2016-05-09 Garden Pictures

Grabbed the camera and went for a walk around my beautiful gardens and snapped pictures of what grabbed my eye. I just love how our place is creatively evolving ❀

 

 

Rabbit Colonies: Colony V

Now we are excited! Today we got the colony out in the yard ready for rabbits to live in, and we moved in our Mother of all breeders and two of her granddaughters into it! Today was the first time her cute little feet have touched the earth! It feels so good to finally have her out of a cage, she has sure earned it. We are calling this one ‘Colony V’, because the doe of whom I speak is named Violet, and ‘V’ is my nickname for her. Her granddaughters are Poppy, and Rowan. This is a big step for us, moving the breeders out of hanging cages into these super fun colonies where they can have happier lives.

 

Gram’s Garden: Raised Beds using Tractor Tires

Here is our progress on Gram’s Garden so far. We have some time yet to finish filling the bed with our constant flow of rabbit manure, goat manure and compost before the weather is ripe for planting.

Rabbit Colonies: Inhabited: Orchard Colony

How super exciting for us! We just moved 2 bucks into their new homes today, both of them seem to like the change.

Such a beautiful day to spend in the orchard building rabbit colonies with my hubby, and kids. The girls enjoyed painting together while we worked on this project.

 

Rabbit Colony: Orchard Cluster 2

Today’s progress. So happy to have the girls in their new home. This is such a fun project.

Rabbit Colony: Orchard Cluster

 

We hoped to get this colony finished before any of the does in our other colony kindle, we hoped that we could finish up today so we could move 3 of the 6 into this one. So tomorrow we are determined to get this colony done, and possibly the buck box next to it.

We are using 1/2″x 1/2″ welded wire to secure the perimeter walls, and 1″ chicken wire lining the bottom to prevent digging out. Tomorrow we’ll build a frame for the top, put the welded wire on it to enclose the run. This way the rabbits can enjoy outside anytime they want, day or night. We are excited to get our entire herd moved out into these cute little colonies.

Colonizing Rabbits: Colonly Cottage 2

Here is today’s progress. The run area is temporary, we plan to build a much better enclosed run so the rabbits can go in and out of the cottage day or night. We just needed to get this temporary run in place to accommodate the rabbits we bought from another rabbiteer recently.

Rabbits Colonizing: Colony Cottages

Colony Cottage Collage

We are in the process of building our second small colony, we plan to locate this one out in or orchard. Here is the little doe house we built out of free pallet boxes. We’ll put a big enclosed run off the front of this once we carry it out there, dig into the hillside to make a level spot. Here is how far we have gotten. We are calling these Colony Cottages!

We are planning to build a cluster of these colony cottages with enclosed pensΒ  in several locations. We hope to convert our entire rabbitry to colonies… this is where it starts.

Rabbit Stew Recipe (So Good!)

My first Rabbit Stew was incredible! The kids were begging to have the left-overs for lunch today πŸ™‚

One 3.75 lb rabbit made a stew that will feed us 3 times, I was able to store 2 meals worth of stew in the freezer for future dinners after eating a big helping the first night.

Recipe: I started first thing in the morning, took my big stock pot, put the dressed rabbit (bones and fat intact) in the stock pot, filled the pot with water and 1/4 cup of raw apple cider vinegar, and one coarsely chopped medium red onion and about 10 cloves of garlic, chopped and smashed. I put the flame on med-high till it began to boil, stirring occasionally. Then I turned the heat down to low and let it slow cook all day, half the day with the cover on. By early evening (around 4pm) the meat was falling off the bones nice and easy, so I picked out all the bones, added chopped carrots, celery, chopped potatoes, a cup of rice and some noodles. Then I added salt, pepper, turmeric, parsley, a pinch of rosemary and let the noodles and rice finish becoming tender. Then I threw together some from scratch biscuits.

I read many recipes for rabbit stew and all of them called for chicken stock, well I wanted to taste the rabbit, not chicken so I made the stock from the rabbit bones. DELISH! I can officially say, Rabbit Stew is my favorite! Still tastes a lot like chicken, just slightly different. Hard to put a finger on how it’s different, it just is. lol

This time of year homemade soup stock is so healing and great for the immune system, I love homegrown!

 

Here is a picture of the stew I made out of the rabbit soup.

Rabbit Stew & Dumplings

Fodder: Experimenting with Weight

From what I have read about growing fodder, is that it doubles if not quadruples in weight upon sprouting for 7-10 days. So I decided to do an experiment.

I took 1 cup of wheat berries and weighed them, then again after soaking 24 hours, then again each day, up to day 5. I didn’t go past day 5 because the sprouts draw flies, so I moved the experiment outside rather than the counter inside. This climate change seemed to adversely affect the sprouts, so I’ll have to start over again and try to make it to at least 7 days.

Here is the info I collected over the 5 days.

1 cup of dry/dormant wheat seed = 7.5 oz or 0.46 lbs

Sprouting day 1, After 24 hour soak = 12.02 oz or 0.76 lbs

Sprouting day 2 = 12.7 oz or 0.79 lbs

Sprouting day 3 = 13.8 oz or 0.86 lbs

Sprouting day 4 = 16.2 oz or 1.0125 lbs

Sprouting day 5 = 14.7 oz or 0.918 lbs

So the mat of wheat berries lost a little weight on day 5, but I hadn’t watered it yet, so that may have made a difference. Plus I don’t think the wheat liked the container I had it in. I will update this post after I have more data.

 

 

Rabbits for sale! British Spot/French Angora

http://rockyhollowrabbitry.wordpress.com/for-sale/

We have 7 – 4 week old beautiful British Spot/French Angora mixes. 3 does, 4 bucks. 3 of the bucks have angora fur, so are priced at $10, while their shorthair siblings are going for $8.

Please visit the link to see pictures of these little beauties ❀

New Bunnies & Building the Free Range Chicken Pen

Here we have the 14 new additions to our herd of rabbits. Our beloved Penelope (British Spot/French Angora) & Violet (New Zealand White) gave birth to 7 healthy kits each earlier this month.

IMG_4843 (800x600) IMG_4844 (800x600)

 

Below you’ll see our newly built chicken pen. The flock was doing SO much damage in our gardens, we just can’t let them run wherever they want, as they tear up everything! So our friend up the road sold us his old fencing he was using for a cow he had. We gave them over 600 more cubic feet of space to forage, scratch and peck.

 

Here are some pictures of the damage the chickens wreaked in our gardens…. Tim just recently harvested a bunch of rabbit and chicken manure and built up the beds in the orchard and around the hugelkultur grey water beds… so aggravating how the chickens ruined all of it in just a couple of days!

Fodder: Refining my system – Update

Continuing to learn and change things. Using the screen trays is a no-go. The little rootlets get stuck and make it a nightmare to harvest. So I’m switching to my solid bottom trays. Still hoping to get a sprouting room up and running before winter hits.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Fodder: Refining my system… I need shelves and a sprout room

Making water crocks for the rabbitry

So we spent close to $50 buying up those bunny water bottles from walmart (so far we got 13 of them at $3.69 a pop) in preparation for winter. Our plan has been that we will buy two for each hole, so we have one bottle thawing in the warm house while they have one to drink till it freezes up, and we change it out twice a day, morning and night. We have been reorganizing the rabbitry and decided to start using some of the water bottles now. Good thing too, because MOST of them don’t frikken work! Some leak like mad, and worse some of them are nearly impossible for the rabbit to get a drink from! UGH! So now we want to turn to crocks, as we don’t trust these bottles. Crocks are little heavy ceramic dishes that the buns can’t tip over and something we can easily tip the ice out of when it freezes in winter. Well, those are expensive, and we spent way too much on the stupid water bottles already. Tim and I have been in brainstorm mode to try and figure a way through this predicament. Well I think we’ve found it. This is much cheaper than buying individual crocks for 20 holes, as each crock is close to $5 a piece new. We were at… yes you guessed it, walmart and found these little metal dishes for cats for just under a buck a piece. The rabbits would definitely tip these with ease, but with a base made of concrete mortar! HA-HA!