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Winter Solstice 2021

Hello Hoppy Mountain Friends,

Today is the Winter Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere. This day gives me such hope each year, and this year I am especially grateful for it. The short days take a toll on me, and I'll bet I'm not the only one who starts feeling dragged out at this point in the year.

I've often referred to HOPE as 'that four letter word'. I'm certain that some of you have heard the sage advice, "Plan for the worst, but hope for the best". Truer words there have never been. I believe it is important to stay positive, but also have a plan.

I had planned for and hoped that Floof would have kindled this past weekend. She gave me all the signs that she was carrying a litter: she would dig or try to burrow, she lay on her side instead of in the usual 'loaf' position, she has been a little grumpy, and it also seemed like Storm was more interested in being near her rather than trying to mate with her (as shown in this week's photo). However as I watched and hoped these last four days for any signs of nesting, they never manifested.

As of yesterday, Floof officially passed the window of kindling. I decided to put Floof with Storm to see how they would interact. Well to my surprise they mated, so I am starting the breeding process anew. This just means for the next two or three days I will put the buck and doe together three times a day to encourage mating. Then, I watch and I wait and yes, I hope. Ten to Twelve days later I can do the palpitation test to see if I can detect any growing kits, but this is tricky as sometimes what might feel like a kit could be a pellet of waste inside the digestive tract. Which brings us back around to 'that four letter word'.

I HOPE we will have a litter of kits at the end of January.

Which brings us to the plan. Should Floof and Storm be an incompatible breeding couple after three breeding attempts, I will need to reassess. I have no intention of culling or selling either rabbit. Their primary function is to produce wool,and they both perform that job splendidly. However, there are some things I need to get set up and figured out before I add to the herd and try for kits with a different pair. Another value of Hoppy Mountain Farm is to always make sure that there is plenty of room to grow and thrive. Therefore, some serous planning and decision making needs to happen before any attempt at expansion.

In other news, Annie's Project has concluded as of last Thursday. I cannot give this program enough praise. Not only did this class teach the basics of running an agricultural based business, it also gave us access to many great resources and networked women farmers together. Now that it is finished, I need to set some goals for the new year and get them outlined. I know I want to try to expand on hydroponics this year, as well as grow some flax for linen.

So, I suppose in honor of the solstice, I will list all my hopes for the new year, and then use that list to set some goals and flesh out a plan. Let's face 'that four letter word' together and dare to hope.

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