Keeping secrets from doctors?

I’ve been reading lately on how parents are opting to tell pediatricians less and less about dietary or lifestyle choices because they’re afraid of the ramifications that can come of it.  I guess it’s not too surprising when there are stories out there about the woman whose doctor called CPS because she was feeding her infant a homemade soy-free goat milk formula instead of a pre-packaged one, or the story about the Amish child whose parents had to flee the country with her because the hospital was trying to wrestle guardianship away from them so that doctors could continue unwanted chemo treatments.

I know when we told our last pediatrician (because they always ask what formula brand or milk you are feeding) that we were giving Ezra raw milk, he made it a point to make sure we knew the inherent risks of giving raw milk to a child.  Because apparently we are idiots and didn’t think to do the research beforehand.  He didn’t say much about it after that, but it definitely seemed like he did not approve of the decision.

It’s harrowing to think that some “benevolent” entity could tell me what I could or could not feed Ezra, or how to care for him.  I’m glad those stories, and others like them, are getting news attention and that there is such support for the families.  It definitely makes me think twice about just volunteering information, though.

The rabbits are doing well.  I checked the database and our two rabbits should maybe have their kits on Jan. 2nd, so we have some time yet.  Now both does are not showing signs of nesting, so maybe they were false pregnancies.  I will give them until Jan. 9th and if no babies by then will rebreed the blue doe and butcher the white one.  Actually, we could use the cage space, because the current kits are growing like crazy and will need a cage of their own shortly.

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that ripple fur is a product of rex parentage

that ripple fur is a product of rex parentage

love the coloring on the one in front

love the coloring on the one in front

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hoping this one is a doe - will keep her as a replacement breeder if it is female.

hoping this one is a doe – will keep her as a replacement breeder if it is female.

With the chilly weather, I’ve been unwilling to let Ezra play outside for long, but Jesse and I took him up to Big Cottonwood canyon the other day and we all played in the snow for a bit.  Later we picked up a couple plastic sleds, so we need to go back up to test them out.  Jesse tested one of the sleds with Ezra yesterday but I guess Ez wasn’t too keen on the whole experience.

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I had a tricky trickster purchase items from our site the other day and when I went to print a shipping label I looked to see how much she had paid for shipping because I always like to match up what was paid vs what it actually cost.  That’s when I noticed she hadn’t paid for shipping at all!  It took me awhile to figure it out, but I finally deduced she had used the code for my fellow eBay employees.  See, I have it set up where if my coworkers want they can use the code so they don’t have to pay shipping, then just pick up the items at my desk.  It is very clearly laid out on the site.  This woman lived states away and does not work for my company.  I sent her an invoice explaining that she had used an invalid code and that once she sent the $6 for shipping I would be more than happy to send out her items.  She sent a response telling me to refund her original amount.  Jesse suggested that it was not done on purpose, that maybe she did a google search for coupons, but I think she was probably just trying to get free shipping.  Mainly I say this because I did a google search and our discount code was not just out there for the general public.  There is a link that takes you back to our site, and that’s where the T&Cs are.  Nice try, lady!

We had a lovely Christmas, how about you?  Ezra received one of those magnetic boards that you can write on and then erase by swiping that handle across the bottom of the board.  You know what I mean?  Well, he loves it!  We bought him an easel/chalkboard set and he really likes to scribble on it and then erase it.  He has, of course, broken all the chalk into small bits by now, and likes to have them strewn on the floor.  Good times.

Jesse got a coffee maker that uses those Kcups; he seems to like it although I guess he recently noticed there is a leak somewhere.  I got a convection toaster oven.  Pretty excited about that one, though we didn’t have the counter space for it, so it and the coffee maker are plugged in on a rack in the book room.  Slightly inconvenient.  I tell you, our next house needs to have a kitchen maybe twice the size of the one we currently have.

Jesse also got a beer brewing book, and I got an awesome book about how to use all the parts from a pig!  It has recipes and anecdotes, I was pretty happy about it.  And, of course, family did generously give us money as well.  Thanks, family!

For whatever reason, Ez has gotten into a routine at night where he no longer likes the door closed all the way.  He will cry bloody murder if it’s closed up, but if I leave it open even just a tiny bit he is fine.  Lately Mister has taken to head butting open the door and jumping into the crib with Ezra.  Sometimes this wakes up the little man, sometimes it doesn’t.  Jesse and I looked at child beds the last time we were at Ikea.  It’s quickly becoming that time, but I’m not looking forward to it.  Having Ez in a toddler bed means he can get into so much more trouble!  Also, half the stuff currently in that room is mine, overflow from our bedroom, and I’m going to have to try to find a different location for those items.

I bought a couple pairs of jeans for myself on earlier last week.  In and of itself this wouldn’t be news, but I had promised myself I would never buy a certain size of pants, and there I was, buying that certain size of pants.  They fit well and they are pretty comfortable, but GOSH DARN IT!  And I hate to exercise.  Let’s face it.  I do.  I was much better at it when I was younger.  Now just thinking about it can be exhausting.  And I know people are like, just fit in an hour a day, but that would mean getting up an hour earlier than I do now, and I love my sleep.  Maybe I can find some way to meditate the weight off?  Like through osmosis?  Yeah, that sounds good.

One bunny down

On my days off, I check the rabbits several times a day.  With this weather I check to make sure the water isn’t frozen, that they have food in the feeders, that the babies are running around.  A couple days ago I noticed one of the kits was really lethargic.  I picked it up and it just hunkered down in my hand, didn’t try to get away.  Later that night I went out for the evening check and I saw what I’m sure was the death sigh.  It was faced away from the other kits and it was just GONE.

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I picked it up and listened for a heartbeat and it was just all floppy, so I put it in my coat pocket and finished up with nighttime chores and then went inside to show Jesse.  It was a little concerning because it wasn’t overly thin and none of the other kits seemed off.  Well folks, we decided to do an autopsy to see if anything was amiss.  It was one of the most nerve-wracking things I have ever done.  I will spare you the photos, but we did take them.  We tried to keep Ezra out of the kitchen but by the end he was sitting in a chair across from me, seemingly interested in what was going on.  I learned we need sharper tools.

So, there I was with a dissected baby rabbit on the table in front of me, and a glimmer of movement caught my eye.  Holy crap!  I looked at the heart and it seemed to twitch.  I could not figure out if I were seeing things or if it was actually beating, just super slowly.  Eventually came to the conclusion that it was just nerves, but for awhile there I felt so bad that I may have cut open a live animal.

I posted the photos on one of my rabbit forums but no one could explain why the kit had died.  One person called it a “fader” which apparently is like “failure to thrive” in humans.  All of the other kits still look good and are pretty curious about me when I put my hand in to pet them.  I caught one of the babies actually *in* the feeder the other day, eating the pellets.

We bought a straw bale and an alfalfa bale of hay and I have been giving the alfalfa out here and there.  I hesitated on giving the crazy white doe any because we planned to cull her in a week or so, and why did she deserve any treats?  But, I ended up giving her some hay, and she immediately started to haystache and dig in her corner!  You’ll remember that a haystache and digging usually indicate pregnancy.  This from the doe who would never lift and I never saw any connections with either buck.  So, I put in the other nest box, the one that was supposed to go to the blue doe here shortly, and filled it with hay.  Checked in on her later and she was actually IN the box.  The next morning I saw that she had pulled a little bit of fur and she growled at me when I put my hand in the cage.

To be frank, I have no idea when this doe would be due.  I think I bred her on the same day as the blue doe, but I didn’t mark it down because I didn’t see any connections with the bucks.  If she is pregnant and due around the same time, this may be a phantom pregnancy because females don’t typically start nest building this early.  I give straw to the blue doe and she has no interest in haystaching.  So really I have no idea what the hell is going on.  Just have to wait and see.  This does mean that the crazy doe gets a stay of execution, at least until after the new year.

As my last batch of ginger bug failed to turn into a carbonated ginger ale, I’m going to try it again.  The bug itself turned out really well, but the soda-making part didn’t turn out.  This could be because I did not follow any kind of a recipe when I made the soda.  Yep.  I’m *that* girl.  So this time I’m going to try it again, and maybe follow this recipe for a homemade root beer.  I put together some sauerkraut but didn’t follow a recipe on that one,either…I will have to keep an eye on that one as well.

We have been loving our grass-fed beef and pork.  Last night we had some sirloin steaks, and they were delicious!  And they were a great size to boot, had enough for leftovers today.  That would probably be my only complaint, that the steak size is typically too small/thin.  If we had paid more we could have made it a custom order where we could have told them the cuts and thickness we wanted, but we decided to try it the non-custom way for this order and just see what they gave us.  What I’ve been doing lately is just taking out two packs instead of the one, so Jesse will grill four small steaks so that we can have food for lunch the next day.  We’ve been making a lot of our acorn squash, and I think they are simply delicious.  Of course, adding butter and brown sugar can make most things delicious.  I wonder if the butter/sugar mix cancels out the otherwise nutrient benefits…

I cut Ezra’s hair yesterday, and I’m thinking we need to cut the Mohawk back on the next round.  It’s getting just a wee bit too long, and the back is starting to mat again after naps.

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Baby bunny update

These baby bunnies are growing like crazy!  A couple days ago I came out to the cage and every bunny was out of the nest box!  Sure they have fur now, but it’s still very cold outside it so was worrisome to see them all on the wire.  I put them all back into the nest box and then filled the right side of the cage with straw.  Yesterday when I checked in the morning they were all out of the box again, this time mainly on the straw, but kind of bugging mama for food as well.  I turned the nest box on it’s side and put in some more straw and all the kits crawled back in and seem to be very comfy again.  This box setup has an added benefit of having a wider top now available to mama if she needs to hop up to get away from the kits.  The kits’ eyes have opened and they are moving around fairly ably.  Ezra was so excited to see them moving around!  I had to keep reminding him to use a quite voice because he was shrieking his laughter at the sight.

These photos were taken almost a week ago, so they have grown even more since then!

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I told my Facebook group the other day, honestly, I’m hoping some of these kits turn out to be jerks, because a couple of them are flat-out adorable, and I don’t know that I can eat adorable.  We’ll see.  I hear they get a little less cute when they get to the juvenile stage, and one of the group members pointed out that once they are processed they are not cute at all, and by then I’ll most likely have a new batch of babies to think are adorable.

 

I do not have a child-like appreciation for snow

view of the mountains from our deck

view of the mountains from our deck

I’m not a fan of the snow.  I think it’s beautiful when I’m snug and cozy inside the house, maybe with a hot beverage of some sort, but being out in the snow?  Thawing out water bottles that have frozen over?  Driving on slick streets, hoping not to get in an accident?  Yeah, not my bag.

Ezra does not even have winter clothes.  Mom bought him a winter coat, but it’s more like a pea coat.  Totally adorable, but more for going on jaunts, not playing in the snow.  He doesn’t have any mittens, either.  He wanted to go play in the snow so I put my knit gloves on his hands.  His hands fit into the palm section of the gloves, and the fingers were flopping all around.  After about 10 minutes of being outside he’d decided he’d had enough of that and wanted to go back inside.  He also has no snow pants.  You could say we were unprepared for the winter season to start this early.

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Speaking of the winter season, it seems to me that it’s a heck of a lot colder and more windy that winter seasons past.  I feel sad for our rabbits who are housed under the deck.  We’ve closed them off as much as possible, but some snow has still blown in.  Honestly, I think the adult rabbits are fine with the temperature, but I worry for the week-old baby kits (still excited that we have baby bunnies!).  Also, rabbits are big water drinkers and even though the water in the bottle may not be frozen yet, the tube/nipple part freezes up so they cannot get access to the water anyway.  Some rabbit owners switch to heavy-bottomed crocks for the winter; they just dunk the frozen crocks in hot water to pop out the frozen water, and then refill.  Other folks just swap out bottles several times a day.  So far we’ve been taking the bottles inside a couple times a day and filling with warm water.

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The baby bunnies seem to be doing well.  The black babies are still the plumpest while the white bunnies are fairly scrawny.  I’m trying to decide how hands-on I want to be with this process.  On the one hand, if the mama rabbit was not taking care of the bunnies at all, we’d have to step in.  And while we have in fact done bottle/syringe feedings with some of the rabbits, I think I might get to the point where if we lose a baby kit to under feeding, so be it.  Still trying to decide on that one.  Jesse was saying that if we get them through the first week they will probably be able to make it the rest of the way, barring any complications.  The past two days I haven’t really checked out the kits, so I may bring them inside tonight to make sure all are hale, if not hearty.

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The chickens are not loving the snow.  We moved their waterer inside the coop and turned on the heat lamp, but they don’t seem to want to venture out into the “run” part of the coop.  Eggs have also been freezing out there.  Jesse brought in three eggs the other day that had cracked from freezing.  I know some people go out and check every few hours to make sure they don’t waste an egg.

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The cats have been very home bound with all this snow.  They want to snuggle and cuddle and while I love the cats, sometimes I don’t want them to knead on me with their razor-sharp claws.  Crazy, I know.  The other night I was in bed and Mister was lying next to me, kneading my side through the covers.  Our conversation went like this:

Me:  Mister, stop it!  I’m serious!  I’m trying to read.
Mister:  Oh really?  You think I should knead on the bare arm that is holding up your book instead of on the thick bed cover? Can do!
Me:  Ow! Cat, knock it off! (Flips him over to face the other way)
Mister:  How did I get over here?  I must return to Mom!  She needs me!  Mom!  Mom!  Here I am!  Mom!  Here, I’m going to pat-paw at your arm to reassure you that I’m here!  Mom!

That cycle went on for about 10 minutes until I turned out the light and put all extremities under the covers.  Then Mister pat-pawed my head for a bit before curling up against my back.  That kid is like a lead weight, I tell you.  At night when I’m turning over he is almost always between Jesse and I, so I have to lift the covers which supports the cat’s body weight.  Because I couldn’t do anything as barbaric as move the cat off the bed.  He’s too comfortable!

new trees

new trees

Did I mention we got the rest of our orchard planted last month?  I cannot recall.  We planted another three apple trees and two plum trees.  We also planted a bunch more grapes and one English walnut.  The way we planted them will change the landscape of our garden next year, but as we’re planning on expanding the chicken coop area the landscape would have been changed regardless.

We purchased a half side of beef and a half side of pig from our local farm.  They were grass-fed, which I like.  It seems like we got less meat this time, but probably not.  One of my coworkers is a hunter and offered to give us the ducks he shoots.  We haven’t done too much with duck in the past, but I figure the more wild game we can incorporate into our diet, the better.  That feast should be coming up in a month or so.

Remember how we used to have a koi pond, but we filled it in and had garden space where it used to be?  Several times now we have lamented that we filled it the pond, or that we filled it up all the way.  Had we not filled it in at all, we could have turned it into a tilapia fishing hole, an aquaponics situation.  Or, had we not filled it all the way up, we could have used it to bury the rabbit cages to be a den-like colony setup.  Oh well.  Maybe if we move we can place things differently.

Sometimes I do think about if the changes we make to the backyard would be a plus for a buyer or if it would detract from the value of the property.  The fruit trees, for instance.  I would have loved to move into a place with mature fruit trees and garden area, but to some people I guess it would just be fruit litter.  Our plan is not to sell the house at all but rent it out eventually, so maybe we’ll get someone who likes to garden and have chickens.  Granted, this is a few years down the road still, so for now will just plan for the present.

We have baby bunnies! And, oh, Thanksgiving happened, too.

This year, we decided to spend Thanksgiving in Vegas with Jesse’s family, and then move on to my Dad’s for the next couple days before coming home.  We were able to get Jesse’s awesome niece to come and watch over the animals, especially the rabbits.  Why especially, you ask?  Because our maybe-pregnant doe was set to give birth while we were away.  Also, one of the bucks goes through water like he’s never going to drink it again and we don’t have an auto top-off system for where they are currently housed.

The drive to Vegas was fairly uneventful.  We caravanned with my sister for a ways and then lost track of her but met back up at the casino later on.  We decided to go to the buffet for dinner, and some of Velvet’s friends from town joined us.  The company was great, the buffet…not so much.  Seriously, there is a lack of great buffets it seems.

We decided to play bingo later on because we wanted to win the big bucks.  We left all the kids together like a mini slumber party and went down to play.  None of us won anything, but it was still fun.  We played the slots awhile after that and after I was down $30 decided I’d had enough.  We collected the kiddo and conked out for the night.

The next day we had a few hours to kill because we didn’t have our reservation until 1pm.  The restaurant was actually a Mexican food place but every dining place there allowed the patrons a choice of a turkey dinner.  I’m not too sure which of the restaurants actually cooked the turkey dinner, but I know they served it at all locations.  Anyway, the funny thing is that not one of us ordered the Thanksgiving turkey dinner!  Everyone ordered something Mexican, and it was quite tasty.

After lunch we all said our goodbyes and headed out to Dad’s house in Lake Havasu.  It’s not a far drive from Vegas so we made pretty good time.  There was a small roadside stand with raw honey for sale, and you all know how I love to A) support local industry and farmer’s markets and B) buy raw honey from different locations, so we purchased a small jar of honey.

At the house, we decided that we would celebrate Thanksgiving the next day, so we just snacked it up and hung out, then went to bed.

Friday morning was a leisurely affair.

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Friday afternoon was beautiful and the girls and Ezra swam a few times.

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Lunch was supposed to happen around 1pm but ended up being closer to 4pm.  It was delicious!  Dad learned how to brine a turkey this year, and I swear by brining.

Ready to be cooked

Ready to be cooked

delicious end result

delicious end result

I’m looking forward to when all the turkeys are reduced in price so we can snap up a couple and freeze them for later.

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Saturday comes and I get a call from Jesse’s niece that our rabbit had pulled a bunch of fur.  She was going to have babies, and soon!  Finally I thought to ask if she had lifted the fur to see if there were already babies underneath.  Revelation!  There were kits in there!  She wasn’t sure how many there were, maybe 4-6, and they were squirmy and squeaky and they jumped around a lot.

I knew that would happen!  When we went on vacation this summer, our chickens began laying eggs while we were gone, and this same niece was the one who found the first eggs!  She is good luck when it comes to the reproduction of our animal stock:)

Of course, on Sunday I was very eager to get home so I could see the new arrivals for myself and figure out how many we had.  The trip back home seemed much longer than the one to Vegas.  To start out, there was an accident on the I15 and they shut down both lanes for about 45 minutes.  Jesse’s folks and brother were able to take a different route and bypassed all the backed-up cars, but we decided to just ride it out.  We met up with Velvet and kids for lunch, and then lost track of them after that.  We finally made it home around 9pm and I checked on the kits.  It looked like there were eight of them, four light and four dark.  They looked only somewhat thin, but I was freaking out about it.  I checked the next morning and they did not have full bellies, so I decided to bring mama and babies in.  We put mama on her back and placed the kits on her teats.  Rabbits kind of go into a trance when they’re on their backs.  She did really well, all things considered, but it didn’t seem like any milk was being expressed.

Checked the buns this morning and during my routine saw mama had jumped in the box with the babies.  She was in there for several minutes before she got out again, and I saw that many of the kits had round bellies.  I bought kitten milk replacement just in case and tried it just now but the kits didn’t seem overly interested in eating, just snoozing, so I figure she must be taking care of them.  We took each one out and took photos today and I saw this darkish shape pressed against the side and at first I thought it was a stick but quickly realized it was a dead kit.  And really, why would there have been a stick in there?  Seems to have been dead for quite some time, so my original kit count was off by one; she had nine, not eight.  But now she has just the eight.  All in all I think my fears were unfounded and she seems to be doing well for a first-time mother.  As an aside, handling the dead kit was totally disgusting.  I will spare you the photo we took of it.

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Yesterday while I was messing around with the hutches I decided to try breeding the blue rex doe with the chocolate rex buck again.  I put her in there and BAM!  Bred.  I saw about four fall offs and I left her in there with him while I was out and about so I’m sure he got her more than just the times I saw.  She appeared pretty prosaic about it.  Looking at my calendar, that puts her due date around January 2nd, and a rebreeding scheduled for the first doe around January 14th.  I put the other white doe in with the Cali buck yesterday, and she still wasn’t having any of it.  Jesse has a couple weeks off soon for winter break, so we will probably butcher her then.  In the meantime, I’ve put apple cider vinegar in all the water bottles because it’s supposed to boost health as well as increase libidos.  So, if she will breed in the next week or so, she will get a stay of execution.  And really, I’d rather she did breed because she has great body conformation, she’s like a meat brick.