Monday, September 19, 2011

Amazing display of willpower

Rhiannon, Grandma, Grandpa and I went to the County Fair this weekend.  The Midway is crammed with the standard carnival stuff; scary take-it-down & shove-it-in-a-trailer rides, overpriced funnel cakes and shaved ice and odd looking carnival folk.  There are two or three buildings that house the usual crafts like quilts, paintings, woodcarvings, Kleenex boxes made from yarn and that plastic grid stuff, and my all-time favorite, the crocheted “Southern Belle” doll that holds a roll of toilet paper under her skirt.  Actually, I abhor those things…..just too freaky looking for me.

But on to the animal exhibits!
I love seeing the livestock, even if they are all crammed into small cages and are probably sick of people poking fingers in their cages and having flash photographs taken of them.  I walk up and down the aisles in the poultry building and make mental notes of which new breed of chicken I will get next spring. 
Rhiannon & Grandma checking out the "contestants".

Although somewhat disappointing, the goat section of the barn is usually populated with less than a dozen goats, some of which I’m not even sure are purebred (not that I’m being snooty, just thought they had to be).  There were some Alpine looking breeds, three Boers and a Pigmy I think.  And all with horns.  I thought that dairy goats weren’t allowed to show with horns.  Oh well.
I also like seeing the cattle.  It just amazes me (and occasionally frightens me) when you see an eight year old girl leading a steer around the arena.  They aren’t full grown steer, but still something that could easily crush a Volkswagen beetle.  Last year we saw a little girl sitting on her steer, reading a book. 

The nice young woman who let Rhiannon pet her "pet".

Although I like to use Rhiannon as my excuse for going to the County Fair, I did have an ulterior motive for going this year:

Rabbits!  New Zealand, to be exact.  Ever since I’ve had the opportunity to somewhat reduce our wild rabbit population last winter (bastards were chewing on our fruit trees), I’ve been dreaming about starting a small flock.  Well, not “flock” exactly, but I don’t know what they call a bunch of rabbits.  Somebody let me know; if I'm going to be raising the buggers, I should at least learn the nomenclature.
Dressing out a rabbit has got to be the easiest animal to prepare for the supper table.  A few slits around the back legs, pull the skin down over the head, eviscerate, and lop the head off.  I’ve never, ever butchered something so easily or quickly.  I’ve baked two rabbits, but wasn’t too happy with the results; too chewy.  Not sure if it was me or the rabbit.  The others I put in the pressure cooker with some veggies and spices and just picked the meat off; it was mouth-watering.  And these were wild rabbits!  Can you imagine how much larger and meatier the New Zealand would be?
So for the past few weeks, I had been secretly planning where I was going to put the rabbit cages (which we already have three of for raising small amounts of chicks) and what type of watering / feeding system I was going to use.  I say secretly because as many of you may have already guessed, Paul was not aware of my scheming or he’d of nipped it in the bud before I got the words, “I’ve been thinking about getting some Rabb…..” out of my mouth.
Well, after we walked ourselves tired of the Fair, and after making one more visit to the Rabbit Barn, I left empty-handed.  And not just because there was only one New Zealand there (I was hoping for a breeding pair).
It’s because I already have too much on my plate at home.  Ms. Melman and Nugget (the mule and mini-horse) are still up the road as we still haven’t finished the pasture and fencing here.  Even though I have drastically reduced my goat numbers from earlier this summer, they are still time consuming.  The laying hens still require time to water and feed and I have twenty-five Cornish Cross chicks and twenty barnyard mutt chicks to care for.  Not to mention the occasional mucking out of stalls, cleaning up wasted hay and attending to other unforeseen events around the barnyard. And that’s just the livestock! 
So the only thing we left with from the County Fair was a fried pie for Rhiannon.
But I’m glad.
And there’s always next year.


  1. It's a herd of rabbits.

    Dad used to raise New Zealand Whites and for some strange reason I couldn't eat them and to this day won't eat rabbit.

    He had one arm and so he nailed two nails in a board and reversed it and nailed it to a tree or shed, cut a slit in the ligaments in the hind legs right at the feet and it could hang down and he could do the dressing unassisted. Works if you have two arms too!

    Tell Paul an extra added plus is the rabbit droppings. They make a wonderful fertilizer.

    Good luck. Somehow, I know you will get rabbits at some point.....

  2. That looks like a very fun day. I enjoy the livestock at the fair too, although our little fair has really dropped off in participation over the years.

    We've thought about rabbits on our homestead. I would really enjoy them, but not sure if I need another "project" right now! I'm also a bit concerned about the "cute factor". Hmmmm.

    I can't wait to see what happens for you!

  3. Me and my husband talk frequently about not wanting to take on too much the first year we are on our farm.

    It's so exciting to get started but overdoing it can be just as bad if not worse I'd imagine. Especially when it comes to animals since they require so much.

  4. I've thought about rabbits too but Jerry always says "Nothing else that eats!" He used to think I couldn't butcher anything we raised until we took the baby goat boys to the processor last year! :)

  5. gld, about the fertilizer "excuse"...I could almost guarantee that Paul would say, "I deal with enough shit around here without rabbits adding to it". Oh, and thanks for letting me know it's a herd!

    Mooberry, I think the white ones are "lab looking" so I don't really consider them cute, although the babies probably would be cute. All I'd have to do is remind myself how it's wild cousin destroys my garden every year and "Off with your head!" Yes. I'm evil.

    Fearless Farmgirl, learn from me please! Start small & start with buildings & fence, THEN the animals. Also, make sure your family is in on it otherwise it will lead to many, many heated arguements (ask me how I know this).

    Candy, I used to be timid about butchering our own animals, but after my first rooster, I got over it. Sounds mean, but most people get over it & it just becomes another chore on the homestead.

    APG.....OR??? It has to be an "OR"????? Yep, he's gonna kill me.

  6. Talking DH into rabbits was easy for me but the goats were a little trickier. Now I'm trying for a turkey(or 2) and maybe a pig-bacon prices are outrageous! If you come up with a good presentation/argument that works, I hope you share! Got my fingers crossed for ya!

  7. Rabbits are the easiest things to raise! Oh, and wild rabbits ARE a lot tougher than tame rabbits. I should know, growing up, I had 150 breeding rabbits in our barn. LOVE THEM! Good luck!