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Archive for October, 2010

Today was a big day for our E of E rabbit crew as they moved from the burb out to the farm.  We have been testing the Rabbit Rangers for a couple weeks and they are a big success.  The bunnies love them.  Feeding and watering are a snap.  They are easy to move and the top opening makes catching rabbits much easier than a front door crate.  Brittan did an awesome job on them.

We have the rabbits paired up for a few days hoping for some little rabbits in a month or so.  The Rabbit Rangers allow a lot more room so we can leave the doe in with the buck for an extended period of time which should improve our chances of success.

B and I are very fond of the bunnies and are looking forward to some cute baby New Zealands in a few weeks.

 

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B and I are farmers.  Sure, it’s on a micro scale, but that’s how we identify ourselves now.  This blog space is dedicated to keeping friends, family, customers and the curious updated on how that journey is progressing.

But I am also a political animal, and even more so, a totally sold out follower of Jesus who wants to shout to the world that the Bible has the answers to our deepest needs, whether political, nutritional, ecological, spiritual, emotional, mental or physical.  I have an opinion on pretty much everything.  As I’ve stated repeatedly, I am a Christian, conservative, libertarian, capitalist farmer.  I want to change the world.

Our Edible Suburb is just not the place to give voice to those subjects.  Some are too controversial.  Some are too philosophical.  Some might just be too boring, who knows.  This space should be anecdotal, entertaining and maybe on a rare occasion, educational.  But it should not be the place I use as a platform for my assault on political and spiritual darkness.  So rest easy, everyone, the Burb will remain true to it’s roots.

I have found a new voice as an outlet for my desire to pursue real change in the world.  I am launching a new site, “Food Evangelism”.  I am very excited about it and hope a few readers of  “Our Edible Suburb” will wander over from time to time to ponder my ramblings there.

I tried a space called, “Paradigm Shift”, but never really found a comfort zone there.  Food Evangelism, I think, will chronicle the next phase of the adventure that is my life.  I’m excited about it.  I’m also excited that launching the new site will ensure that Our Edible Suburb remains unchanged by my personal philosophical meanderings.

Just wanted to share.

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We had an order for 4 more chickens this morning, which reminded me to send out a quick note for anyone who has not yet placed an order to do so.  The response has been very good this fall.  We are excited and grateful.  There is still time to claim some fresh pastured chicken for your table.  Simply go to our store page and order, or if you don’t use a debit card, send us an email telling us how many you want.  We have a few people who will be writing checks or bringing cash on Saturday.  Ordering online is your best guarantee.

The chickens look great.  We have a huge team of processors and observers who plan to be at the farm on Saturday.  It’ going to be like a big chicken processing tail gate.  We never imagined the interest this would draw.  But we love it.  We even have some people who feed raw diets to their dogs who want some of this all natural product.  Whatever.  We live to serve.

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We’ve all heard the derogatory statement, “breeding like rabbits”.  The idea behind the slur, of course, is that rabbits breed indiscriminately, constantly, prolifically.   Maybe in nature that’s true, but here in the burbs, life has not been so reproductively bountiful.  We’ve had back to back misses in the rabbit breeding plan.  Sad but true.

We have pregnant goats (we bought them that way), at least one, and probably both of our ewes are pregnant, and there is a darned good chance our jennet donkey is expecting, but our rabbits are letting us down.

By the calendar, they should have kindled (given birth) yesterday, but neither doe has even begun nesting.  Oh well.  If they don’t show any signs by tomorrow, we’ll try again.  Ironic, that what I assumed would be the easiest part of self sufficiency would turn out to be one of the most challenging.  But that’s life, full of surprise and irony.  Some of it good and some of it just makes us scratch our bald heads.

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Rabbit Ranger 2.0

We’ve been racking our brains for months trying to figure a way to get our rabbits full time on pasture, but nothing seemed to work right for us.  For a while we gave up and brought fresh pasture to the rabbits in their cages, but that is time consuming and does not fit our model of wanting animals to enjoy their lives in a natural way, yet protected from the elements and predators.

Then a month or so ago, we saw a video clip from Tim and Liz Young down at Nature’s Harmony Farm in Elberton, GA that got our creative juices going.  In the clip, Tim introduced their new “Hare Razr”, which would allow their rabbits to live their lives safely in a pastured environment.  We loved it.

B and I watched it several times, and using the “Hare Razr” as a model, made our adjustments and created the concept for the “Rabbit Ranger”.

Rabbit Ranger 1.0

Brittan is the carpenter around here.  She loves the smell of sawdust in the morning.  I’ve lost track of the number of evenings I’ve come home from fighting rush hour traffic to find her grinning ear to ear, holding a jig saw, sander, hammer or all of the above, high in the air, like a surgeon in the middle of a brain transplant.  She has created some wonderful and useful things for our home and farm.

There are two versions of the Rabbit Ranger in field testing now.  She was not happy with RR 1.0.  The second version is lower to the ground, has more grazing space and a handle to ease moving it.  Both versions have a raised nesting area in the back, with a hardware cloth floor, where the bunnies can give birth and raise their young off the ground.  That section is covered by a piece of tarp.  Inside the open area there is an inner perimeter framed with a chicken wire bottom that allows grazing but prevents the rabbit from digging out.  The central grazing area has a open bottom allowing the rabbit to graze a play freely.

Under Construction

The Rabbit Ranger will make it possible for us to keep all of our New Zealand White Rabbits permanently on the ground, resulting in happier, healthier rabbits and lower feed costs.  The will live like rabbits.  I can tell you that after only a few days, we have noticed improvement in the rabbits’ contentment and temperament.  They are happier.

We have two doe bunnies outside now.  Both are expected to kindle in the next week or so.  At least that’s our hope.  It will be nice to know their babies will be raised in this environment.  In the meantime, B is ready to build two more Rangers, one for each of our bucks.  The woman is amazing.  You can keep your Hollywood “Real” and “Desperate” (or is it ‘real desperate’) “Housewives”.  Mine ROCKS!

Field Testing

 

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I thought it was about time to give a quick update to the happenings here in our fall garden.  We’ve been so focused on livestock lately, that we’ve neglected writing about things here in the burb.

It looks like the squash and zucchini are done.  The plants are fine, plenty of blossoms, but the pollinators appear to have headed to Florida, Mexico or their hives.  We have a few fruit to harvest early next week, then the plants come out.

Cabbage is mixed.  We have some cabbage worms or other bugs wreaking havoc on some of them.  We had that problem last fall, but did not have it in the Spring.  Perhaps that tells us something.  Also, the red cabbage seems less affected than the green cabbage.  Some plants are fine.  We are using an insecticidal soap on them now.  We are determined not to go nuclear to get rid of them.  If we can’t manage it organically, then so be it.

Broccoli and Cauliflower are coming along nicely.  The Brussels Sprouts are slow.  We have never had great luck with them.  But we keep trying.

We do have some fall tomatoes and one last batch of green beans will be ready soon.  We’re having some Indian Summer next week, and that will help give us one final burst of activity.

Amazingly, we still have some Jalapenos and Ghost Peppers producing.  You know how peppers make me smile.  Long may they blossom.

 

 

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It’s that time again.  We’re just three weeks away from our final chicken processing of the year.  The team is selected.  The equipment is being readied.  The chickens are growing nicely.  I can hardly wait for October 23.  You can order now on our store page.

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