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Author Archives: Denise

Cuteness Overload

The cutest thing that’s ever lived on the farm (okay, ever lived on the farm in the last 3 months) made its appearance two weeks ago. Not that I knew about his or her arrival until almost a week ago. Goes to show how casual I’ve gotten about the rabbits.

Six weeks ago Christina and I took the outside temperature and convinced ourselves that it was, indeed, below 90 degrees. At least at that moment. This has been the hottest summer I’ve ever experienced up here. I swear it hit 90 somewhere in June and stayed there, well, until six weeks ago. The temperature is important because rabbit bucks (male rabbits) go sterile when the temperature is above 90. This means my two does, Babs and Bitsy, went all summer without producing any babies. It was now the middle of September and the weather was refusing to cool down. But we decided that 88 degrees was below 90 and Buddy should at least try to do his duty.

Which Buddy seemed to do. He mounted both girls and proceeded to fall off at least two times from each. Falling off is indicative of completion but not necessarily of success. Given that, I fully planned for the girls to visit their guy again in a few days, but the heat returned with a vengeance. When another hot week passed, I gave up on giving the girls a second visit with their guy and started counting the weeks from September 17th.

By the way, the weather did finally cool off. We’ve had two full weeks of fall during which half the trees have turned while the other half are still full leafed out in green. This week winter arrived with a killing frost. Welcome to Arizona.

Five days before the girls should have been due, Christina did a little rabbit inspection. She reported that Bitsy totally enjoyed having her belly rubbed while Babs rejected being petted at all. Since we have no real history of how the bunny girls behave when that far pregnant, we figured it could go any way or not at all. Just in case, I put lots of grass in their little mobile homes. Both girls went in to arrange their nests, which gave me hope.

Their official due date arrived. No babies. I waited until the latest day before I finally and hopelessly swept my hand through the grass that they’d turned into nests. Bitsy had added a few tufts of fur to hers, Babs had not. There were no babies in either nest.

I threw up my hands at that. At least now it was definitely cooler than 90 degrees, so we once again put the bunny girls in with their guy, and started the clock again. Two days later, Christina opened Bitsy’s coop and gave a cry. Buried in the hay was one very large baby bunny. Being late and a singleton, I guess Bitsy had to keep him in the oven a little longer.

Day after day, we’ve watched this Baby Huey of a rabbit become an absolute Chunk, which is his–he has to be a boy!–official name. He is so unbelievable roly-poly that we have to woman-handle him constantly. I’ve already decided that, because he’s an only kit, I have to keep him. If he is a boy, I’ll probably use him to replace his father, Buddy. He’s bound to be much more comfortable with us as often as we’re handling him. Buddy remains nervous and standoffish even after a year.

And if Chunk turns out to be a she? Then I’ll have a third mama. If that’s the case, then I’ll be building her her own mobile coop. But not too soon. Babs’ and  Bitsy’s other babies had each other to cuddle with and find comfort when I separated them from their mothers. Chunk is all alone. Who could leave this cute thing all alone in a big coop? Not me.

Kali Update

I was very concerned about what might happen to my llama Kali after he lost Scout. After all, the two llamas had been together their whole lives, or so I was told by my friend Su, who owned Scout and Kali before me. Their original owners got them as little llamas, which are called crias… Continue Reading

Black Eyed Peas and Collards

Now here’s a title that ten years ago I would never have dreamed I’d use. To explain why I have to go into my genetics. You see, my maternal line comes out of Norway. In fact, although my maternal grandparents were born in the US, both of them spoke Norwegian as their first language. My… Continue Reading

Farm Merger

Over my years on the farm I’ve seen a lot of cross species mergers. There was my second Jersey cow Cissy, who was certain she wanted to be a dog and live on the porch. I will say that no one, especially the dogs, thought this was a good idea. My ancient old turkey Tom… Continue Reading

Good-bye Scout

Today, the farm said an unexpected good-bye to Scout, the blind llama. This truly took me by surprise. Scout, who arrived with his buddy Kali in mid-July, had been doing really well, or so I thought. He had been steadily getting stronger and was putting on weight, which was a blessing. I’d seen him both… Continue Reading

Karaoke Cowards

The people at the retreat center across the creek from us are having way too much fun. I can’t speak to the extent of their dress, but we can hear their voices and often their drums. My neighbor Al wishes they’d come up with another rhythm once in a while, though. The other night a… Continue Reading

Jujubes

I apologize for the late post. For the past eight weeks I’ve been struggling with what the podiatrist (yes, I went to see a doctor; unbelievable, I know) diagnosed as a strained ligament. She also told me that I would take months to heal. In the meantime, it hurts to walk, even though I’m braced… Continue Reading

Karma is a Female Dog

The turkey came home to roost for Radha today and she most definitely earned it. As you may recall, I’ve been battling for months to get my hard-headed, dominant and determined, 1.5 year old Anatolian Shepherd to show me she can become some sort of livestock guardian dog (otherwise referred to as an LGD). Over… Continue Reading

Oh to Cukes!

The title of this post was supposed to be “An Ode to Cukes.” I actually considered writing an ode, but after some research on the format, which I vaguely remembered from high school English class, I decided I would only embarrass myself if I tried. Instead, I’m inserting a picture of Radha here, because…well, because… Continue Reading

Getting Edgy

Getting Edgy

Yeah, not that kind of edgy. Edge-y. As in sharpening knifes because last Saturday I had no sharp knives. None. Nada. Nil. It was that day that my friend Mike brought fourteen Buff Orpington roosters by to turn into food. I can hear all of you who know what a Buff Orpington is groaning at… Continue Reading