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City-fied Self-Sufficiency

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Archive for March, 2011

Tristan Strawberries

We were wandering around the Wal-Mart garden center, when Shay noticed some strawberry plants.  There was no price, but we quickly found out (because we ACTUALLY found someone who WORKS there!!!) that they were only $1.18 each.  So I started off with 10, and then came back to reality and bought 6.

Really, the only reason I went down to six was that I also had to buy hanging baskets for them.  If not for that expense, I’d have taken ten.  Or more.

Anyway, I noticed deep pink flowers on them, a color I’d never seen on strawberries.  oooooooOOOOOOoooooooo.  :)  They didn’t say anything except “Tristan”, “everbearing”, and “8 hours full sun”.  Hey, how bad could they be?  They’re strawberries.

So I looked at the hanging pots, and there were some metal baskets with coir liners that looked really nice.  And we’ve all heard how the coir is supposed to keep things moist, so here was my chance.  There was no price, so I took along some inexpensive plastic pots as a hedge, since these things can be expensive.  They turned out to be only $7 each, though, so I bought three.

I looked at the coir liner, though, before I started planting, and wondered if they would really hold soil if I could see daylight through them.  So I poked around on the ‘net for some information.

Boy, was I glad I did!  I didn’t really find anything about them having the soil wash out, but plenty about them drying out!  Apparently, in hanging baskets, they really do not keep the moisture in.  In fact, people who have them say that if you do not line them with plastic, the coir will actually draw moisture from the soil and dry the pot out faster — so fast, that you may have to water twice a day when it’s hot:



Now, inside an enclosed pot, or shredded and used like peat moss, it does help hold water in the soil.  Just not as the pot itself.

So I pulled out a black trash bag (okay, I know about chemicals and all that, but…) and made liners for the coir.  I punched several holes in the bottoms of each one, being careful to actually cut a little of the plastic off, not just poke holes, so the holes couldn’t close back up.  Once I had some soil inside, I trimmed around the top, at or just below the level of the coir.

One of them I forgot to trim until the plants were in. Oops. You can see a little of one of the rosey flowers in there, too. You can also see a white flower in the plant at right. I'm guessing this is a function of the fact that it's a hybrid -- you know how sometimes a bush will have one bunch of flowers that's a different color from the rest of them.

I planted them in the same Mel’s Mix used in the square foot garden, because it’s supposed to hold water really well, while allowing excess water to drain off.  One of my composts had been used up, though, so I substituted the manure that our rabbits so eagerly produce.  Rabbit manure is a “cold” manure, meaning it will not burn your plants with nutrients, so you can put it directly on your plants, rather than having to compost it first.

Once I had them planted, I thoroughly watered them.  The excess water did drain out through the holes in the bottom, though it did take longer than I expected.  But they finally did stop dripping.  They were still nice and moist today (I planted them yesterday).

I hung them from temporary nails on the outside of the garden. Temporary, because eventually they will be hanging inside the garden, which will be enclosed with mesh. The birds and squirrels are unbelievable around here. I already put mesh on the strawberry pot on the right, because it has a ripening strawberry in it.

It wasn’t until after I had them planted that I finally looked the Tristan strawberries up.  They are apparently a new variety from Holland:



I don’t know why the one place says “runnerless”… some of mine have runners.  Maybe I bought rejects!  :D  The pictures are quite pretty, so we’ll see what happens.

Having to take a map with me anytime I wanted to know exactly what was where in the garden was getting a little old, so I wanted to label the plants.  At the nursery, they had some garden labels you could buy for about $4.50 a pack, with what looked like about 20 in a pack.  I have 100 squares in my garden… am I going to spend $25 just so I can label them all?!?  Uh… no.

So I poked around for some other ideas.  There are plenty of ideas around.  Like cutting up an old mini blind.  I didn’t have an old mini blind, so that was out.  Or plastic forks or knives.  Hey… I’ve got those.  Not 100, but I had almost enough to label all the stuff I’d planted.

So I got them out, and found a piece of fine sandpaper, and a fine-tipped Sharpie.  I sanded the handles of the forks until they were no longer shiny, wiped them with a paper towel, then wrote on them.

It is a little humorous that I'm using forks to mark plants that are growing food... at least I think it's a little funny.

I carefully slid the forks into the front right corner of each square.  For the squares around the sides, I put the forks in a couple of inches away from the side, being careful to try not to place them too close to a plant, or where I expected a plant to emerge.

Everything that we planted from seed (or clove, in the case of the garlic) got marked with a fork.

Now I just have to see how well the Sharpie will hold up in the sun.  I may need to get a paint pen or something.

Not that I have an inflated perception of my blog, mind you, but you can now subscribe to the comments that are made on any post on here.  :)

I know that I’ve visited particular posts on blogs before that have had discussions going on in the comments that I’ve been interested in.  Or I’ve left a comment, and want to see if anyone responds to it.  If there’s a “subscribe to comments” link, I get an email telling me when another comment has been added, complete with a link to the comment.  I like that.

So you can now do that here.  You don’t even have to comment in order to follow the comments on a post.  Here’s what it looks like:

You won't see the first three boxes (name, email, website) if you are a member and are logged in. The subscribe to comments part is at the bottom, and has a checkbox. If you want to subscribe without commenting, there is a link to do that right there.

(And, as a reminder, you don’t even have to be a member to comment!  But you do have to be human.  SpamFree has a spotless record so far catching spam on my blog without blocking real comments.)

Want to follow a discussion?  Subscribe to comments!  :D

Aunt Nibbles

I was wondering how Nibbles and Fluffy were going to work things out once Fluffy had babies. Up until then, they’d have their spats now and then, like a pair of sisters, and then they’d be snuggled up together again. I think Nibbles tries to rearrange the pecking order occasionally, and Fluffy will patiently take her antics for a while, and then she will turn her hulking white figure around and remind Nibbles just how much bigger she is. Heehee!

But all sorts of things can happen when you have more than one doe in a cage or area, and one of them has a litter of popples. The new mother can get super defensive, and lash out at anyone who comes anywhere near (which, in a cage, would be anywhere in the cage!). I would have to remove Nibbles for her own safety.

Or the other doe (not the mother) could get jealous of the babies or feel threatened by them, and harm them. In this case, I would have to remove Nibbles for the safety of the babies.

But where to put Nibbles? I’m maxed out. I do have a kennel, but the spaces between the wires are too big. Cats, coons, etc. would be able to terrorize her, unless I put the kennel in the rabbitry. And I don’t have space for that.

So I left Nibbles in there, and watched.

Luckily, Fluffy kindled in the daytime, which isn’t terribly common among rabbits. So I was able to watch and see what would happen. When Fluffy was finished, she just lay down. Nibbles came and went, Nibbles got in with the kits to investigate, and no rise from Fluffy at all. And it has stayed that way.

In fact, Nibbles seems to be more concerned about and more protective of the babies than Fluffy is, like an overbearing aunt. Fluffy is laid back, “Hey, I feed them twice a day, they’re fine.”  Nibbles keeps looking in on them and worrying over them, and even gave me a warning bite once when I reached into the nest box to do a head count! (On the inside of my upper arm, too… OUCH!) Needless to say, I keep an eye on Nibbles when I’m messing with the babies. Pretty funny, since they’re not even her popples. But I’m very relieved to see that they are still okay to keep together, since I was worrying about cage space if they stopped getting along.

"Hey, Fluffy... are you sure you're feeding these guys enough? They're still so little!"

Video of Fluffy pulling fur

MidnightCoder, our Most Awesome Webmaster, is helping me with embedding videos. This is the video in my post about Fluffy’s new babies:

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Hopefully I can get this figured out myself… I think it’ll be easier if I try not to use my cellphone for videos. ;) Be patient with me. MidnightCoder sure is!

Fluffy’s First Babies! :)

Saturday was Day 31 for Fluffy, and she kindled that afternoon.  She had already been in hormonal pregnant rabbit mode, driving her cagemate Nibbles crazy.  Well, Nibbles hadn’t seen the half of it.

Saturday, Fluffy finally started pulling fur for her nest.  She covered the entire floor of the cage just about, and stuffed some in the nest box as well.  I did catch her pulling her fur in the cage, and then collecting it from the floor to put into the nest, but she left plenty of fur behind!

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Fluffy covered everything with white fur, including Nibbles, who kept worriedly nosing up to her.

Fluffy drops fur on Nibbles' head.

Once Fluffy had just about denuded her dewlap, and thinned out the fur on her belly, sides, and legs, she took a break.  Nibbles wasn’t sure what to expect next at this point.  Then, Fluffy hopped into the nestbox and started kindling (delivering her babies).  This just about freaked poor Nibbles out.  She got so worried about Fluffy!

"Fluffy? What's going on? What are you doing?"

"Fluffy? You okay? Fluffy? Fluffy?"

She anxiously crawled all over Fluffy, trying to see if everything was alright.  Finally, Fluffy was done, and Nibbles was confused.  She sat in the nestbox and sniffed at the babies, then turned around and sat there and looked at me.

Once Nibbles got out, ILoveBunnies noticed one of the babies wasn’t moving.  She pulled it out, and I tried a little to revive it.  But it was dead, and it seemed to have some sort of deformity to its chest cavity.  It is not uncommon for this to happen, but it was our first loss.

Later on, when we were sure Fluffy was indeed finished, we pulled out the nestbox to count the babies, check their health, and make sure the nest was clean and dry.  Fluffy had not cleaned up as well as Pearl and Squeak do, but she may get the hang of it better with future litters.  Even if not, all it takes is the removal of some hay and the replacement of it with fresh hay.  No big deal.

I found a clump of hay and fur in the bottom of the back of the box.  It was stuck together with some stuff from the birth, and, in it was another stillborn kit.  It was tiny, and apparently had not been fully developed.  This, also, is not uncommon.

I pulled out the newborn kits and handed them out to excited kids.

ILoveBunnies always goes for the dark ones, while Bunny-Wan Kenobi favors the spotted ones. My mom (top left) takes whichever ones come to her.

There were seven healthy, terribly wiggly babies! :)  So Fluffy delivered 9, a record for 24 Carrot Rabbitry, and 7 survived.  Very nicely done for a first-time doe!

Here’s the father of these kits:


Pinto, our working buck. Or, as Shay calls him, "Pinto the Barbarian". I love him because he gets the job done! We had to retire his father, who became too much of a gentleman. Pinto is pictured here at about 4 months of age.

Planting our Square Foot Garden! YAY!

With the garden filled and the grid done, it was time to plant!  We had 100 spaces to plant, most of them a square foot each, but some less.  Over the last several days, we shopped for plants and seed, and planted.

We found that Wal-Mart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot all sold almost nothing but Bonnie plants.  I’m sure they’re good, I saw a short video on them once, but good grief!  I have bought Bonnie plants before, but they wanted over $3 per plant — even for just-sprouted seedlings!

I am not that desperate to have already growing plants.  I needed to find some place that Bonnie hadn’t taken over.  So I went to one of the local nurseries.

Unfortunately, they had only tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers ready for transplant.  Everything else was seeds.  Oh, well.  So we bought the plants, and then we bought lots of seeds.

And we planted.  And planted, and planted, and planted.  We have now planted 68 squares (I’m still calling the smaller spaces squares, just for ease) of 100 available.  The rest will be planted later, to stagger harvesting.  Here’s what we have, top is North:

There is nylon trellis netting across the middle. We will be adding the netting to the north end where the pole beans are, and to the south end where the melons are. Having trellised plants in the middle and at the south will shade the garden for a while, but eventually the sun will be directly overhead. We'll take advantage of the shade for a little while to grow some end-of-season lettuce.

Yes, we like tomatoes.  And no, that is not too many of them.  :D

This is our first time gardening like this, so placement and such is really just guessing at this point… especially since we don’t have enough northern squares to plant all of our trellis plants.

Shay and my uncle are already talking about building another one.  That will solve that problem, since it will be oriented 90* relative to this one.  :)  Don’t worry, we don’t have the money to build another one yet!

Square Foot Gardening incorporates a number of ideas:

  • Nearly perfect soil from the beginning, rather than trying to improve your soil
  • Raised beds that are narrow enough to comfortably reach halfway across
  • Never walking on the soil, so you never need to till it
  • Eliminating extra space from the garden — such as the aisles between the rows
  • Reducing the amount of each crop being grown, rather than planting a full row
  • Planting the same crop at different times, to stagger the harvest
  • Replanting the same square with different crops — crop rotation & pest control

Most seeds come with directions to plant so many, then “thin to” one every so many inches.  This “thin to” distance is used to calculate how many seeds can be planted in one square foot.  Radishes don’t have to be thinned to one every three inches, in rows three feet apart.  They can be in mini-rows that are three inches apart.  So you can plant 16 radish seeds in one square foot.

In my case, I am using the spaces that are smaller than a square foot to plant these crops that can be planted 9 or 16 to a square (“thin to” 4 or 3 inches, respectively).

Not everything is so easy to calculate.  Some things, like pole beans and melons, have you building a mound, planting so many seeds in a circle on it, and thinning to so many seeds per mound.  The mounds are ___ far apart, and in rows that are ___ far apart.  So how do you know how many you can put in a square foot?  Well, I had to turn to the charts in the book for that.  Watermelons, cantaloupe, and vining squash need 2 square feet per plant.  Pole beans can be planted 8 per square foot!

So in my garden:

1 per square foot:

  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Okra

2 per square foot:

  • Cucumber — but I planted one, because it’s in a short square

4 per square foot:

  • Lettuce
  • Corn

8 per square foot:

  • Pole beans, except Dwarf Peas, which could be closer together

9 per square foot:

  • Bush beans
  • Beets
  • Turnips (small)
  • Spinach

16 per square foot:

  • Carrots — I planted 12 each, in short squares
  • Radishes — can take 12 in a short square, I planted 6, and will plant the other 6 later
  • Onions — I planted 2 short squares of 12 each

1 per 2 square feet:

  • Squash
  • Melons — I cheated a little on the watermelons, planting 2 in not quite 4 square feet

It is an intensive method of gardening designed to maximize the potential of the space, in a way that is easy for beginners.  There is an even more intensive method called “square inch gardening”, which plants things even closer together!

Somewhere in between then and now, we all managed to catch the flu.  My mom and my uncle ended up with pneumonia, and ILoveBunnies got strep throat.  I suspected Bunny-Wan Kenobi might be harboring a secondary infection as well, due to the congested cough he had developed, but it turned out to be allergies.  I hadn’t considered that, since he never had much allergy trouble before.  Shay and I managed to skirt the secondary infections, but it was a close call… either one or both of us could easily have ended up on antibiotics.

Meanwhile, as much as we could, we continued to work on the garden, since we are into planting season here!  A good bit of the country is still dealing with frozen ground and snow, but it’s been in the 70s and even around 80 since the middle of February.  Now, that is quite unusual here, but, especially with 80s predicted for the next week, it increasingly appears that the cold weather is over for us.

(To tell you the truth, I’d like the cold weather back.  Every day of chill is one less day of searing heat and suffocating humidity, the way I look at it.)

At any rate, once we had removed the rabbits from the garden, it was time to continue with preparing the garden for use.

The next thing to do was to lay down newspaper to help make sure all the vegetation under the garden would die. I laid down 15-20 layers of newspaper over the whole bottom of the garden, keeping it wet to stop it from blowing around, and weighting it with boards.

Meanwhile, Shay worked on the supports for the benches. Waiting to work on this until the rest was done saved time, since I could work inside while he worked outside.

He added supports for the benches beside the main posts, as well.

It is so nice to have these benches to sit on!

Inside, I started lining the bottom with chicken wire over the newspaper. We did this to keep pests like moles out, which are a problem here. I forgot to take a picture of the chicken wire. Shay finished up the wire, and we then lined the whole interior with landscape cloth -- not only to keep weeds out (yes, I know, the 15-20 layers of paper, but they will biodegrade eventually, and we have some mean vines around here), but also to keep the contents of the garden in. No matter how straight your lumber is, it will have gaps. We don't want to lose sand and growing mix through those gaps. Immediately after finishing the cloth, we began shoveling sand in. A little while later, 3 cubic yards of sand were spread in a layer 6-9 inches thick. We used the sand to roughly even out the bottom of the planting area, so it would all be the same depth.

Next, it was time to finish buying all the ingredients for the planting mix that would fill the garden.  In Square Foot Gardening, a particular mix is used, called “Mel’s Mix”, after Mel Bartholomew, the inventor of the Square Foot Gardening method.  Mel’s Mix is a 1:1:1 ratio of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite.  You’re supposed to use coarse vermiculite, since it holds more water and breaks down more slowly than fine vermiculite.  I got mine at a roofing and insulation company.  I thought I was getting coarse, until I got it home and realized it was fine.  Oh, well.  I’ll just try to stir some coarse vermiculite into the garden in a couple of years.

If you make your own compost, you can just use that.  I’m starting to compost, but I’m far from there!  If you need to buy compost, like I did, Mel strongly recommends buying and mixing at least five different kinds.  The reason is that most bagged compost has only one or two ingredients.  This will not satisfy the nutrient needs of your plants, just like eating only broccoli will not satisfy your nutritional needs.  The peat moss and vermiculite are there to keep the mix loose and to hold water, while allowing excess water to drain.  It is the compost that will provide the nutrients the plants need, and that is why you need at least 5 different ingredients.  This is what I ended up with:

Peat moss. I was able to find 3 cubic foot bales. These are compressed bales, and the peat moss expands to twice the volume once you unpack it. So a 3 cubic foot bale gives me 6 cubic feet of peat moss. Which is nice, because I got to cut my peat moss costs in half!

Vermiculite. These were 4 cubic foot bags. You can even read on it that it is concrete aggregate for "Siplast Roof Insulation Systems". Doesn't matter, as long as it is vermiculite.

Compost #1: Composted forest material and composted barnyard waste.

Compost #2: Mushroom compost. I don't remember what was in here, but it's supposed to be good. It has no cubic foot measurement, only pounds, so I had to estimate. It looked (when compared with other bags) like around 2 cubic feet.

Compost #3: Composted cow manure. Like the mushroom compost, I had to guesstimate this to be about 2 cubic feet.

Compost #4: Composted chicken manure. Unfortunately, unlike the cow manure, the smell did not compost out of it. I rememeber when we lived in Delaware, which is chicken farm heaven. You got the smell of the manure not only when you passed chicken houses, but also when the farmers spread the manure all over the fields! It could knock you senseless. This wasn't that bad, but it still wasn't pleasant.

Compost #5: Composted cotton burrs. Those would be the hard, sharp pods that split open to reveal the cotton. Surprisingly, this stank almost as much as the chicken manure compost. I figured cotton burrs should be pretty innocuous. Boy, was I wrong. This came in 2 cubic foot bags.

RESPIRATORS!!! Anyone involved in mixing the peat moss and vermiculite should wear one of these. It's not that they are toxic (the asbestos danger with new vermiculite was over decades ago when they closed a contaminated mine), it's just that dry vermiculite and dry peat moss have loads of particles that become airborne very easily. Mixing on a calm day will help, but you will probably have significant amounts flying into the air anyway. Large amounts of any kind of dust are bad to breathe, so we bought these. A simple mask might do if it fits well, but this kind is much more comfortable. It provides more coverage, and has a valve to let the air you breathe out escape -- saving you from a mask that gets more and more soggy and unpleasant from your breath. Wearing a mask is already unpleasant, and we were going to be wearing these things for a long time! So we sprang for the almost $5 apiece these cost to minimize our discomfort as much as possible. You can see some of the dust that this one captured.

The first of 9 loads of mix is in. We needed to keep the mix separate from the sand, so we laid a large tarp inside the garden box on top of the sand and mixed in it. I poured the ingredients in -- one cubic foot apiece (or my best estimation) of the composts, for a total of 5 cubic feet of compost, and 5 cubic feet of loosened peat moss, and 5 cubic feet (a bag and a quarter) of vermiculite. Mom misted the peat moss and vermiculite as I poured them out, and all during mixing, to keep as much dust down as possible. Shay mixed all while I poured, and I helped mix when I was finished. When the mix was ready, we used the hoes to pull most of it out of the tarp, and then lifted the end of the tarp to dump the rest of it out. At this point, Mom switched to a stronger stream of water to really thoroughly wet the mix. Here you can see Mom spraying the mix down, while Shay continues to mix a little.

Three loads of mix in, Shay sprays it down a little more as we break for the day. You can see a little of the 9' x 12' tarp we used in the corner.

Nine loads of mix, and the garden is filled! I had gotten enough for ten loads, just in case. The remainder is already being tapped for other applications. What an exhausting day!

The following day, the menfolk were back at work, but we were still busy on the garden. We measured and marked the bed at 1-foot intervals, then stapled nylon cord at the marks, and tied the cord to the staples. We were able to stretch the cord pretty tight. We started with the shorter lengths across the bed, since they would help support the longer ones.

Then we ran the lines down the length of the bed. We debated whether to lay the lines on top of the others, or whether to weave them over and under. We finally settled on the latter. We did manage to run out of nylon cord, so we tied in a length of heavy, white cotton twine to finish. You can see that the row of squares at left is actually narrower rectangles; we have this also at the one end that you cannot see. We'll be able to use these sections for crops that can have more than one plant per square foot, like onions, garlic, lettuce, carrots, radishes, etc.

Another thing you can see in the above picture is a whole lot of mud and water to the sides of the garden.  As we were mixing and filling, walking around the garden, the rainwater on the ground turned the clay almost into a liquid.  Eventually, we are going to have to put a walk around the garden.  We’ve already laid old boards from the grape arbor over some of this muck.

The reason we can't build a regular, much less expensive, 6-inch-deep square foot garden. This was the yard about a week ago. It doesn't look this bad now, but if you walk through the yard, it is still holding standing water. It just doesn't go anywhere. It has to evaporate.

Poor Nibbles…

Well, it’s been 28 days since we mated Fluffy with Pinto, and it was time to give Fluffy a nestbox.  Everything was fine and normal and everything until we put the nestbox in there.  Suddenly, Fluffy’s instincts have kicked in big time, and little Nibbles is now cagemate to a seriously hormonal rabbit.

Poor Nibbles!

Fluffy is cramming her mouth full of hay, and going around in circles in the cage with it, trying to decide what to do with it (hey, Fluffy… there’s a nestbox right there…).  Meanwhile, it’s all Nibbles can do to keep from getting squashed by Fluffy, who doesn’t seem to remember Nibbles is there!

Fortunately for Nibbles, this should last only a couple more days.  Then she’ll have a new worry — BABY BUNNIES!  :D

Growing Bunnies in your Garden

Well, once we got our elevated garden bed built, it was time to plant.  So, what better to plant than rabbits! :)

It all started when the pest control people needed to come out and apply a new treatment they had for Formosan termites (Think regular termites are bad?  Look these critters up!).  I set this appointment up for a Monday, several weeks in advance, anticipating sending both litters of 6 to freezer camp the weekend right before.  As it happened, we spent that Saturday working on the elevated garden, and Sunday we mostly finished it.  Sunday evening, we butchered one of the litters, but not the other.

So then Monday morning was the termite treatment appointment.  The one problem with it was the wall that the rabbitry was built on.  I had to get the wall of the house, which was at the back of the rabbitry, as accessible as possible for the treatment, so we wouldn’t have an incomplete treatment.  You see, the three front posts of the rabbitry are set in concrete, and there is no way to remove the frame from which the cages are suspended from the rabbitry.

When the gentleman applying the treatment arrived, I requested that he treat that wall last, so I could do everything possible to give him access to it.  He was a really nice man, and we enjoyed chatting with him some near the end of the treatment.  But anyway, he agreed, but didn’t see that access would really be a problem.

So he went about treating the remainder of the house, and we continued the task we had started before he had arrived — removing the rabbits and their cages from the rabbitry.  Thank goodness we had taken care of the one litter, because this really would have been difficult with two litters of 6!

None of the trees in the back yard were leafing out yet, and I didn’t want to deal with bunny pee in the carport, so we were momentarily stuck as to where to put the rabbits.  Then, my mom suggested the new elevated garden.

Why, it was perfect!  Two feet high, give or take, so they would be safe.  The overhead structure was ideal for tying tarps to for shade.  And on grass… so no cement to clean up, and they could graze the day away. :)

The rabbit garden. This was the orientation for morning; later we changed the tarps so the northeastern corners were up.

Fluffy and Nibbles relax in the shade amongst the shreds of a box I gave them to play with, while Pearl guards her nest. You can see an adventerous popple poking its head up in the nest box.

The other meat litter, three in the left cage and three in the right, with Thumper in the middle. He's behind his wooden house.

Three of the meat litter munch happily on the grass.

The whole thing went really well.  After we had all the rabbits out, we cleaned the rabbitry and spread limestone in it.  The pest control man was able to just kneel at the front and lean through to the back, and he was able to fully treat the wall.  YAY!

He came and looked at the rabbits.  When he learned that we raised them for meat, he was pleasantly surprised.  A friend of his had just brought him two cleaned cottontails the previous day!  :D

Then we got to move them all back again…