After the layoff….

I’ve been quiet on the blogging front for the past month or so but everyone’s entitled to go dormant from time to time. There’s been plenty going on at home, I just haven’t been talking about it!

For a start, the rabbit population is fluctuating nicely. I’ve just traded two of my Rex does up to Orkney in exchange for some money and a chinchilla rex buck (a new bloodline and a lovely colour!), and some investigation into rabbit colour genetics suggests that if I cross him with Trudy, my ermine doe, I should get entirely chinchilla youngsters. I’m keeping one of my own black does and I’ll cross her back to her dad, Tigger, (rabbits don’t give a hoot about incest) to tap back into the harliequin genes.

I have four rabbits running about the shed floor at the moment waiting to go over to the west coast, I’m taking them up to Inverness to hand them over at Halloween. There’s something vaguely wrong about Halloween bunnies, somehow…..

Delilah’s nursing 6 fat babies by Tigger, 3 of whom are albino and 3 are agouti with patchy-coloured tummies, which is interesting but largely irrelevant as they’ll still be perfectly edible. I’ve just weaned Jezebel’s latest 9 and they’re looking good; Delilah’s previous litter need to start heading into the freezer in the next couple of days as we’ve nearly eaten the last litter. They were delicious. In any case, having 37 rabbits is ridiculous and heavy on the feed front, so the scales will be coming out and anyone up to weight will be exiting their brief but happy, well-fed lives shortly thereafter.

We’ve decided to give up the allotment for various reasons; it’s 5 miles away (time and diesel) and the gates are left open too often, the committee are too keen to invite Joe Public in to look around and explore and they’ve even managed to get the place onto the TV. It’s practically a tourist attraction. This is not secure.

We’ve been rearranging the garden at home to free up more space for growing veg here, where it’s behind walls and gates and right outside the back door for convenience. I shall feel happier having the food under my eye and being able to nip out between rain-showers (or sleet, or snow, or whatever) to grab whatever’s wanted for dinner.

The courgettes have finally come to the end of their season, having been astoundingly prolific, and I’ve added them to the compost, as with the runner beans, which were pretty useless on the allotment but have been good at home. Strawberries are now over and any remaining fruit that forms probably won’t ripen anyway. The brassicas on the allotment are gradually disappearing down the hungry rabbit and chicken gullets, but the parsnips, swedes and carrots are keeping us fed like kings. The root parsley is something of a disappointment as it’s not formed decent big roots, just little bland-flavoured knobs the size of my thumb. We’re eating them anyway, of course.

The jerusalem artichokes on the plot are the size of triffids but now largely horizontal, thanks to the last couple of gales. Still, they’re green and growing so we’re leaving them alone – it’ll all go down into the roots and we’ll dig ’em up in due course.

The shooting is progressing nicely – the members of the club are very generous, friendly, knowledgable and willing to teach an ignorant newcomer so I go along on Sundays and people invite me to have 5 or 10 shots with their rifles, don’t charge me for the ammo and offer advice and tips! I’m thoroughly enjoying the company and the new sport, and learning new skills is always good.


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