E como mai!
That's Hawaiian for 'welcome!'. This is Hillside Farm Hawaii, a very small 'micro-farm' on the Island of Hawaii. That's also the island with the volcano on it, if you keep track of the different Hawaiian islands. Since we are the Island of Hawaii in the State of Hawaii, folks frequently refer to us as the 'Big Island' mostly because this island is much bigger than the others and it's still growing. The volcano is over on the other side of the island, though, so the bunnies don't worry about having to hop faster than lava. Considering they're all angora bunnies, that's a really good thing because angoras aren't exactly the most athletic bunnies out there. They're much better at being cute and growing fabulous fiber than anything else.
These bunnies here are technically 'livestock', just like tiny little sheep. So, I guess they're 'micro-sheep'. Woot! I wonder if the bunnies would be offended if they ever found out they were livestock? They're exceptionally cute and cuddly livestock. Maybe shepards hug their sheep all the time, I dunno, but there's lots of bunny hugs around here.
The prime reason we have these terribly cute and fabulously fuzzy bunnies is to provide exquisite fiber for our Hula Bunny yarn. We are hoping to make the softest, fuzziest, absolutely insanely most luscusious yarn on the planet. Maybe even the universe! However, we're just a few bunnies in the backyard on a hillside in Hawaii so those may be some grandiose plans. The bunnies don't mind, though, as long as they get loads of ti leaves and other tasty things, they're happy enough to change leaves into fiber for any sort of grandiose plans we come up with. Bunnies are really mellow as long as there's tasty things around. Actually, they're pretty mellow most of the time and even when they're grumpy a ti leaf will usually cheer them up.
When we started 'Hillside Farm Hawaii' we were a real farm on a real hillside. It was some lovely leased farmland on, well, you guessed it - a hillside here in Hawaii. We weren't very good farmers, though. We grew sweet potatoes and the night before we went to harvest them, the feral pigs came in and roto-tilled the whole field and ate all the sweet potatoes. Too bad they couldn't have done all that rototilling after we'd harvested the sweet potatoes. We grew corn and pretty much the same thing happened. I did have loads of fun playing with the backhoe. As far as profitable farming went, the only thing actually making money was the bunnies and they weren't even on the leased farmland but in our backyard at home. Since we'd already started using the name 'Hillside Farm Hawaii', we kept the 'farm' name, gave up the leased farmland and concentrated on 'micro-farming' with the fuzzy English angora bunnies in the backyard. Since the backyard is also on a hillside, we kept the 'hillside' part of the name, too.
Hula Bunny Yarn!
Made with fiber from Hillside Farm Hawaii's English angora bunnies.
Since we're not very good sweet potato farmers we've become yarn farmers instead. Hmm, bunnies are livestock, so are we yarn ranchers instead of yarn farmers? In any case, we're now focusing on yarn production instead of worried about feral pigs eating everything.
Originally, the really soft 100% English angora "Hillside Farm Yarn" was spun by 'hand' using an Ashford Traditional spinning wheel. However, the demand for fuzzy bunny yarn was far greater than my ability to make it, so now we have some lovely folks with a small commercial "mini-mill" spin the fluff into yarn for us. They live on the mainland, but since there's no fiber mills here in Hawaii, we don't have any options other than to have it done on the mainland. The yarn is named "Hula Bunny Yarn" for the fuzzy bunnies here since during their haircut, there's a period of time when they look like they're wearing a hula skirt and are then 'hula bunnies'. Having the mini-mill folks helping us with the yarn production, that means when you buy a skein of Hula Bunny Yarn, you are not only getting some insanely soft yarn to make into wonderful things, but you're also supporting the fuzzy bunnies here as well as the folks who help us make the bunny fluff into yarn. That's a lot of multi-tasking for one skein of yarn!
The bunnies here love to get haircuts and will sit patiently while they get plucked or sheared. They molt their coats three times a year and we take up to six ounces of lovely bunny fluff off of them during the process. Since they only weigh about five to six pounds to being with, that's a pretty significant amount of weight to carry around. They get all happy after a haircut and bounce around although they settle down and grow more fluff quick enough.
Since the fiber is harvested during the time they're molting their coat - just like your pet dog may do in the springtime - they're quite happy to have someone take the loose fiber off of them. Sometimes it's combed or plucked off, other times it's sheared off using either tiny scissors, embroidery snips or on occasion, the electric clippers. It all depends on the condition of the coat. If it's too dense, then the electric clippers can't be used. Not that the bunnies care which method we use, in the bunny world, who grooms who is a mark of status. Since these silly humans seem to be doing all the grooming, that puts the bunny status pretty high so they like that. Not to mention the treats during the grooming and the body rub afterwards. Bunnies are very susceptible to bribery, especially if it's something really tasty like a ti leaf.
The bunnies here at Hillside Farm Hawaii think everyone should know their fiber providers - you wouldn't want to knit or crochet with fiber from somebunny you don't know, now would you? I asked them and they wiggled their nose at me, so I figured that's a bunny's 'yes'? Anyway, I'll see about listing the bunnies here according to which color of Hula Bunn yarn their fiber is used to create. Until I get that done, you can click on the picture of Sunny eating a citrus leaf below and go to the 'Meet the Bunnies' page that has pictures of some of them. Eventually, there will be a tiny picture of each bunny here sorted by which color of yarn they help us with and eventually, the Meet the Bunnies page will have a link to each individual bunny as well so you'll be able to meet your specific fiber provider from several different links.
Meet Your Fiber Providers
Eventually, we hope to have a picture of each bunny along with a separate page for each one so you can meet your fiber providers. Knitting with somebunny is better than just anybunny!
To see more information on any of the white bunnies pictured above, click on them and you'll get to see their 'bio' page. I hope to add a lot more pictures to their individual pages as their pictures get uploaded, but there should be at least several pictures of each of them at the moment. It's doing to take awhile to get all the data onto the website.
We need more white bunnies! Once Zeus gets old enough, he can meet up with Suzie and that will hopefully result in a whole litter of white babies. We're gonna be short on Coconut Dream color of Hula Bunny yarn until we get some more white bunnies providing us with their fiber.
Moonlit Dance may be the most popular color of Hula Bunny yarn, even over the creamy white Coconut Dream color. It is a lovely gray that goes well with a lot of other colors. The black, blue and agouti colors of bunnies provide the fiber for Moonlit Dance.
Zorro is a Satin/German angora hybrid. We now have two angoras who aren't English angora. The plan is to use their fiber along with the English angora fiber to see if we can get a bit more halo look to Hula Bunny yarn. It will still primarily be English angora yarn to keep it the softest possible, but a small percentage of Satin/German fiber may increase the halo on the finished yarn. We will do a test once we get enough fiber from the hybrid bunnies. Both of them are black, so that will go for the Moonlit Dance color of Hula Bunny yarn. If it works out well, then we will have to import some other colors of Satins.
We also have two young black bucks, Zookie Schwartz and Zoot, who if they are still here after they get old enough to have their fiber harvested, will also provide fiber for Moonlit Dance color of yarn. They are the two available bunnies at the moment, though, so they will probably find a new home before their next haircut. We have enough fiber providers for the Moonlight Dance yarns which is why they're available at this time.
If you like, you can send us an email and ask about bunnies, yarn, Hawaii things, what we should have on our webpage or just about anything else.
Mail to: Hillside Farm Hawaii