Category Archives: rabbits

Heading out

Here’s my list of crap to do before I catch the plane to Portland, Ore:

-milk goats

-plant seedlings

-deep water the garden

-wax chin (I have a near beard right now)

-pack prosciutto (yes, i’m bringing meat to share at the Portland reading)

It’s really hard to leave the farm, even for six days so I’ve been running around buying alfalfa for the goats, moving the rabbits from the deck to the garden, and trying to find some clothes that aren’t filthy. Thank the gods for my downstairs neighbors, who will be milking and feeding and caretaking while I’m gone.

To add to the pressure, there’s some weird guys painting our house. My landlord, who is a sweet but naive guy hired the most ghetto painters. They didn’t put down anything to catch the paint chips, for example, so I have flecks of gray paint in the garden, in the chicken/goat area. It’s just awful. They painted the rabbit area but didn’t spray it down or ask me to clean it up so there are literally white-painted rabbit turds. It’s kind of funny how bad it is.

Whenever I leave, though, it’s kind of like dying. I imagine what it will be like when one day I’m not here to feed the goats their favorite treat of jade plant. How the garden will get parched and sickly in the summer; overgrown and weedy in the winter. I find myself trying to control my absence by writing lists and notes, putting out individual buckets of foraged branches for the goats for every day I’m gone. I resent leaving, a little. This is prime gardening season and I still need to stake my tomatoes, monitor my cucs and green beans!

Last night I harvested all the beets from the garden. And ate lettuce I had planted more than a month ago. I picked all the sour cherries off the tiny little tree in the garden and made a clafoutis using eggs and milk from GT Farm. I left the pits in, just like my sister told me. Then I finished the last of the rabbit rillettes Chris Lee made. I had a beer with the downstairs neighbors and sliced some prosciutto for them. I feed the rabbits and then went out to the goat area and put them to bed.

When I came back inside, I set up our cat Kuzzin’s food and water station. I’m going to miss him so much. In our laundry room, the bones of the prosciutto are hanging by a bike hook. They look so rad, so rural. I’m reminded that good things take time: these hung for 18 months in Chris Lee’s restaurant. They require no refrigeration at this point. They smell of such delicious meat–the smell of hard work, captured and made immortal.

Since the bones are essentially ham bones, I’m planning on making some serious red beans and rice–when I get return to GT Farm. There’s comfort knowing that when I return, Kuzzin will be happy, the bees won’t notice, the rabbits will rejoice, the chickens will cluck and crouch, the goats will act like they didn’t care that I was gone, and I’ll get to eat once again from the farm.

prosciutto

What do you get when

The rabbits are sick of all you people fawning over how cute the dumb baby goats are. They have cute babies too! Especially after they get out of that rodent-like, near-hairless stage. 

And so, I present the following question: 

What do you get when…

You cross a handsome buck like Speckles…specklesWith the gorgeous, friendly, soft as mink but not very photogenic Sasquatch?

sasquatch

Well, Speckles is a New Zealand/California cross. And Sassy is a Silver Fox….

So that makes them a one-quarter New Zealand/one-quarter California/and one half Silver Fox. 

Yep. 

Oh, you want to see a photo? 

Please sit down. 

pandabunnyPanda bunnies! 

Four white and black, and five black. You will die when you see them. 

blackieHere’s the whole family looking on while I stick the bun in my pocket. 

Ok, and that is the *last* time I ever do a post in the format of one of those idiotic joke emails that my dear dear relatives like to send off for a giggle and a snort. Goodnight!

Tanning hides

Sorry most of my posts lately have been all about events and actions, not necessarily deep thoughts about urban farming or poetic day in the life portraits of GhostTown Farm, but I’m feeling more action-y lately, so bear with me. Soon I’ll pull up the rocking chair and tell you some yarns. For now, here’s another potentially amazing upcoming event–please let me know if you are interested!

Though the wonderful auspices of UC Berkeley’s student group, SAFE, there’s a movement afoot to host a hide tanning workshop at GhostTown Farm. How appropriate. But this isn’t going to be some quickie session like the turkey-killing class, this involves a tw0-day commitment. And potentially camping in our lot. Or sleeping with the goats in the goat house. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

1. The class will be taught by Tamara Wilder, an absolute authority on primitive skills. Her business is called Paleotechnics, for Christ’s sake.

2. Remember how I said I have a million bunny hides in my freezer? Tamara said we can tan those. Each of the class attendees can have one of my million pelts to learn how to tan!

3. Remember my cool friend Jim who has goats? He said we can use on of his goat hides to practice tanning. For when we get bored of the rabbit.

3. There’s only room for 16 people

4. Tamara’s going to show up with all her tools (things like scrapping beams) and we 16 are giving her $100 EACH to take the class, which I said, spans two days.

5. This is not for the faint of heart. I’m imagining lots of dangling meat parts and stinky goo. And rubbing.

6. This will all go down either on April 11/12 or April 18/19. Do let me know which dates work best for you! But remember–it’s $100 and will span two days! If people want to stay the night or pitch a tent, I’m sure we can figure something out. There will be farm chores in the morning!

7. I am so excited to learn how to tan a hide!!

UPDATE 8. Please RSVP to agrofoodecology@gmail.com with subject line ‘Tanning’ and the best weekend for you (April 11 or April 18) so that they can pick the weekend with the most interest.

Meat and Greet

There’s a meme going around, it’s called Meat and Greet. On January 10th, there’s a M and G at 2nd Street in Oakland for the latest incarnation of the Bay Area Meat CSA: http://bamcsa.pbwiki.com/.

The following day, January 11, MeatPaper magazine is hosting a Meat and Greet at the Acme Chophouse to celebrate their latest issue of the meat-y magazine. (I have an article in the mag about meat powered cars.) http://www.meatpaper.com/mailings/081229/index.html

I’m curious to see how both these organizations will address the issue of eating meat on a budget, or ask the question how we can eat less but better meat.

baconprepped

I’ll be doing two meat-related things on the farm this weekend. One is smoking the last of the pork bellies from the pigs we raised on dumpster scraps.

bunny

The other is finally harvesting the rabbits from the last litter. They are getting so big, I can barely afford to keep them fed (they eat greens from the dumpster and Templeton Rabbit Food which costs $25/bag). I figure that if I sold the rabbits, they would have to cost $25/rabbit just to recoup their feed costs. It’s part of the crunch of being a small-scale farmer. No matter how wiley I am by feeding the animals scraps and stale bread, they still need some feed to thrive. And feed is getting more and more expensive.

Which makes me know that meat should be more expensive than it is. And that we should probably eat less of it.

Virtual farm tour

Sorry for those of you who missed the last farm tour. It was nice to meet some new folks and see old friends. I’ve got a gun to my head to finish a writing project, so there won’t be a tour in August. Plan on a Friday in early September.

In the meantime, here’s the farm report.

The bees I caught last year are doing really well. There seems to be lot of activity, though I was worried about the queen’s laying pattern last time I did an inspection (which was awhile ago–I hate bothering them). The swarm caught this spring in Alameda has died out. The queen never started laying and it all went to hell. I partially blame myself because I had this really jankity brood box with very funky frames.

The garden is in that awkward mid-summer phase where the greens are done but the tomatoes aren’t quite ripe yet. Luckily there is something to eat because it’s summer apple season. One of our neighbors comes in and picks them, which pisses Bill off, but I’m resigned–and even a little supportive–of the lot pillagers. Times are tight in the ghetto and the more fresh food I grow, the healthier the people around here will be. In a nod to my hippiedom, I’m growing corn and sunflowers, crops I usually don’t pursue. However, I have a reason! I do like sweet corn. And, the goats will very gladly eat the corn stalks. So it’s a multi-use plant. Similarly, goats like sunflower leaves and seeds.

The chickens on the deck are getting big, and I’m almost ready to set them loose outside with the big girls. They’ll get their asses kicked, but after a day or so all will be well. They’ve been flying off the deck and into the street, which is no good, so I’m getting motivated. The big white fella is Edith’s soon to be boyfriend. By the way he’s been puffing up lately, I’m fairly sure he’s a male.

Finally, the deck rabbits are getting plump from eating the windblown apples. They’re approaching their 3 month old birthday, which means it’ll be time for rabbit rillettes soon.

Goodbye Georgina, hello bunnies

Took my goat to work yesterday. Georgina melted everyone’s heart and a few people offered to buy her. This bodes well for my future in Nigerian Dwarf goat trading.

I held her on my lap for most of the day, where she slept curled up in a cuddly ball. Then her new owner met me at the station and took her away, back to Lake County, where she had been conceived. She’ll get to be around her half-sisters and brothers, and I’m sure she’ll have a great life. I can’t wait to see photos of her in 4-H competitions, where I’m sure she’ll win all kinds of prizes.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Bebe doesn’t seem to miss her baby, though her sister seems a bit lonely. I plan on holding her a lot, and milking Bebe more often, to take the place of Georgina.

In other baby animal news, here are the newest batch of bunnies! Six of them.