All eight babies made it through their first week! They are slightly fuzzier now and bobbing around like little jumping beans in their nest box. They should open their eyes in three days. Socorro continues to be an excellent mother and everybody is happy and healthy.
The newborn plants are growing like crazy too. The first garlic sprouted and the arugula and mesclun lettuce mix got crowded and needed to be thinned today (I’m digging Uprising Seeds’ Mild Mesclun mix). That means a special microgreens treat for dinner! Very fancy-schmancy.
After a 31.75 day gestation period, Socorro gave birth to eight healthy plump, strange looking little aliens yesterday morning. Having read that rabbits generally give birth at night after a 31 day gestation period (but ranging from 28-35 days, rarely exceeding 32), I had expected to see a fuzzy bunny pile waiting for me when I went on my morning rounds. When I peaked in there were no babies to be seen, but I did catch Socorro in the act of pulling yet more fur from her stomach and busily rearranging the fluffy nest. Thanks to the previous day’s review of Storey’s trusty guide, I knew this second episode of fur pulling and nest rearranging meant the babies would *probably* arrive soon. Of course, by “soon”, I figured they’d come that night. So an hour or so later while M and I were out gardening I was surprised when he whispered “I heard a baby!”. And there she was up to some sort of rabbit birthing business in the nest box. And sure enough a few more squeaks sounded from her hutch moments later. Not wanting to disturb her, we silently jumped up and down waving our arms in the universal interpretive dance of excitement. At last! Baby bunnies, baby bunnies, baby bunnies!
After giving Socorro time to nurse and rest, we presented her with a veritable feast of parsley and dandelion greens which she joyfully accepted and munched down like a champ. While she chowed down, I was able to move a little nest fluff aside and count eight little bodies, all of which seemed to be plump and lively. From what I’ve read, eight is a total blessing. Rabbits only have eight teats so having more than eight usually means some runty and likely dead bunnies that can’t be supported, while less than eight doesn’t utilize the full resource. I am very hopeful that all of the bunnies will pull through. It also helps that Socorro has been a wonderful mom so far. I see her peaking in on the babies to check on them occasionally. And she is still super friendly towards M and I and shows no signs of changing. What a good rabbit.
I am so excited to see how the bunnies grow and progress. At 10 days they should start opening their eyes and at three weeks they should start hopping out of the nest box. I’ll try my best to keep you folks updated as I am able to get closer to the bunnies and can better document the goings on in the rabbit kingdom.
It is beautiful out. 75 degrees. It smells like summer. What a weekend to be outside! I’m outside at the picnic table right now. In addition to the baby bunny excitement. M helped me plant some more garlic and Russian Banana fingerling potatoes. We do love potatoes. The blue potatoes I planted last month are so happy, that it seemed like a good idea to get some more in the ground. The lettuce and arugula sprouts and a batch of Walla Walla onions also seem to be loving this gorgeous weekend. The wheel of the year is truly turning here at Quiet Owl Farm and I am just so happy that sprouts and babies season has rolled into town.
The hanging basket in the cherry tree has been receiving daily visits from a Western Scrub-Jay. The jay lands on the basket and yanks out great hanks of fiber, sending a shower of scraps to the ground. The jay then struts around, gathering the fallen scraps. It’s been fun to watch him* march around like he owns the place. I thought of the jay when M had to take some shears to his bushy beard recently. Given the interests of our nest-building visitor, it seemed like an excellent idea to take the fuzzy beard clippings and donate them to the cause. So I scooped ’em up and put them in the basket. It would really make my day if I ever see part of that beard sticking out of a neighborhood nest one of these days. *It could be a male or female as they both take part in the nest-building, but that goofy strut walk has me thinking it’s a man bird.
I looked at the empty cans of Olde English malt liquor lined up on the picnic table and thought, sweet Jesus, the neighbors are going to think we hosted the shittiest party of all time. Please don’t let any humans see this mess. If you have never heard of Olde English, count yourself lucky. A cold Olde English manages to capture the stench and taste of a five-day old beer left to its own devices in the summer sun. Yes, I tried a small sip. It was a mistake. Thankfully, my rager of a party did not involve humans drinking the foul brew. Rather the cans were the result of another springtime celebration that I would like to call Death to Slugs!. The party was just getting started when, as I poured beer in a crusty old yogurt container, I accidentally brushed an unopened Olde English can, knocking it to ground where it promptly exploded and started spinning around a like a crazed puppy chasing its own tail. Now this is my kinda fun! I thought. I inhaled that stale scent deeply as the spray flew, cheered at the image of my slimy bloated enemies drowning in their dehydrated pee-colored bath.
I placed the slug-traps around the garden, pausing only briefly to lament the loss of slug-chewed beet and kale sprouts. But I soon grinned like a malicious leprechaun as I dug traps into place, muttering, “you’ve got it coming, you little bastards”. While awaiting the slugs’ inevitable demise, I gathered the used cans as quietly as possible, sidling through the front gate where I looked furtively back and forth, hoping no neighbors stood by to witness my shame as I put the good Olde English cans discretely in the recycling bin with only a hint of tell-tale aluminum tinkle. And god forbid anyone did see, I tried to give off the ol’ I swear it wasn’t me who drank these vibe. I think I made it through the gauntlet ok. Now it’s time to wait.