It’s almost our house-versary! Can you believe we finally closed (after 7 months of waiting for this crazy “not-so-SHORT” sale property) almost a year ago? December 15th marks that long awaited day and soon i’ll be able to post side by side photos of last year/this year. Argh, i can’t wait! Next month i’ll post a year in review: now THAT is going to be a long post! For now, here’s my sum up of November, 2013.
As the photo clearly shows, December saw our first real snow! In fact, this storm is the first real snow for the valley in years with 3-6 inches sticking for what looks to be nearly a week! Too bad this part of Oregon has close to no resources for infrastructure in this type of weather. I sure hope Andy can get to work safely on Monday.
November was a month for mostly ‘in progress’ projects and a few milestones.
- more barn repairs
- I hosted BOTH my sets of parents for the first Thanksgiving at Birdsong, complete with a pastured turkey i helped process
- my rabbit cages finally hung and the overall health of the rabbits improving
- rabbits moved out to pasture successfully in my first little scrappy rabbit tractor
- big tree/hedgerow planting project begun.
- first crop of garlic sprouting
What’s that in the hay in the photo above? You might not be able to see it but it is the tiniest baby white oak sapling ever! I’ve planted about a dozen of them along our fence lines to be part of our future hedgerow. This experiment may or may not work. In 30 years maybe they’ll be 4 feet tall – ha! At least my garlic project is coming along nicely! Nothing like some rabbit manure/bedding to be a fertilizing mulch for happy garlic.
We almost have the barn project complete! All that’s left is one piece of metal on the wall, the door and the gable trim. We added some plastic over the windows to winterize the building for the season. It’s still open along the other side to provide plenty of ventilation, but closing up the openings along the rabbit cages makes it much cozier and keeps the prevailing winds off of them.
The rabbits are enjoying their new digs and growing well. Blackberry’s last litter has half does/half bucks with these cute spotted does being the stars. I may keep a broken buck out of a future litter to replace Thistle if he continues to ‘strike out’ (he’s been bred half a dozen times and only fathered this ONE litter – grrr). I decided to keep this lovely chestnut agouti doe out of Bluebell as a replacement breeder. Agouti isn’t considered a preferred color, but heck: she’s pretty, large and has a decent personality. I haven’t yet written down a real breeding program/strategy for myself, but i might as well start somewhere.
Temps down in the teens make keeping fresh waterfor all the animals a real challenge. The ducks love their morning ‘spa’ of hot water in their trough, but the chickens mistrust the snow and are sure to get dehydrated if they don’t figure out how to venture out of the coop and get a drink of fresh water when i bring it to them. As for the rabbits: water bottles are no dice in this weather. Crocks seem to be working great (and by crocks i mean bowls, dog bowls, loaf pans and whatever else i can scrounge around the house before i can get to town to buy more ‘real’ crocks for them) because they can lick the ice when they’re frozen and they’re easy to knock the ice out of and refill. Ah the seasons: summer heat, winter freezes: just when is the ‘easy’ time for managing animals? Oh right, ups and downs are the name of the game!
Pocket and Ebenezer continue to wrastle and he’s becoming an excellent barn cat, frequently sporting a huge belly from whatever loathsome beast he’s hunted and eaten. We’ve noticed him hunting the birdhouses, though and are wondering how we’ll manage to keep him from damaging the flocks of birds we love so well come springtime. All in all, November was a good month. It was filled with quite a bit of frustration as the barn project extended weeks past my goals for completion. I also had quite a struggle with rabbit health this month and am not completely out of the woods yet, though my fear of the “big P” may be assuaged. I still have some buns in QT and am planning on replacing my weaker stock. Bluebell had another dilemma with kindling, so she’s on deck for her 3rd strike if she doesn’t follow through with a good, healthy litter next breeding cycle. Life is a learning process and i’m fighting an awful lot of learning curves at once. That being said, i AM learning from them and making my way towards a varied knowledge base that should make me a good animal caretaker in a few years. Ups and downs. Changes of seasons. All in all we’ve gotten so much done in our first year of living here. Stay tuned for January’s update post for a full review of 2013 – it’s sure to be a doozy!
Today, we get our very first Christmas tree and Birdsong Farm will truly feel the spirit of the upcoming holiday, that so far i’ve been preparing for by spending loooong 10 hour days in the studio making gifts that will bring joy to other folks all over the country (and as far as Australia!). I’m ready for a week off, let me tell you!
This post got a little rambling – but that’s what happens when you’re busy doing fifteen things at the same time! How about you- have you been spreading yourself too thin this season?