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!