Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Woolybuns Puff 'n Stuff
Announcing the debut of my Pufflet, Woolybuns Puff 'n Stuff, who arrived this past weekend to a big welcome and much delight on my part. Puff is a lovely fellow with some new genetics for my herd, with a gentle personality, bright eyes and a cheerful disposition. I'm looking forward to lovely bunnies from him!
Chris brought little Puff, of course, on the way to the rabbit meeting in North Carolina. Cathy wanted to know all about my visit with Chris. I have to say that Chris is probably one of my closest friends at this point in my life, despite the fact that we live a few states apart! Besides the fact that we have the rabbits and fiber arts in common, we never run out of things to say and yet we are very comfortable being together. I love people and enjoy their company, but it's not everyone that I can be content to spend long periods of time with. Chris was iced in here last winter and another friend, who knows I can get a little sensitive if I have to deal with someone too long, asked if we got along OK. I could honestly say I wished Chris didn't have to leave at all, even after we spent several days together.
Chris is the sort of person that you invite in and warn that there might be fleas in the house and she's OK with it. She doesn't mind when a dog that is really too big leaps into her lap because it's jealous of the cat she was petting. She turns a wrong turn into an opportunity to obtain munchies and chase down a rainbow. She'll pitch in with bunny chores and go above the call of duty when snow piles in and rabbits have to be rescued and snow has to be shoveled.
And Chris is funny, not afraid of an earthy joke and as good at story as any Southern Highlander. She cares deeply about her animals and is so generous with sharing her hard-won knowledge. She often knows more about the pedigrees of my rabbits than I do (how DOES she do that?) and is very helpful with suggestions about what color and type to breed for good results. Perhaps it helps that our life experiences are not so very different in many ways, despite the fact that she has stayed married and raised three great kids and I'm single (again!) and childless. And she brings me such BEAUTIFUL bunnies! Gotta love someone that does that!
I sheared this lovely doe on Monday, while the barn swallows busily fed their nestlings and flew back and forth above my head. I could see four little heads peering over the top of the nest and hear the impatient calls of the chicks between the visits of the parents. As each parent left, it called out with a clear chirp that made me wonder if there was a code to the other parent or chicks. Something like, "STAY!" for the chicks or "I'm on my way" to the other parent.
Cheshire hasn't been feeling well. My first clue to a rabbit that might be in trouble is a change in personality. Cheshire is a big, placid girl that doesn't make much fuss but is always at the front of the cage at feeding times. She has dealt with three false pregnancies this season because I haven't been able to get her together with the buck I want to sire the litter. The first time she wasn't enthusiastic about her dinner I took her off pellets and started feeding her dandelion leaves and lots of hay. I sheared her off, in case it was wool block and she seemed to feel a little better that evening. Then yesterday she seemed very sick, and I was worried that she was in serious trouble. This morning she's back to her cheerful, hungry self. I'll keep her on hay and greens, with maybe a little grain and birdseed, until I'm sure she's OK.
Delly's Delight Quenten
For the first time I was bitten by a rabbit this morning hard enough to break the skin. The culprit was Quenten, a normally placid buck that grabbed me when I reached in to take him out for shearing. I grabbed back, hauled him out and yelled "NO!" very loudly. He looked a bit puzzled at that. I sheared him with no problems and then belatedly realized that he may have bitten me because I had been petting little Puff just before I approached his cage. Once in awhile a buck doesn't care for the scent of another buck. Just to make sure I put Quenten back in his cage and tried taking him out again. He was just fine. So I'm sure enough of his personality that I bred him to Woolybuns Snickers, a chocolate doe that didn't 'take' with her last breeding a month ago.
The barn swallows were still busy feeding their chicks while I was working with Quenten, but now the babies look bigger than the parents. They are crowded into the nest and their feathering has come in so that I can see the characteristic coloring. One bold little fellow teeters right on the edge, so he can be first at the morsels the parents bring.
Another look at "Puff"
We've had warmer weather lately but nothing like a lot of people are contending with. Thunderstorms in the evening cool things down and at night I'm still having to reach for a blanket. The sun is hot, though, and the grass is so long because of the rain. Yesterday I ran down the mountain to help a friend with a computer problem. It was so much hotter and more humid there. I was glad to get back up the hill to cooler temperatures and bunny chores. In the evening the storms came in, so I worked on putting together some bookmarks. I also bit the bullet and unraveled the mohair/Shetland shawl that I had been working on. The colors just weren't working together and I wasn't happy with the design with the wool. Now all the yarn is in neat center pull balls, waiting for me to decide what to do with it.