Thursday, August 31, 2006

Laughter is the best medicine

The Applicant

The insurance firm put a sign in the window saying "HELP WANTED. You must
be a good typist and have good computer skills. Successful applicant must
be bilingual. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer."



A short time later a lovely golden retriever dog trotted up to the window,
saw the sign and went inside. He looked at the receptionist and wagged his
tail, then walked over to the sign, looked at it, whined and pawed the
air.



The receptionist called the office manager. He was surprised, to say the
least, to see a canine applicant. However, the dog looked determined so he
led him into the office. Inside, the dog jumped up on a chair and stared
at the manager expectantly.



The manager said, "I can't hire you. The sign says you must be able to
type."



The dog jumped down, went to the typewriter and proceeded to quickly type
a perfect business letter. He took out the page with his mouth and trotted
over to the manager, gave it to him, then jumped back up on the chair
wagging his tail.



The manager was stunned, but told the dog, "That was fantastic, but I'm
sorry. The sign clearly says that whomever I hire must have computer
skills." The dog jumped down again, went to the computer and proceeded to
demonstrate his expertise with various programs. He produced a sample
Excel spreadsheet, a sample Power Point presentation, retouched a picture
with Photo shop, and then printed all of them for the manager.




The manager was dumbfounded. He said to the dog, "Listen, I realize that
you are a very intelligent applicant and have fantastic talent, but you're
a dog! There's no way I can hire you!"



The dog jumped down and went to the sign in the window and pointed his paw
at the words, "Equal Opportunity Employer."



The exasperated manager said, "Yes, I know what the sign says. But the
sign also says you have to be bilingual."



The dog looked him straight in the
eye............................................























and said, "Meow."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

That's all, folks!

The upcoming issue of the NARBC newsletter is going to be very interesting. It is going to put to rest many of the rumors that have been circulating about who caused what and why, and other concerns like membership. Without giving anything away, let me just say, don't believe everything you hear.

That's all I think I'm going to say about it for now, unless someone comes up with something totally outrageous.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Update on the previous entry

I just got off the phone with Gerald Buck. We had a long, positive conversation regarding my previous post, but he did want to straighten some things out. Gerald has a problem in that what he writes in an email or group post doesn't always come out quite the way he meant it to. He feels some communications he has had with Amy and others were misunderstood.

What happened was, when emails were flying back and forth among board and committee members, many people tended to hit the "reply to all" option when perhaps it wasn't called for. As a result, people were getting messages that they shouldn't have. While members have every right to be aware of what is being discussed by the Board and to let their officers know how they feel about issues, they should not have access to private conversations between Board members. This was the problem Gerald was trying to address and things got misunderstood.

This does not address what others have communicated to Amy. Gerald just wanted to clear the air as to his intentions. I believe him, and I want to make sure that everyone else hears his side. I also would like to stress that I was not pointing fingers at specific people in my post, simply the need for us to let our representatives know how we feel about the issues being discussed.

As Gerald and I were talking, I asked him if, before he became a District Director, he ever had a clue as to what was going on with the BOD. He admitted he pretty much never had a clue. Neither did I, for the most part. There is a need for the membership to know what is being discussed. Not necessarily the details, but there should be some kind of agenda posted in a members-only section of the website, and in the newsletter. Our DDs can't very well represent us if we don't know what is going on and therefore don't let them know what we want and how we feel. Board minutes and votes should also be posted, so we know what was decided and who decided it. Amy is pursuing these goals, and I support her in them.

So Gerald, if I missed anything, feel free to correct me. ;)

The Politics of Rabbits Pt 3: What do you want in a club?

I have been thinking hard on this subject for the last week or so. As the newsletter editor, I get a lot of emails from people concerning questions about Club business. Those I can answer directly I do, those I cannot I refer on to the appropriate person. But a lot of them are just conversational, discussing current situations in the NARBC, discussing what they think and why, asking me what I think, etc. One person whose emails I especially enjoy is Amy Spang, our President. I am not knocking anyone else, especially since I have held this post during only one other presidency, but I am impressed with the effort she makes in getting opinions on things, and not just from me but also from the other committtee members and from the general membership. I pass on what I have heard from people, and not just those I agree with, but also from those I don't, because they are members and *most* of them have legitimate concerns. Some of them don't, some just complain for the sake of making whomever is in office look bad, but I don't need to pass those on, those people make themselves heard via other venues. I do offer my opinions on their viewpoints, however. ;)

Recently Amy has been criticized for passing the concerns that committee members and general member have onto the Board of Directors. She has been told that this is "muddying" the board's ability to do it's job, and outside input from anyone else is "complicating the issues and making it more difficult for the process to work". She received several messages from a Board member telling her that this is not the way a club should be run and that she needs to stop sending "information" to the regular members.

EXCUSE ME???!!!

1) the C&BL does not explicity state that the discussions of the Board are to remain private, and
2) apparently the BOD has not had any ideas themselves.

I feel that the BOD is accountable to *US*, the membership. And who better to get ideas from than the people who are doing the work (the Committees) and the people whom the decisions will affect (the general membership)?

There is another undercurrent of opposition that Amy is facing, and that is that she is "new", she appointed people into Committee positions who are "new", and the only people have seem to have issues with some of the ways things have been done in the past are the "new" people.

First of all, what is "new"? Some of these people have been members of the Club for over 10 years, and have held positions of responsiblity in the Club previously. Some have not, but so what? Are they qualified? YES!

In any club, there are always people who oppose new things, or who don't wish to be moved out of their comfort level, or who only want new things if THEY are the ones in control. Is this the kind of club you want?

Here are some of the issues the BOD is considering:

1. Should the NARBC website be *the* source of information on Angora rabbits and Club activities? (right now it isn't)
2. Who should own the domain NARBC.org (the Club doesn't, and that's one of the reasons why the NARBC site isn't up yet)
3. Who should own the "official" Yahoo list? (the Club doesn't)
4. Should members be given free ads on the website?
5. Should people who purchase an ad in the newsletter also get an ad on the website?

*No matter how* you feel about any of the previously mentioned issues, I urge you to contact your District Director and other appropriate Board members and establish a dialog with him/her on how you feel about things. Especially regarding being informed of what the BOD is discussing. Here are the current NARBC BOD members and their contact information:

President Amy Spang <amy@spangangoras.com>
Vice President Tracy Rios <lovelyangoras@yahoo.com>
Secretary Beverly DeVone <bevsbuns1@netscape.net>
Treasurer Jacque Dumas <jdumastn@bellsouth.net>
District 1 Director : WA, OR, ID, MT, MT, Canada (Saskatchewan-West) Judy Pinks <pinkhollands@yahoo.com>
District 2 Director : CA, NV, UT, AZ, HI, Mexico Lindsay Logan <lindsayl@aol.com>
District 3 Director : ND, NE, SD, MN, IA, WI Cindy Stelloh <arba600@aol.com>
District 4 Director : CO, NM, TX, OK, AR Carol Joy Collins <caroljoycollins@aol.com>
District 5 Director : KS, MS, IL Holly George <holleegee@yahoo.com>
District 6 Director : LA, MS, GA, FL, TN, AL, Puerto Rico Gerald Buck <shaggywonders@yahoo.com>
District 7 Director : NY, VT, NH, ME, MA, CT, RI, Canada (Quebec-West) Joan Hastings <hopjh1@aol.com>
District 8 Director : MI, IN, OH, KY, Canada (Manitoba, Ontario) Judy Riddle <fantasylandangoras@yahoo.com>
District 9 Director : PA, WV, VA, NJ, DE, MD, NC, SC, Washington D.C. and all foreign other than Canada Sally Campbell <sally@moonstar.com>
Youth Director : Kelsey Schultz <bunniesandcavies@aol.com>

Please make yourselves heard! Tell them what YOU want in a club.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Feed

I took Equine Nutrition in college, and have often compared the experiences of others, conventional wisdom, and what my studies taught me about feedstuffs. I have investigated what really goes into different feeds, been disappointed, and sometimes pleasantly surprised.

The most reliable feed I have come across so far, for freshness, uniformity, palatability (at least as far as the rabbits are concerned), and price is Blue Seal Bunny 16. But I *might* have found a new favorite in a product of Blue Seal's parent company, Kent Feeds. Kent's fixed formulas are very similar to Blue Seal's, but they add Vit C and rosemary extract. Today I bought a couple 50# bags of Kent's Top Show Family. I would have preferred the Professional formula, but the store didn't carry it. Anyway, as I'm driving home, the smell of the feed is driving me nuts. It smells SO GOOD! Almost chocolatey... yeah, I know, you probably think I'm off my rocker, I wonder myself sometimes. Anyway, I mixed some with what was left of my bag of Bunny 16, and fed. If the reactions of the bunns are any indication, they thought it smelled just as good as I did. In spite of temps in the 80s, they all dove right in. Usually, in hot weather they hang back a bit and wait 'til it cools off some. The pellets are mini pellets, which look like they would be very easy for a young bunny to eat.

So I will continue, I think, to make the trip to get this feed, and see how the wool production comes along.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Betsy

I have some pictures of Evergreen's Betsy, my new Giant doe I got from Louise Walsh. It's hard to believe this cute little bunny is going to mature over 10 pounds!



Due to the miserable, hot, humid weather Louise's area has been subjected to, Betsy's fine bunny coat had a lot of webbing and some fair-sized mats. So I decided to shear her and start over, I also wanted to evaluate her body further as well as her temperament. Betsy was pretty cooperative for a first shearing, and I had her done in about 20 minutes. Then back she went to the grooming table, and I changed my clothes. :)



Look at those ears and feet!

Louise took the time to do some coaching while we ate breakfast. According to her, you need to build a rabbit, especially a large rabbit, from the feet up. Betsy has HUGE feet, and I am going to start making that one of my selection criteria. I don't have a problem with sore hocks, but I do have a problem with size, some of mine make weight, and some don't. I want my rabbits to consistently make senior weight by ARBA standards and I don't want to have to wait a year to see if they make it. Betsy will be a key player in my breeding program to make that happen.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I went up to MA over the weekend for a couple of reasons, the first to visit Christine Oliver. She had a small fiber event at her home,and I am so glad I went! I met some new friends, got my wheel properly adjusted, and I bought a ball winder, which I have needed for some time. Yes, I have been winding balls by hand, and since I don't wish to develop carpal tunnel, a ball winder was a must-have. I also saw some mini combs demonstrated. Janet Lynn, of http://www.the-wheel-thing.com took webbed angora that I would have felted or thrown out, and in very short order made beautiful combed top out of it! Janet takes layaway orders, so guess what's on my list? I will never throw webbed wool away again! I stayed at a hotel and went to visit Louise Walsh the next morning. For those who are newer to Giant Angoras, Louise is the lady who developed them and got them approved by ARBA back in 1988. We went out for breakfast and just had a wonderful time gabbing, in no time at all it was time to leave. I also got a tour of her (now much smaller) rabbitry, and she showed me some projects she's working on. I came home with Evergreen's Betsy, a young doe who shows a lot of promise. I'll have to get a picture of her to post. I'm going to shear her, as she has some mats due to the hot, humid weather they've been having up there. I'd rather start fresh with her.So it looks as though I won't have anything to show in September. I've been keeping everyone in short coat, and I also have breedings planned soon. Most likely I might have someone ready in late October. Probably just as well, gas prices are killing me.

I bred Mopsie to Cody tonight, and tried Pewter as well. Pewter does not seem in the mood at all, so I left her in with Cody overnight. Perhaps the cooler house temps will encourage her to feel more in the mood.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Politics of Rabbits, Part 2

Just when we have an excited new administration in the NARBC doing exciting things, out come most - but not all - of the usual suspects trying to sabotage the efforts to make the NARBC friendlier and more accessible.

I have left the "official" NARBC list since the original list owner took over. Not because of that in and of itself, but because my responses to the usual suspects suddenly quit getting posted - AGAIN. And this time with no explanation whatsoever. I had actually been thinking of dropping out anyway. The list has again disintegrated into posts trying to undermine confidence in the current administration, by those who wish they were in power but aren't, and mostly because people are sick of hearing their crap.

Will I drop out of NARBC altogether? Maybe. But not just yet. Before I do that, I would like to call on those who don't belong anymore to rejoin and fight to help the new President, Amy Spang, and her administration put an end to this nonsense. The NARBC needs to dis-associate itself from the so-called NARBC list, which keeps getting abused and has driven many of you away. I'd also like to call upon those current members who are pre-judging Amy to allow her to make the improvements to the site, and THEN decide whether you like them or not. This paranoia over the proposed changes is just plain silly. For years we had a site that was never updated anywhere near on time, and had dead pages, non-functioning links, and ads that constantly popped up and annoyed everyone. Then we had a much improved site that looked great, but the changes we were interested in seeing never materialized - for whatever reason. Now we have people who are excited to be where they are, and are chomping at the bit to make our site truly useful and the envy of the specialty clubs, and they are getting fought tooth and nail over issues that do not exist.

I'm done with my rant now. Thanks for listening, and if you care about the Club, please join or re-join, and make yourself heard!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Heat

Wow, I have heard some sad stories about losing bunns to the heat! I cry every time I lose a bunn, I can't imagine what some of these poor folks have gone through! I have been lucky so far, I have lost no one to heat. I have one mom and litter inside, as well as some adults, some of which are moving on from here soon. I also have another mom and litter outside, plus an adolescent, and Pewter, my fuzzy French Lop. These outside rabbits have a layer of white PVC roofing over their cages, plus a layer of wooden decking, plus tree shade depending on the time of day, and a wooden hiding box they can go in or behind. We also stick frozen 2 ltr bottles of water in with them around noon, and replace them later in the day if necessary. They were also clipped down in June, and will be again soon.

I am hoping the weather cools down soon, as I am anxious to get started breeding for Fall. Orders for Germans and Giants are starting to accumulate, and Mopsie, Pewter, and Jewel are waiting. I can't wait to see how Pewter's babies turn out!