The tension is on…

It’s building up. The tension is increasing. It’s straining… soon it’s going to… spring!!!

Seed starting is well under way here. We have a full tray of tomatoes and one of peppers. We’ve also started several 4″ pots of leeks and scallions, plus some sunflowers. 

The latter we could have waited and direct planted, but we will use a lot of them so we figured we’d get an early small crop and just keep planting throughout the season for an extended harvest. 

In about a week it’ll be time for the Brussels sprouts and broccoli to be started, and not long after that, the garden itself will get some seeds. 

Looking at the amount we have already started, and the huge stack of unopened seed packets, it’s clear I will need to clean and prepare at least two more garden beds. The alliums can’t go next to the legumes and the sunflowers can’t go next to anything. Wait, three. Asparagus. 

Seems I’ve got my work cut out for me!

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Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Ok, I didn’t want to say anything right away in case I jinxed myself, but 24 hours later still going strong. 

There’s a reason we have two female rabbits. After losing the first litter, we were pretty upset and decided that the next one we might bring inside. However, roughly 15 hours after I had the very unpleasant task of cleaning up the first litter, I heard some noise from the rabbitry. 

This was about 0245 Monday morning. I walked down to see what was up and peeked into the nest boxes. The first was still empty but the second had a ball of white fur the size of a baseball in it, and a mama rabbit outside pulling fur to finish filling it. I left her be and came back at about 0320. By then, she was done, the fur in the box was laying flat and moving. A second litter!

I seriously contemplated gathering them and bringing them inside but decided not to. First, the first litter had almost no fur in the nest. Rookie mama rabbit mistake. They got too cold and didn’t stand a chance. This one obviously had her stuff together. Second, no matter how well intentioned, humans are rarely better at raising baby animals than mama animals. 

​I took a brief video so you could see them wriggling about under the fur blanket, but otherwise left them alone. Well, a full day later, they’re still wriggling. I reached in to check gently. They’re super warm under the fur and I’m fairly sure I felt six. But until they’re furry enough to expose to this cold air, we won’t know for sure. Until then, we will just check a few times a day to make sure they stay warm in there. Updates as they become available!

And so it begins…

We are less than nine weeks from the estimated last frost date. It seems odd to say that as the snow accumulates past an inch deep, but that’s what the numbers say!

Today I mixed up a nice big batch of seed starting mix. Nothing fancy, some organic potting soil, peat moss, vermiculite, sand, and some Doctor earth organic fertilizer. I suggest avoiding both Scott’s and Miracle Grow brands as the parent company has a long standing and strong partnership with Monsanto. 

I got three seedling trays ready but only planted one today. It’s all peppers!

24 of a mixed bell pepper blend consisting of California wonder, diamond, golden California wonder, orange sun, and purple beauty. 

24 purple jalapeño. 

12 habanero and 12 jumbo jalapeño. The last two are seeds left over from last year so I didn’t want to dedicate too much space to seeds that might not be good. 

I know 72 pepper plants might seem like a lot, but we eat a lot of peppers, and jalapeños can really well. Still, will probably sell or give away half of them. 

Next week, the tomatoes will get planted. 

Now, what’s really cool is I have a heat mat and thermostat for it this year. The heat mat I used last year is currently keeping the rabbit water liquid and warming the nest box. This was a kit on Amazon and I’m loving it! Highly recommend it. I paid 32.95 each, but they’re up to 35.95 now. 

Also, some sad news. If you’re not up for that, stop reading now. 
We lost the baby rabbits. It looks like the mama rabbit was wet with snow when she went to nurse and they got chilled from that. So we will clean the chick brooder and if there is another litter while it’s cold, we will bring the mama and babies inside for a few days till they’re furred out enough. 

Surprise!

I happened to be warming up the car and waiting for the girlfriend and decided to say hi to the bunnies. But I see only two? How can this be?

Walked around to see if the third was hiding somewhere and I catch a glimpse. She’s all curled up in the nest box!

As soon as she hopped out I got in close to check and sure enough, there they were!

Baby bunnies!!! That’s the only pic I’ve got right now but I’ll have more tomorrow. It’s dark now. Plus we need to handle them a lot so they grow up tame and friendly. 

I was a little concerned about the weather, but the nest box is sitting on a seedling heat mat and they were still active and wriggling about hours later so I think they’ll be fine.