July Fundraiser for the Corgi Connection of Kansas

CorgipantsSince the inception of Fiber Friends, when my love of Corgis fueled the melding of my illustration style and love for fiber arts, i have been passionate about giving back to the community that has been so supportive of my chosen craft. Pocket, my Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a big reason why Fiber Friends has become a viable career, not just a fun hobby. She is my ambassador, muse and break time entertainment and lucky for me, folks on the internet like her too. Those of us in the ‘corgi community’ and animal lovers in general share a bond. We care for animals the way they should be cared for: like part of our families. Not all animals are as lucky as Pocket. Not all have a loving home and some need a helping hand.  I feel it only just that i should funnel some of the support i receive from my ‘fans’ to those unfortunate pets in the world at large.

For the first several years in business as Fiber Friends, i donated a dollar from every sale to Corgi Pals. Corgi Pals has sadly since unfounded but there are plenty of other worthy causes. For those of you active in the Corgi community in particular, you may be familiar with these faces:

Benny and Biggie CorgipantsFiber Friends Fundraiser for Corgi Connection of Kansas

Benny and Biggie Corgipants were a source of joy to many on Facebook and beyond. With their clever jokes and fearless spirits, these little dogs meant a lot to strangers all over the world, but they meant even more to their human mama. She has had to say goodbye to each of them and it was my pleasure to create a little Fiber Friends family in their honor for her to hold and cry over, and remember her beloved lads. And now, it is my priviledge to hold a fundraiser in their honor.

Fiber Friends Fundraiser for Corgi Connection of Kansas

Here’s to you, Benny and Biggie Corgipants! You have since frapped on to the Rainbow Bridge but you’re still doing good down here. Pocket and I hereby pledge to donate 5% of every sale made on our website, www.FiberFriendsOnline.com to the Corgi Connection of Kansas, one of your favorite organizations helping foster and re-home Corgis in need of homes.

Now is a great time to order gifts in time for Christmas and know that your dollars are helping Corgis in need while you invest in fine art you’ll cherish for years to come (i know, it’s early to think about the holidays – but my waiting list is pushing 4-5 months!). I have plenty of in-stock cuties in my shop, custom listings for ordering your own pet’s portrait, and plenty of add-ons to make your Fiber Friends even more special.

So, let’s hear it for the pets we love and raise some funds for those still searching for their special family!

We appreciate your support!

– Miranda & Pocket

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Filed under Felting, Fiber Fridays, Fiber Friends, Fibers

All Wire Rabbit “Tractor” for Safely Pastured Rabbits

Pasturing rabbits SAFELY

I raise New Zealand rabbits for meat, breeding stock, and participation in the occasional rabbit show. One of the most common misconceptions i run into from folks not used to rabbits as livestock is “aren’t they unhappy in wire cages?” The answer is: no, they are not. My rabbits are safely housed in a well ventilated barn, in hanging all wire cages that are large enough for them to stretch out, play, make babies, have babies, snuggle with babies, and romp about as babies. All wire cages ensure a sanitary, easily cleaned environment which contributes to excellent health and the barn is secure against predators. Certainly, all rabbits would love to burrow in the dirt, run for long distances and chomp on grass – but i care too much for the health and safety of my rabbits to expose them to the elements, predators, germs and potentially toxic weeds.

I had a conversation with a woman recently who was judging my use of wire cages pretty hard. She told me a story about a woman she knew who ‘rescued’ rabbits from the shelter and let them free range on her property. “They were so happy, just romping around, hanging out on the porch, then one would go missing so she’d replace it.” Ahem – go missing? As in: eaten by a coyote???  I don’t know about you – but if i were a rabbit, i would much rather live my life in safety, being fed, watered and doted upon by a human, and then meeting my end happy and unaware of what was going on around me vs running in terror for my life and being ripped apart partially alive, by an unfeeling predatory beast. Right???

That being said: rabbits can be great ’employees’ in the garden and why not give a litter destined for market the chance to romp and play while they grow, especially when they can do my mowing for me and they can do so in the safety of a a moveable pen? Enter, my all wire rabbit (or duck or chicken) tractor!

The construction of this tractor is incredibly basic (it better be as i am a scrimcoacher extraordinaire and do not excel at accurate building methods). I used the old wire from my hanging cages after i replaced all the floors with new wire but you can purchase wire new. The best wire is heavy guage that isn’t saggy – and that can be quite expensive BUT if you find some old, rusty cages on sale on Craiglist, snap them up and use the parts!  Here’s how i made my rabbit tractor:

Building a rabbit tractorBuilding a rabbit tractorBuilding a rabbit tractorBuilding a rabbit tractor1. Build the base. I used 1x2s to create a rectangular frame, added triangular blocks in the corners and pinned it all together using my nail gun and long nails. My tractor is 8 feet long by 4 feet wide, to match the dimensions of the wire i had on hand. Cut an 8 foot long section of 4 foot high horse fence (the stuff with 2×4 inch holes) and use your staple gun to attach it to the base. Flip it over so the fencing is on the ground and ta-da, ready for step 2.

2. Take 2 8 foot long sections of 30 to 36 inch wide rabbit cage floor wire and attach together using j-clips and j-clip plyers. Cut a square of cage wire, 4×4 feet, then cut in half diagonally. These will be your ends. Again attach to the other wire with j-clips

3. Using your staple gun, attach the bottoms of each side of this shape to the outsides of the 1x2s. They’ll over hang a bit so just bash them in to fit. We’re scrimcoaching here, people. Make it work.

4. Cut a door. I made my door big enough for me to climb into. i think it’s like 1.5×3 feet or something. Smaller is fine, too – but you’ll need to catch those bunnies occasionally and it’s nice to be able to get all the way in. Wrap the wire from the cut hole back onto itself to make a non-stabby hole then cut another new piece of wire that’s at least 2 inches larger than the hole. Attach to the top of the hole with j-clips and get some door latches to secure the bottom of the door. I need to buy my latches so for now i’m using old springs and wire hooks.

Pasturing Rabbits SAFELY in a mobile 'tractor'5. Protect them from the elements! Using a section of heavy weight plastic, staple it (with a regular staple gun) to one side of the base, then the other, pulling it tight enough that it won’t catch the wind. Using your origami skills, fold it to fit the back triangle and staple it down along the back. Now add a later of shade cloth to this to protect them from the sun. Sunstroke kills buns! I used a bunch of strips cuz that’s what i had – one 3 foot piece would be much nicer. I like to cover about half/1/3 of the tractor.

6. Add a handle. Grab a length of heavy weight wire and a piece of pvc or old hose. Poke the wire close to the front corner through the cage wire and around the base, twist. Slide the pvc or hose onto the loose and and then secure this end on the other corner.

7. Add a wheel or two. So far i’m doing okay with just dragging this thing as it is super light, but a wheel would be nice. I haven’t gotten mine added on yet, so i’ll let you figure that out for yourself. 😉  Note: Be very careful when moving your tractor! Bunny legs will fall through the holes and you don’t want to break anyone. Lift the tractor up, let them sort themselves then slowly drag watching them to be sure they’re not stuck.

That’s it!  Really, it’s easy – i just like to use lots of words to overly complicate things. 😉  Waterers can be poked through the front end and attached like normal. I use a small chicken feeder hung with baling twine in the covered area for their pellets. Hang so that it’s just above ground level.

Insert bunnies! Watch them have the time of their lives! Second note: always be sure and give your young bunnies some green grass in small amounts, adding more each day, when still with mama and before turning out to pasture. Too much green grass can make rabbits, especially young rabbits, very sick and can even kill them.

Pastured rabbits in the garden

I designed my garden with large rows between my garden beds specifically for pasturing chickens, ducks and rabbits to allow them to naturally mow and side dress my gardens with their manure. I also find them quite entertaining and have some lawn chairs set up to watch this ‘bunny tv’ in the evenings when i’m bored. Great fun!

And the best thing about this: they’re safe! This pen is not fully predator safe, and you should only use it in a fenced in yard or other area OR just use it as a day pen for your adult rabbits to get some grass and sun and then return them to the safety of their all wire cages in the barn for the evening.

Do you pasture any of your livestock? Do you allow them to ‘free range’ or do you protect them in a tractor or with electrified netting?


Filed under Birdsong Farm, Livestock, Rabbits

Un-chicken Strips – Real Food, Fast

I love chicken strips. I’m talking LOVE. When i was a tween/teenager i would order ONLY chicken strips when we went out to eat…. to the point that i had to make myself a hard and fast rule to ‘not order chicken strips even once and try new things!’ when my mom and i took a vacation to Scotland. That really expanded my horizons….. but i still really love chicken strips. You CAN use this recipe to make real chicken strips, but my version uses something special: rabbit belly!

"Un-chicken strips" with rabbit belly! Real food, fast!

Did i just trip you up a little bit? Never heard of rabbit belly as an ingredient? Well, let me tell you: on the entire 3.5 pounds of a young rabbit fryer the belly is my very favorite part. And to think some people discard it! (Are you still hung up on rabbit as ‘meat’? If so, you’re probably an American and not alone in your opinion. But in many other parts of the world rabbit is celebrated as the sustainable, nutritious, delicious meat that it is. I am proud to raise rabbits as meat-livestock and to serve them to my family and guests, and i hope you’ll give rabbit a try!) OK, enough hopping around the bush – let’s get that recipe!


  • Rabbit bellies, 3 per person
  • Flour mixture: half flour, half fine cornmeal (about a handful each for 2 servings.)
  • Seasonings: Your favorite! Cajan seasoning is great, or just salt and pepper. About a teaspoon of your favorite blend.
  • 2 eggs, scrambled and salted

Rabbit belly, flour mixture, farm fresh eggs: Making bun-strips. How to make "un-chicken strips" using rabbit belly

Rabbit ‘belly’ i usually found as two flaps behind the ribs and along the loins. The belly may be in tact and un-sliced along the center and appear as a thin membrane behind the ribs. When you quarter a whole rabbit you usually leave them attached to serve the loin as ‘saddles’. But i always cut them off and save them up in the freezer to make a big batch of delicious rabbit jerky or as “bun-strips” for dinner. Since trying out this recipe once, it has become a family favorite. We just can’t get enough! Serve with some oven fries, steamed veggies and some dipping sauce: Who needs a fast food restaurant? We’ve got real food, fast!


  1. Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit. Grease a cookie sheet with a thin layer of grapeseed oil or lard.
  2. Scramble your eggs, mix up your flour mixture, and check over your rabbit bellies removing any fat by pulling it off with your fingers.
  3. Pick up a belly by the  pointy end and dip into egg, getting both sides. Pat into flour, turn and coat each side. Dip into egg again. Pat into flour again. Sprinkle some flour on any exposed areas and place in cookie sheet. Your fingers will get all floury/eggy, but deal with it. If you have tiny little sugar cube tongs use those! I don’t.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and flip. Bake for another 10-12 minutes. Check doneness by poking in the center of the largest strip – juice should run clear.

Egg battered "un-chicken strips"Oven fried rabbit or chicken strips - fast food made at home!

This recipe can be used for chicken tenders instead of rabbit bellies. To substitute chicken: Cut breast off of a whole chicken, remove skin. Cut off double breast and slice remaining larger breast into similarly sized strips. (Or just buy chicken tenders if you’re not a whole chicken purchaser/grower such as myself.) Follow recipe above.

Perhaps you want to try rabbit but aren’t sure how to cook the whole thing? Maybe you have a guest who’se leery about eating rabbit… This is a great recipe for trying this versatile meat and if you’re sneaky you can serve it to a friend without them knowing it’s rabbit. I would NEVER do that, though. Ever. I’m totally honest in the kitchen. 😉 This recipe is sure to become a family favorite in YOUR house as well! And if you live nearby, i hope you’ll consider buying your locally raised rabbit from me. :) Enjoy!


What’s the most ‘exotic’ animal/meat you’ve eaten? Where you afraid to try it, and how did you like it?


Filed under Baked, Birdsong Farm, Cooking, Easy, Rabbit

Use That Old Spice Rack: Display Your Collection

I love spice racks. I cannot NOT buy old spice racks when i find them at the thrift store. And yet: i keep my spices in a cabinet and have no real need for a spice rack….. for spices. In lieu of quitting my addiction, i simply found an alternative use for all those vintage, retro and elegant spice racks that have accumulated in my home. Enter my other addiction: tiny, vintage figurines!

Up-cycle your old spice rack

Spice racks are the PERFECT size for displaying small figurines and even more perfect for displaying Fiber Friends Nubbins. Perhaps you’re a little obsessed with these adorable felt critters and want to amass your own collection (please, do!) but aren’t sure how to display them. Head to your favorite thrift store or grandma’s closet and you’re sure to find some unused spice racks looking for homes. Give them a little cleaning, hang on a wall you enjoy looking at and voila: display shelves!

Display your Fiber Friends collection

Check out the Fiber Friends holiday shop to find corgis, beagles, labs and more garbed in seasonal finery from shamrocks or bunny ears to scarves and Santa hats or order custom Nubbins to match your favorite fur-babies and make your collection complete!


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Filed under Felting, Fiber Fridays, Fiber Friends, Fibers