Wednesday, June 25, 2008

newborns and hailstorms

Last night during a rainstorm, Bean Blossom the Angora rabbit kindled a litter of baby bunnies. (Kindle, if you're not familiar with the term, is the rabbit business's word for giving birth to a litter of bunnies and has nothing to do with electronic reading aparati.) This morning, when I went to check on her hutch, there were 8 (possibly more, hard to count right now) little pink bunnies breathing under a pile of soft angora wool. Poor ol' Bean looked half her size. Between the fur she pulled to make a nest for the newborns, and the weight loss from the birth, she was a shadow of the giant fluffy rabbit I knew the day before. But her eyes were bright and as of this morning all of her newborns were alive and well (keeping fingers crossed). In about ten days they'll open their eyes and be covered in a coat of soft fur. In three weeks they'll be hopping around the hutch and ready to be registered, tattooed and sexed. When they are about 8 weeks old they'll be sold to spinning and 4-H homes. I'm really proud of her. This is her first litter ever and she did everything by the book and right on time. I can't wait till they're old enough to show pictures of...

Also, yesterday Ol' Bitch Nature* was one angry broad. A hail storm came and ripped apart the garden. I came home to lettuce and pumpkin leaves shredded. But I think everyone will make a full recovery. The picture above was taken by my neighbor during the hailstorm. All my hens (and Rufus Wainwright) took refuge on the porch to watch the weather turn.

*My little holler to Logsdon there

Sunday, June 22, 2008

important business

Yesterday started, like most Vermont summer Saturdays do, in the Battenkill river. I was standing in my waders out in hip deep water, trying to roll cast to some promising trout holes under a fallen log. I have yet to catch a fish out on the river, but those few hours on Saturday mornings aren't bothered by that. I like the way it feels to feel strong water rush over your hips and be surrounded by the flapping songs of ceder waxwings and scarlet tanagers. I like the sound of the river. The herons stopping by or waving to kayakers that paddle past. There's this whole community on the Battenkill like that - of anglers, paddlers and the occasional tube floater. River people.

This morning I wasn't in the river. I slept in, and then after morning dog-time I walked over to the coop. Inside Cyrus and Saro (my goslings, who are now as large as the rooster) were chasing the hens around the coop. Great. That's what I need, stressed-out birds that won't lay for a whole day because of some smart ass posturing geese.

I shooed the pair outside with the duck into their special waterfowl hotel next door and went about the business of scooping grains, pouring fresh drinking water and letting the hens into their outside pen. Within moments I heard the "kaPlop" of a fat gosling jumping into the metal tub to swim and clean off his chest feathers from the night on hay. The hens were cooing happily with their scratch grains in their beaks. Rufus Wainwright crowed a mighty crow. All seemed back to relative calm when I turned to the garden.

The gardens are looking good, with a few exceptions. My onions and eggplants seem to be drooping and not growing much at all compared to the other vegetables. But they are the only crappers. Other veggies are going gangbusters. The snap peas, lettuce, and broccoli are all ready to harvest - and harvest I have. I've already enjoyed stir-fries, quiche, and salads from their spoils. The pumpkins and watermellons seem to be vining just fine. The corn is knee-high. The zuccs have big fat orange flowers. Life rolls.

But now I'm back inside, and the way the rain's been coming down, looks like I'll be in most of the day. It's thundering and the coffee's hot. So I'm going to get back to the very important business of doing nothing. Y'all have a fine Sunday. Don't pull anything.