I talk about the animals that share this homestead with me a lot but rare have I downloaded photographs of any of them. So this week I am dedicating my blog to doing just that–sharing my beloved babies with everyone. They are my world. They share their love and affection; give me that many more reasons to rise and shine each day; in some cases, they provide me sustenance through the eggs they lay; plenty of free fertilizer; lots of laughter and, yes, eventually a few tears.
So, without further ado, as this is The Herbal Hare Homestead, let’s start with the bunnies. Many moons ago, my pen pal from Curacao christened me “Beach Bunny”; a few years’ later, my then-husband re-christened me “Cuddle Bunny”. They both must’ve had some sort of premonition because rabbits have been a daily part of my life since 1998 when my then-sister-in-law bought a pair of rabbits for her children. At first they were the stars of the home but, as often happens, once the novelty of these new pets wore off, they began to be neglected. My sister-in-law and I frequently got together to workout. I’d find the pair of them in cages on the lawn, no shade cover, no water, very little food. And the cages were absolutely gross. It was heartbreaking. It took a lot of gentle persuasion but, eventually, my sister-in-law asked if I would be willing to take them. I hadn’t planned on rabbits but I couldn’t say “no”. My only thought was to rescue them from these sad conditions. Mr. V and Rainy came home and there’s been a total of 21 rabbits to share this home–not all at once, but over the last 19 years. These 6 are the current residents of The Herbal Hare Homestead:
This little guy is Rhys. He and his sister, Alys (directly below) came to me, along with Alys’ 6 children, back in the spring of 2012. Rhys and Alys were about 10 months old at the time. And, yes, Rhys is the father of their offspring; first owners didn’t notice he was gnawing through the wood between their hutches and, well, Rhys and Alys did what rabbits are most notorious for. They were then given to a friend of mine who, in the short time they were with her, really wasn’t too sure about raising rabbits. When the babies started coming in rapid succession, I received a frantic phone call asking if I would be willing to take them. At the time I still had two geriatrics, Jillian and Violet, and another orphan named Choo-Choo, but why the heck not? Rhys, Alys, Tumbleweed, Blizzard, Stormie, Sweet Pea, Lemony Snicket and Orion moved right in and they have been a blessing in my life ever since. Sadly, I lost Orion and Lemony Snicket in 2014 to an intestinal parasite.
Out of the offspring, originally, there were three each. Stormie, Blizzard and Tumbleweed are all does; Sweet Pea, Orion and Lemony Snicket are/were bucks. They each have large dog cages instead of hutches as these give them plenty of room to hop and move about. They are also fairly easy to clean; though, as you can see by the state of the rabbit room floor, they do not keep hay and shavings from being scattered about. I should start advertising as a professional sweeper. (chuckle) Each day, I set aside a couple of hours and give them bunny playtime (one at a time; no “accidental” breedings here) where they may come out of their cages and hop around the bunny room, stretch their legs and “visit” through the bars. I never spayed/neutered any of them because, while they are all Lionheads, my hope is to acquire a couple of Angoras and cross-breed. Lionheads have Angora in their genetic DNA, as we can see by that long mane and “skirt” they all sport. As I get more proficient on the spinning wheel, I hope to raise my own fiber (And before any fellow animal rights’ fanatics come out of the woodwork, there is no harm done to the rabbits. They simply get a haircut, much like we do at a salon, and three months’ later, the same rabbits have another 2-3 inches of wool grown out again (wish my hair grew so fast!). Sadly, people often equate the raising of Angoras and the spinning of their wool with the rabbit fur coats of the 1970’s when mini-rex’s were bred in massive quantities to supply the demand. Those poor creatures lost their lives; mine will not until the good Lord calls them home via natural means).
There will be more to follow in the days that come.
May God bless you & keep you!