Thursday, August 18, 2005
Back to the Bunnies
Color! Hand Painted Merino/angora yarn
While it's fun to have an interesting project going, it's really nice to get back to the quiet of the bunny barn after the busy fun of the folk fair. Tuesday was a day of barn chores and shearing young pure Germans, along with my ermine buck, Greenberry's Shady Grove. He's a nice fellow and I hope to use him in a breeding to "fix" the genetics of his line. Somehow along the way this particular line wound up carrying both the chinchilla gene and the non-extension gene that creates fawn. Not a great combination if you want either fawns or chinchillas, because you will often wind up with ermine. Ermines are white with brown eyes and sometimes show a little shading on the nose and perhaps ears. Pretty but not always what I'm looking for.
I tried out my new Rabbitat tattoo pen on Shady and the two pure Germans I was able to get sheared. It worked a treat! The first doe was a little twitchy but I think I may have been a little heavy handed with the pen and fretted her. After the first one things went great; the rabbits sat still and it was a much nicer experience than the clamp tool. I'm hoping to work on more bunnies today; I'd like to at least get the pure litter photographed, tattooed, sheared and comfortable. I have another litter, Angel's, to do as well; hoping to get that one taken care of the first of next week.
Cleaning cage trays was also a priority while I was working in the barn. I was a little behind and it was nice to really dig in and get things cleaned up. While I was down in the bunny house working the usual afternoon storm blew up. I scooted back in from carrying a load of manure up the hill and watched as the rains came pouring down. It sounded loud on the tin roof. I had never been in the bunny houses during a storm. The rabbits went on placidly with munching hay, playing with toys or just lying lazily enjoying the sudden cool breezes. I picked another bunny out of the cage and sheared her while lightning flashed across the fields and thunder rumbled. She jumped once, when there was a sudden crack that sounded like it hit nearby, and then settled sweetly back into my lap.
There were two more storms in the evening; I was visiting with my mom as they came through. It seems to be a normal part of this summer; rain and warm weather together. Hard to get laundry done and the grass just stays wet all of the time!
Yesterday I had a nice visit from Diane, who came down from Roanoke to pick up a bunny. I got up early and went to the gym, then was finishing up the regular bunny chores when she drove up. Bunny seemed content to go with her, but she reported after she got home that he doesn't seem to be feeling well. Things do go wrong with animals; I'm hoping he is just nervous being away from his brothers and will settle down for her. But with multiple rabbits in a cage I could have missed a problem like wool block. He seemed fine when I sheared him last week but sometimes things can get bad fast with a rabbit. I've never had such a young bunny become blocked but I suppose it could happen. Particularly since our temperatures have been warmer than usual.
After Diane left I got out my dyepots and decided to paint the last of the millspun merino and angora yarn that I have here. My stocks are very low after a summer of selling and I really should work on getting another run of yarn done. I want to do something different than merino, though. While I like the yarn from this blend, I think a more individual result could be achieved with a different wool. So I'm scouting around for something unique to blend with my white angora, and playing with some ideas about a colored angora blend. Also thinking about roving; lots to keep my mind busy!
I liked the result of my painting, despite the backache of standing over the table for two hours applying the color. I used black, turquoise, pink and yellow and wound up with a nice variegated yarn with lots of color! I'm hoping it will dry today so that I can have it rewound and ready for the weekend at the craft tent. Today looks like it's going to be overcast and damp; yarn may not dry any better than my laundry!
A visit to my aunt on the hill for computer lessons and another visit to the favorite cousin completed the day, and I was tired when I came home to settle in with Lily in the computer room. I think she expected another storm; she stayed close by during the evening and occasionally pressed her chin against my ankle as she slept. I got interested in working with a box of jewelry that came in recently from an auction and stayed up a little too late. This morning's gym work out was tough but I really needed it. I woke up stiff and sore, probably from painting yarn, and it was good to work out the kinks. Even better to crawl back into bed after we were done! This morning is chilly, with cool breezes and a low sky. The rabbits are probably happy with these temperatures!
Update on bunny: Jacques, Diane's new bunny, seems fine this morning, she reports. He must have found the move a little upsetting but is now eating hay and drinking water, and everything seems to be moving along fine.