Name That Rabbit! :: seventh edition

My next keeper! This little girl is my very first Red color thanks to the development of my orange-carrying lines. She is even showing signs of having quality wool. Her coat is thick and even at only 1/4″ long, I can already see nice crimping.

Genetically speaking, there is not much difference between a “Red” and an “Orange” except for the amount of rufus modifiers present. Red has more rufus modifiers, Orange has a moderate amount, and Fawn has even fewer. This doe is very, very red, but she is also what is known as having a “smutty” coat. Which means that the spots that should be a clean white (around the nose, eyes, ear lacing, under the tail and belly), has a slight grey color. The grey is only at the tips and may even have been caused by our cold temperatures as her coat color was developing, but all the same, she isn’t a clean colored Red.

The reason I have decided to keep her for my breeding program is that if I were to breed her to Bunaby Jones, my “clean” Orange, I have a good chance of getting not only cleaner Orange, but clean colored Red. Muwahahahahaa! With enough luck and selective breeding, I can produce clean colored Reds and Oranges. Somehow Oranges and Reds have become my focus in French Angoras.

So without further ado– let’s name this beautiful redhead. Come up with your best fiery redhead name and add it to the poll or vote for your favorites!

We will have until February 9th to come up with a great name. I will also be adding any votes made via Facebook and email, so please do not vote for the same name twice. Do, however, vote for as many names as you want and/or make up your own.

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Vote Here!

Allow Yourself The Opportunity To Fail

Anyone who has spent any time on this blog will know that I am no stranger to hard lessons learned. Aka: failure. Before you go crazy about the word “failure”, let me say, it is okay to have failed. Contrary to mainstream thought, failure is a good thing.

We should be proud enough to say, “Hey, I totally tried that and it didn’t work for me. Now I’m going to try it differently.”

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That is the difference between defeat and creating a learning experience for yourself. In modern society we are always told to take things slow, start small. I don’t know about you, but that sounds simply droll. I like to find things I am passionate about and jump in head first and at full force. Sure, I buy books and do research when it comes to the livelihood of another creature, but I certainly don’t wait until “the right time”. Geez… if I did that, I would be absolutely nowhere. I wouldn’t have driven 18-hours to buy my first three angora rabbits, I wouldn’t have bought Trevor that book that made him want to be a beekeeper, I wouldn’t have tried to raise quail, and I wouldn’t have tried a second batch of chicks after half of my first flock was mysteriously eaten. All of those wonderful things started at “the wrong time”. And now I have beautiful rabbits with gorgeous wool (and yummy meat), I have two thriving beehives, I have had the experience of raising quail, and I have eaten home raised chicken meat and fresh farm eggs. Just because you allow yourself the opportunity to crash and burn, doesn’t mean you will.

If you will notice, I listed my experience of raising quail as a benefit, and it was. Was it successful? Maybe in showing me how much I detest quail. No, it was a failure. But it was a failure that taught me so much about the finicky diet and outrageously high maintenance temperament of some animals. Not everyone can be as laid back as a chicken I guess. But this brings me back to my point.

Sometimes you need to allow yourself the opportunity to fail.

Without failure, we have learned nothing. Without failure, we cannot enrich our day-to-day life. So when you get knocked in the dirt, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and yell, “Thank you for the learning experience!!!” at that damn quail*, because they have made you more awesome than you were yesterday.

* Feel free to substitute the word “quail” with: goat, stubborn cow, carrot, testy eggplant bush, or any other aspect of life that is giving you grief.

Our Farm “Bucket List”

This is a list of all the components and goals we would like to accomplish, perpetuate, and grow here at Frühlingskabine Micro-Farm along our path to self-reliance. Some things on our list will be simple tasks or crops to grow and others are long-term goals. Learn along with us as we complete (and add) things to our “bucket list”.

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Food Production


Grow food and medicine from organic, heirloom seed
✓Save seeds from harvests
Grow:
……. Fruit orchard: apples, cherries, figs, lemons, olives, oranges, pears, persimmons, plums, pomegranates
……. Nut trees: almonds
……. Berries: blackberries, blueberries, strawberries
……. Grains: Barley, wheat, rye
…….✓Sprouted fodder: feed livestock using mostly a fodder diet
Bees
……. Tend up to 8 beehives: honey, beeswax
……. Build our own beehives
Chickens and Turkeys
……. Keep a dozen laying hens: eggs, compost manure

……. Keep breeds that hatch and raise their own young: meat, compost manure
Rabbits
……. Keep 8-10 adult angora rabbits: angora wool, compost manure
…….✓Raise multiple litters each season: meat, fur pelts
Goats
……. Keep 2+ dairy goat does: milk, cheese, butter, compost manure
……. Grow out bucklings for: meat

General Farmyness


Donkey
……. Use a jenny donkey to guard goats
……. Teach a donkey to drive a cart
Garden Tools
…….✓Use hand powered tools whenever possible
…….✓Compost manure from all livestock on the farm
……. Do not bring in outside manures and composts

Food Choices


Eat only pastured/organic meats from local farmers
Supplement what we grow with seasonal, organic food from local farmers
✓Buy in bulk through a local food co-op

Household


Compost all food waste
Cook from scratch 5+ days a week using nourishing and traditional foods
…….✓Bake bread from scratch
…….✓Brew homemade drinks: ginger bugs/ales, water kefir, kombucha
Use cast iron or stainless steel cookware: no non-stick
✓Remove dishwasher and microwave
Use cloth bags for shopping and lunch bags
✓Make, mend, re-use, or make do
Conserve water
……. Save rainwater
……. Build a greywater system for heavy drinking plants
……. Garden using water efficient methods: plant selection, hügelkultur
……. Install low-flow toilets and shower fixtures
……. Use earth-friendly cleaners that are okay for greywater system
Make all medicines for the household
Use solar and wind power
……. Solar/electric goat fence
……. Solar well pump
……. Utilize both solar and windmill systems for household power
✓Dry clothing outside on the clothesline or inside by the woodstove
✓Sew, crochet, knit
✓Use cloth napkins, cloth rags, and cloth diapers
Make our own toothpaste, shampoo, soap, lotion, facial cleansers, laundry detergent
✓Heat with woodstove, rugs, blankets in winter
✓Use rechargeable batteries, create rechargeable station
✓No cable, limited tv

Home Economy


Lead workshops and “work days” at the farm
✓Barter and trade whenever possible
✓Operate a Farmstand or Farmer’s Market booth
Produce farm goods
……. Grass-fed and pastured meats
…….✓Raw angora wool and yarn
…….✓Pastured eggs
…….✓French Angora rabbit kits for sale
……. Farm-mutt chicks for sale

You Are Awesome Katja!

It’s days like this that make me feel loved. Katja, a blog reader and one of my greatest cheerleaders, sent me what can only be described at the ultimate Scandinavian care package. She very, very, very generously gifted me a full set of kransekage pans (see? I used the Danish spelling, Katja) and three Scandinavian cookbooks. I was down at the market this morning when the box arrived so Trevor was the lucky box-opener. He was so excited to see the cookbooks that he immediately opened one up, found a recipe, dug through the cabinets to find ingredients, and baked a hearty loaf of “Norwegian Rye Bread”. All before I arrived back at the house.

So this is what I came home to:

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We sliced into this puppy over dinner and smothered it in honey mustard, hot ham, and grilled onions. Delish!

Now that I have a fabulous kransekage set, I can make rings that are a lot less flat, hopefully resulting in a fabulous looking kransekage tower. I brought home some almond flour from the market so that I can make another, more respectful, attempt at making this dessert. My first try tasted good, but looked more like hole-y pancakes than puffy rings. If all goes well, I have a request from the almost four-year old for a rainbow birthday cake… I think a rainbow kransekage would be fun. We’ll see how this next trial run goes first.

Katja, you are awesome! Your kransekage pans and Scandinavian cookbooks will live a great second life here on the farm.

Hunt and Gather

There are quite a few things we need to hunt and gather in the coming months as we begin to develop new, bare land. Some items on our list are tools, some are related to fencing (phew!– going to need a lot of that!), and some things are for projects to look forward to. In all these areas we are starting from scratch… again. We have lived on this quarter-acre about three years and in that time we have come to rely on our neighbor’s gardening tools and fences. Now that we are moving out and onward, we need to come up with a lot of the basics for ourselves. I anticipate many hours spent on FreeCycle and the dreaded Craigslist looking for tools and building materials that we can buy inexpensively, barter for, or even better: find for free. If you are coming into our neck of the woods and have some old garden gear that you’d like to pass on, let me know and we can make some sort of trade or deal.

We have so much to do and you know what? I love it. You know me, I always need a project to work on. Or two. Or fifty. Boredom just doesn’t suit me. I think that’s why I love having animals to care for. I thrive on this life of constant baking, fermenting, soap making, woodstove stoking, cheese making, sewing, building, painting, baby critter care taking, grooming, planting, weeding, and harvesting. It is all a harvest I suppose.

This year, you can expect the blog to be flooded with photos, new tutorials, and hands-on workshop announcements. In the meantime, here is what we will be gathering and buying for the farm. This will be a slow process of course since we will be sourcing mostly recycled materials:

Garden:

  • Pointy shovel (technical name)
  • Flat shovel (that might actually be a technical name)
  • Rake –heavy duty
  • Pitch fork
  • Wheelbarrow
  • One of those cool garden carts/wagon on steroids
  • Logs and brush for hügelkultur
  • Straw bales for hügelkultur

Fencing:

  • ____ft./____yds. Electric wire fencing
  • Electric wire connectors for T-posts
  • T-posts; 6-8 foot tall (billions of them)
  • T-post hammerthingy
  • ____ft./____yds. garden fencing for deer (8 feet tall?)

Goats & Donkey:

  • Shelter –lumber or pallet walls?
  • Shelter roof –shingles, tin, or PVC material
  • Water containers
  • Feed containers
  • Hay manger –1 or 2 for goats, 1 separate for donkey
  • Mineral dishes –accessible only to goats
  • Goat grooming tools
  • Donkey grooming tools
  • Milking pail and filter/funnel set –stainless steel only
  • Donkey halter & lead

Miscellaneous:

  • Skill saw
  • Lumber of all sorts –2×4’s, plywood, 6×6’s, OSB, wood screws, etc.
  • Bricks for new cob oven
  • Clay & sand for new cob oven
  • Thick gauge wire rolls –9 gauge (best) to 16 gauge (least desirable)
  • Turkey tractor –for 2-6 turkeys
  • Greenhouse plastic
  • Big fodder trays for bigger, better setup
  • More rabbit cages –30×36″ minimum
  • Fruit trees for an orchard