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Towels and Blankets

It’s cold out.

We’ve been trying to get to the rabbits at least twice a day to change out their frozen water bottles, but even so, the bottles are frozen solid by the time we get there.  Since school was closed yesterday and today, I should be able to change out the bottles three times.  Stephan put a small heater in their barn last night, so hopefully the rabbits will be okay.

The windows in this new house are only single-pane windows.  While they have often been clouded with condensation this winter, now they are covered with ice.  Yesterday I put my hand next to a couple of the exterior doors and felt a breeze.  They really need weather stripping or storm doors and the windows need storm windows or plastic covering.  Not having any of that at the moment, I improvised.

IMG_0014[1] IMG_0015[1]Blankets and towels over the windows and doors.

Brrr.

Kitty

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The whole family loves our kitten, Nova.  She and Gracie play together often.

She loves to sit on our laps.  She nuzzles my face and likes to cuddle.  Sometimes she will butt me with her head in order to get chin rubs or head scratches.  Recently, she even stood on her hind legs and hugged my leg.

SONY DSCNova is curious and friendly.  We feel lucky to have her.

Rabbits in the barn

SONY DSCThe rabbits are doing fine in their little colony.  Just after Thanksgiving, I had put a bale and a half of straw in for them, thinking that it would help them keep warm and give them places to burrow.  It also got trampled and soaked, so with the husband’s help, I removed all the wet straw and tossed what was left to get fresh straw from the bottom up to the top.  So far, the winter has not been very cold, so they probably don’t need extra places to burrow.  I don’t think I’ll put that much straw in again — it was really hard to move it around once it got trampled.  I think we’ll stick to one bale, maximum.

SONY DSCBrownie, the youngest (on the left) is doing fine.  Stephan still has his job to do of determining its gender.  One of the blondes and one of the blacks will probably become stew meat in the relatively near future — as soon as life slows down for the one who takes care of those things.  (Not me.)

The most tedious part of having the rabbits out in the barn (as opposed to in the garage right next to the house, as they were in our old house in town) is walking out to take care of them.  At the other place, I checked on them before and after work, because I parked right next to them.  Now it takes more of an effort.  It would be a little easier if we had water run out to the barn; now we bring water bottles to the house to fill them, and then take them to the barn to swap them with empty or frozen bottles.  We have plenty of extras, though, so it’s not too bad.  Getting water out there is not a priority.

What is a priority (a job for the spring) is getting the floor of the loft fixed so that we can move extra cages and other supplies upstairs and have more room downstairs.  Our chicken coop will be adjacent to the rabbit barn, and we’ll need more room for their supplies.  Also, we hope to include a run for the rabbits so they can be outside sometimes.

For now though everyone seems to be pretty happy in the colony.  I mean, as much as you can tell with rabbits, anyway.

Sunny Winter Day

SONY DSCIt may be cold out, but it’s finally sunny.  And that means laundry on the line!

Critters: Part 3

The cats seem finally to be out from under the house.  The mouse had been MIA, so we speculated that it decided there were far too many predators in our home for this to be his home as well.

Only, a few days ago, the cat and both dogs seemed really interested in this spot behind the sideboard in the dining area.  The dogs would go over an sniff and look around.  The cat would crawl underneath to investigate.  I never saw anything, and Stephan said he even moved the furniture out and saw nothing.

Christmas morning, I got up, let the dogs out, fed all the animals, and puttered around a bit.  Finally, I went to get dressed.  Stephan walked out into the kitchen and yelled, “Karen!  You have to come see this!”

It was a dead mouse, right in the middle of the floor.

It looked like it had been dead a couple of days.

“I can’t believe you didn’t see this when you got up,” he said to me.  I insisted it wasn’t there earlier. I surely would have noticed it.

So I think the pets finally caught it, and then saved it, hidden, behind the sideboard, until Christmas morning when they could give us a gift.

Well, can you prove they didn’t?

Just a touch…

Just a little bit of Christmas on the house to let everyone in the neighborhood know that, after three years of neglect, somebody cares about this place now.

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SONY DSCMerry Christmas, neighbors!

Critters, part 2

A wee kitten under the house meowed piteously all day.

Before sunrise, I heard its tiny cry.

In the late morning, it was mewing again.

And as the sun began to set, its itty bitty voice was raised in despair.

At first I thought that perhaps the Mama Kitty had gone off to hunt, and baby was just hungry and missing her.  But the longer it went on the more I began to wonder if Mama Kitty was coming back.  By evening, I began to speculate that the rest of the family had moved on, and this little one was left behind.

As much as I don’t want a bunch of feral cats around reproducing, this peewee tugged at my heart strings.

But how was I to rescue it?  It’s under the house — directly under the bathroom, from the sound of it.  I went outside to investigate where the hole had once been.  The hubs had blocked it up (to prevent cats and other animals from getting underneath), and while I could pry the metal siding loose, I’m sure I frightened the kitten by doing so.  When I opened it up, I didn’t have a very good view of the underside of the house, and I couldn’t see the wee one anywhere.  I was also unable to leave it open enough to provide food for the kitten while also keeping other animals out.

I went to the other side of the house where there were two other holes that have also been shut.  Only one seemed likely.  I just slightly pulled away the items blocking the opening, and next to it I placed a milk crate that inside it had a jar lid, in which I had put a little cat food.  I’m hoping the milk crate will keep other critters out and will protect the food for its intended recipient.

SONY DSCFor a while, the kitten quit crying, and I was hopeful that it found the sustenance I left for it.  But less than an hour later, I heard it again, so I’m not sure.

I guess I’ll check in the morning to see.

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