Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Additions and Progressing Projects

One evening this week, Nate built my raspberry raised bed, and now I just need to get buy the composted dirt to fill it.  I am trying to decide if I should dig up the canes and replant them once the bed is full or back fill the bed and let the canes root themselves.  My experience with the blackberries tells me they will root just about anywhere they touch, so I imagine they will root if you backfill the bed with dirt.  My fear with transplanting them is that they won't survive.  Any suggestions from the peanut gallery?  The bed is probably a foot to a foot and a half deep, and you can see the canes peaking over the edges.

We finally got started on the fencing of the bottom half.  Having received no significant rain lately, the ground is like concrete.  Nate tried to pound in one t-post, and it was evident that post was going nowhere fast.  He thought it would be great is he could find an auger that attaches to a drill, and he did.  It's called a bulb auger, and it attaches to a regular drill and drills about two feet into the ground.  It made mincemeat of the clay, and we can't believe we've gone all this time without knowing about it.  

Lately I've had my mind on meat rabbits, so I started searching for a breeding pair.  I found a breeder of Champagne D'Argent rabbits about 30 minutes away, but he didn't have anything for me, and he said his doe ate her most recent litter, so he doesn't even have any for himself.  I've searched Craigslist, the state Farmer's Market Bulletin and the internet for breeders near me, but haven't had much luck.  Most of the breeders I find are hours away.  I finally found a breeder who lives about 2 hours away, but she only had a Beveren buck available.  Beverens are considered a critical heritage breed.  Even though I really wanted to find a pair of rabbits that were either breeding age or close to it, I was seriously considering getting the buck, so at least half of my search would be over.  I told the breeder I would let her know by this weekend, and I even went to TSC on Saturday to get a cage for him.  While I was in line I noticed the lady behind me had rabbit feed on her cart.  I started talking to her and found our she has a mini farm/animal rescue.  She told me she had a pair of Chinchillas and a pair of New Zealand Reds for sale.  We drove out this morning and got the Chinchilla pair.  The doe is 6 months old and the buck is 8 months old, so I have about three months before I would breed the doe.  They look pretty healthy, but they are still being quarantined until I can access their health.

While we were at the farm today, Nate walked up to me and the lady and said, "Look what I caught; it's a pocket rooster."  In his hand was a tiny banty rooster.  The lady said we could have him, and Nate suckered me into letting him take it home under the condition that if it is too loud, it's going back.  The lady agreed to take it back if we decided we couldn't keep it.  I have a strong feeling it will be going back.  In the meantime Nate has named it Napolean.  I've been calling him Nappie because he looks pretty nappy right now.  I can tell he's been picked on because he's missing some body feathers, most of his tail feathers and his comb is scabby.  I didn't really pay too much attention to him at the farm because I was focused on the rabbits, but when we got him home I also noticed some discharge coming from one of his eyes.  I made some chamomile tea and used the tea bag as a compress against his eye.  I put ACV and garlic in his water, and we crushed up some feed pellets for him as well as gave him a big pile of weeds and grass.  I doubt he's ever tasted green food as there wasn't any green in site where he was kept, but he devoured the greens we gave him.  He is in quarantine like the rabbits.

Happy homesteading,




  1. I have never heard of a bulb auger but it sounds like a "must have" for our place too because our clay is like rock after a dry spell. Congratulations on your rabbits. That worked out really well. And the rooster. Someone near us has a Bantam rooster and I hear him crow from time to time. Such a cute little crow.

    I don't have much experience with raspberries, but like you, I'd be weary of trying to transplant them. Most of my transplants make it if I do it during winter, but they never seem to have the root system to make it through the following summer without being watered a lot!

  2. oh my goodness! a pocket rooster--that's very cute. y'never know, you might end up loving him. beautiful raised beds and good on you for being able to do meat rabbits. i've made my peace with raising sheep for meat--something i once thought a bit barbaric (ha!)--but i'd have a hard time with anything smaller. please keep us updated. :)