Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Looking Back on 2009

GC Sweet Pea wins Best Reserve at Delmarva.
GC CR Blue Skies wins Second Reserve at Shenandoah Show A.

GC CR Blue Skies poses for her official photo.

GC Shepherds Sweet Pea win BIS at Delmarva.

GC Shepherds Aslin wins Best Reserve at Shenandoah Show B.
The year 2009 has had many ups and downs for me but I can't be more pleased with my show season. My goal this year was to win one open Best in Show with one of my English Angoras. That was reached at the Delmarva show B with a Reserve in Show A. My next goal became winning a BIS or Reserve with an English Angora Buck and/or a Jersey Woolie. Both of these goals happened at the Shenandoah double show. Jersey Woolie Self Senior Doe GC CR Blue Skies won Second Reserve in show A and English Angora REW Senior Buck GC Shepherds Aslin won Reserve in show B. The English Angora Show Season ended with:
8 Grand Champion English Angoras with 5 very close to GC.
2BIS, 2RIS, 12 BOB, 16 BOS, 16 BOV, 7 BOSV winning a total of 44 legs.
I just want to thank everyone for their support and to particularly thank Mr. Bill Miller for selling me some of his most precious Jersey Woolies. The bunnies from him and my breeding with the "King of All" have really made my first official Fall Jersey Woolie Show season start off with an unexpected bang:
3 Grand Champion Woolies and 3 very close to GC.
1 Second Reserve, 8 BOB, 4BOS,7 BOG,11 BOSG winning a total of 18 legs.
Being very unexperienced with showing Woolies, all of these wins were a true surprise to me and totally unexpected. The bunnies made it easy for me as they just love to show as seen by Miss Blue Skies official photo above. You only have to look at her sideways and she does that! No help needed by owner except love and a little brushing.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hoppy Christmas

Hoping all my bunny friends have a great holiday.
Hope your mug is overflowing with holiday cheer.

And you all get some rest!
To all my bunny friends have a hoppy, health Holiday season and hope everyone has full nest boxes for the New year. Thanks for all your support during a very trying year. Bunny people are all the best and I wish the best for all of you from The Rabbit Shepherds.

Snow Job

Winter wonderland.
There is a truck under there.

Bird Bath.

How deep can it get?
No words are necessary for the snow storm that we got on Saturday. I am hardly walking today from the big shoveling out. Our very kind across the street neighbor helped us with the street part of the driveway. It was still snowing when these pictures were taken and we ended up with 24" of snow in the end. The only ones happy about this picture are the angora goats and they already have on big fur coat.

The Big Haircut

The King of All says"What is that?"
Could that much wool come off of one Rabbit?

Buried in a sea of wool.

Aah, that feels better.
GC Shepherds Sweet Pea finally had her big haircut. She has been growing her coat for a full year. There was never a coat molted out. Even I was surprised at how much coat came off of this one rabbit. Her density and even, non-molting coat must have been her winning ticket to the two Best in Show and one Reserve in Show wins. Her sisters and brother held their coats for a long time and her one brother even won two BOS with his second coat. That doesn't happen very often in the English Angora world. I have had very few angoras to win with a grow back coat. GC Shepherds Aphroditi won two BOB with her second coat going on to complete her grand champion title. She is the only one I can think remember at the moment. Can't wait to see Miss Sweet Pea's coat spun up and knitted (by someone other then me:-) into something very beautiful.

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Goats

New Black Goat.
Both joining the herd.

Smaller black goat.
We have added some new members to our goat family, a large, black male goat with some silver to the edge of his coat and a smaller black male goat with a white saddle. They have joined our herd and you would think they had lived here all their lives. They really enjoy playing with our 3 young goats that were born this spring. It is fun to see them frolic around the yard. They also get our goats up and moving around the property grazing on the grass and shrubs instead of laying around sleeping in a big lump.
I drove up to get them in New York State near Utica. I got a chance to visit with Linda, bringing her my famous pumpkin pie, which she seemed to really enjoy. Then the next day we drove over to Maggie Alexander's to pick up the goats and thank goodness Linda was with me because I don't think I would have found her farm by myself as many of the roads didn't have any signs.
Her son helped to catch them and we put them in a crate in the back of my SUV. They stood up most of the way home and I think there were many people on the New York Thruway that wondered what kind of crazy looking dogs that lady from New Jersey had in her car. When I stopped at a rest stop I saw people looking in the back at them too. They did very well for being in the car for over 5 hours.
We kept them in a pen in the barn so our goats could come in and sniff them and get to know them but the little goat got out and joined right in with the herd so we let the bigger one out and he was happy to meet everyone. The only problem is the dogs keep barking at them because they can't figure out what they are. They will get used to them eventually.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Sweet Pea Poses

Sweet Pea in her show coat.
Sweet face close up.

Angora on velvet.
Haven't blogged for awhile because my computer was sick again but this time I lost everything on the computer. These beautiful photos were taken by Donna McGraw at the end of Sweet Pea's show career. She looks lovely posing on velvet. The longer she was shown, the better her attitude became. I remember that in the beginning of the fall, she was growling at some of the judges. Looking startled, they would usually place her last. Sweet Pea would never bite but just give out a warning that she was done being touched by strangers. She never growled at me by let me know when she had enough grooming by nudging me with her head.
The growling simmered down over time and she reluctantly decided to cooperate with showing, ending her career with 2 open Best in Shows and one Reserve in show with 7 BOB, 3BOS and 10 GC legs. Quite a show career for a slow stater that didn't have 1 GC leg as a junior. Her sister GC Posey, brother GC Bramble and other brother GC Tinker Toy always seemed to beat her. But she showed them by holding onto her coat for over a year and ending up with 12" of wool at the longest point.She has had the big hair cut which I will post photos of when I find the cord to my camera. She was surrounded in a sea of wool after her haircut and is very happy now running around her cage playing with toys. She will be bred soon but I have already re-done this breeding and hope to have good luck with babies again.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Behind the Times

Magic and Crazy Di's litter.
GC Tom Thumb and Hyacinth's litter.

GC White Excitement and GC Blue Diamonds litter.
I promised baby pictures and with one thing and another, they all grew up. That is the thing with dwarf breeds, they look full grown at 4 weeks old because they are so small to begin with. They always look cute no matter what age the are. Everyone of the babies look to be all girls except for one REW buck which normally is good but I was really hoping for a blue boy out of one of the litters.
When working with brokens, it is always good to have a solid color to cross back with if you don't want to get any charlies. I was planning on trying a broken to broken litter later in the year or into the spring. I wanted to see what they turn out like and use the charlies back to a solid with broken in the background. This is supposed to intensify the color on the broken and give more pattern overall. We will see.
I am looking forward to seeing how the baby Woolies grow up especially the 2 REW babies as they have a really nice coat and body type already.
The Baltimore and Howard show was fun but I still felt in a fog for most of the day from my cold. Most of my angoras are out of coat or not grown up enough to compete yet. GC Shepherds Aslin took BOS in English Angoras and GC CR Blue Skies took BOB in Jersey Woolies. Aslin is now retired. He molted all of his coat off his belly but he ended up with a Reserve in Show and 11 GC legs. I am very tempted to breed Blue Skies but might wait until after PASRBA in Feburary. Have a few other does hopefully bred. Wish me luck. The last 4 Angora breeding produced nothing.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Glamour Shots

Tulamores Caprice posing after her BOB win.

GC CR Blue Skies after her BOB win.

CR Conspiracy Theory sitting up nice after BOSG win.
I am falling behind on the blogging after getting a big head cold and taking 6 1/2 to drive home from the Carroll County show. It is only a 3 hour drive but with accidents and road construction, it took double the time it should have. So it has taken me 3 days to recooperate only to turn around and do it all again tomorrow. Well, there are only 2 more shows until show season finishes for winter so I will have to make the best of it.
Donna McGraw took these beautiful glamour photos of a few of my winning Woolies and of my English Angora Tulamores Caprice. She is one talented animal photographer. Sorry I couldn't get the photos of Caprice bigger as the detail of her wool shows up just beautifully. If you want to see Donna's many other animal photos look up the photo gallery at her website Tulamore Farm. I am trying to get her to go into business:-)
Caprice looks really nice and is a very young senior. She had a hard time showing against Sweetpea but is coming into her own now. What a nice silkey texture she has.
The Woolies are brother and sister (can't you tell by looking at them?) and have come along well during the fall show season. Blue Skies has 7 GC legs, 4 BOB and a 2nd Reserve in Show. I aquired her brother later in the season and he has won 2 GC legs with 2BOSG wins. They are the sweetest bunnies and just love going to shows. Their GC Mom is sweet like them and has a beautiful litter of 2 REW babies which I am holding out high hopes for spring 2010. I have to get some photos of them, they are so cute. Will have to wait and see how they do. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Over to the Dark Side

Oh No! I actually bought yarn.
My very wavy knitting.

They do make a pretty pile.
After almost twenty years of having angora rabbits, I finally asked my Mother to teach me how to knit. Horrors, this is from someone that used to throw away her angora wool. It is all Donna McGraw's fault. She said "We know how to knit but we need to learn how to cast on." So I said I would get my Mother to explain it. She could make a diagram or something. The next thing you know she is "making" me knit.
Now mind you, my Mother is a very talented knitter, seamstress and cross-stitcher. My Mom has offered to teach me to knit before but I never really had the time. I am also very un-coordinated, having been throw out of ballet class, at age six, for going in the wrong direction too many times. But ok, I would learn how to cast on so that my friend and her children could become expert knitters.
Well, the casting on went fine. I have a talent for casting on. It's when the rest of the knitting happens that I get into trouble. Remember the whole wrong direction thing. It kicks in when I am knitting. To add to the trouble, my Mom taught me on wood needles and gave me some metal needles to practice on. They are like knitting on ice. You can see, in the photos, my imitation of the ocean waves with my practice knitting. So I thought that if I got some wood needles at the craft store, I would have an easier time practicing. But the yarns were all 25% off and all the colors were so pretty and they were so soft, so now I am in big trouble. Apparently, the person that dies with the most yarn wins? Anyway, that is what all the ladies buying yarn were saying. You are in big trouble, Donna McGraw!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Spooky Taco

Candy corn eyes.
All dressed up and nowhere to go.

Yes, I wrapped myself up in the rug.

It is nice and cozy in here.

Whoooh! Look at the Spooky Taco. We have some crazy pets that live at our house. Jemima was brought home from the Stop n' Shop by my husband. She was too little to be away from her mother but the people were going on vacation and just wanted to be rid of the kittens before they left. She spent a lot of time with our dogs so she really doesn't think she is a cat. She rules the house and will not let the dogs pass her without permission. We put a throw rug down by the back door to keep the wet from traveling into the house. Jemima thinks this was put there just for her Halloween costume. Spooky isn't she?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Berryville, West Virginia Show

Judge Owen Yates picked a REW.
Judge Chris Howell's choice for BIS and second reserve, photo by Donna McGraw.

GC Shepherds Aslin in his beauty shot by Donna McGraw.
The Blue Ridge Rabbit club threw another fun filled "woolie" show at the Shenandoah Fiber Festival in beautiful Berryville, West Virginia. This Rabbit club goes all out to make sure everyone has a great time. They do a wonderful job with prizes, giving gift baskets full of goodies for BIS, Best Reserve and 2nd Best Reserve, to help us make the long drive home. A very handsome French Angora sable pearl Senior buck won BIS at both show "A" and "B" owned by Pam.
I was lucky enough to come home with 2 baskets of goodies won by 2 different breeds of bunnies. GC CR Blues Skies, blue Jersey Woolie Senior doe, was lucky enough to win 2nd Reserve in show "A" and GC Shepherds Aslin, English Angora REW Senior buck, won 2nd Reserve in show "B". We now have it on record that Judge Owen Yates actually picked a REW bunny. We all know they are not his favorite but he said he will pick it if it's a good one.
The club also had another fun and wool related raffle table with lots of goodies to take a chance on. Even some pouring down rain storms did little to dampen the spirits of the group and spectators. The food on the fair grounds was great serving grilled lamb sausage with a dill yogurt sauce and many other yummie things. My only regret was no time to actually see the festival. Next time, the show should give us an hour off for lunch so we can tour the vendor booths. Many thanks for the unexpected overnight accomodations. Had a great time at the McGraws Bed and Breakfast, Donna knows what I mean. What a fun weekend!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Stork Arrives

The King of All and Hyacinth, 1 broken blue and 2 blues.
GC CR White Excitement and GC CR Blue Diamonds, 2 REWS

Mystery and PB Crazy Di, 1 black and 2 broken black.

The Nest boxes lineup.
The stork was here yesterday and I am just waiting for one more arrival today. Woolie litters are so small, usually 2-3 babies. Once or twice there will be a big litter of 4-6 babies but that is unusual. They are the size of a women's thumb when they are born. The colors show up almost right away or at least by day 2. So you can see who is broken or charlie and if the marking have turned out pretty even. I am very excited about my first woolie litter with both parents being Grand Champions.
I use plastic bins for all my litters and I use stacking office bins for the woolies. They are just the right size and even have a spot for a label on the front where I list all the information about each litter. I put this on right away, Mom and Dad, how many and what color and date of birth. This way if any babies escape, I know who it belongs too.
The nest boxes are taken away from the Moms right after birth, covered with a dish towel and brought in the house. They are kept inside a cage and brought out to Mom twice a day, morning and night, to nurse. If the Mom doesn't get the idea, I put the Mom in the nest box and put the dish towel over her so she has some quiet time with the babies. When she is done, she will poke her head out from the towel to let me know. I do this for the first 2 weeks until the babies have grown some wool and the Moms have a chance to re-cooperate. After 2 weeks, it depends on the Moms. Some are happy to have a cage to themselves and some want the babies with them. I let the Moms decide.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

BIS at the Lebanon Show

Whitney's beautiful Belgian Hare.
Shepherds Sweet Pea sitting on the lucky rug.

Judge Travis Finkle with me and Sweet Pea.

Shepherds Sweet Pea listening to the judges comments.
Yea! I got a new camera for my birthday and am able to post photos again! Just in time for some exciting news and photos.
I almost didn't go to the Lebanon show after I realized that it was nearly 3 hours away. Thinking that it was a closer show, I didn't look at the directions until the night before. It was a single show but with an additional Jersey Woolie specialty show. Blue Skies needed one more leg to grand and she was looking really nice so I made the trip. Sure am glad I did. Sweet Pea won Best of Breed and then went on to win Best in Show along with Whitney's beautiful grand champion Belgian Hare as Reserve in Show. How exciting to win along with such a nice friend! She almost didn't stay for the Best in Show judging but needed to register her rabbit. I think she must have forgotten all about the registration after her win. This is her first grand champion and now her first Reserve in Show. No matter how many times you might win best or reserve, it never looses it's thrill. But the first time will stay in your memory forever.
Thanks to Judge Travis Finkle for picking Sweet Pea. Karen, show sectrary from the Delmarva show, brought my lucky rug back to me. I must have left it on the table after all the excitement. I sure that is what helped us win. Rabbit people are the best. Oh, and Blue Skies did get her last leg after all.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Del-Mar-Va Va Va Voom

GC Shepherds Sweet Pea with her Best Reserve Trophy.
Well, the Delmarva show was nothing if not exciting. It seemed like everyone showing had a variety of breeds in both open shows along with a whole group of specialty shows. As an example, angora breeders could show rabbits 3 times in one day. I brought two breeds again and showed them in a total of 5 different shows. Crazy! Donna had 3 breeds and showed them in at least 7 different shows, I think, or there may have been more. I think I lost track of her speeding in many different directions. Thanks to all of the show secretaries that ran the specialty shows, especially Julie and Karen, for all of their hard work!
Rabbit people are the kindest and most helpful of people and many of them helped others to get their breeds up on the tables at the correct time. It was like a whirlwind getting buns where they were supposed to go. Thanks to Katie and Regan. We also had our friend Thevee there to help carry buns. She said something like "Everything goes so fast and is so confusing." We all forget sometimes what it must be like for a beginner.
Anyway, I wore my angora scarf. It is spun from wool plucked from my Delmarva BIS winning bunny from the previous year. It was spun for my by fellow angora breeder, Lori White, and knitted up by my mother. She also added some fringe made from chinchilla angora fiber from one of my first rabbits. You can see it around my neck in the photo above taken by Donna McGraw (official blog photographer). It obviously brought me tons of good luck because after Sweet Pea won Reserve in show "A", she went on to win Best in Show "B". With so many beautiful rabbits up for the top prizes, I was more than shocked when the English Angora was called out both times. I now have a matching pair of directors chairs in my bedroom. Do I hope to make this an annual event? I sure hope so.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mullica Hill Show

BOB and BOS Jersey Woolie.
Somebunny loves you!

What Aslin thinks of the whole day of showing.

Never get any photos of myself showing.
The Mullica Hill show was alot of fun and very hectic. We all spent alot of time running from one building to another trying to figure out where our breeds where showing and in which order. Since loosing my camera, Donna McGraw graciously offered to be the blog's official photographer. She has a beautiful camera and takes stunningly beautiful photos of bunnies. I never get any photos of me at shows and rarely get any photos of the show happening or of the bunnies. I really enjoyed looking at all that went on in photos during the crazy day. I don't know what I am thinking showing two breeds at a double show but I guess it is worth it as the bunnies did really well. The woolies took BOB and BOS in show "A"and BOB in show "B". This is still a shock to me considering there are so many experienced woolie breeders showing. I never really believe it is happening. CR Ice Maiden now has 8 GC legs, getting very close to "The King of All" with 9 GC legs to his name. I just love the photo that Donna took of Ice Maiden and White Excitement together.
The English Angoras are more what I am used to and can usually have a better idea of how they will do. Alex won BOB in show "A" with her beautiful tort doe and Donna won BOS with her handsome black buck. Alex also won BIS youth with her beautiful Giant Angora. I expected to do well with the whites as they looked pretty nice. Thinking that the same result would happen in show "B", I was surprised to see that my whites took BOB and BOS. You never really know what a judge is going to end up picking. We had a very nice judge from Missori that I had never showed under before and apparently she likes white bunnies.
Donna helped me at the BIS table by taking up the woolie doe while I wrangled the uncooperative Aslin, who was surprisingly mellow. Considering he comes from a long line of show winning rabbits, showing is not his thing. He is only truly happy just flopped in his cage. He even grips the grooming table with his claws like he will spin off into outer space if his grip is released just the tiniest bit. For a bunny so disliking shows, he has had a pretty good show career with 5 GC legs so far. But see how Donna caught his true personality in the photo above with his tongue sticking out.