That was the temperature at 7:15 this morning. It felt like minus 25. The promise of spring seems far off indeed.
Luckily, we have a pretty cozy setup for the critters around here. The rabbits have plenty of straw bedding for insulation in addition to their warm coats. Their water bottles are heated, so we aren’t having to take fresh crocks out to the barn at all hours. The chickens and ducks have heated water and plenty of space indoors to stay out of the wind. Even my short-coated dogs have coats to wear on a day like this! The pig pen, of course, is empty for exactly this reason, but we are already making plans to fill it again in May. In the meantime, the humans are hunkering down next to the fire to eat warm food and think warm thoughts! Hope you are warm and dreaming of spring wherever you are!
PS – The two Californian rabbit does were bred on schedule at the beginning of the month, so if they took, we can expect our next litter of baby bunnies around March 8th or so! Stay tuned!
Today is Imbolc, and it was a terrible day to gather firewood! The past two days have brought us snow, followed by ice, followed by freezing rain, which was topped off by a flash freeze this afternoon where the temperature dropped something like 10-15 degrees in the course of about an hour. According to Celtic tradition, this means an early spring is coming, since the Cailleach won’t want to go out and replenish her store of firewood.
Whatever else she may have been up to this winter, the Cailleach has been looking out for our little farmstead! Our Solstice litter of rabbit kits is now 6 weeks old. They’re weaned and separated by sex, and enjoying the extra space as they work on growing big enough for harvest. We ended up with a textbook split of 4 does and 5 bucks. Mama is on her own again and just as aggressive as ever, if not more so. Once she is back in condition from her maternal exertions, we’re planning to put her in the freezer. She gave us a fantastic first litter and I am grateful, but an aggressive doe has no place in my long term plans.
We’re planning to breed both of our Californian does on Wednesday. This should allow their litters to grow to butchering size before we get to the hot summer weather, which is very taxing for rabbits. We may fit in one more litter before summer, or this may be all we’ll do until early fall. Regardless, we’re already making plans to possibly expand the rabbitry for next year!
Other highlights I’ve missed blogging about in the past month include finally getting a chance to go through some of the fruit we froze in the summer and making it into jam, breaking in my new pressure canner with a batch of chicken stock, and the return of indoor archery season at the sportsmen’s club…but more on those another time!