So this has been a long week on the homestead.
At first I planned to do plant-things. I had prepped a grow-box and a bunch of cardboard planters for seed starting. I had ordered a set of organic heirloom seeds from a vermont company and they came in. I was all set to start those plants that need to be started 8 weeks in advance of the last frost of the year in cold climates.
Then the snow hit, the ground froze and I couldn’t get dirt very easily any more. So I decided to plan to buy some topsoil from Home Depot and work from there. While I was making this plan, I also planned on making the raised garden beds. I’ve decided I’m spending a fairly large amount on topsoil, sand and organic cow-manure based fertilizer. This will be a one-time purchase and will greatly benefit the homestead.
Then I went out to find Evo pulling a nest. I knew she’d had a run-in with Nutro about 3 weeks earlier, perhaps even a bit further back. I figured she’d probably do a good job (and in any case she was too far along to safely bring indoors anyhow) and left her to it. She built a haphazard nest and then left it alone for a few days.
After that Greg and I were doing our day 10 ear mite treatment and found a bit of blood in her cage. Had she miscarried? Eaten the babies? What was going on? That night she began furiously pulling and building a nest. I made sure she had extra hay and she simply ignored me and kept nest-building as I did my chores.
Overnight she gave birth. But by the time I found the litter the babies were dead. Mom didn’t even bother trying to cover them up, her nest was very thinly built and all four kits were a fair bit smaller than I’d have hoped and dead. I had heard that sometimes these kits can be hypothermic if you catch them early enough so although they were cold to the touch, one was still warmer than the air so I tried to bring it in. No dice. Four dead, frozen rabbits had to be disposed of carefully before Greg got home as he is sensitive about such things. Rather than attract pests by trying to compost them I put them in plastic bags in the trash. I was disappointed but it wasn’t unexpected. Evo clearly had something strange going on with this birth and all of her stress at conception and during gestation (being stuck with Nutro a few times as he dutifully broke down the walls in the cages, being moved into the cold and a new cage, the sudden cold spell, learning about the dogs NOT being horrifying. And the tarps. And the new cage. Etc.) and there was not much to expect. It was a small litter of only four kits and it was far from optimal conditions. I cleared out some of the fur but left the nest generally in-tact. The box she decided to build in is the same box she sleeps in to keep warm. The extra fur in the box will help with that, especially since she ripped it all out.
The grow-box was built using some masking tape I got but it was poor quality and the plastic lining keeps coming off. I got a dry-erase board to help keep track of chores but the magnets won’t stick to the back and it keeps falling. I tried palpating Tasty to see if she had taken from her magnificent mating with Nutro but I couldn’t feel much of anything at all and have no way of knowing if she’s taken or not.
And my mother goes in for a surgery on monday to remove a new, likely cancerous, mass developing inside her. I will have to go to the hospital every morning for a few days to help keep track of what her doctors say as she has a rough time remembering. I’ll also be keeping her company and making sure she gets everything she needs during the first half of every day. She should be home again within a week.
Yeah. It’s been a long week.