Category Archives: Angora Bunnies

“Varietal sole source” yarn

What is it they call a type of wine made by the vineyard that grows the grapes?  There’s so many wine terms it’s hard to keep track of them, but wine and yarn may have some things in common.  There’s the common wines in cardboard boxes and then there’s the good stuff made in small batches?  Well, in any case, today’s effort is making a ‘varietal’ yarn of one type of fiber and it is ‘sole sourced’ from one individual bunny.  Ha!  Maybe we can now make yarn labels about as confusing as an exotic wine label?

For Hula Bunny Yarn, the bunnies get haircuts and all their wool is in one big group sorted by color.  Then it’s sent to a small family run mill, blended with some of the softest Merino sheep’s wool for elasticity and with some silk for shine.  Then it’s spun into fingering weight yarn.  The next batch will hopefully be three ply, so far it’s all been two ply, we will see if the mill was able to do a three ply when it gets back from the mill hopefully sometime this month.

However, there’s also Hillside Farm Yarn which is the handspun yarns made from whatever is produced here and whatever I feel like spinning up at the time.  Consistency isn’t exactly what I’m known for so most of the Hillside Farm yarn has a run of maybe four skeins at most of any one type.  Usually ‘one skein wonders’ type of patterns are best for Hillside Farm yarn, but maybe consistency will be something to work on this year.

Phineus Pogge

So we start out with one bunny.  In this case, it’s Phineus Phogge.  He got a haircut the day before yesterday so now he doesn’t look like his picture anymore.

This is Phineus’ fluff becoming a ‘sole source varietal’ yarn.  Woot!

Yarn on spinning wheel
100% Phineus Fiber

It’s not been processed in any fashion other than clipping it off of Phineus.  I may card it a bit or I may not, depends on how it looks at the time.  It will be washed after it’s spun to set the twist.  Then measured, weighed and labeled.  I haven’t had much Hillside Farm Yarn available for awhile, it doesn’t last long once it’s made although hopefully there will be some for me to knit with this year.  I knit a lot with Hula Bunny yarn so patterns can be made, but there’s not as much Hillside Farm yarn so when it sells, there’s usually not any left for me.

The main difference between the two yarns is the elasticity of Hula Bunny verses the non-elasticity of the Hillside Farm yarn.  Also, the Hillside Farm yarn is even softer than Hula Bunny.  Hmm, Hillside Farm yarn would make an excellent blanket!  That would be a lot of bunny fluff, though.  Maybe I’ll make some and try weaving it, I don’t think I’ve ever woven Hillside Farm yarn.  That would make an excellent weft yarn, not sure if it would be a good warp yarn, though.  Hmm, maybe spin up some cotton for the warp and angora for the weft?  Well, I’ll think about that project some more.

See, that’s the thing, when you make your own yarn you can sit there and think about exactly which fibers you want in it and exactly what characteristics you want your yarn to have.  I find yarn stores really limiting when all they have is a zillion colors of the exact same yarn.

I’d been spinning the Bleak Hall Sea Island white fiber yesterday and now today the bunny fluff feels much slicker than usual.  It doesn’t have the same amount of ‘catch’ that the cotton has.  Both fibers are somewhat similar lengths.  Both fibers are approximately the same diameter, both being fine fibers.  Neither fiber has much elasticity at all.  Yet the cotton has a lot more ‘catch’ to it and can spin finer without falling apart in the process.

I’d started with the same setup for yesterday’s cotton spinning and immediately noticed that the tension was set way too high for the angora.  Really lowering the tension helped and now we’re spinning up Phineus into a “Varietal” yarn.  Maybe I’ll have to think up a better term for yarn made from one specific fiber source?  Do wine terms work with yarn?  “Single Source” for yarn from one sheep or one bunny?  Anyone else know what the terminology would be?

Early morning excavators

DSCN9223Well, it may not actually have been that much ‘early morning’ but it’s later in the year and the sun gets up later so I do, too.  Around 8:30 this morning, though, there was a diesel burring sound near to the front bedroom.  Not a loud diesel noise, a nice quiet burrrrr.  Well, that wasn’t too bad until there was a back up beeper.  Ick!   So with the annoying sound of back up beepers before morning coffee, I awoke.

 

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Dec. 12, 2016

This is three and a half hours of Mark & Excavator.  There used to be a hillside covered with trees and brush where the boys are standing.

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This is the view from the other direction.  There’s still thirty or forty feet of uncleared area behind and the excavator is near the front.  It’s rather a bit of a hillside, but hey, we’re Hillside Farm, after all.  Although, this wasn’t the hillside we started on, the original hillside was rather a bit bigger.  But, even though we’ve gone townside & residential, we’re still sticking to our Hillside roots.

A grapefruit tree and a macadamia nut tree were found, along with a lot of jacaranda, although the jacaranda are not going to be able to stay.  I would have liked one for the back yard, but they’re pretty much where we have to put the house.  Residential lots are pretty small and with only a third of an acre, there’s not much leeway on where things can go.

The bunnies can live up under the macadamia nut tree, though.  Eventually, it will take awhile before they have to move, probably a year or two.  The new hutches are movable, though, not like last move where we had to rebuild from the beginning.  I’ll draw in the place for the bunny hutches when drawing up the new house.  Not sure what that’s gonna look like just yet.  Once Mark gets done with the excavation, it will probably be easier to see how it should go.

We’re hoping for a lot of baby bunnies this upcoming January.  There have been six girls who have or are visiting Joey & Phineus.  Sydney has come down mountain for a Christmas vacation, although we don’t know if he’s going to visit with any girls over his vacation or not.  With six possible litters, if they all happened and if each one had six babies, that would be thirty new baby bunnies!  I’m not expecting more than one or maybe two litters of four to maybe six babies each, but with bunnies, you never know.

Let’s see, who met up with whom?  There’s only two of the bucks who met up with girls.  Phineus Phogge, our newest young buck met up with Suzie, Myste and Sirocco.

Since three of them have ‘atmospheric’ names, they were all born earlier this year.  This is the year of names that have something to do with weather or atmospheric conditions.  Joey and Suzie were from the year before where the bunnies were named after famous people, although I’m the one who gets to choose who is famous or not.  Joey is named for a friend on Maui who does some background acting in Hawaii 5-0 and other movies so he’s a famous movie star – at least, the bunnies think so but they don’t watch much TV.  Suzie is named after the Suzie who wrote ‘The Nervous New Owners Guide to Angora Rabbits’, a very famous person indeed!  Well, at least, if you’re an angora bunny.  Next year we may name them after textures or soft things.  Fluffy, Squooshie, Silky, Crimpy, Charmin; hmm, maybe we won’t.  Well, some sort of name theme will pop up, no doubt.

Other than Phineus, the other buck who met up with girl bunnies is Joey.  He’s a Ruby Eyed White with really nice shoulders and a cocky attitude.  An angora with an attitude somewhat reminds me of an angry butterfly, but it’s hard to be a tough guy when you’re soft and fluffy.  Joey met up with Cocoa Puff, Ginger & Sandy Storm.

We are hoping for more than one or two litters, but we will have to see how things go.  Sometimes the litters don’t show up in the late summer and early winter.

 

 

 

Three new ones

Ginger & Sydney babies
Ginger & Sydney babies

They don’t look like much yet, but there’s three new bunnies!  Ginger & Sydney had three babies today.  There’s a blue one (the lighter gray), a black one and what is either a tortoiseshell or a Ruby Eyed White, it’s hard to tell at this stage with the pink ones.

Hopefully she will feed them and they will survive, we will know within the next two days if they are likely to survive or not.

Sirocco and Sandy were also bred at the same time in hopes of having multiple mum bunnies available to take in unfed little ones, but neither one of them had a litter.   At least, not yet, anyway.

I don’t know if these will be the last three bunnies born here this year or not, it’s getting kinda close that the bunnies should have been out on dates if they were gonna have a litter this year.  Of course, they could always start in on next year’s babies, but then they will be on a different name theme.  Not sure what next year’s name theme will be, this year was atmospheric conditions.  Last  year was people names, the year before that was qualities of light.  Maybe we will do flower or spice names or something?  Rocks or jewels, maybe?

New Bunny Hutches Delivered!
New Bunny Hutches Delivered!

We may not be able to get pizza deliveries at our house, but today we got some bunny hutches delivered!  Woot!  Room for more bunnies!  Not sure where they are going to go yet,  maybe they will be for more bucks.  It’s been drizzly rainy today so thrashing about in the side of the yard underbrush hasn’t been  high on my list.  Maybe in the next several days there will be time to organize the new bunny space.

Waiting for the photographer

Hula Bunny Yarn
Hula Bunny Yarn

It’s a rainy day, so of course that’s when the magazine photographer is supposed to show up to take pictures of bunnies and things.  Sigh!

There is an article being worked on about fiber critters in Hawaii or some such, not quite sure what their exact topic is, but the journalist visited the bunnies last week.  It was, of course, a gorgeous sunny day but she didn’t have her photographer with her that day.  Ooops!  So, he’s supposed to visit today and see the bunnies and it is a miserable wet rainy day.

Guess they will have to be inside bunnies instead of out in the sunshine bunnies.

We gathered up some of the yarns and things from Vera’s Treasures so the photographer can see them since it seems like it’s gonna be an inside kinda day.

Hillside Gayle
Hillside Gayle

Baby Gayle got weighed and came in at one pound nine ounces at three weeks old.  Gayle is a singleton and is the only one in her litter so she’s getting what would be enough food to feed up to ten baby bunnies.  When she’s fully adult, she will be just over five pounds, so to be a pound and three quarters at three weeks old seems pretty plump to me!  I’ve not closely tracked weights of baby buns though, to know by how much more plump she may be over a ‘normal’ weight at this age.

I think baby Gayle is a girl bunny, though, so she will get to stay here if she is female.  We need more buns to make the ‘Moonlit Dance’ color of Hula Bunny yarn.

Well, soon as the rain slows down, I’ll go out and feed the herd and set up the nest boxes for the possible three litters we may be having later this week.  Not sure if the photographer is gonna want to visit bunnies in the rain or not.

Need more bunnies!


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Baby Black Bun got weighed today and he came in at a whopping one pound two ounces and he’s only two weeks old.  Chubby little guy.  He may be a ‘he’, it’s still too early to be sure, but if I had to guess, I’d guess male.

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He’s been named ‘Hillside Gayle’, is that a name which can be male as well as female?  I’ll have to go see, but for now, he’s named ‘Gayle’.  He does have his eyes open now, too, although you can’t see them in the pictures.  He’s also quite fond of ear rubs, he’s not a shy bunny at all.

We’re hoping for new baby bunnies around Thanksgiving, November 26th, to be exact.  Bunnies are pretty good about having their litters close to when we expect, although as usual with bunnies, there’s almost always exceptions.  At the moment, there’s three litters we are hoping to arrive on the 26th.

  1. These are the parents of the first litter we area hoping for.  The first picture is Hirata’s Ginger, who is a chocolate tortoiseshell doe.  The next picture is Hillside Sydney, who is an agouti buck, before his haircut and the next picture is after his haircut.  Ginger is just over a year and a half old and Sydney is just over two and a half years old.

His color genetics are Aa Bb C(C) Dd Ee and hers are aa bb C_ D_ ee.  So, half the litter should be some sort of agouti based color pattern, half the litter should be chocolate based colors, more than likely there won’t be any whites (the C in parenthesis is because I’m pretty sure he has two dominant C’s there in his genetic code, but it’s not certain yet), we don’t know if there will be any dilute colors and there should be about half fawns/tortoiseshell color patterns.

The next pair of bunny parents is Hillside Joey and Hillside Sandy Storm.  Joey is a Ruby Eyed White (REW) buck and Sandy is a fawn doe.  He’s a year and three months old and she’s seven months old.  This will be a first litter for her and his fourth.  Joey has a great temperament and great shoulders so he is a good herd buck.

Between them, it will be interesting to see what colors may show up.  His color genetics are __ B_ cc _ _ and hers are Aa Bb C_ D_ Ee.  Half the litter should be agouti color pattern and the other half solids.  We don’t know if there will be any chocolates but they both have a dominant B for Black so there should be some agouti/blacks most likely.  We don’t know if she has the recessive ‘c’ for albino, if she does than we will probably see some REWs.  The rest we haven’t a clue since there’s too much unknown in either of their color genetic charts.  We could see just blacks and agouti in this litter.

The parents of the third litter we are hoping for are Phineus Phogge and Sirocco.  He’s a lilac buck and she’s a chocolate agouti doe.  Phin is eight months old and Sirocco is seven so they are both young parents.  Her color genetics are Aa bb C_ D_ Ee and his are aa bb Cc dd E_.  So, half the litter should be agouti color pattern, all should be chocolate (no dominant black genes in either one), not sure if there will be albinos, not sure if there will be dilutes nor do we know if there will be torts and fawns.  So, chocolates and chocolate agouti is what we can expect.

There has been a lot of interest in bunnies just lately so we probably do need to have a few more girl/boy bunny meet-ups.  I’ve been going through the database checking to see which bunny can meet up with which bunny.  Even though we have five bucks listed in the database, as far as actual useful bucks, we’re down to two: Joey & Phineus Phogge.  Sydney went back up mountain and we could have a girl bunny take a vacation in the mountains and meet up with Syd, but for now, we’re just looking at the bunnies here.  Dozer and City Slicker are still on the list of bucks who live here, but they’re too old now for buck duty.  Which pretty much leaves Joey & Phineus as active bucks.

The available does who can meet up with them are:
1.  Hillside Cheiri, a black doe
2.  Hillside Myste, a lilac doe
3.  Hillside Petunia, a REW doe
4.  Hillside Suzie, a REW doe, and
5.  Hillside Tootsie, a chocolate tortoiseshell doe

The rest of the females here are either too old to have a litter or aren’t breeding stock for one reason or another.

Since we have a small herd, we have to check to see who’s related to whom so – the does that Joey can meet up with are  Myste, Petunia and Tootsie.   Phineus Phogge can meet up with  Cheiri, Myste and Suzie.    I’ll have to look at each bunny to decide which ones would be best for which ones, although Myste is the only female who can meet up with either buck.   If the litters that are due on November 26th don’t show up, then we will pick another three pairs and see if they work out better.