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.

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