Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dog meets webcam

We got a web cam for Nee and us for Christmas so we can stay better connected with one another. The dogs all hear and recognize her voice and the Border Collie caught glimpses of an image on sceen, but in the end her nose told her that it was all fake.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Bunnday Monday

Beatrice is working hard on recovery.

She did have to return to the vet because the infected ear also came with an abcess in her neck under the ear. She stopped eating and started snorting and having trouble breating deeply. She had surgury, and now has a shaved spot in her dew lap and is getting antibiotic shots in her bunny butt everyday.

Her career as a diva show rabbit has been put on hold for a while.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Come tumble compost with me

As Mr. and Mrs. Garden have moved to their smaller house, they have sold me this composter for $150.00. Of course the one I'm buying is under snow at the moment but if there is another nice day tomorrow, Mr. Greenjeans and I are off work together and can try and pick it up. This is great as all my other compost means are full and the chicken coop needs cleaning.

Have any of you used one of these? How do you like it?

Our food storage feasting today includes leftover lentil soup and cornbread made from the ground corn from the garden. I think it is the grind available from the country living corn auger that has the sweet corn making much better cornbread than polenta.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Soap Making Day

We have finally used the last of the powdered laundry soap we made. While it stored nicely, we didn't like it because it left a white powdery residue on the clothes and the grated bar didn't dissolve well in the laundry. The recipe we're trying today comes from The Tipnut and is as follows:

2 C. bar soap grated (1 bar Fels Naptha = 2 C grated)
1 Qt. boiling water
2 C. Washing Soda (made by arm and hammer but is different than baking soda)
2 C. Borax
2 gal. water
Boil the water in a large sauce pan. Add the grated bar soap and stir until dissolved. (This takes a while!)

Add the dissolved soap and water to a 3 gal pail and then add the extra water. We used one gal boiling water, added the other ingredients, stirred, and topped it off with one gal cold water.

Issues we encountered were that the bar soap irritated Chibi's hands when grating (as the packaging said it would). Perhaps use a bit of paper bag when grating. We had planned on putting it into an old liquid soap bottle we'd saved to the occasion but when it cools, the soap forms a firm gel and I wasn't sure about getting it back out of the bottle. We ended up keeping in the pail used to mix.

We do add just a bit of oxyclean to the laundry soap because we tend to get our clothes really dirty with animals and work. I do think it would be good to rinse the clothes with a bit of vinegar to get rid of any soapy residue.

I couldn't find the materials in town and so ordered a quantity from soaps gone buy (much better prices than Leamans for the same products).

The food storage feast for today is Lentel Soup using the Christmas ham bone, carrotts, onion, ect.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sprouting your Food Storage

I know that sprouts have been mentioned before in food storage but here we are in the winter and our family is having wonderful (if not quite voluntary) meals from our self-sufficiency plans and one thing becomes obvious to me:we still crave fresh vegies. We have some lettuce growing and that is good the once a week that it produces, but what we realize is how a sprouting set-up can be really vital to self-sufficiency.

One can sprout a wide variety of nutritious seeds (dozens of varieties!), the seeds will store well, you don't need a garden, and they require next to no special equipment to sprout. You do need to have gathered the necessary materials however and not be sprouting your garden seeds.

We're not that crazy about sprouts so I didn't pay too much attention to storing sprouts before but now. I have in the past tried to add alfalfa sprouts to our diet (probably when I was pregnant) and one of the problems was that there were so many of them and then they went bad all at once. I can still remember the smell. But here in mid-winter with only canned vegies, they are sounding quite appealing. Also, the chickens are stuck inside their coop because they refuse to set foot in the snow (there's nothing out there for them anyway) and since they are producing nearly a dozen eggs a day, I'd like to give them some greens. That solves that waste problem.

BTW, We had a lovely savory quiche last night for dinner with leftovers to go for lunch today yummmmm.

So, I'm beating the drum of adding a sprouting kit and seeds to your food stores!
this post was edited for grammar

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chibi's New Bunn

This is Eclypse, Chibi's 5 month old French Lop. Her color is gold tipped steel.

"Hey, you lookin' at me?"

She's still worried about the new home. She is however much more interested in the typical tossing things about than Beatrice.

No pictures of Beatrice today. Her coat is too ragged and she's not looking her best from her illness.

Of Weather and Bunnies

The posting is rather sparce because ... well... not much is happening. It is cold - below zero at night and now at 10:00 a.m. it is 5 degrees. We've used most of a cord of wood and will have to buy some. Gathering and cutting wood makes for one more project for the good weather (in addition to gardening and canning and fishing).

Mr. Greenjean's company messed up on his check and so he got a quarter of the pay we were expecting. They're all scratching their ..... and talking about what to do about it but in the mean time, we're feasting on our food stores.

Last evening I stewed one of the roosters we'd butchered this year. I browened the meat on the stove top but then did the long simmering and cooking of vegies on the cook surface of the wood stove. The birds have been a little tough so I'm looking for ways of getting them more tender - if anyone has good recipees for for tough birds, let me know.

Beatrice bunny is still on the mend but it is slow progress. I want to see her 'bounce' back but she's lethargic. We've stopped the antibiotics and are on to pro-biotics so maybe she'll be coming around. She is eating enough to make up for lost time and no longer rejecting anything on her menu. She does see me coming and start sniffing around to see what delicacy I've brought to tempt her. She has me trained to greater amounts of treats.

We took Nee back to school (always so sad) and on the way home went by the breeder's house and picked up Chibi's show bunn. We had been waiting for a certain color that was not born and so the breeder sold Chibi a 5 month old rabbit she's been keeping for herself. The breeder is the president of the local club and wanted to encourage her in youth showing. So nice! The blood lines are to the best rabbits in her barns. Oh, it is a French Lop, doe. Pictures later.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Beatrice Update

First thank you all to the e-rabbit community - I don't even know you all and you've come through with great suggestions. Here are pictures of her recovering curled up tight in the recliner away from dog and foot traffic:

She started drinking water by herself mid-day. This is a huge improvement as yesterday I spooned drops into her mouth but most of it dribbled out. She ate raisins on her own (thanks for the suggestion Ilex), but the only other food she has eaten has been that that I've placed in her mouth and she's eaten. That includes her favorite multi grain crackers with black and white sesame seeds and poppy seeds and her specialty feed (the breeder has it made specifically for her rabbitry) melted with fresh made apple juice.

We all survived my giving her an antibiotic injection (did I mention I took her to a cow vet on the holiday? I had to assume the shot went under the skin and not IM).

I can not believe how much I care about this rabbit.

The new addition

Introducing Beatrice, the [edit: baby] Flemish Giant rabbit (never you mind the strange woman holding her). [She will get another 1/3 larger than this]

Chibi has been pretty low since Nee left for school. We decided that as mom and daughter we would take up showing rabbits. We've been to one show but had the only Flemish Giant and so it was more like parading her for the judge as there was no competition. I prefer the giant rabbits as they are more cuddly and docile than smaller rabbits. Chibi wants a French Lop and is waiting for just the right color to be born.

Beatrice lives in the house (in the laundry room when I'm out) but I'm getting really large cages built (4'x 6') when it comes time to have kits or when she needs some cage time.

The problem is that Beatrice got sick on New Years Eve. Actually, it was earlier but is mistook her bad behavior with me as rabbit heat (I went to put her up so I could go to work and she biffed me hard on the chin - so I went to direct a children's play with a couple of 2" bleeding cuts on my face - nice). When I returned that evening she was clearly ill and was worse on New Years day. I took her to the vet (called in the cow vet for the next town over - yea emergency holiday pay $$$) and she had a raging feaver and an ear infection. He had to get out the books to treat a rabbit but he was kind to us about it. She's on antibiotics and today the feaver is down and the ears are up but she's not eating or drinking. I'm feeding her water and a few sips of apple juice off a spoon - which she takes off the spoon but doesn't eat at all, yet. I'm all ears for suggestions - she's lost over 2 lbs.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

This is a picture of the cat enjoying the new fireplace. This winter isn't as cold as last, but it is below zero at night with daytime highs in the 30s. We LOVE, love the stove. I cooked beans on the stove top the other day. I'll have to get more adept at cooking on it.

The photo is taken wit Nee's new Christmas camara - I still have an old one.