Hello Solstice.

I greet you with bittersweet joy. You are glorious. Incomparable. I know if I chose I could walk out, at this absurd midnight hour and read a book in your glory.
And yet. You herald the inexorable decline into the cold dark. The endless night and numbing cold. Ice laden wind shields. Heavy boots and gloves and feeble attempts to protect my tender skin from winters wicked bite.

So yes, I greet you in joy and wonder. And feel the conflict as I know days begin shrinking slowly, ever so slightly shorter with each rotation. The fractions of a second suddenly galloping into minutes.

And we begin the long wait for your December cousin.

Hello Solstice.

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A long absence and Pippin

Lots of busy in last seven months. New house is wonderful. Haven’t completed moving out of old place.

And puppy.

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We started house hunting when in late June 2020 we learned that the Municipality of Anchorage intended to purchase a building 800 feet from our home to provide daytime homeless services. The MOA has a history of ignoring the crime related activities that accompany our vagrant addicts and deliberately homeless, and name calling anyone who raises concerns over the associated lawless behavior.
We found a house that felt like home, that was a bit bigger inside and a lot bigger yard, in a neighborhood with a fifth the crime.
It’s a 1964 ranch with walk out basement. Not much was wrong with it. Needed a heater for the garage, flooring throughout needed to be replaced, and both bathrooms suffered long term leaking damage. All within our abilities.
Here are a few photos of the work we have been doing.

Kitchen, fresh paint, unfinished floors
Main bath, not bad for my first time laying tile
Oak floor getting sanded, fresh paint, green trim will be repainted
Oak floor, post varathane

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Avoiding chores and federal income data

I was FaceBooking and saw an interesting simple graphic this morning:

I posted to my friend:
I am such a data nerd. I wanted to see what the numbers were behind these percentages. And I do NOT want to clean the bathroom or the other chores I have waiting for me today. Plus a snoozing Cardigan is curled up beside me. In full confession of my procrastination of what I -should- be doing I went Googling to see if I could find out what the US gross domestic product, federal income tax for business and individual, federal spending, etc, were for each year 1950-1959 and each year 2010-2019.As I look at the numbers, I am not convinced the problem is the percentage that anyone is paying. How much we are federally spending is WAY out of whack for how our population has grown and how our GDP has grown.It sure looks like we are in deep trouble financially. As I compare the numbers, I can see that if for the last 10 odd years businesses had paid closer to 30% instead of 10% it does appear that our spending and revenue would be much closer to equal for the last 10 years.I cannot escape the thought, however, that the problem is NOT who is contributing what, but rather, that we are spending more per capita than is sustainable.My two cents. Probably not worth much.Here is my data chart, and here is the website I used to form my chart. Probably has lots of flaws.Probably only useful in that I snuggled my sweet Cardigan Kate, and put off chores for half an hour <grin>

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The first fruits of our labor.

rabbit dinner
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Rabbit progress

Pics of current build out. More or less in maintenance mode now. Will add a roof extension on the opposite side of the coop to protect the chicken feed from the elements. Kits are nearly two weeks old. Their eyes opened yesterday.

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Dusky kindled, 6 live kits

What I wrote to Dusky’s breeder:

Dear xxx
Dusky kindled about 1 AM this morning.
I checked her this morning 7:30 AM. She was out of the nest box and hungry. She ate with good appetite after several days of reduced interest in food.
The kits were well snuggled in her nest with a good covering of her fur. One kit on the outside edge of the mass of babies was cold. It’s feet and belly were in contact with the rest of the kits when I pulled the fur back, warm which gave me momentary hope that it could be revived. Not sure if it was weak / unlucky and being on the outside edge was enough to kill it, or if something else was going on.
There were 7 kits total, including the dead kit.
I did not count colors, I did not attempt to sex (I can sex adults, babies not so much). I kept my contact with the kits very brief. Dusky was concerned about me messing with her babies. They were vocalizing and she hopped back in and (I assume) nursed them. By the time I’d finished taking care of outside chores (maybe 20 minutes) she was out of the nest and everybody was quiet again. I peeked and confirmed kits were recovered and warm then let her be.
I have the dead kit in the freezer in case you want to look at colors / sex. A bit morbid but these things happen.
Do you have recommendations for ensuring Dusky has what she needs beyond rabbit pellets and hay?
Give a shout when you would like to come over. If you have time while you are here, I’d like to understand rabbit conformation a bit better. Reading is one thing however nothing like someone who understands helping translate word into the animal in front of you. I am working from home this week and nearly anytime will be fine.

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Mama and two calves in front of our house. And crazed Cardigans.

I love that smack dab in a city of many hundreds of thousands of people, moose and (rarely) bear walk through our circle.


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Childhood horse memory

A memory was niggling at me and I finally recalled it.

I bought a Shetland pony named Spirit with my paper route earnings when I was 11. She bucked. A lot. And was unridable. I broke her to harness and she helped me do my paper route every day. On Sunday mornings we would finish the paper route at the Circle K next to her pasture. She would wait outside while I bought a hot chocolate and a donut to share.

There’s a point to this nonsense. I promise.

Spirit grew to love our Circle K visits. She discovered that she could leap into the compost bin in the corner of her pasture, and from there she could leap out of her pasture.
She would trot next door to the Circle K and stand by the door until somebody opened it. Then she would amble inside looking for a donut and her hot chocolate.

Thank you Barbara for sharing your Ellie in the compost bin story which prompted this memory to resurface.

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Midtown ranch projects

More stuff completed this evening. This looks like a lot but most of these things were 10-15 minute tasks.

  • Attached a silver tarp to the top of the rabbit roof to reflect the sun and reduce the temp under the roof.
  • Set up a fan to blow during day to keep rabbits cool.
  • Planted half of the garden pea seedlings.
  • Gathered a tote of manure and uneaten hay bits from under the rabbits and spread around the invading raspberries.
  • Installed Waste Control System 1.0 – I expect to make multiple changes as I figure out how to let the urine flow out to buckets and the poop separate so the odor stays under control. The urine is supposed to be great at heating up compost piles so if you are in Anchorage and want to try that with your compost pile, come get pee. Rabbits pee about a cup a day, so I’ll be collecting a quart a day probably. Plenty to go around.
  • Power washed the pool (again), patched the hole, leveled -kind of- the legs, installed the filtration system and started filling the pool. Scott and E were big helps with this.
  • Mowed the lawn with Scott’s aid.
  • E set up and installed the yellow jacket trap and the fly trap.
  • Set up the Mosquito Magnet.
  • Played with rabbits, chicks, and a wonderful child.
  • Watered plants.
  • The soffets are too well insulated with the 1×6 boards I installed in the coop resulting in hot chicks. Spent some time fiddling with options so I don’t cook the babies.

    What is next?
  • Moving all the detritus away from the house.
  • Installing the tool racks I uninstalled several years ago when I painted the garage wall.
  • Put the outdoor tools up properly.
  • Set up a wood rack to get my bits and pieces of lumber off the ground and semi-organized.
  • Fertilize and reseed the lawn.
  • Plant potatoes – I better get that done ASAP if we want a harvest.
  • Plant the kale and lettuce.

Almost there. Will be in maintenance mode pretty quickly.
I hope my Chantecler eggs arrive soon.

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