This Christmas was one of the best in nearly a decade. The extended family and their drama went elsewhere, and it was a quiet, peaceful Christmas with great food, excellent gifts, and an opportunity to attend our Christmas Eve church service. I actually made it through feeling relaxed instead of stressed out, and rather than being SO GLAD it’s over, I’m looking forward to next year.
This was Dexter’s second Christmas, and the first that he really understood what unwrapping was all about.
We also discovered the perfect way to apply flea medicine to a wiggly corgi…you use the sleeve of a sweatshirt to ardvark them!
It’s been rainy almost non-stop this fall and winter – we’ve set records for rainfall. Finally, though, we’re seeing the return of some sunshine, and it’s bringing on the desire to garden. I’ve been marking up my seed catalogs, and almost have my order ready to send. This year, I’m going to try to stick to tried-and-true varieties, because I’m making it a goal to grow as much greens/seeds for the animals as I can.
I found this fabulous book on Amazon:Real Food for Rabbits: Raising Meat Rabbits Without Buying Commercial Feed. Don’t be put off by the title if you only have pet rabbits – it’s all about feeding, and it applies just as well to pets. I’ve actually suggested to the author that she change the title.
I would LOVE to get all my critters off packaged, commercial food. The chickens are, but the quail and rabbits are (hopefully) being converted over to natural grains and veggies this coming year. I’ve seen so many benefits from the chickens being off commercial food. They are healthy and happy, and – biggest of all – their poop doesn’t stink. At all. I’m looking forward to having that be the case with the quail!
I don’t know if my meat rabbits will happen in 2016. I have a muscovy duck in the fridge ready to cook tomorrow, and assuming we like it as much as everyone says we will, I think I’ll be starting with a few meat ducks. I’ll order the minimum order of 10 ducklings, save out the nicest trio for breeding, and eat (or sell) the rest. The nice thing about muscovies is how quiet they are, plus the females are terrific mothers.
I really like having the Indian Runner ducks in my garden. Other than a certain devilish attitude at bedtime sometimes, they are no trouble at all. And every time I see them out the window, they make me laugh. I’ll be getting two more in the Spring. Either as chicks, or I’ll try hatching some eggs.
I’ll also be hatching more quail. I don’t remember if I told you guys, but I lost a female this Fall, bringing my numbers down to just four females and two males. I want to plump up the female numbers. And my friend lost all but one of her quails due to a predator attack. She didn’t wire in the bottom of her pen, and something dug through the rocks and gravel and killed all of them but one little male in one night. Put wire underneath your cages, folks. It might be a little more trouble and expense, but you never know when a predator will find your cage!
I’m keeping her lonely male with my females, until I get more quail hatched. Then she’s taking him back – I have enough males already!
So right now, that’s the big plan. Re-vamp the chicken yard area to make room for the muscovies, hatch more quail, and garden ALL THE FOOD.