Friday, July 25, 2014

New Rabbits; and Winter Heat From a Summer Storm

So here they are! A trio of New Zealand Reds I found through a Craigslist add.

the does

the buck

No papers, no pedigree; heck, I don't even know if they are all siblings or not. At this point, I really couldn't care less. They are healthy, meaty, and will produce babies of the meat variety - which is of course, the whole point. Despite their largely unknown parentage, I do think them rather attractive. I did see their father, who was a very impressive rabbit - in size, conformation and color. They had already sold the mother, since they were in the process of downsizing, but I suspect she wasn't 100% NZ Red.

But like I already said, they are rabbits. And they will make more rabbits. And we will finally eat rabbits.

This is their current living arrangement, situated inside what was the duck pen. They will live here in quarantine for 6 weeks, until they are ready to join the Creme boys in the rabbit shed. 

The solid red doe has the nicest color, and is the most outgoing of the three. So she is the first to be named: Acer, the genus for maple trees.  I have since decided on Cardamom, for the broken chestnut doe, and Ichigo (Japanese for 'strawberry') for the buck.

The breeders were willing to trade the smaller Klubertanz stacked cage for two of them, and while we were there, I decided to go ahead and buy a third doe. I really think the cage was worth the whole trio, but they did seem to hold their rabbits in high esteem. And really, they are lovely. So no real complaints here.

In the meantime we can get the rabbit shed set up with hanging cages, now that we've freed up some space. Aaaannnnnd, we can build a worm bin underneath to catch and compost the manure. That I am really looking forward to. Emptying cage trays and buying substrate for them is a real pain. For me, anyhow. I can see how stacked cages would work better for an indoor setting, like a garage. But hanging cages offer a much simpler management system overall.

The other night we had one wicked storm. Usually it's the straight-line winds that cause all the damage during those summer storms up here on the ridgetops. But this one was just heavy, heavy rain. And a lot of lightning. 

Over a year ago our home phone got zapped by lightning (well, not directly). Lighting storms are a little scary up here. As the trees get struck around the house, the outlets in the back bedroom arc and pop. It's that quality state wiring, you know. 

This was a maple that got struck right in front of our house, one summer. Blew most of the bark off. We were home when it happened, and let me tell you, it was LOUD! It literally rattled my insides.
So anyhow, that phone bit it. We went over a year without one, and really, didn't miss it too much. It's either sales calls or park guests locked out of their cabins. I know it's helpful to park visitors, but we are one of two land lines and 3 ranger cell phones people can dial after hours when they need help. It just so happens our residence number is the first on the list, so we get the most calls. At ALL hours. Most everybody thinks they are calling the "ranger station," and seem confused when I try to explain to them that this is a residence. Oh well. One of the perks of living on the park I guess.

So anyway, Mark decided to go ahead and get another phone, a couple of months ago. And Wednesday night's storm killed that one too. I'm guessing we will be getting a surge protector, in the near future.

The rain fell in torrents so strong, it hammered my corn to the ground and ripped branches off the trees. It also happened to uproot a big tulip tree in the campground, causing it to come crashing down on site #10, taking two smaller trees, an elm and a sweetgum, with it. 

Luckily nobody was camping there, but it did crush the corner rails pretty good. Naturally this was after a long-awaited campground renovation that took nearly a year to complete. Well, complete is relative, considering the contractors ran out of money and only replaced about 1/3 or what needed to be done - but I digress.....

A nice by-product would be all of this firewood:

.... which still needs to be split and stacked. And aged. But hey, it's a start. Mark is still pretty green when it comes to splitting wood, and of course, one of the trees in that pile is elm. Elm is notoriously difficult - nigh impossible to split, because of it's twisted grain. But Mark is of the determined sort, and I know he will prevail.

This will come in handy when we buy our wood stove later this year, in an effort to reduce our gas heating bill (which the state has deemed we must now pay ourselves).

We've created more work for ourselves, with these new acquisitions. But it's the rewarding kind of work - the kind that builds muscles and character. The kind that puts food on our plates and warms our home.

The kind that brings us that much closer to that which we strive for:

... self-sufficiency.

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