful in mentioning that a few months back DH made this for me in an afternoon out of scraps. The roof is plastic as is the corner in the center of the pic, allowing sunlight. We place a scrap piece of plywood over the opening to block wind at night.
There is also a huge pile of hay inside the metal cage that this doe has made into a burrow.

Senior Cottontail doe (mixed breed) in her store bought hutch. DH made me this nest box outta scraps.
Hard to see but the 3 open sides of the hutch have hard plastic screwed on to block the wind. The plastic is florescent light panel covers.

This hutch rests on bricks over one of the raised beds bunny poo for the garden.
It's been a challenge keeping her nest box stuffed with bedding as she loves to chew it up & move it out.

While my daughter's have been enjoying this Winter with sledding @ local city & county parks along with a Church Sponsored Winter retreat out in the wilds of Wyoming County, I haven't had the energy nor time to venture outside our backyard. Working 5 to 7 nights in a row has really sucked the life outta me. Hard to put my foot down in light of our current economic climate.
Good news is that we have been making very good headway on paying down our debt and affording home improvements.
Eventual goal is to not have a mortgage.

~~ pelenaka ~~