Monday, November 28, 2016

Homestead Update 11/28/16

We've been a little busy, if my absence has been any indication.

It's taken me forever to complete this blog post, because there is so much going on!

It's been three weeks since we moved, and the work is far from over......

.......moving, unpacking, installing, fixing, moving some more, unpacking some more, and then animal chores thrown in the mix ......

It wouldn't be such a pain-staking process if weren't so concerned about bringing brown recluse spiders with us.

We disassembled and moved the old rabbit shed last week, and it will be re-built as a goat barn this winter, once we decide where they are going to go.

They still reside in the garden, and have the run of the farm during the day. They get to range over a wide area of lawn and woods to forage.

Cinnamon finally found the downed walnut, and makes frequent climbs to the top.

We bought some straw and have been raking over the torn up ground where the septic was installed and spreading the straw it over it.

A friend gave us some bags of native plant seeds that we scattered over the hillside.

Hopefully we will have rain sometime soon. We are currently in a severe drought, and fire bans have been instituted over most of our state. Mark is on the wild land fire team, and will be on call this weekend. Let's pray for rain!

The new rabbitry is working out great.

This was before we hung all of the cages.
I love all of the space, and that everything is right there and so accessible. We don't have the electricity set up in the barn yet, but we do have an extension cord and a work light so I can work in there after dark.

All of the bunnies are doing well. The 3 November litters are going on 3 weeks old now, and painfully cute.

Neither Sumac nor Lobelia had anything to contribute despite both of them being due on the 10th. Sumac didn't take (at least I'm assuming, since she's on day 38 and still using her nest box as a comfy couch) and Lobelia lost her two babies.

I re-bred both of them immediately, so hopefully we'll have some December babies. Sumac has likely gotten too fat. I'll keep trying to trim her down, but she may be past the point of no return.

The dogs are enjoying life out here, but they are tricky to manage without our fences up. Even though my parents' property is fenced, most of our dogs are adept escape artists, so they've been making trips into the countryside.

It wouldn't normally be a huge deal, but deer season has begun and there are known dog shooters out here.

Most people would say our place is "out in the middle of nowhere," but there are plenty of neighbors around. The park house was truly in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by thousands of acres of wilderness. We will miss the seclusion, but not the traffic during busy days.

We haven't had much time to get out and enjoy our property, but we LOVE the house!

It feels so great to live here after so many months of hard, hard work, ups and downs and difficult decisions.

The tweaking and odd jobs will continue for some time, but we can work on them as we go.

I'm looking forward to the holidays more, now that I actually have a nice space to fix up and have people over.

We also finally have internet, so it will be far easier for me to keep things updated (in theory, anyhow).

I have also found my special spot in the house.

At the park house, it was in the recliner by the picture window. It was a great place to look out and watch birds and see the changing scenery.

My new spot isn't too shabby, either....

.... A picture window would have been nice, but the view is still lovely. We arranged the couch so that the chaise is next to the windows, overlooking the creek and woods.

We even placed our bird feeders within view.

I would love it if our domestic birds were over here too, but until our fences go up, I will just enjoy the peace of the wild birds (and the squirrels will enjoy their peace without constant interference from the dogs).

We did finally make it up our hill yesterday, where the fall colors are still blazing. 

It's quite literally a climb to the top, but the view is quite lovely.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Good Morning, from our New Homestead!

Today is actually the second day we've woken up at the new house, but it has been such an insanely busy last few days, I've barely had time to breathe, much less write a blog post.

We also don't have internet set up yet, so I'll be bumming off the neighbors for a few days.

So yes, we are here!

We are a looonngggg way from being what I would call, "moved in," but we are getting there.

Most of our furniture and clothing are here, and we moved most of the kitchen stuff in yesterday.

Our old dining set needs a new spot, now
We also moved the rabbits yesterday, which was a huge undertaking (I knew it would be).

It took two trips with two cars and one truck to move rabbits, cages, food and equipment.

Oh yeah, the new rabbitry!

Mark and our dads closed it in using the old privacy fence panels that have been lying around for ages.

Not the prettiest barn, but I plan to give it a coat of paint at some point...

They put chicken wire around the top (not the best option, but it was what we had), and we are planning to add lattice to reinforce it. 

We still need to add lights (once we turn on the meter for the barn).

We still have more cages to hang, but they are just about settled.

Which is a good thing because two of them are due on the 10th!

Their old shed will be disassembled and moved later, probably when we are ready to build the goats' new paddock on our property.

We still have the dogs, the chickens, the snakes, the turtle and the rats to move, in addition to the rest of our belongings, so the rest of this week will be more and more and more trips back and forth.

Luckily, we've had lots of help. both our parents have been free (Mark's mom even flew in for a few days for Ian's birthday). It's amazing what you can get done when two grandmas are around!

We had a small (and quick) 3rd birthday celebration for Ian yesterday at lunch, but we'll have a bigger to-do this weekend with the rest of the family.

I'm just so glad the park house is only 8.5 miles away, because I can't imagine making the move otherwise. 

We are also fortunate that nobody is in a hurry to move into that house, so we can continue to move out bit by bit.

Our dining room table and couch got delivered yesterday.

Being able to host family functions was very important to me, so we are ecstatic to have some space to entertain for once.

We still have two chairs we have to find a place for back there
I'm exhausted and overwhelmed, but happy. Even though the place is far from finished, it's such a great little home.

I love the clean, open airy feel. It's so nice, I keep feeling like we are staying in a vacation home (without all of the fun vacation activities). 

This is the best seat in the house. :) 
The 360 views on top of our ridge at the park home were one thing we knew we would miss.

However, every window has a nice view of surrounding ridgetops, the creek and the hillside (and a big torn up yard and random junk waiting to get hauled off).

I'm not sure when we'll begin on the fencing, but hopefully that can start next week. I was surprised at how vulnerable I feel out here without the dogs, so hopefully we can at least bring the Shepherd down this evening.

Can you believe it? After almost 2 whole years we are finally here!

I still need to do a "before and after" post soon, once our house is a little more orderly.

But it might be awhile.........

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Rabbitry Update

Three of my first-time does gave birth over the weekend:

Sylvia had 7 (10 total with 3 DOA, and lost one runt so her litter is down to 6 now).

Liriodendron also has 7 (she had 8 but lost one because she kept scattering the nest.

And Coralberry only had 4.

They are all doing pretty well for first-timers, and I'm loving the colors and patterns from these litters.

Lirio was the most clueless when it came to nest building, so I had to help her out several times. She would have lost her entire litter if it wasn't so warm.

She must have wasted a quarter bale of straw by digging it out of the cage every single time I filled the nest box. I finally closed up the front after her babies were born (I've found that first-timers are reluctant to use it if they have to jump over the side). She also didn't pull fur, so I had to borrow some from another doe.

The other two does had no problems with the nest boxes, and pulled plenty of fur.

Especially Coralberry. 

The kits are 4 days old and she is still pulling fur. Relax Coral, you only have 4 babies and it is 75 degrees outside.

Kaya's litter of 3 is already spoken for.

I have 3 more litters due later this month.

Sumac and Lobelia are due the 10th, and one of my newest NZ does, Nova is due on the 27th (bred to Big Boy).

I'll be eager to see whether Sumac took, since I've been worried she may have gotten too fat.

Lobelia is such a nice, compact doe. I'm excited to see her litter.

I love my new broken black buck Ace, but I find him to be a bit on the small side for a New Zealand.

So I will breed him to one of my biggest does later this winter and breed back to black to improve on size.

In addition to solid and broken black, I hope to incorporate blues as well.

I like where my rabbitry is headed, and I'm excited to have more space to expand.

I will continue to focus on New Zealands unless an opportunity presents itself to purchase a Creme buck (unless Turn finally decides he can do the deed again).

We are still in the process of moving. The septic system is still being installed, and then we need to enclose the new rabbitry in between packing and moving.

Our yard is pretty torn up and ugly at the moment, but it least it's dry (really, really dry) so it's not a muddy mess.

We were also pleasantly surprised to find that our soil is quite loose and well-drained, and largely free of rocks.

That's kind of a big deal for this area.

So the house will technically be live-in ready this weekend, and we will be actively moving in. 

Unfortunately we will have limited help, so I'm not sure how much we will get accomplished. But we shall see!