Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Construction Updates

Well, yes, my parents are still here. Its been almost 4 weeks and it will likely be another week. But by the time they leave, it will look like a real farm around here! The '4 day' chicken coop has taken more than 3 weeks... But it is almost done now!

Here's the men at work. Andrew has put in long days working with his grandpa.

Here's the East side of the chicken house with it's custom window.

Here's the people door way - still under construction.

And here is the generous roost - my chickens won't be able to believe it after their cramped conditions!

Here are the ample nest boxes. They won't know what to do after all of them sharing only two of them for so long...

Here is my pathetic little chicken coop for comparison. When I let the chickens out, they all hang around my dad while he is working. I think they are saying 'thank you'!

Cypress' babies today. Can you tell how much they've grown in a week? Rabbits are amazing!

Rhiannon's rabbit, Marshmallow, had babies a week ago today. 4 white ones, 2 black ones and 2 black and white striped. 8 total. Aren't they sweet?

And in sheep news, here is Renauld. For some reason (the warm winter?) he is 'rooing'. This means that the wool makes a natural break and falls off. Which means I am deprived of my best wool producer.

And here is Brida... still hanging around.

And Draga - ever the camera hog. Looking pretty enormous herself these days. Who will be first?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Almost Spring

My parents arrived here 2 weeks ago and it has been over-the-top busy ever since - especially given a couple of complications: my sister, Martha is in the hospital in Kelowna so I have been trying to visit her a couple of times a week and my parents brought a Norwalk virus type thing with them that has been working its way through our family.

I love it when my dad comes. He loves to build things and he loves the farm so I have a long wish list for him when he comes. Top of the list was to build me a new chicken coop and I am getting the best, most skookum chicken coop ever!

Here are some images of what we have been up to:

The coop is coming together - can you tell how awesome it is going to be?

Here is the growing rabbit family - 10 healthy babies growing fast - they made short work of the young grass here in the chicken tractor. They are really fun to watch as they dash about.

Here is the first thing he built - lambing pens. Aren't I looking professional now? One has now been moved into the sheep pen.

But we are still waiting for Brida to 'pop'.

Snowdrops and crocuses are blooming.

My parents - on their way out on their date night.

And here is Rhiannon - the latest one to get the flu.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Wedding Bells

Well, most of you already know that Eryn and Tyler got engaged last week. Its official, they've set the date. Eryn has already given all the details so what is there left for me to tell? I am very happy about it all. As I've said before, Tyler fits into our family like the missing piece. And what I love the most about him is how well he loves my daughter. She has had enough tough life experiences to grow a hard little shell but it is wonderful to see how easily he cracked it all wide open. It is a delight to listen to her excitedly planning her wedding after years of being disaffected on the subject. And maybe, you just never know.... I might even get grandchildren!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

And Now

On to the sheep. It is into the anxious waiting time now. Brida who is always on the 'stocky' side is enormous. I can now see her teats hanging down below her wool so it would seem that the arrival of lambs cannot be far off. I expect it will be sometime in the next couple of weeks.

As you can see, Draga has that bulge as well. I don't think she will be far behind. I hope it all goes well for her this year and she gets to be a mom.

Erina Snowy is a delight. She's a spunky little thing and in this spring weather she loves to run and jump around... which leads me to believe she is likely not bred. If she does have a lamb, I don't think it will be until July.

Renauld is as friendly as ever and he has a very nice crop of wool on him, too.

And Basil... He still lives. I want him to be bigger before I eat him. And I am not clear on why he is not bigger. But in the meantime he is very sweet. Eirina is his best friend and he would like to be the father of her lamb so this causes some difficulty between he and Renauld and results in some half-hearted head butting.

So I am waiting anxiously for lambing season to begin. I want everything to go well. I didn't actually see the breeding happen last fall so I don't have any dates. I think it will be earlier than last year because Renauld was not a lamb himself.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A New Leaf

Its the beginning of March and time for a new leaf here to match my beautiful new skin by my talented and much younger sister. I'll try to show up here a little more often. It has been a busy, weird winter. We certainly made the most of the no snow and the spring like weather we have had since January. Not good for the environment, I know but good for window washers, that's for sure!

First up is news from the rabbitry. Our first batch of meat rabbits were butchered the beginning of January. We sold all but two. And no, I haven't eaten them yet but we will soon. When I took them to the place I get them butchered at, the woman loved my grey buck and kept him (he lives!). We traded for a doe unrelated to mine. She is a Californian and she is Rhiannon's rabbit. She named her Marshmallow. Here she is! She has just been bred with babies due March 19 - 21. We bred her to a New Zealand White and will keep one of the babies to complete our meat rabbit breeding pool... for now.... Marshmallow was not used to being handled and loved when we got her but Rhiannon has tamed her.

We bred Cypress as soon as her cage was empty and right on schedule she had her next litter. 10 strong and healthy babies - no runts this time. I watch them out of the kitchen window and they are such fun! I know it isn't a good place to have the rabbits longterm but I love having them where I can see them so well. There are 4 white, 2 greys, 1 black, 2 brown and 1 grey with harlequin markings (you can see her white striped nose in the cage picture). They get brought in almost daily to play. They are very sweet.

And here is the latest addition to our rabbitry. I went with my friend to check out some Satin Angora rabbits. And I came home with her. Andrew has named her Oranges. She is one year old and has been bred (before I bought her) with babies due March 15. Satin Angoras are quite rare - 5th rarest rabbit in North America apparently and this colour is supposed to be the rarest. Although it is not a colour I am especially keen on. I think her fur will go nicely with Brida's though... I am looking for a white buck. But so far I haven't even been able to find a Canadian breeder, let alone one in BC or Alberta... I have also ordered a white French Angora that I will pick up in Greenwood at the beginning of June. I am excited to add this fiber to my rabbit collection... But if anyone hears of any Satin Angoras for sale anywhere in BC or Alberta, please let me know!

So our rabbitry has really grown. I love the rabbits and to tell you the truth, they seem to be the easiest thing to make money with on the farm. They are the least amount of labour to look after and they are just so damn fun to play with, too.

Now I just need my dad to get here and build me some more cages....