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:

http://www.bigpumpkins.com/

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

Ouch

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.

http://www.countrysidemag.com/issues/5_2006.htm#article4

http://www.celdf.org/Ordinances/NationalAnimalIdentificationSystemOrdinance/tabid/255/Default.aspx

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

UARC

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.