Monday, December 31, 2007

Hoppy New Year!

JG's Verizon gave birth yesterday to four babies, one REW and three colored, one colored one didn't make it. None of these will be for sale. All three colored ones looked black, But one is darker than the other two. The one that didn't make it was a lighter one. I'm anxious to see how these babies turn out. They are 1/4 French Lop, 1/4 Giant, and 1/2 German. JG's King Lear is the proud dad. Ideally, I'd like to keep a buck and a doe from this litter. Hopefully I'll actually get a doe, my track record this year hasn't been too good. I never had more than 2 does in a litter this year, which flooded me with bucks. Now that I've finally moved those fellows out, thanks to another (wonderful!) breeder who didn't have a very productive year, I can start breeding again. I'm going to take it slow, however, and not worry about quantity or having rabbits to sell. If I happen to have rabbits when someone is looking, fine. If not, that's fine, too. My next two litters will be Tans. My friend Cheryl is breeding the Germans, and this current litter of mine will be it for the Giants for awhile, so I can properly evaluate them.

I'm excited about the upcoming Tan litters, I FINALLY have Tan bucks to breed with the Tan does! YIPPEE!!!

I'm also going to take it very easy on showing this year. If and when I have a bunn or two ready, and a show with other Giants is not too awful far away, I'll go. If not, I won't. I'm not going to have the gas and hotel money this coming year like I did last year. I am not going to the PA Convention this year, and I won't be sending rabbits either. We'll see what happens with Nationals.

Wishing you all a safe, happy, healthy, productive, and successful New Year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story......

'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the annual Yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence, kinetic activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this potential, including that species of domestic rodent known as Mus musculus.

( 'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse

Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward edge of the wood burning caloric apparatus, pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure regarding an imminent visitation from an eccentric philanthropist among whose folkloric appellations is the honorific title of St. Nicholas.

(The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there

The prepubescent siblings, comfortably ensconced in their respective accommodations of repose, were experiencing subconscious visual hallucinations of variegated fruit confections moving rhythmically through their cerebrums.

(The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads

My conjugal partner and I, attired in our nocturnal head coverings, were about to take slumberous advantage of the hibernal darkness when upon the avenaceous exterior portion of the grounds there ascended such a cacophony of dissonance that I felt compelled to arise with alacrity from my place of repose for the purpose of ascertaining the precise source thereof.

(And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.)

Hastening to the casement, I forthwith opened the barriers sealing this fenestration, noting thereupon that the lunar brilliance without, reflected as it was on the surface of a recent crystalline precipitation, might be said to rival that of the solar meridian itself -

(Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,)

Thus permitting my incredulous optical sensory organs to behold a miniature airborne runnered conveyance drawn by eight diminutive specimens of the genus Rangifer, piloted by a minuscule, aged chauffeur so ebullient and nimble that it became instantly apparent to me that he was indeed our anticipated caller.

(When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.)

With his ungulate motive power travelling at what may possibly have been more vertiginous velocity than patriotic alar predators, he vociferated loudly, expelled breath musically through contracted labia, and addressed each of the octet by his or her respective cognomen - "Now Dasher, now Dancer..." et al. -

(More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!)

Guiding them to the uppermost exterior level of our abode, through which structure I could readily distinguish the concatenations of each of the 32 cloven pedal extremities.

(To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof, the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.)

As I retracted my cranium from its erstwhile location, and was performing a 180-degree pivot, our distinguished visitant achieved - with utmost celerity and via a downward leap - entry by way of the smoke passage. He was clad entirely in animal pelts soiled by the ebony residue from oxidations of carboniferous fuels which had accumulated on the walls thereof.

(As I drew in my head, and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot

His resemblance to a street vendor I attributed largely to the plethora of assorted playthings which he bore dorsally in a commodious cloth receptacle.

( A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.)

His orbs were scintillant with reflected luminosity, while his submaxillary dermal indentations gave every evidence of engaging amiability. The capillaries of his malar regions and nasal appurtenance were engorged with blood which suffused the subcutaneous layers, the former approximating the coloration of Albion's floral emblem, the latter that of the Prunus avium, or sweet cherry.

(His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!)

His amusing sub- and supralabials resembled nothing so much as a common loop knot, and their ambient hirsute facial adornment appeared like small, tabular and columnar crystals of frozen water.

(His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow

Clenched firmly between his incisors was a smoking piece whose grey fumes, forming a tenuous ellipse about his occiput, were suggestive of a decorative seasonal circlet of holly.

(The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath

His visage was wider than it was high, and when he waxed audibly mirthful, his corpulent abdominal region undulated in the manner of impectinated fruit syrup in a hemispherical container.

(He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.)

He was, in short, neither more nor less than an obese, jocund, multigenarian gnome, the optical perception of whom rendered me visibly frolicsome despite every effort to refrain from so being.

(He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself

By rapidly lowering and then elevating one eyelid and rotating his head slightly to one side, he indicated that trepidation on my part was groundless.

(A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread

Without utterance and with dispatch, he commenced filling the aforementioned appended hosiery with various of the aforementioned articles of merchandise extracted from his aforementioned previously dorsally transported cloth receptacle. Upon completion of this task, he executed an abrupt about-face,

(He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,)

He then placed a single manual digit in lateral juxtaposition to his olfactory organ, inclined his cranium forward in a gesture of leave-taking, and forthwith effected his egress by renegotiating (in reverse) the smoke passage.

(And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose

He then propelled himself in a short vector onto his conveyance, directed a musical expulsion of air through his contracted oral sphincter to the antlered quadrupeds of burden, and proceeded to soar aloft in a movement hitherto observable chiefly among the seed-bearing portions of a common weed.

(He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.)

But I overheard his parting exclamation, audible immediately prior to his vehiculation beyond the limits of visibility:

(But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,)

"Ecstatic Yuletide to the planetary constituency, and to that self same assemblage, my sincerest wishes for a salubriously beneficial and gratifyingly pleasurable period between sunset and dawn."

("Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.")

Some thoughts on inbreeding, linebreeding, and care

Bob and I have a wonderful English Springer Spaniel named Banjo. Banjo does not have papers, his dam's papers were lost. He is a cross between show bloodlines and field bloodlines, his grandfather was ranked second in the state in field trials, or so his breeder told us. Anyway, he is a solid, energetic, tireless and determined hunter, and many times we wished he did have papers, as we would love to breed him. But that doesn't look like it will ever happen. Anyway, I've done a lot of reading about field spaniels, and the most prolific line is the Saighton line. They are bred in Wales, and exported over here. What does this have to do with rabbits?

This article is an interview with their breeder, and it is fascinating. His philosophy, which worked for him for over 50 years, is summed up near the end:

"Start with the best, stay in the line, breed between your "families," linebreed on outstanding individuals and emphasize good bitches. Then keep the pups until they're old enough to develop and evaluate. And, finally, throw in a large measure of dedication, knowledge and enthusiasm, plus the financial resources ... to carry out your plan."

I have a black otter buck, JG's Santonio, who is heavily inbred to one of my first - and best -rabbits, DA Joey. Joey's only fault, in my opinion, was that he was small. Even in full coat, he only weighed 9 pounds, and he needed to make 9.5 to be registered. However, he had excellent shoulders and the nicest butt. That nice butt has carried through to this guy, you actually have to search for his pin bones! He's small, however, demonstrating that inbreeding "fixes" the good and the not-so-good. So you have to be very particular when you do it. Right now smallness is something I can live with in my Tan lines. I have the structure set, the color is coming along nicely, and so is the wool quality. So, I need to maintain the structure while improving the other two. Once I have gotten all three where I want them, I'll start worrying about size.

Anyway, I am working on 3 "families" right now. The German, the Giant, and the Tan. Once I have the Steel gene bred out of my Giants, the Tans should be ready to cross with them to get size. The Germans are right where I want them, and will continue to influence the other two.

So, I have been pretty much following the same plan as that great spaniel breeder, except I do sell does, and I don't hang onto entire litters as long as perhaps I should. So I am reconsidering those two subjects. I am definitely going to start breeding fewer litters and hanging onto them longer. Also, I am going to get more particular about who I sell to. It has been brought to my attention that some animals I have sold have needed to be rescued, and were in really poor condition. Now, I completely understand that sometimes things get ahead of you, it has happened to me, too. So, if you find things are getting out of hand, please contact me.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


As many of you know, I have set out on my own path to improve the size of my Giant Angoras. I lucked into a purebred French Lop doe who had wool, and I bred her to my best German Angora buck at the time, Fuhrerdernacht. The only surviving baby, Lear, is doing fabulously, and weighs around 12 pounds now. He molts, but after all, he is only 1/2 angora. His wool is a little too fine for good spinning quality, but works great for felting. Anyway, I had a scare with Lear, he took an awful long time for his family jewels to appear, but they did eventually. I test-bred him to my best Giant doe, Verizon, and she did not cooperate at all. Yet, this morning, a week before she should be due, she was gathering hay. :)

I promptly moved her to a cage with a dropped nestbox, and did everything I could to make her comfortable. She isn't due until Saturday, but so far she is displaying the proper nesting skills. I can't wait to see how this litter turns out!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Important NAIS update

OK, I know I haven't posted anything personal lately, I promise I will soon. Meanwhile...

USDA Releases Business Plan And Congress Provides Some Funding for NAIS

The USDA has finally officially released its "Business Plan" for how to implement NAIS. It has also released a revised version of its User Guide. You can read the documents on the Liberty Ark website at (they will be posted tomorrow, 12/21) or the FARFA site:

The clear message in both documents is that USDA continues to push forward with NAIS, despite the numerous objections that have been raised. The USDA does not address the many problems with NAIS: the invasion of privacy, burdening of property rights, excessive cost, or the ineffectiveness of the program in the face of real animal health issues. Instead, the only question for USDA appears to be how to push NAIS through despite the protests.

On the Congressional side, the omnibus spending bill that was just passed provided $9.75 million in funding for NAIS. Although we're disappointed that any funding was provided, this is much less funding than in the last four years. We have made progress, and the next step is to push Congress to stop ALL funding for NAIS.

TAKE ACTION #1: Congress is heading home for the holidays. Start the new year off right -- make an appointment to meet with your elected officials! Call your Representative and Senators' district offices. You can find their contact information at

Ask to speak to the scheduler, and say that you want to meet with the Representative or Senator after the holidays. If the legislator can't meet with you, ask for a meeting with the district director. Once you have a meeting scheduled, contact us at for materials to help you explain the issues clearly and effectively.

TAKE ACTION #2: Submit written comments on NAIS. As with the publication of Program Standards and Technical Reference earlier this month, USDA again stated that it seeks comments on the released documents or other aspects of NAIS. So you can comment on the new document and all of the many other problems with NAIS. The notice did not include a deadline for comments.

Send your comments to:, or by mail to NAIS Program Staff, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 200, Riverdale, MD 20737.

Be sure to send a copy of your comments to your Representative and Senators. It is critical that Congress knows that people are notifying USDA of their objections to NAIS and that your Congressmen understand your objections!
More Information

You can find the new documents on the FARFA website at or on the Liberty Ark website at (as of tomorrow, 12/21)

There are many problems with these new documents, and we will be submitting comments to USDA and Congress after the holidays. For now, we'll just mention a few highlights:

* The "voluntary at the federal level" shell game has gotten even stickier. USDA now states: "NAIS provides the opportunity for producers that are not part of a disease program to freely participate in national animal health safeguarding efforts." (Business Plan, preface i). The logical corollary of this statement is that NAIS is rapidly becoming NOT voluntary for anyone who IS part of a disease program. As detailed in multiple places in the Business Plan, USDA intends to use existing disease control programs -- including tuberculosis, brucellosis, scrapie, and equine infectious anemia testing -- to impose NAIS on animal owners acrosss the country.

* USDA refers to a "critical mass" of 70%. While at first glance, this may seem to be a sign that USDA is backing away from its unfounded claims that 100% participation is needed, a closer reading shows otherwise. The 70% critical mass is simply a way to gauge "the progress being made towards obtaining the participation levels necessary to achieve the optimum traceability goal." (Business Plan, p.11). What is the "optimum traceability goal"? USDA does not explain in this document, but it has repeatedly claimed NAIS needs 100% participation. In other words, USDA still wants every single livestock and poultry owner in the country to be subject to NAIS.

* While various horse groups have claimed that horses will somehow end up being exempt from NAIS, the Business Plan places horses in "Tier 1" as a "targeted species" for implementation. Moreover, it's not just "competition horses" that will be the target -- it's any horse that would "require a Coggins test of health certificate." (Business Plan, p.14) Some states, such as Texas, require horses to have Coggins tests if they participate in any event (even a trail ride), are sold, or simply are kept within 200 yards of a horse owned by another person. In other words, USDA is placing the vast majority of pleasure horses owned by regular people in the bulls-eye for implementing NAIS.

* The USDA continues to ignore the low-cost, practical alternatives for tracing animals, and acts as if a huge federal program is the only solution. For example, USDA states: "less than half of adult cattle can be associated with any USDA official identification system." (Business Plan, p.18) Where is the data or analysis showing the real-world outcome? Why does identification of animals have to be through an official USDA program in order to address disease? Where are the studies showing that we need an official federal program to successfully address disease? Experience teaches us otherwise, yet USDA is unwilling to listen or learn.

* While pushing NAIS on every livestock and poultry owner, USDA continues to obscure the true extent of the program by relying on the NASS census numbers. This tactic allows USDA to make NAIS seem more successful than it is (such as by claiming that they have registered 30% of the premises in the country), while also downplaying the number of people NAIS will directly impact. The NASS survey covers only "farms," defined as properties that have $1,000 or more of agricultural products for sale in the census year. Millions of hobby farms, homesteaders, pet owners (chickens, pot-bellied pigs, etc), and horse owners are not included in the survey -- but they would be included in NAIS.

We need the millions of people who will be impacted by NAIS to speak up! Download materials to educate people at your local feed store, sales barn, farmers market, or co-op. Contact your legislators and explain the problems with NAIS. Help us stop this program by educating people and speaking up!
Email and Contact Issues

Liberty Ark Supporters: The Liberty Ark mailing list is still down, which is why you are getting this email through the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. You can reach the Liberty Ark steering committee at if you have any questions.

FARFA List: As always, you can reach us at or 866-687-6452 with any questions.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


From an email from Judith McGeary, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance,

End-of-the-Year Update on NAIS

The Senate Passes The Farm Bill

The Senate finally voted on its version of the Farm Bill. The NAIS provision was amended, but not in a good way. The big "manager's amendment," which rolled together a lot of unrelated amendments, included a provision that replaced the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption in Section 10305 with a new provision. The new version directs the USDA to issue regulations consistent with FOIA for information collected under NAIS. Like the earlier version of Section 10305, this provision would be the first direct statutory reference to NAIS, and thus implies Congressional approval of what USDA is doing. Whether one thinks farmers' information should be open under FOIA or not, the most important point is that no such database should be created in the first place! In January, the Senate and House will create a conference committee to merge their two versions of the Farm Bill. As soon as we know all the members of the conference committee, we will update you on who to contact.
The Nation Publishes Anti-NAIS Article!

A strong anti-NAIS article was published online in The Nation. If a lot of people go to the site to read the article, the public response will encourage The Nation to publish more articles on NAIS.

You can find the article, "USDA Bets the Farm on NAIS," at Go to the link and send all your friends this alert so they can read the article online too! Help us get more press coverage of NAIS!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Farm Bill passed, PAWS defeated - for now...

... but the import restrictions were left intact, just moved to another amendment:

We need to remain vigilant, no doubt these efforts will continue.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Yet another update - ACT NOW

Dear Virginia Friends,

VHDOA lost its website last week, hampering our communications. We hope to be back online soon. Threats from the animal rightist, anti-hunting Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) extend well beyond its "Virginia is for Puppy Mills" campaign scheduled for the next General Assembly.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has filed a Farm Bill amendment, effectively reintroducing the unsuccessful Santorum-Durbin-HSUS-AKC-AVMA PAWS bill of 2005. This amounts to a procedural end run, bypassing Senate committee hearings and their votes. HSUS used the same maneuver in 2001, attaching the so-called Puppy Protection Act to the last farm bill without a recorded vote. The GOP-led House conferees removed it. The nature of floor amendments and changed Congressional control considerably enhance HSUS's prospects for gaining what it couldn't in 2005-2006.

There's a new provision banning the import of *any* dog or cat younger than six months old, but other changes from PAWS2005 are largely cosmetic. HSUS's primary goal hasn't changed. The measure requires the federal regulation of any person selling more than 25 dogs and/or cats per year at retail or wholesale, reversing the current distinction which exempts private retail sellers. It also leaves intact the separate requirement that *all* hunting dog owners be regulated, regardless of size. Stripping the wholesale-only regulation shield creates the same "gotcha" situation that was the primary motivation for SAOVA's extensive efforts to defeat S2609 (PAWS2005). If this rider becomes law, it sets the stage for a savage, unpredictable fight at the USDA implementation stage and/or expensive federal court litigation to keep the federal government, HSUS, PETA or AKC out of hunters' homes and kennels.

AKC and AVMA aren't likely to fight this rider. It's the same bill they fought so hard to pass in 2005. It also now contains pet import restrictions, something that they both support, as well as an alternative party kennel inspection provision much desired by the AKC. Sen. Durbin's SA3723 amendment is on the Senate floor, as is the large, complex and controversial Farm Bill. A vote on the bill and its amendments has been stalled, pending negotiations between Democratic and Republican leaders. That deadlock could be broken at any time. There is a very substantial risk that all, or most of all of SA3723 (PAWS2007) will be deemed to be non-controversial. If HSUS and Senator Durbin sell that falsehood to Agriculture Committee leadership, SA3723 will be added in the floor manager's omnibus "technical" amendment package and passed without debate. We should strive to prevent this from happening. Relying on 2007-2008 House Agriculture Committee leadership and their conferees to block this measure would be unwise.

ASAP, please contact Senators John Warner and James Webb. Urge that they not permit SA3723 to be included in the Farm Bill in *any* fashion. Vote NO on SA3723! The Agriculture Committee hasn't vetted the measure and it very materially injures the interests of all Virginia pet owners. Don't permit this HSUS sneak attack on you and your animals. See contact details at

In addition, send the exact same message to Farm Bill floor manager and Senate Agriculture Chairman Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Minority Member Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).

Department of Game and Inland Fisheries' Hunting Hounds Study

I attended a dog owners invited DGIF "focus group" meeting in Caroline County last week. Unlike the previous such meetings around the state, a large group of uninvited houndsmen came to this unpublicized session. Many questions regarding the study's goals and procedures were raised. About twenty of the invitees were gathered together in a separate room for a taped discussion led by a new VT employee. My August expressed concerns about the nature of this study's management plan and the threat it posed to sportsmen and their relationship with DGIF were confirmed in the meeting and in discussions with staff, both before and after they acknowledged that HSUS and PETA had been invited to participate in a December 18th study meeting in Richmond. Both of these groups are rapidly anti-hunting and totally committed to ending the sport. Such influences have been evidenced in other DGIF rulemakings. Since the department's Director was fired on November 30th, you are encouraged to voice your concerns about this very dangerous set of circumstances to the DGIF Board and your Richmond legislators.

Freely forward and cross post.

Bob Kane, President
Virginia Hunting Dog Owners' Association


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Good news, but it isn't over yet...

Dear SAOVA Friends,

As I write this update, the Farm Bill is being debated on the Senate floor.

Senator Durbin has revised SA 3723, removing all references to expanded breeder regulation and third-party inspection. Your quick response in opposing SA 3723 succeeded in raising the alarm to the controversy surrounding this amendment - reviving memories of the extended and fierce 2005 PAWS battle.

We wish to thank all SAOVA supporters who rallied to our call for action to this devastating legislation. This brief testing of the waters demonstrated once again the importance of remaining vigilant and ready to take immediate action to defend our rights and preserve our sport.

It is obvious that the PAWS supporters have not abandoned, only postponed their efforts to license and regulate the private sector. The new amendment contains restrictions on puppy imports which, should they become law, would not only be unenforceable, they wouldn't adequately protect U.S. dogs' health or wellbeing. More on this topic later.

SAOVA remains, as always, in the forefront to protect your interests. Watch for further alerts and visit often.

Susan Wolf Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance - http://saova.orgIssue lobbying and working to identify and elect supportive legislators

Please share this message widely.

Note from Jan -

This is indeed good news, but I urge you to contact your senators again and kill this amendment in its entirety. What good is an unenforcable law, except to give AR people some kind of foothold?

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Sneakier version of PAWS

Note: We all know laws never go away, and their grasp always grows, never shrinks. It is imperative that we fight each and every attempt to limit our rights and increase .gov influence regarding our livestock and pets. Please read the following report and call, write, fax, and email your US Senator ASAP.

A SAOVA message for sportsmen, pet owners and farmers concerned about protecting their traditions, avocations and livelihoods from anti-hunting, anti-breeding, animal guardianship advocates. Forwarding and cross posting, with attribution, encouraged.


On November 15th Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced an HSUS supported amendment to the Senate version of the 2007 Farm Bill (HR 2419). The amendment is a re-enactment of the Pet Animal Welfare Statute (PAWS) supported by Santorum/Durbin/HSUS/AKC/AVMA that failed in 2005.

HSUS is relentless in its mission to bury breeders, animal owners, and hunters in endless regulation and red tape until our traditional use and enjoyment of animals rests on the verge of extinction.

SA 3723 (the new PAWS), would amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and if passed will place the federal government in control of breeding and sales of dogs and cats in the private sector. As in PAWS 2005, SA 3723 exposes ALL hunting dog owners to regulation.

SA 3723 changes the AWA and USDA's existing, long-standing, legally tested basis for federal dog and cat business licensing and regulation. The current procedure is based on treating wholesale sales and retail sales differently. Reducing it to its simplest terms, under current law and USDA regulations, if you sell a dog to a wholesaler, you are regulated. Rescuers, hobby breeders and owners selling to retail buyers are exempt today. The Doris Day Animal League (now merged with HSUS) challenged the hobby breeder portion of this regulatory structure in court and lost in 2003.

SA 3723 also resurrects the concept of third party inspections by non profits who obtain certification from USDA. HSUS would have much to gain from this provision as a means to legally enter private homes.

SA 3723 adds a restriction on importing dog/cats under six months of age. Previous support by AKC and AVMA of both import and third party inspection provisions in 2005 makes it unlikely they will oppose SA 3723.

Well over 100 amendments were introduced by various Senators as part of SA 3500 which is the Senate’s version of the Farm Bill. Debate on these amendments will be short or may not take place at all for some amendments. Once the Senate passes it’s version of the Farm Bill, both versions will be sent to a Conference Committee for resolution. Possible members of the Conference Committee are unknown at this time.

The political process is inundated by lobbyists and deal-making for favored amendments. Those amendments deemed the least controversial are most likely to remain attached and slip thru as law when agreement on the final Farm Bill is reached.

It is urgent that your Senator knows this amendment is controversial and should be stripped from the Farm Bill.


Fighting for your present and future rights is YOUR responsibility. Defeating SA 3723 and the animal rightist threat is a priority.

DO NOT BELIEVE that this will not affect you. Once the traditional retail/wholesale regulation barrier is broken it will be gone forever. Federal Government will be inside your homes inspecting your animals. HSUS will continue to push for tighter regulation—this is not the end of this issue—it is a strategic move to break down the retail/wholesale barrier.

Contact your Senators NOW and urge that they vote to remove SA 3723 from the Farm Bill.

Failure to contact senators could mean SA3723 is seen as non-controversial and may be passed with no debate and an unrecorded vote as part of the manager's technical amendment.

Send the exact same message to Farm Bill floor manager and Senate Agriculture Chairman Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Minority Member Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).

Senate contacts and more information are posted on

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance - lobbying and working to identify and elect supportive legislators

Please share this message widely.

The message above was posted to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware residents by the Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance (SAOVA) on one of ten regional read only elists. SAOVA is a nonpartisan volunteer group working to protect Americans from the legislative and political threats of radical animal rightists. It is the only national organization fighting this struggle for both sportsmen and animal owners, natural allies, in these arenas. Visit our website at for this program's goals, methodology and list signup details.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pumpkin Pics

I never did get around to posting pics of my Giant Pumpkins. They didn't do as well as I'd hoped, I had a lot of trouble with them aborting. So, I had my soil tested. AHA! Some background:

We used to have a big swimming pool here. When we took it down, hubby decided to put a putting green in. He left the sand in place, and we covered it with bunny manure containing (besides the obvious bunny poop & pee) wood shavings, hay, volcanic minerals (used to suppress odor), diatomaceous earth, and feed pellets. We also used bags of composted cow manure, and bagged topsoil. He used a lot of Miracle Grow to get the creeping bluegrass established. However, due to our dogs peeing and digging, he gave up on the idea after a couple of years and told me I could grow pumpkins on it next year. I've been gowing the plants around the green, meanwhile.

We couldn't understand why the dog pee was having such a devastating effect on the green. The soil analysis told why. Hubby had WAY over fertilized, and the combination of the fertilizer and the urine created huge brown spots where nothing would grow for months, even though we tried to flush the areas and replant.

So, the plants growing around the green were apparently getting nearly toxic levels of nutrients. Way too much of a good thing. So now the challenge will be bringing those levels down. We could remove the soil and replace it - but I don't think so, lol! Too much work. It's too late in the season to plant a heavy-feeding cover crop, so we'll just leave the creeping bluegrass intact over the winter. In the Spring, we'll till it under, apply some Nitrogen (the only thing the soil test said we needed more of) to help decompose the grass, and we'll grow the pumpkins and only use foliar feeding to supplement whatever a plant tissue sample says we need to. Giant Pumpkins are very heavy feeders, eventually the nutrient levels will come down.

As you can see, this is a very intense hobby. On to the pics:

This is the 94 est Gruber 2007. We did not get an actual weight on it, but it tapes out to be about 94 pounds. It is almost white, and has a nice apple shape. It made a great Jack o' Lantern! We got 350 seeds from it. Its parent weighed 1095 pounds, so it had a lot of potential. Its walls were almost 9 inches thick at the top, about 6 inches thick around the middle, and about 4 inches thick at the blossom end.

This is the 149 est Gruber 2007. It is a pleasing medium orange color, and another nice, apple-shaped pumpkin. Its parent weighed 710 pounds. We gave it to a little boy we know, but we got some seeds from it.

So, if anyone wants some seeds, just let me know. :)

Monday, November 19, 2007


First, I wish to thank Angie Kolifrath and Lauren Waters for putting on such a great event at the Decatur RBA show at Conyers, GA. We had an excellent exhibit of Angoras, some lovely spinning ladies who came in to teach and demonstrate while we were busy showing, and a good time was had by all. Special thanks to Kathy Taylor for her delicious apple bread!

Second, I'd like to thank the Decatur RBA for making us feel so welcome and for hiring some excellent judges!

Third, I'd like to thank the people who tried to convince the Decatur RBA folks that their boycott of the show (because of UARC's presence) would hurt them. It did not, they had the biggest turnout ever. Allan Ormond, ARBA judge from Utah, said he felt like he was at a small Convention. He also complimented several breeds, Angoras among them, for the outstanding quality of the animals presented. Essentially, the "boycotters" made us look good by comparison, and only made themselves look bad, and the angora clubs they belong to. Again, my heartfelt thanks for demonstrating yet again why UARC exists, to allow friendly people to promote our beautiful rabbits, without the back-stabbing BS so prevalent elsewhere. Your actions convinced at least one UARC member not to renew her membership in another club, and convinced another to join ours.

JG's Fuhrerdernacht, who now belongs to Kathy Taylor, took 3 BOS's! No legs, as usual, but oh well. Groundhog Hare's Glorious won a Jr Doe class, so I'm happy with her performance for such a young doe. I sold a couple of animals, so that helped considerably with expenses.

All in all, a very rewarding experience, and one we have been invited to repeat. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Off to Conyers!

After waiting and grooming and planning, it's finally time to leave for the UARC Specialty show in Conyers, GA. Verizon injured her eye somehow, and had to be scratched. So when I get back, she'll be shorn and bred to Lear. Meanwhile, I trimmed all the fuzz from around her eye, applied triple antibiotic cream around the area, put a drop of Pen-G in her eye, and gave her 1/2 cc intramuscularly. I don't mess around with eye issues. I'll give her another 1/2 cc of Pen-G before I leave.

I was a little worried about Lear for awhile. His "family jewels" didn't appear on schedule. Perhaps French Lops mature later than other breeds, because they did drop right about when I decided to find a home for him. Thank goodness, because he is turning out to be exactly what I want. He is not quite 8 months old, and already weighs over 10 pounds. He has the most solid, meaty rump, and his shoulders and rise are simply awesome. His wool isn't bad, either, even with only being 1/2 angora. Verizon has perfect wool, and a substantial body to boot. I can't wait to see the babies of these two! Once these babies are evaluated, I'll see who else Lear will be bred with. Most likely, our biggest and best does.

Many times when new blood is introduced into a line, or breed, one breeding is made, then diluted with pure blood until the original animal is off the pedigee. Little wonder the influence of that cross wears off in subsequent generations. If Lear's babies with Verizon have the size, growth rate, decent wool, and excellent bodies that I expect, I will breed him to other does, and line-breed his offspring so that the benefits are concentrated, not diluted. My goal with this line is to have every animal in every litter make senior weight, preferably on or before the day they turn seniors. By the time Lear's mom Pewter is off the pedigrees, she'll be on the 4th, 5th, and 6th generations many times over. As will Lear's dad, Nacht, a pure German who weighs 10 1/2 pounds.

Toward that end, we are also looking at size with our Germans. "We" meaning my friend Cheryl and I. Cheryl is taking on the housing and breeding of the Germans, so I can concentrate on the Giants. With her help, I have the ability to use a broader gene base than I would working alone.

If you're looking for a good breeding pair of Germans, either to breed to the German standard or to improve your Giant lines, I am bring Nacht and a nice little doe (Glory) to Conyers to sell as a breeding pair. I am also bringing another junior German buck to sell, as well as a dark chesnut German cross buck. They are all priced to sell. I like Nacht and Glory so well, that if I don't sell them, I'm going to breed them as soon as Glory is old enough. Glory is Nacht's half-sister, and is sired by his cousin, so this is a really nice line-breeding pair. The other junior buck I'm bringing is sired by Glory's nephew and out of Samson's Rosalin. I was originally going to bring another junior buck, but he had too much fun playing "Spin the Bottle" with his brothers, and I just didn't feel like cleaning him up AGAIN. So I'm bringing a younger guy. A *clean* younger guy, lol.

I hope to see you at Conyers!

Monday, October 22, 2007

More on Convention, and Rhinebeck

I had a blast at Convention! The center was well-lit, pretty well organized, and smelled nice and clean. The compressed wood pellets that were provided for bedding are exactly what I use at home in my dropping trays, because they control odor very well. Check-out could have been run better, I had to schlep everyone out in the rain because we weren't allowed to use the front door, even though we had been checked out and cages sealed. Nor could I seem to get access to the loading docks, I had earlier stayed parked outside them for awhile, and no one entered or left. But, all in all, it was very well run.

I think one of the best things about it was the abundance of well-stocked bathrooms, lol! Bathrooms and toilet paper are two things you can never have too much of! I never had to wait in line or got stuck drip-drying, something I cannot say about every other big show I've been to.
I came home for a day, then was off to Rhinebeck. I really need to go there sometime and not take rabbits, I spent most of my time picking up, delivering, or worrying about them. I got a Tan Angora buck from Louise Walsh, picked up a Satin Angora for my friend Michelle, bred Oscar to a doe belonging to my friend Katie, and maybe also to a doe from my friend Cynthia, although that doe was not at all cooperative. I delivered a Satin Angora and a German to my fiend Mary Jo, I picked up soap from my friend Terry, and did not buy a fleece, afterall. I need to work on the house, and if I'd bought a fleece, that would be taking time away from work that needs done and has been too long neglected.

Did I mention that we had no hot water when I got home from Convention? Seems the gas company shut it off because they could not get inside to read the meter. Then, when they did,m they found a leak. Which, despite numerous ads for "24 hour emergency service", no plumber would fix until Monday. So, in anticipation of a much-needed hot shower, half of my afternoon on Saturday was spent searching for my hotel, because the confirmation they sent me had THE WRONG ADDRESS! I did figure it out eventually, after a lovely if unplanned tour of the Catskill Mountains. Hot water is such a wonderful thing! :)

We just got the gas turned back on as I type this.

On Sunday, I hooked up with Leslie Samson to get Oscar shorn and certified for registration in 90 days. I had been corresponding with Leslie about it, and we both forgot that I needed to advise IAGARB of my plans. So, that did not happen, although we had a lovely visit and I am glad I went if only for that reason. Leslie was impressed with Oscar's condition, she even said he smelled healthy, lol! We hope to have shearing/registration parties in PA or Ohio soon. Anyone out there interested in seeing how it's done? Any skeptics who think it can't be done? By all means, come and see for yourself! I'll keep you posted on the dates and locations.

After our visit, I set off for Breezewood, PA to deliver more bunnies. Then on to home just in time for the Steelers' game. Which they lost. :( Well, there's always next week...

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Naturally, I forgot to take my camera. :(

This Convention was a lot of fun for me. My entries did not do well, but I had a blast anyway.

I was counting on Stinker and his daughter, Verizon. Stinker fell just short of senior weight, so he stayed home. Those of you who know me know that I always have one REY (Ruby-Eyed-Yellow). This time it was Verizon, who was otherwise PERFECT. My bunns have been having an issue with red urine, and Verizon's brother Sherman (who will be moving permanently to Virginia) sprayed her right before the Washington County show last month. I have been trying to clean her up, and she does look better, considering she used to be orange. But that isn't why I scratched her. Sometimes I'm SUCH a moron. Anyway, I entered her as a Junior, which she was at the time, but when Convention rolled around she was an Intermediate. And you can change class due to weight, but not for age. So she had to sit this one out. I'm still kicking myself.

So, my first and second string animals either blew their coats, didn't make weight, or had some other issue. So, I pulled a buck and a doe from the breeding pool, groomed them as best I could, and took them, Verizon, and a couple of juniors. As expected, I didn't do very well, but I did help some folks earn legs. I also sold the junior doe. :)

Meanwhile, exciting things happened at Convention. Collin Burns, a young man who has been breeding and showing English Angoras for about a year and a half, won BIS youth, and his colored senior buck also won his class in Open! THIS KID KICKS SERIOUS BUTT!

Also, my friend Charlotte Schweikart won BOB French Angora with a beautiful Colored Senior Doe. I was sorry that she didn't win her group in the BIS competition, but she was beaten by the Mini Satin who went on to win BIS Open. It was a gorgeous little animal, and its owners also had another bunn in the Open BIS competition who won its group. Think they had fun at their first Convention? LOL!

I went out with friends, made new friends, and had a fascinating talk about genetics with Judy LeMarchant. She is always a highlight of going to Convention for me, I always learn something from her.

Anyway, I'm home, the bunns are tucked in for the night, I'm tired, and my feet hurt. It is sooo goood to be home...

So I'm off to Rhinebeck. I'm a glutton for punishment. Hope to see some of you there!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Family matters

As you all know, Bob and I had hoped to move up to Camp this Fall. Unfortunately, due to some family interference, it doesn't look as though that is going to happen, at least not yet. However, there is a "Plan B" and even a "Plan C". I have a generous severance check coming from my former employer, with which I can buy land. Once you own land, mortgages are pretty easy to get. Then of course, there are other family members who are friendly to the idea of having a family compound out in the country...

So things are still very much up in the air, but one way or another, we are going to have our little fiber farm.

Things are also up in the air regarding my Convention entries. I originally entered 5 animals, I doubt I will wind up showing that many, but one never knows...

We are experiencing uncharacteristically hot and humid weather in this part of the country. I don't want to blow coats out, but I need to. Hopefully, things will cool off before I have to leave! I have my hotel reservation, all I need now is a little cool weather to get coats primed, and then I'm off... maybe things will be cooler in Michigan?

After Convention, I'm off to Rhinebeck. I am picking up and delivering animals, plus I want to buy a nice fleece. With all this free time on my hands, I plan on dyeing and blending fiber, and working on Christmas presents. And somewhere in all this I'm going to find time for hunting...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pre-Convention update

I've been going over rabbits one-by-one, and so far have only one scratch. One of my senior bucks is totally blowing his coat, but I'm not surprised, I have been deliberately pushing the limits with him. The other two are living up to my expectations, so they're a go. The does are doing well, too.

I also tattooed juniors today. I did Antje and Sunrise's litters, which were mostly bucks. Sunrise's litter surprised me, their bodies and wool texture exceeded my expectations! Antje's litter did not do quite so well, but I think this was in part due to my higher expectations of them. The bucks did pretty well over-all, the does somewhat less so. There is one buck I'll probably keep from Antje's litter, and another I'll sell only to someone who will show him. Both are just too nice not to hit the show tables. I had sold another equally nice little buck to a new breeder last week, as well as the only doe from Sunrise's litter. I can't wait to see how that breeding eventually turns out!

I'm starting to notice trends in my lines. They may not hold true, but so far I have noticed that some animals tend to produce better bucks, some tend to produce better does, and some seem to produce quality regardless of sex.

I also weighed Lear again today. 9 1/4 pounds at 6 months of age! And very few mats on him, plus he is sweet and cooperative as I clip his toenails or brush or shear him. And what rise he has, peaking exactly where it should, and bone to spare! I can't wait to breed him! I also learned recently that some friends of mine got a fuzzy French Lop of their own, I already have a request in for a doe from that litter. :)

Jan's Giants is expanding, besides moving in the near future, another breeder has decided to breed in cooperation with us, that rabbitry will concentrate on the German end of the breeding program, while Jan's Giants will concentrate on - (you guessed it) - Giants. :)

Which leads me to clarify a point that doesn't require clarification for most, but I will do so anyway for those who need it:

Jan's Giants has never, ever misrepresented any of its animals. We are PROUD of the use of purebred Germans in our program, and we have NEVER, EVER eliminated German breeder names from our pedigrees, or sold Germans as Giants, or vice-versa. Nor have we ever been in "big trouble" for doing so - WITH ANYONE. In fact, we use the German breed designation in our Evans Software (Register for Rabbits Deluxe) because it does not limit colors, as both German and Giants come in many colors.

If you have any questions regarding the above statement, feel free to contact the ARBA :

or the IAGARB:

Monday, September 17, 2007

Had another good day!

I took Verizon and Louisa to the Washington, PA show on Sunday. Much to my surprise, they both won their class, and Verizon won BOB and her first leg! She is the second rabbit I have bred that won against some serious competition, the first was her sire, JG's Stinker.

If her brother Sherman had not sprayed her, I think Verizon would have been a contender for BIS. She didn't look that bad out in the sunlight, but under the showroom lights, boy, did she ever look yellow. I bought plastic urine guard inserts at the show to line the divider between Verizon and Sherman's cage so Sherman can't do it again. Meanwhile, he is looking so bad I'm going to clip him down and may put him in isolation like I did his Dad. There's no way he'll ever look decent in this coat. But at least I can dye it once it's off him, lol!

I'll soon have breeding pairs of Germans available, some sired by Samson's Oscar, some sired by JG's Stinker. In particular I am looking forward to 4 babies from Stinker and Samson's Rosalin. Samson's Elizabeth is Rosalin's dam, and Stinker's granddam. Paired with babies from JG's Antje and Samson's Oscar, I think the combination will be simply awesome. Needless to say, I am keeping one such pair for myself. :) I also have some colored bucks availble in black and chestnut, sired by Stinker, all his colored does are spoken for already.

So, no more shows until Convention. After Convention, I plan to be at Rhinebeck. So, if you're interested in any babies, I can deliver to Grand Rapids, Michigan and Rhinebeck, NY in October.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Had a good day...

Heard the song, "Had a bad day..." ?

Well, I had a good one. It's been a long time coming, but I did have a very good day.

Life has had its ups & downs lately, to be honest. But I think there is light at the end of the tunnel. Things might not go the way I thought they would, but they will go towards their logical end. I've suffered a setback with my plans to move ahead with my life, but every cloud has a silver lining. It involves family. I know it all sounds cryptic, but sometines when one thing you counted on happening doesn't, something even better comes along and takes its place.

And that is what is happening with me. Details to come soon. :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More babies!

Well, good news and bad news. The bad news is we lost more of Louisa's babies. One day they'd be fine, the next, dead. No diarrhea or other symptoms that I could see, just dead babies. We're now down to one, she looks like a doe. I think I'm going to pull the plug on that bloodline. I hate to, there are some awesome bloodlines in that baby, including my beloved Billy, but I just have lousy luck with them. Hopefully, since this baby is spoken for by some dear friends, they'll have better luck with her.

The good news is that Rosalin and Stinker are the happy parents of a litter of 5! She did very well for a first-time mom, made the nest in the box, had all but one of the babies there (that one would be #6, who didn't make it), and is feeding them.

Assuming all goes well with this litter, I now have the potential for some really nice breeding pairs with Antje and Oscar's litter.

Meanwhile, the wait for cooler weather goes on. Every time I think I'm going to be able to stick the does and litters outside, we get weather in the high 80s. Hopefully this weekend will be the time to make the move.

This weekend is supposed to be relatively cool, so plans are to move some rabbits around, power wash cages, and get in some serious grooming in preparation for Convention.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Two things

One, I had a great time tonight, I helped a new friend with an angora spinning demo for a knitting guild, and a good time was had by all. Louisa was a big hit!

Two, if I get yet another stupid email about Mars coming so close to the Earth that it looks like another Moon...


Do you realise just how severely the orbit of Mars would have to be affected for something like that to happen? Do you also realise the catastrophic effect such an event would have on our planet? It would make the fictitious accounts of global warming look like child's play.

Somebody please, get a grip on reality and quit forwarding this stupid story!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Not much new...

Things are pretty quiet. Bunnies are growing, so is wool. I need to get grooming this weekend in prep for Convention. Verizon looks so nice, except for her ear that she likes to drop on occasion. I think Stinker and Antje will be my main focus. Sherman will come along, too, but he's getting into the "piggy" stage that some of my bucks like to go through during their adolescence. They're good breeders, though, I wonder if the pigginess is related to libido?

We lost another of Louisa's babies, the runt, now there are 3. They are going strong, though. I think the runt would have made it, too, if not for such a rough first week. Sunrise's own babies are gorgeous, too, and the Tan that I'm selling is spoken for already.

Lear looks awesome, his wool is dense and mat-free so far, and he's growing like a weed. I'm going to weigh everyone this weekend, but they sure look big. We're getting a break from the heat and everyone is eating like a horse.

Chloe looks like she has doubled in size already, lol! She is such a sweet dog, and is well-built, but most likely we will spay her soon, as we have a Springer male who is entire, and that just wouldn't be a good thing, lol. Those would be some ugly puppies!

I can't wait for my job to end. 5 more weeks, and then I'm free! A co-worker suggested a great party idea, I think we are going to have one big blow-out on Sept 21st!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

This was kinda fun

The results I got were interesting, not entirely accurate IMO, but interesting.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Even more babies!

Louisa gave birth again on Monday, late, but not as late as last time, and eventually had a total of 7 babies. 3 didn't make it, but 4 are doing well - with Sunrise. I shaved Louisa's belly and tried for 4 days to get her to nurse them, but she refused. I could express milk from her, but the kits couldn't seem to pull much out of her. I kept them alive by also letting them nurse from Antje, who wasn't thrilled about it since she has 9 of her own. So I finally put them in with Sunrise, who has 7. Hers looked like fat little turtles anyway, she feeds them constantly. I don't know how she does it, she's just a little thing who could pass for an English, but she does. I take the biggest 4 out at night and put them in in a safe place so the smaller ones have a better chance of being fed well, and put them back in the morning. All 11 look great now, Louisa's babies are doing a good job of catching up. I don't think I will breed Louisa again. She loses a lot of blood when she gives birth. The first time I thought it was because the kits were a week late and huge, but she was only 2 days late this time, normal sized kits, and she was a mess, the cage was a mess, and she's not a good mom to boot. I usually give a doe 3 chances to prove themselves, but I think the poor girl has had enough. So, if anyone is looking for an excellent wooler, I'll let her go, without pedigree, at a very reasonable price if you can make it to western PA.

Meanwhile, it looks so far like Sunrise has 2 chestnuts, 3 tans, and 2 blacks in her litter. :)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Tan Angora babies

JG's Sunrise, my blue tan angora doe, gave birth today to 7 babies, one appears to be self, the others are patterned. The sire is a REW, JG's Stinker. The patterned babies could be agouti, but I believe at least some of them are otters. We'll see in a few days. At least there will be no shorthairs in this litter, all the shorthairs have been eliminated from the program.

This litter will also give me insight into Stinker's genetics. I can say that all appear to be black-based so far.

It is such a relief, I've been promising colored rabbits to people, finally I can make good on it!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Antje's babies

I figured it was time for an obligatory cute baby rabbit photo:

All nine are fit and healthy. The two littlest ones still are little, but I have not had to give them supplemental time with Mom past their first week, they are fending for themselves quite well. They're starting to sample hay and rabbit pellets, and are venturing out in the now hay-lined cage.

Speaking of hay, I just got a fresh supply. There are few scents better than fresh hay. This time of year, my supplier always has a nice mix of grass and legumes. Later in the year, he has mostly legume hay, which is ok for pregnant moms and moms with litters, but not so good for the rest of the herd. Hopefully when I move, I can find someone with a nice orchardgrass/clover mix available year-round. I've already started looking.

Stinker is getting clipped to the skin for IAGARB testing. I'd like to see if a rabbit of my own breeding can make it. Next will be Oscar.

I also recently became VP of UARC. I must say, this club has been active and is growing! As a club, we are still working out the best way to achieve our mission, but we have certainly made progress and I am very enthusiastic about our future! The member input about our goals, and how to achieve them is heartwarming, and I predict big things for this club!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Baby update

Well, Antje only had the nine babies, I guess she was just a slow starter. Every day I take the two scrawniest one out and give them some quality nursing time with her. While doing so, I noticed she only has six teats. No wonder these two aren't doing better! A couple of the bigger ones seem four times bigger already. I have two does I hope will deliver tomorrow, if one of them has a small litter, I'll foster them to her. If not, I may see if I can farm these two scrawny ones out to a friend with a doe with a small litter.

I'm thinking I may have to make teat counts a priority in selecting keepers. I like big litters, so this is something I need to consider more.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Drought's over!

JG's Antje gave birth last night around 10pm to 9 little pink wigglers. I had them out today to give the smallest ones some quality time with mom and dinner. Perhaps because of the heat, she didn't pull any wool with them. So I shaved her belly with my new German Red Clippers (awesome tool, well worth the price). As I did so, I noticed she was still bleeding a bit, although she'd cleaned herself up very well. Then after I put her away, I noticed later when I brought her some fresh parsley and a half a carrot, that she is now pulling wool. A little late for that, I thought, then it occurred to me, I'll bet she still has a baby or two inside her. We'll see what happens. Proud Papa is Samson's Oscar.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bunny adventures

It must be a Tan thing. Awhile back, my friend Claudia had this in her blog. Then this weekend, Merry's cousin Sunrise got loose while we were up at camp. One of my neighbors tried to catch her, but she was too sly. When I got home, I could not find her. Then today, while I was at work, one of my other neighbors spied her, and he and Bob successfully snared her. She's staying inside now. I had her out during this spell of cool weather, but no more for this bad girl! I thought I'd never see her again, and I am not taking any more chances! At least if she gets loose inside, there aren't too many places she can go.

Friday, June 29, 2007

baby drought

Well, I guess Fate is getting even with me for being one of the few breeders to have winter litters - now, while everyone else has babies out the wazoo, I have none. The does are either missing, or in the case of Louisa, losing them. Poor dear, she was so happy when she was preggers, she actually enjoyed ear scritches and would come up to the cage door at feeding time and insist upon them - totally unlike her. She had her litter almost a week late, and the poor, huge, bruised things didn't live long. :( I gave her a week to recover, and bred her to Oscar. I also rebred Sunrise to Stinker.

Meanwhile, we'll see if Antje's breeding to Oscar and Yeungling's breeding to Snowman took. Both are due next weekend. My friend Cheryl bred JG's Fuhrerdernacht to JG's Little Brat, she is also due soon, if she hasn't already delivered. That is one litter I am looking forward to, Brat is Louisa's aunt, and one of the few animals left from that bloodline. I really want a buck from that litter. Rosalin also has a litter by Oscar due on the 15th. Hopefully, some of these does will catch!

I sold Snowman and Betsy to a lovely young lady, I'm sure she'll do well with them.

I finally got all the spinning done on my son's Dingo sweater, only to find that I really need his chest measurement to get started knitting it. He, of course, has no idea what it is, he's going to get the measurement and call me. So of course I had to start spinning something else. ;)

I decided on a bag of roving I got from Lisa at Somerhill. It is called Tiger Lily, it is a fiery orange with red and muted tones. I've never spun Blue-Faced Leicester, it is a dream. Not as slippery as angora and angora blends, but very easy to draft nevertheless, and very soft. I also have 2 lbs of natural colored BFL from Lisa, some of it will be dyed green and plied with the Tiger Lily, I think.

Have a Happy Fourth Of July!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Meet Chloe

Chloe journeyed all the way from Arkansas to become the future guardian of Jan's Giants. Chloe is a badger-faced Great Pyrannees puppy. Totally fitting for a rabbitry that breeds Giants, don't you think?

Dingo is guarded about this newcomer, she's OK as long as she doesn't invade his space. That means, leave Mom (me) alone. Fortunately, Chloe knows and accepts me as Mom, but LGDs (livestock guardian dogs) are not cuddly and demanding of attention by nature, they tend to be independent and attached to their livestock, and Chloe already demonstrates this. She looks to me for approval and direction, but a pat on the head is about all the attention she wants.

Banjo is in LOVE with this girl, he hounds her relentlessly. Not only that, but he, guardian of food, water, and playtoys, actually allows her to eat, drink, and play whenever she feels like it, with no growls or threats, no sulking if she gets his favorite toy, the change in him is just hysterical!

Fiber-wise, I am the proud owner of a new Roberta electronic spinnier, and I love, love LOVE it! I am finally making serious progress on my son's Dingo sweater, I was having issues doing a three-ply on Polly. The Roberta plies beautifully, and FAST. Now that I have empty spindles, I am a spinning fool, lol. And I love my wool winder, I'm finally using it and I can't believe I used to wind balls of yarn by hand.

I cannot wait for September...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Life goes on...

I recently learned that I will lose my job. The company I work for buys other companies. Well, a bigger company bought us, and my position, along with an awful lot of other people's positions, has been eliminated.


Don't get me wrong, I truly loved my job, and felt priviledged to have it. But I am getting 3 months salary as severance, and with unemployment, I will be quite well off for about 6 months. So... I am moving up to Camp. Camp is 68 acres of Heaven on Earth, near Clarion, PA, which the family owns. Bob and I have always wanted to live there, now we can make it happen. I had in fact been praying about it, since I was getting frustrated with some (well, one) of my neighbors poking his nose into my business. Nothing ever came of it, I abide by my local laws, but it annoyed me that this jerk felt he could/should tell me what I can and cannot do on my property. So, when I am unemployed, I'm moving up to Camp and getting a job there. Then when I am set up, Bob will quit his job, put the house up for sale, and move up with me. Then he'll get a job, and we'll get a mortgage and build a house...

At any rate, I'd like to float a political thought out there...

Those "environmentalists" out there, who complain about urban sprawl? Urban sprawl is caused by people who think they should be able to tell everyone else what to put in their yards, where their kids can play, what their kids can play, and generally tell people what they can do with their property.

People like that should be legislated into gated communities, where a Board decides what and how many pets you can have, what kind of border plantings you can do, what kind of fences you can have, what kind of mulch you can use, etc., etc.

That way the rest of us can exercise the full rights and priviledges that come with OWNING our property. If I wanted someone telling me what I can & can't do, I'd be renting. People seem to lose sight of what makes this country great - freedom - and property rights are integral to freedom.

Anyway, plans for the bunny barn are under way...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

King Lear

Don't you just love that face? Little Lear, who is not really so little anymore, took a couple of steps toward growing up today. He got his first haircut, and he got his own cage. He is molting out his baby coat, and his rump was starting to mat in a major way, so it was time to take it off, and what with the summer heat, it was time anyway. Lear was very cooperative for not even being 3 months old yet, and those ears were a dream to clip around, they stayed put when I moved them around, intead of springing back into position as erect ears do. I'm beginning to think that Giant Fuzzy Lops might be worth pursuing!

He was born March 23rd, and weighs 5 1/2 pounds already! He already displays the nice overall depth that I was hoping he would, as well as straight legs, smoothness, and balance.

"Ok, I know I look silly, do you have to take pictures, too?"

We'll see if he passes those shoulders on! :)

I'm going to have to thin out the bucks in the herd. Snowman is hopefully going to New York, if we can work out transportation. Nacht is spending the summer with my friend Cheryl, I will likely see if I can move him on eventually, but first I want to pair him with Verizon when she comes of age. Oscar and Stinker will likely stay with me for life.

Louisa has been acting very loving lately, she has always been such a snot, she must be pregnant. If so, she should deliver Saturday. Sunrise is also due, if she took. Keep your fingers crossed! :)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Shearing Party

Our little group had another successful shearing party today. It's a lot easier for new angora owners to do their first shearing if they have experienced people to show them how to restrain the bunns and give encouragement. My friends Carla and Mike came from the Cleveland area with their 2 littermates, Chester and Penny. I sheared Penny, then Carla and Mike sheared Chester. They got a kick out of how scrawney their bunnies looked after their first shearing, lol! I also got Nacht shorn and got started on Samson's Donna, one of my new Germans. Donna and Nacht are going to stay at Cheryl's for awhile, Nacht is going to sire a litter with Brat, and Donna is just going to hang out until I have the bunny barn built. Thank goodness for friends with empty cages!

Cheryl and Michelle also worked on wet felting, I was surprised how quickly a piece of soft, strong fabric can be made. I'm definitely going to pursue felting!

Meanwhile I put Antje in with Samson's Oscar a few days ago, I'm not sure the breeding was successful, but we'll know in 31 days or so... Oscar just needs some practice, lol!

I have 4 Giant Pumpkin plants in the ground, 2 here at home, and 2 at camp. We've been spreading bunny manure up there near the spring in preparation for this, and the plants seem to love the rich soil and the plentiful supply of moisture. Pics to come soon!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Isn't he lovely?

Today I took a road trip and got some more rabbits. Yeah, I know, just what I need - more rabbits. But these aren't just any rabbits, these are German Angoras from Leslie Samson. It seems a nice lady, whose late husband got them for her, decided she just wasn't up to dealing with them, and wanted them to go to someone who would appreciate them. I took all three, a buck and two does. I really wanted the buck, and I haven't decided yet whether I'll hang onto the does, but if I do, I need to breed them - especially Rosalin. This doe needs bred in a MAJOR way, but I hesitate to breed her right now, since I haven't yet moved and built my bunny barn...

Oh, I didn't mention that yet? Yep, Fate has intervened in my life and given me an opportunity to do what Bob and I have been yearning to do - move up to Camp, 68 acres of Heaven on earth. More on that later. Meanwhile, here is a picture of Samson's Oscar, in short coat, but SO reminiscent of my beloved Billy. He looks like him, acts like him, and I am soooo in love with him... and he's from the 2006 imports!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ever had this happen?

I've had Storybook Dreams' Snowman sold 3 times now. He's basically the foundation sire of my Giants,although he's a German. He's sired 1 BIS winner, 1 RIS, and several BOB and BOS winners. All from ONE LITTER! He's going to sire a litter in my Tan Angora program before he leaves. I can't wait to see how his genes blend with DA Joey's. He would have sired more winners, but I tend to keep bucks in his line, and I use them, and they seem to be as prepotent as he is. I only have one doe he sired, Antje, and she is the dam of Stinker, whom I think is the best rabbit I have ever bred, and he looks like he will be as successful as a sire as his grandad is.

Anyway, I have a buck and a doe of his, plus a grandson and a great-granddaughter. And I will have a Tan Angora sired by him as well. With my limited cage space, I need to move him out to make room. I've had no less than 3 people promise to buy him, but all have backed out for one reason or another.

This is one great buck, his get are bigger and better than he is, someobody would be very smart to buy this rabbit!

Or, he can just stay here. This Fall I'll be moving, and in anticipation of that I'll be building a bunny barn and making more cages, so there will be room. But $100.00 would get someone one heck of a proven sire...

... but you have to come and get him.

Sunday, May 27, 2007




... and After...

I've been meaning to shear Stinker for some time now, but he's been eating well, so I waited. So this weekend I've been busy doing bunny chores, cleaning cages, shoveling poop, and shearing. I'm nearly finished doing everyone. Stinker was so cooperative, he stretched out and relaxed while I took all that hot wool off. I knew there was a rabbit under there somewhere, lol! I got 12 ounces from him, 8 of it prime, the rest was webbed or stained. I'll get Mom Antje and Uncle Nacht tomorrow morning, and that will be it for shearing bunnies for a few months.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Canton Show

Well, JG's Antje won her third ARBA leg, if I were to register her, she'd be a Grand Champion. I won't register her, because there are recognizable German names on her pedigree. As far as I am concerned, Germans and Giants are the same critter, in fact quite a few people who have bought Germans from me have registered them as Giants, but there are those out there who would make trouble for people who do so, so I won't. Once I get 3 generations of Jan's Giants names on the pedigrees, I am going to register them however I wish. My goal is to have the first double-registered Giant/German Angora. :) I honestly think both Antje and her son Stinker could meet the German standard, but I lack the shearing skill to get clear down to the skin without cutting the rabbit. I'm working on that.

Antje also competed well in the BIS competition, she took 2nd in the 6-Class competition on Saturday. The judge Sunday didn't say who took 2nd in 6-Class, but he only handled her once, so I don't think he considered her a contender.

I still have a little doe available from Betsy and Stinker's litter, but somehow the tips of her ears got injured when she was a baby, I think they may have gotten frostbitten. I had people lined up for a doe from this litter, but they seem to have lost interest. That happens. So I'm going back through the waiting list, but if anyone out there is interested, it wouldn't hurt to remind me. :)

Tomorrow I am going to start shearing in earnest, everyone will be done by the end of the week. I'm going to have gobs of excellent raw angora fiber, and I'm going to try out my new combs that I haven't really used yet, so I'll be offering raw white fiber at $6.00 per ounce, and combed white top at $12.00 per ounce. I'm also going to be dyeing and blending, I have white Icelandic, Blue-Faced Leicester, and colored Mohair and Silk to do blends with. We're also having a shearing party on June 2nd at my friend Cheryl's place. Fun, fun, fun!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


My friend Mary Jo from CT and I traveled to Nationals in Janesville, WI last weekend. I did not take any rabbits to show, and I'll blame it on Blond Syndrome. I missed the deadline, and didn't realize you can do late entries. My bad, I won't make that mistake again. I did take a couple of young bucks to deliver.

Jack and Karin Bailey won BOB Giant Angora with their sr buck, the Osborns took BOS with (I think) a junior doe. Deb Butorac took BOB English Angora, Cindy Stelloh took BOB French (And BIS!), and BOB Satin was won by a beautiful Copper doe owned by Denise Wyrick, I think BOS was won by a red junior buck owned by the Osborns. Incidentally, I delivered some bunns for some friends, in particular I delivered a gorgeous Copper Satin buck to Denise, who I understand promptly bred him to her beautiful doe. :)

Mary Jo bought some rabbits there as well, we had quite a load coming home, lol! She also bought a nice little Giant buck from me.

Besides admiring some gorgeous rabbits, I met new friends and got to spend some time with some old friends. All in all, it was a wonderful trip, if a very, very long one. Tip: go around Chicago, not through it.

I plan on showing Nacht and Antje at the 2-day Canton, OH show this weekend. Then that's it for me for the season, everyone who hasn't already been clipped down will be, a couple does will be bred and brought inside for the summer, and we'll sit back, relax, and watch the wool grow.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


I got a phone call today from a friend. She said that she had heard a rumor that AR groups are targeting small rabbit breeders who have websites. What they do is, they have as many people as they can contact a breeder and say they want to buy a rabbit. I guess the idea is to have the breeder breed as many litters as possible in anticipation of selling them. Of course, since the offers to buy are false, the breeder ends up with a whole bunch of bunnies and the local Animal Control gets an anonymous tip and shows up at their doorstep.

Just FYI. Be careful.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pumpkin time!

You're probably thinking, HUH?!

Well, I have a new hobby, one that makes good use of all that wonderful fertilizer my bunnies so graciously provide me with in such abundance. Growing giant pumpkins! Now there is a lot more to growing them than just sticking the seeds in the ground and standing back. Giant pumpkin growers use the leading edge in natural soil amendments, as the organic approach to soil preparation has demonstrated its superiority for producing monster pumpkins. They also have interesting growing strategies and they spend a lot of time tending their vines. In fact, they share a lot of characteristics with those of us who show angora rabbits! Many of these dedicated growers also mentor others, some of them even have science projects going in their local schools! You can get more information here:

Today I started the following seeds:

1095 M. Wallace (1367.5 Rose x self)
710 M. Wallace (1095 Wallace x self)
794 M. Wallace (591 Priviters x 983 Pukos)
1103.5 Rose - d (1097.5 Beachy x 1260 Weir)
580 Weir

Giant pumpkin growers breed their plants much as we do our rabbits, there are websites with enormous databases dedicated to tracking the parentage, weight, shape, and color of these monsters. They have clubs, and yes, they often argue among themselves just as we do, lol! What you see above is the pumpkin the seed came out of, and its parentage. And those numbers are weights, folks! The current world record for Giant Pumpkins is 1502 grown by Ron Wallace. Yes, one thousand, five hundred, and two pounds!

Meanwhile, Snowman and Betsy will likely be going to a new home next month to get a new breeder off to a good start. According to the ARBA site, there is another Baltimore & Howard County show on May 26th, so I'll probably meet their new mom there.

Betsy's babies continue to do well, they are starting to pile up at the cage door when I go to feed them, it's getting hard not to spill feed, lol! One little guy in particular is a real sweetheart. Pewter's son (although today he kinda looked a little like a daughter, I hope the magic Sex Change fairy isn't going to pay a visit) is a shy one, but oh, so beautiful! His wool is coming in so nice and thick and gorgeous! I just love his Steel color, yummy! When he gets his adult coat in, I think I'd like to find some black Shetland or Merino with sunbleached tips to blend with it. His ears have not dropped, and according to another breeder who has done this cross before for fryers, they may never drop. So, my airplane name, "King Lear", may not fit. I may name him "Survivor" instead, since he's the sole survivor from Pewter's litters. I may breed Pewter one more time. I'd like to have a pair from this cross, and Pewter's lack of mothering may not be entirely her fault. So I am going to try something a friend of mine did. Pewter will go in the biggest cage I have, 4 ' wide by 30" deep and 24" high, and no nestbox. When she does deliver, I'll put the nest in a large shallow box with the bottom cut out of it just to keep the babies in one place. I think the dropped nestbox she had for the last litter was too narrow for her, she is still in that cage and she never goes in it, unlike all of my other does, who like to hang out in them, especially during warm weather. And if she does go to the bathroom in the nest again, at least it will run out the bottom and not soak the kits. But I'll still foster a baby or two to another doe, just in case.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


My first weekend I'm really allowed to do stuff, and the weather is beautiful. Bob is up at camp with friends, burning up a white pine overturned by the winds earlier this year. Drinking a few beers, too, no doubt. So I'm home alone. What am I doing? Spring Cleaning. Bunny poop dug out from the outdoor hutches and thrown on the hill. You can't even tell now that that hill used to be a pile of broken up concrete and dog poop. Cages taken out on the driveway and power washed. Rug scrubbed, car vacuumed and scrubbed. Rabbitry washed down with Pine Sol. Laundry done. Doggie doo removed from Bob's putting green, then putting green mowed. Ugh. Aspirin first, blisters bandaged, then it's Miller Time!

Bob comes home while I'm in the shower, freshening up. Why didn't you make the bean soup like you were planning, he asks? I just look at him. He changes the subject. Smart man!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Stinker pic

I got the pics from Nancy today, here is the nicest one:

Saturday, April 14, 2007

A win!

JG's Stinker took BOB today at the Baltimore and Howard County show. He was the only bunn I took, his mom Antje needs more grooming (her legs need work), and his uncle Fuherdernacht needs to grow out just a bit more. I think this will be it for me until Nationals.

What is really cool is that Stinker won over 8 other Giants belonging to the Osborns. Their senior buck in particular was one great animal, the judge, Deb Vecchio, kept going back and forth between them. I was so proud when he won! I only wish I could take him to Nationals, but he has stopped gaining weight, so I'm taking his coat off tomorrow, and I'm going to start working on getting him to senior weight. He turns 8 months old the day before Nationals, and at the rate he is going right now, he won't make weight. But he'll be there by Convention...

Stinker got his name because he sprayed like crazy when he was younger. Thanks to some great advice from Karin Bailey and Marilyn DeMarree, I was able to curb that behavior in him and he now looks fabulous. I took him to Lisbon last week, I didn't show him, but 3 people stopped and asked if they could take his picture. Today at B & H County, Nancy Nichols was kind enough to take some photos for me, I'll post one of them when I get them. He does look really impressive right now!

I have a litter of 7 right now from him with Evergreen's Betsy, I'm looking forward to seeing how they develop!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

NAIS and other stuff

Browsing the UARC forum, I found a couple of excellent links that Terri A. thoughtfully provided, which gave important information for why and how we should oppose this program.

Please read these links. The second one in particular is sample legislation that your locality can customize and pass, nullifying NAIS within its boundaries.

Meanwhile, Betsy's babies are scampering about. Pewter's lone steel baby looks funny with the other white ones - he's bigger, too!

Thursday, April 05, 2007


I recently joined UARC, the United Angora Rabbit Club. I had reasons for waiting, I had concerns, which have all been satisfied. I tried out the Forum, which is extremely well organized and friendly. It is full of articles on every facet of breeding, showing, and using the fiber from angora rabbits. I highly recommend this club!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Baby update

Pewter's baby, (being raised by Betsy) is turning into a Steel. I was hoping for black, but this is nice. It's not like color really matters in Giants, he (she?) carries REW, and will produce REWs when bred to REW Giants, so all is well, in fact I'm betting Steel angora is gorgeous when spun. I'm anxious to see what sex this baby is, but I'm not going to look until I can be reasonably certain of accurate judgement - which means around 5 weeks for me. At that time, if I decide it's a male, it will be. Females occasionally turn into males for me, so I wait longer to make that call. Betsy's own REW babies are doing well, their eyes are opening and thay are getting active. I'm getting where I can see some with definite faults at this early age, and some that look pretty darn good, I marked the ones I like best and will monitor them to see if my predictions come true.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


Every once in awhile I make a very cryptic post that leaves some of you scratching your heads and saying, "OK, what the heck did THAT mean?" This is going to be another of those, lol. Trust me, though, it will mean something to some of you.

I had restless night. Some things just weren't adding up. So this morning I called my mentor. I've known this person an awfully long time, since I was a kid, in fact. I vented my frustration at certain situations, and my puzzlement at the words of some. Now this person has long-standing connections, and often knows more about what is going on in some circles than I can quite believe. Anyway, I am so glad I called. I heard things I really needed to, and had hoped for, because they were the only things that made any sense at all. Without going into detail, things, and people, are not always what they seem. And sometimes the worst thing you can do to someone is to give them exactly what they want.

Anyway, I feel better about things than I have in a long time. I am going to take my mentor's advice and refrain from commenting on things for awhile, and let the wheels of progress turn and watch what happens.

Oh, and the newsletter does look great! :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Betsy and Pewter babies

Betsy and Pewter were due last Thursday. I was out of town visiting my family, and getting spoiled rotten while I recuperated from my surgery. I came back Friday morning, and the two does had waited for me. Bob said they showed no interest in nesting when he gave them hay, but when I gave them each 1/2 a flake of hay, they promptly built their nests (in the corners of their cages, instead of in their nestboxes) and delivered. I put the nests into the nestboxes, made sure I got all the babies, and waited to see what would happen. A couple hours later I reached into the pocket of my sweat pants, and found a baby rabbit. I had left one in there while I was moving nests and checking on everyone, lol! It was a Pewter baby, and since Betsy had a smaller litter, I put it in with hers. Good thing I did. Pewter cared for her litter for a couple of days, and then just stopped. After a couple of days, when it was clear she wanted nothing more to do with them and they would starve if something wasn't done, I put them into Sunrise's old nestbox and put it, them, and Sunrise into an empty cage. Her litter is six weeks old, normally I wait two more weeks to wean, but they're eating well and this was an emergency. Sunrise was clearly puzzled by all this, and hopped in and out of the nestbox, unsure of what to do. I finally held her and put the babies on her tummy, even going so far as to put their mouths right on her teats, to no avail. They would not nurse. This has always worked for me in the past, but not this time, I guess they were too far gone. So, the lone survivor of that litter is in Betsy's nestbox, very fat and happy. I guess it is a blessing in disguise, as I would have had to find wooler/pet homes for all these guys. Now I just have the one left to use in my quest to build more size and bone into my Giant Angoras. If it's a doe, I will name her Cessna, since her ears will likely stick straight out like airplane wings. If it's a buck, I think I will name him King Lear. :)

Speaking of Pewter, there will be no Pewter Stew :). A young friend of mine is taking her, he's in for a challenge, lol! In fact I spent about a half hour today working on her. She mats terribly, so I try to keep her in a short coat. With her loose skin, I have to work slowly and carefully, today I got about 1/4 of her done, I'm giving her a buzz cut clear down to the skin, what with summer coming. She's a "jumper", which means when she's tired of being groomed, she does her darnedest to leap off off the grooming table. So when she starts getting antsy, it's time to quit, because I'm in no shape to prevent a 16 pound, very determined animal from leaping off the grooming table. I think I need one of those restraining boards I've seen pictures of.