Been a While… Again.

Well, it has. And it’s mostly because of the holidays. During this time of year things get incredibly busy. I have three sisters and both my parents living in the area all of whom I must satisfy with the bowing and scraping of having a large and tightly knit family. Dinners must be attended, presents must be bought, phone calls must be answered, lists and plans must be made, halls must be decked and trees put up… All around it becomes very hectic.

Still, things have been progressing, and in this moment of insomnia I find the peace and quality of moment to write of the past month.

Since anyone on here last heard from me my fence has been built. The going was a bit slower than I liked but in the end the fence is UP. It is six feet tall and offers me a lot more privacy and security than before. It’s not perfect, but nothing is, right?
In the process of putting up the fence, however, mud got spread about the edges of my lawn, and we have discovered in the past few weeks that our water table is high in this area. VERY high. We have a lot of standing water throughout out lawn; good for ducks, bad for everything else. It doesn’t help that it still has not snowed substantially, nor the temperatures stayed down. But at least it’s done.

For some reason both this year and last have been very warm, wet winters through the first half. Earlier this year I found a wooly bear caterpillar. Up here in Ohio many people swear by these soft, friendly caterpillars and claim they can predict the harshness of a winter by its stripes. A large brown center means a warm winter while a small brown center means a cold one. The one I found had its brown center almost enveloping the black ends. There was hardly any black at all! So maybe there’s something to be said of it, but last year the snows hit hard after december. So we’ll wait and see. I am still hoping for snow.

Over thanksgiving I had enough time to try breeding Purina. I was not sure if it was succesful or not since I basically put her in our buck’s cage and ran off to roast some brocoli for the dinner that night. I came back later and caged them separately. I tried to re-breed her the next morning (as you are supposed to breed them twice in 24 hours for the best results) and she refused our buck. But now, she is nesting, pulling together hay and fur into piles. It was exciting to see that nest! She will be getting a nest box put in her cage soon. Then I went out to the garage yesterday to find the first escape from the cages since my last update… Nutro had re-broken into Tasty’s cage. This happened about a month ago as well. The barrier has since been repaired but now Tasty has also built a nest. So now I have two nesting rabbits, neither of which I am completely sure is pregnant (since false pregnancies happen) and one of which has just spent some time being harassed by our buck right before she’d technically be due to deliver should her nesting be a response to the broken barrier of a month ago rather than this one. Bother it.

Our outside cages are… Well, they’re almost done. I thought it would be quicker to put together but it rather hasn’t been. It helps to have the right tools and the drill, driving bit and drill bit my beau got me were the worst imaginable and pooped out half way through (and have since been returned). So I have been going solely by my friend Chuck’s power tools to finish the project and his time is very limited. Plus there have been some design errors. Between the two four-by-fours, and the two two-by-fours on each level that make up the base structure the cage has accidentally become nearly four feet deep. This is sub-optimal since I do not have four-foot arms to reach back and get my rabbits should they hide in the corner. However, at this point the cages must be finished. Perhaps I will find a way to adjust it later. In the meantime they get an extra 2-4 square feet in each cage. I am sure they’ll appreciate it. The structure has been coming along, regardless of mishaps, and now has a back, floors, a roof, a center divider and cut walls (but not installed walls). What’s left is installing the walls, cutting and installing the hardware cloth and then framing and installing the doors and locks. That should take only one day, maybe two… But I also thought the cages would take one week, maybe two. So we’ll see.

And circumstance has forced my hand on when and how to get my chickens in the spring. They must be purchased as pullets and kept outside, because otherwise I will have to order 15 birds and order them soon. I am not sure I can handle that right now since I am still getting a grip on the rabbits in my garage and the fact that I may be having one more litter than expected. Fooey.

And the other animals of the house have not been helping. I own a Betta that had Popeye when we moved here. He lives alone in a filtered ten gallon tank; an AMAZING situation for a betta. I treated his popeye (and his eye is no longer popped) only to watch his face-scales ONLY stand on end, him stop eating, and grow a few non-spreading white spots. Now I worked at a pet store, and do you know what you do at a pet store? You take care of fish all day long. I know all of the major diseases and this is none of them. This is not ick, dropsy, bloat, cloudeye, popeye, hookworms… Nothing. Not even a swim-bladder problem… He swims fine! It is not responding it bacterial and fungal infection treatments. But somehow, after two months of it this fish is still alive. We don’t know how, and we’ve given up on saving a $5 fish by spending $100 on different medications to try (we already spent over $30)… And we expected him to be dead. Today he was nose-down in the gravel, bent at a right angle and I added some water to his tank. He swam into his pot to hide like a normal fish. Is there even a way to euthanize a suffering fish? How do you know if he’s even aware that he’s suffering or not? We’re just going to let sleeping fish lie. Forever.
We’re pretty sure we have a zombie fish at this point and he’s going to bring about the 12-21-12 end of the world.

And our indoor bunnies have been no charm either. Our boy of our holland lop pair is the worst rabbit. He is very special needs because he does not groom himself, nor dig in his litter. We check him for new problems occasionally. Usually it’s once every few months. Last time it was ammonia burns on his thighs. This time (just a month later) it was fur so matted on his feet it was causing bad skin problems. So we took him to the sink to soak his back paws and get rid of the mats, only to have him kick and break a nail. Poo. So now he’s got a completely exposed quick and sore irritated skin on his feet where the mats were pulling. And he throws a fit when we go to treat them even though we have a very soothing ointment. Dumb bunny.

And the dogs? Well, let’s just say I got bit over thanksgiving from my food-aggressive girl and that there have been several accidents in the house. So they’ve not been helping.

Still, I will continue to plough through. I will do my best to update with some pictures sometime, but meanwhile I have presents for my four local female relatives, their respective significants, my own significant, and a handful of friends to finish buying and wrapping. And possibly two litters of baby bunnies to care for. Whew!

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