Archive for the ‘Rabbits’ Category

As part of our 2010 cyber-reorganization, we are moving and consolidating our cyberhomes.  You can get to our website at http://www.fancyfibers.com or just http://fancyfibers.com.

Our Farm Blog is now on that site instead of in a separate place! 

Please continue to follow the news from the farm by going to our newly designed website (on a different hosting service), click on the latest blog post, and SUBSCRIBE!  There is an RSS feed link down at the bottom.  When I figure out how to add other feed readers, I’ll do that, too!

We hope you’ll check it out and watch our new site grow!


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Well, almost.

Tonight was Cassie’s night “in the barrel” so to speak. She needed to have what was left of her fur after her January litter clipped off.

For those of you who’ve never seen the rabbits, this is not your basic cute Easter bunny. Cassie is a German/Satin cross. The first thing you notice about her is that she’s BIG, If you put this rabbit’s front paws on your shoulder, her hind end is down at your waist. Carrying Cassie resembles carrying a good sized baby!

For the most part, she was cooperative. As long as she could lay on my lap and watch baseball, she was fine. However, this rabbit, more than any of my others, HATES to be on her back so I can clip her belly! She’s strong, and she can flip like an Olympic gymnast!

Eventually, she wore me out and I gave up. I put her back in her cage until tomorrow when I’ll start fresh and finish her off.

After Cassie come the two Royals I haven’t done yet, Queen Anne and Earl Gray, and Mercy (not necessarily in that order). For my spinning friends, there will be lots of angora here for the spinning by the end of the week!

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2010 Baby Bunnies: Take Two

I’ve been a little hesitant to say anything publicly because of the bad luck we had with our last rabbit litter, but we have another batch of baby bunnies at the Farm. There are currently 7 (down from 9). Six are black and one is white. We can think Grampa Carter bunny (R.I.P.) for that white gene!

Mama bunny is our Cocoa, a German/Satin mix. Daddy bunny is our Caramel, also a German/Satin mix.

Let’s all send good vibes toward my Bunny Barn for the good health of this group of squirmy, sqeaky, sweethearts!

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For those of you not personally acquainted with us, we have three children (all girls) and four grandchildren (all girls).  Three of those four grandgirls are sisters who live within driving distance.  I refer to them as the Three Sisters.  This weekend, we were fortunate to have them come play with us here at the farm. 

The girls were able to do all of their favorite things!  They drove the golf cart, and drove the golf cart, and drove the golf cart… You get the picture!  Good thing they got that out of the way on Saturday because by Sunday, it was muddy……. again.

They ate their favorite foods, both at our house and at the Dairy Queen!  They went to the Farmersville feed store with Papa Ken, and to Atwoods with me where they got to play with (more) baby rabbits and hold the baby chicks.

Papa Ken and I started putting together the dog kennel (although the rain and the tangled arrangement of the chain link prevented us from finishing it).  This will be handy to keep Buddha and MudBud from going on unauthorized adventures outside the fence when we have workmen coming in and out.  The Welder is going to be starting a fence for me soon to make a place for the alpaca herd that will be increasing in size substantially this summer, and then he’ll be helping me build some new goat shelters.

I had to just shake my head at my poor dirty goats.  I think these animals roll in the dirt just for fun!

The girls and I also had some fun in the Bunny Barn.  It was a bunny free-for-all while I cleaned cages.  First we let all the girls out to run around; then we let all the boys out!

Finally, once it stopped raining on Sunday, we put away 30 bales of hay that we hope will get us through the rest of the winter. There was no prayer of getting Randy’s truck and trailer into the back pasture where our hay storage barn is, so we ended up loading it into our livestock trailer which we have parked in front of the house. Not much use having a building for hay storage when you can’t get to it, an issue we still have to work out!

All in all, I think the girls had a fun weekend in the country.  They took home a dozen fresh eggs they had gathered from the chickens, and a bag of rabbit poo for Ms. Patti’s garden. Mostly, they ran in the fields, tromped in the mud, played with the animals, ate lots of favorite foods, and provided lots of joy for their grandparents!

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Yesterday was a snow day in Allen ISD where I teach, so I had the unexpected pleasure of staying home.  This was a fantastic turn of events because it gave me the opportunity to catch up on a few things.  By 11:00 the roads were passable, so Ken drove me to The Colony to pick up Ge’mar.  This made things even better!  Not only did I have a day to catch up, I had help!

It was a great day to be working in the bunny barn.  Ge’mar put on his rubber boots and carried all my miscellaneous bags and boxes of fleece out to a trailer that my brother’s friend George has stored at our place.  It’s a beautiful trailer, the kind you carry a race car around in, with a workbench, lights, electricity.  I’m seriously thinking about skirting my fiber out there!  Ge’mar also moved all my craft show set-up pieces out there.  I won’t need them until October, so they can be “out of sight” and “out of mind” for a while.

In the meantime, I cleaned up the floor in the bunny barn.  A clean(ish) floor out there in the rabbit area is a rare sight!  It’s usually peppered with hay and feed and dust.  And it is a bear to clean!  I hate sweeping up dust with a passion!  It seems you put more in the air than in the dust-bin.  My brother, the Welder, solved this problem for me, though, by suggesting I get some sweeping compound.  Now, I couldn’t live without this stuff.  If you have a concrete floor where people track in wet dirt that turns to dry dirt, you NEED this stuff.  It’s basically oily sand.  You toss it out on the floor, and when you sweepit up, it attaches itself to the dust and allows you to sweep it up instead of tossing it into the air!

Voila!  Clean bunny barn floor!

Once Ge’mar had the storage area cleaned out, he turned to his next task:  Unloading the Suburban.  Now (finally), everything from last weekend’s retreat is out of the truck and in a place where I can get to it!  This is important because we’re going to start having DYE DAYS at the farm, and we need the supplies to be close at hand.  Watch for the announcement, and plan to join us!

While he was cleaning out the truck, I finished giving Coffee his haircut.  This took longer than I would have liked, but we made it.  He’s still mad at me and we had to do some wrestling (particularly when I started on his belly), but eventually we were finished.  This is particularly exciting because it was Coffee’s fur that I dyed a brilliant Violet at the retreat, and I’m looking forward to dyeing more of it!  This time, I think I’ll try crock pot dyeing.

After his haircut, I let Coffee run around on the clean floor for a while.  I was a bit apprehensive about how Dudley and Stanley would react, and was surprised when they ran from the rabbit!  Of course, Coffee and Stanley are about the same size!  Coffee enjoyed the romp, and Dudley and Stanley eventually got used to him. 

Stanley is hard to photograph

He really prefers to be held


What’s on tap for Saturday?  Ken was hoping to finish cleaning out the last unused stall in the barn and set it up as a chicken area for our youngest chickens who have outgrown the A-frame coop.  However, after going out to feed this morning, he reports that it’s freezing out there.  He and Ge’mar might not get as far as he had hoped.  We’ll see!

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“Snow … Snow … Snow … Snow … ”  So sang Bing Crosby, Danny Kay, and their two lovely co-stars as they rolled down the train tracks and dreamed of a white Christmas.

There’s something about snow in Texas that brings out the playfulness in just about everyone.  It must be because we don’t get much of it. I mean, c’mon.  That’s long pieces of green grass sticking up through our snow!

As I parked the truck at work this morning, the grounds outside the north door were covered in high school freshman playing.  The snow had miraculously turned them all into 8-year-olds=again!  Snowball fights, stuffing snow down each other’s necks, chasing each other around with wads of snow poised for throwing.

It was hard to get them to work, too.  Every class asked the same question as they came through the door.  “Please, Ms. Berry?  Can’t we go outside and play in the snow?”  Truth be told, I probably would have let them had we not received a rather stern warning from the #1 Principal that strictly forbid this activity and that reminded us that it was business as usual.  The best I could do was open my blinds and stare out at it, and try to get the kids to work on their archetype posters while they talked about going outside and playing in the snow right after school.  How could they know that the #1 Principal would be waiting on the north lawn to shoo them away from the building and make them wait until they got home (or at least off school property) before they could douse each other in wet soppy cold snow!

The snow had the same effect on the guard dogs.  It was coming down strong, and they were out playing in it!  They even had a playmate — the little dog that lives across the street and who slides in through a gap in the gate when he feels like a good romp.  The pasture dogs have decided that he is no threat, and they have a great time trying to chase him as he darts in, around, and through their legs!  Like a flash, as quick as he came, he gets tired of the game and runs home, back to the warmth of his garage.

Most all the other animals had tucked themselves away in a building until Ken went out to feed.  Good grief, they are an unholy mess, our two little doelings the worst. I’ve never seen such dirty goats.  In the small pasture, the animals were happy hanging around in the barn.  One lone chicken ventured out, but even she stayed close to the building where there was no snow.  Quite prissy the whole lot of them!

Tomorrow is an official “snow day” and I will stay home from work.  Ken will likely stay home as well whether his office opens or not.  I think I’m going to make it a bunny day and maybe even unload the Suburban.  I need to find a home for Big Tom and put him to work. 

Tomorrow is also the opening day of the Olympics, is it not? Which means it is also the opening day of Ravelympics, the knitting-spinning-dyeing, all things fiber, event.  I have entered two rovings in the spinning event, and a couple of pieces in the WIP (work in progress) event. I’m also hoping to knit some long awaited socks, and more hats and scarves for next fall’s art festival inventory.  I just love snow days!

What do I love even more? Baby bunnies! Particularly when they are as cute as our fat rolly-polly Hercules (Xena).  For every mom in the crowd — do your kids ever do you this way?

One more gratuitous picture, just because it’s so cool — MudBud, laying in the snow as I look at him from our bedroom window.  Notice the peach tree, with buds of new growth on it.  Is Texas weather strange, or what???

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A good many of the people reading this note (including DD#2) will disagree with the title. For those people, knitting gives them a headache. 

But not for me. For me, it’s the perfect headache remedy, one that I took full advantage of this evening. 

I came home from work with a monstrous headache, that all-over-but-particularly-in-the-back-of-my-neck throb that I clearly recognized stems from tension.  One too many days of The Odyssey. One too many days of trying to get high school freshman to learn a style of formulaic writing that will serve no purpose in their lives other than to help them pass the state assessment in one month’s time. One too many parent emails telling me all the special things that I need to be doing for their little darling to help him pass 9th grade, yet completely failing to mention that their child has any role or responsibility in the matter whatsoever.  (My girls graduated from high school, thank you very much, and it wasn’t because I asked their teachers to raise them for me.) 

In any event, there is only one treatment for headaches like this: Dr. Pepper, an undisclosed amount of ibuprofen, and knitting.  

For a person who has knit as long as I have, the motions are second nature. The repetition quiets the noise in my brain. My fingers move in and around, backwards and forwards, unbidden by conscious thought. The process is slow, deliberate, rhythmic, yet still fulfills my somewhat compulsive desire to accomplish something with every moment of my day. 

My super-bulky oatmeal colored yarn was as soft on the eyes as it was easy to use. Large needles let me relax my fingers and slow down the pace. An easy pattern shown in the semi-darkness off my computer screen. The pattern was something I was already familiar with; I knit guided more by intuition than by instruction. 

A broken needle and a slipped cable required that I find the super glue, but by then I felt better, so it didn’t bother me much. 

The room was quiet — no television allowed. The only noise was the sound of Bear’s deep barking from the far edge of the pasture fence and the hum of the refrigerator. 

In a few hours I finished my piece.  A cabled cowl. It matches the hat I made last night.  

My headache gone, and the tension mostly worked out of my neck and shoulders, it’s time to call it a night. 

But not without a couple of totally gratuitous baby bunny pictures! 

Breakfast time!

Hercules discovers hay

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