Tag Archives: rabbits

Rabbits and New Summer Kitchen Prepwork

The rabbits are moved into their new hutch/run, and they are so happy. Happy, happy rabbits.

Daisy and Dandelion.

I filmed a brief video hoping to catch them romping, but of course they didn’t romp on cue. I’m told that a few minutes after I left, they were tearing around in circles, chasing each other.



They have piles of raspberry, blackberry, and apple prunings to eat.

And a tub of dirt to dig in, if they wish. And hopefully, if they wish, they will contain their digging to this tub.


So far, they haven’t dug at all. The tub is just to sit and look cute in.

They are excellent at looking cute.

The summer kitchen progress is moving right alone…but so far, it’s all prep work. There is a lot of prep work. I dug out all the gravel from the former duck yard, and half of it went as a foundation to the meat rabbit pen, and half went to the summer kitchen. Gravel drains well, and is nice underfoot. The part you see in the back, is where the summer kitchen will be.

To the left, the bamboo screen needed to come down and be replaced. It was meant to cover a decrepid rotting fence – but the neighbor has since built a new one, but rather than removing the old one, he just moved his new one inside his property line. So I took down the bamboo, and tore out the old fence myself. It made a mess.

It made a BIG mess. Old rotten wood and rubbish everywhere.

Now that the fence is down, though, I gained about half a foot of space, and some firewood, since we’ll cut up the old fence boards to burn. I’m also putting the bamboo back up again, since the neighbor’s new fence is too low and too gap-y for my taste. I don’t feel private or content on my property if I have to see the neighbor’s yard all the time.

Also, I had a brainstorm. One thing our garden is lacking are quality shaded places to sit. See this potting bench? In summer, the honeysuckle tree shades it, and it’s the coolest part of the yard. And I never use it to pot anything; it’s purely decorative.


Decorative when it’s not full of winter mess and junk, that is. But I’m going to take it out, and put in a lovely arbor there. And the potting bench, if it will fit, will become part of the summer kitchen counter. All it needs is a new top; the base is still really solid.

Inside the house, mom’s been doing a lot of crocheting. Dexter and Bundy help.


Beginning the New Rabbit Colony Pen

Today was a lovely sunshiny day – very Spring-like. I’m betting that we are going to have an early Spring in the Pacific Northwest this year.  Although we will likely have a few more frosts, I think we’re past the hard freezes. I certainly hope so! But whether we are or not, these lovely days are giving me a chance to do a lot of yard work – including build the new meat rabbit colony house.

I think in my previous post, I shared a pic of the site where I’ll be building it, all full of pruned apple branches and various other messes. Today, I cleaned all of that out, and started preparing the site. Since it tends to be lower ground, and thus wetter, the first job was to raise it level. Since I have a former duck pen full of pea gravel that I want cleaned out, that’s what I did today. Shoveled gravel from here:

To here:

Since a very old apple tree is also here, I am working around it.  The pen dimensions are roughly laid out by the boards. The narrow end of the pen (closest to the camera), will have a gate, so I can divide off the buck if I decide he’s causing problems – or just doing his bunny-making job too well! The wide end, shown in the below picture, will be the doe’s quarters.

Over the gravel, I will lay hardware cloth to keep out rats, and then build the pen up from there. To increase the space, there will be various levels inside the pen, and I hope to allow the rabbits access to the rest of the east yard on a regular basis…especially when there are young rabbits in the colony. I will also have a “rabbit tractor”, to allow them lawn grazing privileges.

Speaking of rats… You know, guys, I do try to look on rats as ‘squirrels without fluff’ and allow them a little respect. Like everything else, they have their place in the world. But their place is not chewing holes in my studio wall, so they can get underneath the floor and and nest in the insulation.

I just found this yesterday, and needless to say, I am not pleased. Time to reduce the rat numbers! Last night I set out the Snap Trap, and bagged one extremely pregnant female. I’ll keep putting out the trap until I stop catching them, and then I’ll fix this hole…and perhaps add a bit of hardware cloth along this wall.

Yesterday, I also planted out a bunch of seeds. Brassicas, mostly…kale and cabbage…but also some early lettuce, in the cold frames.

And in the greenhouse, too!

I also started onions, which normally don’t do well for me. I never get large bulbs. But this is the year I will succeed, right? I’m trying Green Mountain Multiplyer onions, because you can leave any bulbs you don’t harvest in the ground, and they will reproduce naturally.

Last year, I started doing the Back to Eden gardening method, using wood chips as a deep mulch. Now the ground has unfrozen, I can see that the chips are already starting to improve the soil. So many earthworms! The chickens, granted access to the east yard “vineyard” are thrilled! You never saw such happy chickens.

Before I had the wood chips, I had to really restrict their access to this yard, because they would busily dig immense holes in the dirt, usually right at some poor plant’s roots. With the wood chips, the layers are so deep that they dig and dig, and before they reach the dirt, they have lost interest in that particular hole and moved on.  And like I said, tons of earthworms! Over the last couple days, they’ve been digging and eating…and then curling up together in a sunny corner to nap and purr with contentment. Yes – chickens do purr! If you search on YouTube, you’ll find quite a few videos. (Mine are too shy of the camera to purr on cue.)

As a result of this happiness, we are going to cover all parts of the chicken’s outside runs with wood chips. It looks much nicer than straw, and I won’t have to:

A) Buy the straw.

B) Run the risk of the straw being contaminated with pesticides, thereby contaminating my garden.

It’s good that the chickens have a new source of forage, because they are running out of the veggies from last summer. The kales are finally eaten completely, the bags of tomatoes I froze for them are almost gone, and the kohlrabi are down to the last few. And looking pretty nasty – though still tasty to the girls!

Thankfully, signs of Spring are everywhere!

New Rabbit House, Quail, and Parakeets

Daisy and Dandelion, our two pet rabbits and poop producers, have officially moved – out of the old duck coop, and into a smaller coop. Smaller, because they will now also have access to an outdoor run on a regular basis.

The coop is up against the east side of the chicken coop, where they will get morning sun and afternoon/evening shade, which seems about perfect for rabbits. This passage is neatly between the “dirt yard” (the main 24/7 chicken yard) and the rest of the east yard, which will eventually be the meat rabbit area. I also want to allow the layers access to this yard regularly, because it’s also where many of the fruiting vines/shrubs are, and I want them to be able to scavenge the fallen fruit.

This is the view, looking from the east yard into the dirt yard.

The gate is standing open in this pic, as to allow the layers free access, but I can close that gate when I wish to either restrict the layers, or release the rabbits. Notice the stones placed against the fence. This is to discourage digging underneath the fence – and because I noticed that rabbits LOVE cool stones to lie on during summer.

And here is the view from the dirt yard, through into the east yard. Two gates, total, to control who goes where, and when. So far, the rabbits are thrilled. The chickens are somewhat less so…since they learned that fences and gates frequently keep them from the places they most want to go. Like my spring-planted garden beds.  They also don’t entirely approve of rabbits, in general.

I had two columnar apple trees in wine barrels inside this new bunny run, but I decided to replant those in the ground.  I’m much more confident in my ability to control fruit trees now – using the methods in Grow a Little Fruit Tree. The chickens have an additional run along the back south fence, and I moved the apple trees there.

In summer kitchen-making news, I did manage to situate and fill the new veggie bed. It’s going to be some time yet until I manage to get anything else done here, though. First up is the construction of the meat rabbit colony house.

Surprising me (as the coturnix quail are feeling full of Spring vim and vigor and mating instinct) the Bobwhites are still entirely calm and contented. They are the sweetest things.

The coop they share with the parakeets has some pine branches in it, which they adore.

And now that I’ve mentioned the parakeets, I should give you an update on those. Remember I was attempting an experiment to see if they could live happily outside year-around? It turns out, they can. They saw the camera and promptly fled into their nest boxes, so I don’t have any photographs, but despite temperatures dipping down to 13 degrees, they have been perfectly fine – fluttering around, chirping, and acting perfectly normally. Little goldie (the yellow one and my favorite) did die, but as it happened at the end of summer, before the temperatures cooled, I know it was unrelated. I have no idea what killed her; but sometimes these unexplained deaths do happen, sad as they are. I’m just happy that the other three are healthy and contented!

Christmas, and Looking Forward to 2016

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.

rabbitsI 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.

muscovyI 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.

Because seeds.



Are Aliens Using Our Rabbits to Communicate?

This past weekend, I got a bunch of work done in the garden.  Mainly grunt work, like weeding around the vegetables, and digging out 522 of the 5022 buttercups that are infesting portions of our plot.  Specifically the portions that I want to turn into a pasture for the chickens, future meat chickens, and ducks.  So those buttercups have got to go!

One fun thing I did was work on the little espaliers-in-training.  They have grown branches long enough to stretch out and tie to wires.

See?  Look at that!  They almost look like real trees!  🙂  This one is the pear.

I also put in another raised bed in the east yard.  This one is built around the one Honeyberry bush that I currently own.  It is absolutely flourishing, and next Spring (or maybe this Fall) I need to get another one planted on the other end of the bed.

Under and around the Honeyberries are little alpine strawberries I just grew from seed.

Speaking of strawberries, the Sparkle strawberries I planted on top of the quail coop are doing great.

Right as I was beginning this post, actually, mom brought me a bowl of berries she had just picked.  They are so sweet and good!

Also doing well are the “White Soul” strawberries I planted, although none of those are quite ripe.  We have to wait until the seeds turn red – the berries themselves will stay white.

The fruit I’m most excited about are the hardy kiwis.  After making me think all last summer that they wouldn’t survive, they are finally thriving…and producing fruit! Of course, the MALE vine is covered in flowers, while the female has exactly six.  But I hear some kiwi vines don’t produce at all for upwards of seven years after planting, so I’m quite thrilled with six.  Fingers crossed they all survive.  With all those male flowers, they should at least be well-pollinated!

All my potatoes *seem* to be doing fantastic – although I won’t really know for sure until it’s time to dig them up and see how well they produced.  These are the batch I’m growing in a trash can.  Whichever method works best will be the method of choice for next year.  I’m kind of rooting for the trash can.  It takes up the least amount of space!

In chicken news, one of my white egg layers surprised me yesterday with a lovely cream egg.  Not to be outdone, one of the new Italian quail girls laid a pure white egg.  I’ve had two pure white quail eggs from her now.  I’m very happy with that!  I was hoping there would be a white egg line in these new quail girls I hatched out.

And that’s pretty much all the news around here.  So now I’m going to end this with a few gratuitous garden pictures and two video tours.

You’ve heard of crop circles, and how some believe aliens are using them to communicate with mankind?  Well, I think those same aliens are also using my bunnies.  See those black lines on Daisy’s nose?  That alien-in-appearance furry crop circle?  She has them all over, and they are constantly changing.  One day she has circles on her nose.  Then she has drag queen eyebrows.  Then peculiar black squiggles on her back.  I need to start documenting her fur…for science!

Now, video tours!  Number one, a tour of the new front yard vegetable garden.

And the back yard garden:


I’ve long been interested in learning how to spin using a drop spindle.

Last year, for my annual birthday tradition of learning a new skill, I learned to knit.  This year, I think I’ll attempt learning to spin.

I bought a simple drop spindle off Etsy:


And four ounces of undyed alpaca fiber:


I hope they’ll arrive by my birthday on the 24th.  If not, I’ll have to postpone learning that new skill slightly, and stick with my original plan: learn to cook a duck.

I’m really excited about the spinning thing, though.  I hope I can master it, because it fits right in my plan for dual purpose French Angora rabbits.  I’m actually sort of considering getting one Angora rabbit this year (the male) so that I see how much work/maintenance they will actually require.  There are some wildly divergent opinions out there!  If all goes well with him, I’ll add a couple of females in a year or two.

Winter is Definitely Here

It normally doesn’t get that cold here where I live.  Sometimes we have a little snow, sometimes we don’t.  It normally dips a little below freezing for part of the winter, but not by much.

I love that about our winters.  I am not a winter person.  If it never got below fifty degrees, I would be very happy.

This year, though…wow.  Already we’ve had more than a week of really cold temperatures.  As in twelve degrees, which is highly unusual.  It’s made for some interesting times caring for the outside critters.  I hate having to deal with frozen water!

Fortunately, the animals themselves aren’t that bothered.  Chickens are exceptionally cold-hardy – temperatures of twelve degrees are nothing to them.  They sit around with their warm downy coats of feathers puffed up and complain because the ground is frozen and they can’t dig for worms, but they are perfectly fine.  I’ve gone into their coop late at night and their feet are toasty warm, and when I put my fingers into their feathers I can feel the heat radiating up from their bodies.

Really, the absolute worst thing you can do for chickens is give them artificial heat during the winter.  The temperature is not a problem (unless you live somewhere really cold, and have the wrong breeds).  The biggest issue is not enough ventilation – or too much of the wrong kind.

Chickens don’t mind cold.  They do mind cold wind, so you need to be sure their coop is protected from drafts.  Our coop has year-around vents surrounding the top of the coop.  Air can circulate, but it’s all above the heads of the chickens, so they aren’t in a draft.  If you don’t have enough ventilation, humidity builds up in your coop, and that’s horrible for chickens.  It dampens their feathers, so they can’t puff up and keep themselves warm.  If you ever have condensation on the inside of your coop, you don’t have nearly enough ventilation – and besides being cold, your chickens are at serious risk for developing respiratory illnesses.

Please, don’t use heat lamps.  Ever.  Besides being a horrible fire risk (I’ve already heard about a bunch of coops catching fire and burning up with the chickens trapped inside) it makes your Girls more cold, not less.   Chickens have a variety of techniques to keep themselves warm.  Besides puffing their feathers, they eat more to produce inner heat, and they can actually shrink the size of their combs to conserve heat.  They will do none of these things if they have a heat lamp, so every time they walk out from under it, they will suffer from the cold.  And if you happen to lose power, and your heat lamp goes off?  That’s when they can actually freeze to death!

Things like frostbite rarely (if ever) happen to chickens if you keep them out of drafts and damp.

My Girls are just happy it’s warmed up enough now that they can go hunt for bugs again!

The quail I was a little concerned about, since I am largely unfamiliar with how they do in cold weather, and the info from the internet was contradictory.  In the end, I covered one end of their run with tarps to make sure they had a draft-free area, and also made sure they had enough nest boxes (stuffed with shavings and hay) for everyone to go into if they wanted to be warmer.

They didn’t.  Even in the 12 degree weather, they spent the nights out in the most unprotected parts of their pens.  When I’d go out in the morning, their water would be frozen rock-solid, but they’d be happily walking and jumping around like always.  I couldn’t see the slightest difference in their behavior.  Such a relief.  Now I know I can treat them like chickens and not worry about them!

And the rabbits?  Again, we just made sure they had water to drink, and they were fine.  They also chose to sleep in their lower, more exposed, area, rather than in their lovely upstairs nest.

Crazy animals.  It just seems like they should be miserable, just because my fingers started aching with cold every time I was out there tending to them – but instead they just couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to sit outside with them and have a nice chat…like we do in the summer.

Here are a couple of excellent links if you want more info about winterizing your animals:



Broody Quail and Watermelon

Yesterday, one of my female quail (Hattie) decided she wants to be a mother.  She’s sitting on about ten eggs that she and the other females laid in the nest box.  She’s so cute and calm.  She doesn’t act all snarly and drugged-out like my broody chicken. When I open the top of the nest box and peek in at her, she just looks sweetly up at me.

I think she is keeping the other females away though – they have started to lay outside in the run.  She does allow visits from the male, Peabody – he goes in regularly to check up on her.

I hope she keeps sitting for the full 18 days, I hope the eggs are fertile, and I hope the chicks are mostly all females if they hatch!  I’d love to be able to give the boys in the bachelor pad some girls of their own.  I feel kind of sorry for them.  They keep calling and calling, but no ladies come to visit.

And while I’m hoping, here’s a wish for more summer weather.  I have a couple of mini watermelons (they are only about 3lbs when grown) that I’d like to see ripen.

Oh, and I don’t have a picture, but the rabbits had their surgery last week and came through with flying colors.  There will be no surprise baby bunnies in my hutch!  This is the first time I’ve ever had a rabbit neutered, and it was a lot easier than with dogs or cats.  The rabbits didn’t even seem to notice their injuries.  My last dog, Jacks, was completely traumatized by her surgery; it was months before she was mostly over it.

Little Bit of What’s Been Going On

A couple of weeks ago, I took the Coops and Crops tour in Anacortes.  They give you a map and let you drive around to several chicken-keeping folks and tour their coops and gardens.  I was more than a little surprised at two things:

1)  Hardly anyone had bothered to build predator-proof cages.  Chicken wire is meant to keep chickens in, not predators out.  A raccoon will rip through that stuff like it’s gauze, and quite a few people said raccoons were often in their yards.  One lady even said that a raccoon had come for four nights in a row and stolen a hen.  The fourth hen they managed to save, but her solution?  They ‘keep an eye out’.  And they buy more hens.  I can’t figure out that kind of logic.  Even if you don’t care about your hens as pets – why go through all the expense and bother of raising them if you’re just going to feed them to raccoons?  Get some hardware cloth and protect your investment!

2) That my hens were so much more healthier-looking, and their feathers were so much more glossy.  And it wasn’t just that they were different breeds or ages – several hens were the same age and breed as mine.  It must be all the love and snuggles they get from me!  😉  Either that, or it’s the food.  We’ve taken our girls off the processed layer food and put them on a mixture of natural grains (in addition to whatever bugs and greens they forage.)

More impressive were the gardens.  I’m totally going to get a few dwarf fruit trees and train them into espaliers.  I saw the cutest little pear tree….

And I saw a turkey.  A turkey hen, kept together with the lady’s chickens!  And it lays eggs, which are (according to the owner) way more delicious than chicken eggs.  There will be more about turkeys later in this post….

Before the coop tour, we went to the beach for a hour.

It hasn’t been summer until I’ve had my feet in the sand and smelled the salt.

And on the way to the beach, we saw a deer relaxing in someone’s front yard.

I’m lucky enough not to have deer in MY garden, but how brilliantly cool it is to see one just hangin’ out like this.  I could almost be jealous, if I didn’t know the devastation deer cause in gardens.

But speaking of garden devastation, my two young pullets (Little Blue and Isabella) got into my fenced vegetable garden – and judging by the very large poo left behind, I think their mother joined them at some point.  She was wise enough to make a getaway before anyone could catch her in the act, but they obviously had great fun digging up my fall garden seedlings and trampling through my chard and radishes.  Thankfully, they left my brand-new asparagus bed alone!  I meant to take pictures of the disaster, but forgot until after I’d cleaned up the mess and replanted new seeds.  But here’s what left of a cabbage after hens get into it:

Sigh.  At least the other cabbages are fine.  I keep hearing authors say chickens can be allowed to free range in gardens year-around, but THIS is what happens to gardens when chickens free-range.  It really only works to let them in early in the season to clean out the bugs, and late in the season to clean up the unwanted remains of the vegetables.  But they are brilliant at their jobs during those two times!

This garden attack might have been an act of revenge.  Isabella and my accidental rooster Freddie were soulmates.  The bond they had was obvious, but I can’t keep a rooster in the city.  So Freddie went to another coop, where he will be in charge of a flock of feather-footed females.

Isabella is very upset.  The first couple of days she wandered the coop yard, looking for him and crying.  She has a mournful little voice at the best of times, so it was particularly sad to hear.

But at least Freddie didn’t have to end up in a stew pot!

I gave the girls a few plants of their own in their coop yard.  I noticed some Lemon Balm mint had seeded itself in their yard, and they hadn’t eaten it or dug it up.  Mint is great for keeping flies away, so I had a brainstorm.  I planted several different kinds of mint in corners of their yard.

To protect the plants until the roots get established, I put a few bricks around them.  The Girls haven’t touched them, so I think it’s going to be a success.  Plus, I noticed when Ellie jumped up on my lap to be petted, that her feathers smelled nicely of Lemon Balm!

The rabbits had some surprising news for us – our two little girls turned into one girl and a boy!  So now we’re going to have to get them fixed.

They are such sweet bunnies, though!

In quail news, the babies are all full-grown, and we’re waiting for eggs.  I heard the male crow (SO much quieter and more pleasant than a chicken’s crow!) so I think they’re getting really close.

They love their coop.

And so do the plants growing on the roof.  Next year, I’ll plant strawberries, but this year it’s squash and watermelons.  With all the chicken-manure compost and rabbit droppings, the soil is producing amazing things.  I can almost SEE it grow before my eyes.

Look at the photo evidence (these were taken only a few days apart.)

The one above these words and one below were literally taken one day apart.

And two days later, we have this.

The squash leaves are immense!

We have baby squashes!

And volunteer baby tomato seedlings.  On the quail roof!

Elsewhere in the garden, I’m letting a few of my favorite spring lettuces go to seed.  I’m going to try to save more of my vegetable’s seeds.  The plants adapt to your particular garden that way, and you end up with future generations that are perfectly suited to grow under your garden’s conditions.

Lettuce flowers are similar to small dandelions.

My fancy Italian Dandelions, however, surprised me by blooming blue.  They are very pretty, and could absolutely masquerade as ornamentals.

Let’s see…what else is gorgeous and/or unusual in my garden right now?

The sweet peas are still going strong.

Love this color combination.

I also think I am going to actually get melons to ripen this year.  Miniature ones, which only makes it more sweet.  These are Green Gem.

Today, we went to the local fair.  I was most interested in seeing the turkeys.  I don’t know WHAT it is, but I have always loved turkeys.  I had accepted the fact that I couldn’t have one, because I don’t have room for a separate flock, and probably a Tom would be way too big anyway.  But one turkey hen, mixed in with the chickens?  One of the small breeds?  Totally do-able!  They say that you shouldn’t keep chickens and turkeys together because the chickens can give the turkeys blackhead (a fatal liver disease.)  But from what I’ve been able to discover, blackhead is pretty much extinct, and the odds are not great that my small backyard flock has it.  Plus, by the time the turkeys are old enough to put outside with the hens, they are pretty much immune to it anyway.  It’s worth taking such a very slight risk, I think.  Just look at this sweet turkey girl I met at the fair!

Turkeys are just so friendly and personable.  I’m a little bit smitten, I must admit!

Quails, Rabbits, Clematis, and Bamboo, Oh My!

It’s been a busy few weeks.  Here is just a brief update of what’s been going on in the garden.

First, a quick quail hatching update.  The eggs have been in the incubator for the last 15 days.  We tried to candle them, but with little result.  Almost all the eggs are too dark in color to see inside, and even the lighter ones are so small that it is impossible to see any actual life inside.  But, it seems hopeful.  I could clearly see that a couple of the eggs were duds (the light just shone through as with an unfertilized egg, but at least four others had a dark mass forming right where a chick would be.  So it’s impossible to say how many we’re going to get (many things could still go terribly wrong) but some are developing, I’m sure of that.

Anytime now, they could begin to hatch, but their ‘due date’ is the 20th.  I’ll keep you posted!

Their coop is also progressing – in fact, I venture to say it’s nearly done!  Here’s a few shots, showing the garden roof.  It still needs the gutter and the dirt, but otherwise that bit is finished.  We still need a few more bits of trim, the door, and the nesting area on the right side.


Here’s a tip for you: buy the regular silver hardware cloth, then use black outdoor metal spray paint on it.  It makes it so much nicer to look through – it’s much clearer and easier to see your animals.  Most of the time, it’s like the wire isn’t there at all!

The rabbits are adorable, in all the many ways that rabbits are.

That is Daisy.  Her sister Dandelion is behind her.

New things are going in the garden.  Our historical family rose the White Rose of York (Alba Semi-Plena) has bloomed for the first time, and WOW.  What a beauty it is!

Two of my early clematis have bloomed, and are now demonstrating a really cool thing about clematis: the seed-heads are nearly as beautiful as the flowers.

And this one has the most wonderful metallic gold shine to it.  I tried, but neither of these pictures really capture how gold it is.  Really spectacular!

The peonies are also in bloom.

And, my friend was remodeling her garden and had some clumping bamboo to give away.  I have this little space that I am going to turn into a shade garden, with trellises arching over it, and lots of ferns and hosta and lush green things inside.  With the quail adventure happening this year, this new garden project was slated for next summer.  But, one must always accept free bamboo when it is offered, and so….

…..I have the early beginnings of the new garden.  The very, very, very early beginnings!

Some day, this space WILL be beautiful.  But that day is not yet.

And in case you’re wondering, bamboo prefer the shade.   Hence the temporary umbrella.