Sunday, December 10, 2017

Wildly Unpredictable Winter Weather

Winter came down to our home one night
Quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow,
And we, we were children once again.
-Bill Morgan, Jr.

Having lived in Georgia for the last twenty years, I have learned to accept that there is only one predictable truth about winters in Georgia:
Winters in Georgia are entirely and quite wildly unpredictable!
 

Friday  
Having said that over and over again, even people who have lived here all their lives still do not seem to understand and accept the simplicity of this inerrant truth. This is why I always expect any winter front to be far worse than any of the predictions.

We were told up to three days ago that it might snow and that we might see accumulation of up to an inch on our decks and in the grass, a dusting perhaps. (We were also told that about a week ago and all we got was some rain.)

Two days ago that changed to possibly four inches of snow. The state had all bridges and overpasses prepared ahead of time. Georgia officials stepped up our winter weather preparedness ever since the terrible fiasco in January 2014: When it Snows in Georgia.

In the dark before the dawning day, it started with a winter mix of sleet and rain. I know because my Mishka woke me far too early for his morning outing and we were out in it. There already was some slippery slush on the steps but nothing that was not easily displaced by my low tread garden boots. (Do not let that sweet innocent look fool you. He is a just wanted to jump back into the snow after we just got him out of it.)



A friend in Arizona, who originally lived in Pennsylvania and may be missing those snowy winters, texted me to ask if we were snowed in yet. I texted back that here it is more about being "iced" in, because just few inches of accumulated snow ends up causing serious icy conditions, but I forgot that one should never say never in Georgia about winter storms.


The wintry mix changed to huge fluffy clumps of snow and by the end of the morning we had that four inches, but it was still snowing. The schools decided to end the day before noon.

The temperature was above freezing but the large fluffy flakes outpaced the melting of the fallen come-befores and my little world was blanketed in a wondrous white. We had a power outage for about two hours and then flickering in the power for about another 24 hours. Trees bowed under the unfamiliar weight and many lost branches, split, and fell over exposing the roots even though there was no wind.


The picture above is pointed in the same direction as the one below. You can see that our neighbor's tree split off a large branch. Those types of trees are notorious for splitting even with just heavy rains or a little wind when they are 20 years old. We just cut ours down a few weeks ago. (Yeah, I really have been doing other things when I have not been blogging.)


Since it was just snow and not ice, it probably would have been better if we had some wind that would have blown the snow off of the trees. So if you can imagine seeing six inches height of wet snow catching more flakes on the thinnest of branches, you can understand how amazingly different everything appeared to us. Well, not entirely because...it did not stop snowing at six inches. I measured it at about nine inches at dinner time and it apparently has continued to snow all night.


Saturday
Although my favored husband did make it home the night before, having to make a couple of detours around jack-knifed semi-trucks and accidents and working around vehicles parked on the side or the road or half in the ditch, Mishka decided to let him sleep and put his sweet wet nose in my face to say that I was the lucky pick again for his early morning outing. Mishka has discovered that he loves, loves, loves snow!

 


I measured and the snow was at twelve inches! TWELVE! (That's 30 centimeters for my metric friends.)


The temperature was just at freezing and it was predicted to dip down a bit and then will be rising enough for a slow melt. The sun was supposed to be hidden behind clouds today, but prediction has changed so today the roads will clear mostly and tonight everything will freeze again and that makes for patches of black ice, but for the most part all main roads will be mobile again—getting to them from the side roads is the problem.

This is the most snow we have ever seen here at one time, although I read that in 1993, before we moved here, a blizzard dumped 30 inches.

Why do I expect the unpredictability? If we had a strong relentless northwestern storm come blustering through like that 1993 blizzard, that would be more predictable, but when we have a weakening or stalling northwestern cold front that is just strong enough to slipstream the warm moist air up from the Gulf of Mexico in front of it making the northwest front turn into a southwest draw...well, it is not easy to predict if the moist warmer air will produce rain or the cold will prevail making snow or sleet. Amounts of any one of these depend on how slowly the storm moves east with one part trying to go southeast and the other pulling up toward the northeast making our area a point of turmoil.


Sunday Morning
As expected, after teetering around the magical temperature that turns water into ice, the weather decided to take a plunge into temperatures in the 20s at night. Then allowed some of the snow to melt in with temperatures in the 40s on Saturday to plunge again into the low 20's, so now what areas of the roads that did not dry out during the melting of the day are icy...at least until around noontime. We might not make it to church services, because our street and the roads to the main ones are icy but we will be able to go shopping and pick up my new bunnies around 3:00 since the sun will be out and temperatures are to be in the 40s again.

Typically, such crazy weather conditions are more likely to happen in January, but...Georgia!

I love its wild unpredictable winters.



My Lord, may we always be in surprised by Your creative ways that we cannot predict, even though we keep attempting to do so.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Chasing November

It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? ~Henry David Thoreau

November is nearly over and I have not posted at all! At the end of October and the beginning of November were our annual trip to the apple country in North Georgia (we even took a few steps into Tennessee this time) and the Princess' Coffee Shop Recital.

I actually have a lot I could post, but as you know, it is not just the writing, but looking through pictures to post and uploading the video...and, yes, of course, I know I could just get it done instead of writing about what I should be doing! Sometimes I really hate technology. It makes it very easy to have more demands on my time.

However, the reason I am behind in getting things posted is because I have been focused on another interest that gives me much pleasure: our rabbitry. My husband and I agreed to focus on breeding pure bred Silver Foxes while still crossing with New Zealand Whites at times. As well as what we have been doing, we are going to offer them for sale with pedigrees.

For the past month after Golden's false pregnancy and then rebreeding, I have been looking at software for creating pedigrees and finally decided on one that allows some customizing and was not too costly. We do not have to get fancy for the pedigrees, but the artist in me never passes up the opportunity to create a logo. We all decided on a name for the rabbitry. I made new and improved cage ID cards, which one rabbit likes to nibble on, of course. (Thankfully, only one.) I also designed several forms to manage breeding and bunny assessments to put neatly in a purple binder, one that I picked up at a Goodwill that was calling to me without me knowing why at the time. Anyway, I am going to be managing the rabbitry unlike we had been doing before by keeping better records.

I was very happy to see no brokens (spotted) in this kindle. which would have eliminated the buck as a breeder in my breeding plans immediately. Although not absolute, having no brokens suggests that the NZW-B buck is not likely carrying the gene because the En (broken) gene is dominate.

The Steel is the second we have ever gotten and it looks like its mother in that respect, although Steels generally are disqualifying for showing in nearly all breeds, I find them to be pretty and look like typical wild rabbits.

The Ruby Eyed Whites were the most expected, since the mother carries the white gene and was bred with a New Zealand White. The white gene is actually recessive, but when there are two recessive white genes, cc, they will cover all the other genetics, so test breeding is the only way to determine what a Ruby Eye White is carrying. For instance, if the NZW we bred had the Steel gene, it would not be seen otherwise.

As big as a mystery REWs are, this time it is the Black that poses the bigger mystery to me. That one could resemble the Silver Fox fur, as it seems to have the no-fly back fur, but it is highly doubtful that the NZW sire would carry the recessive silvering gene. Like the white gene takes two to dominate the coat color, it takes two si genes to show silvering. The Black could be a self (solid) Black as it looks to be; or it could be a super or double Steel that makes the entire hair look black like a self; or it could even be a self Black with Steel that cannot be seen. Since the mother carries Steel and Steel is dominate, it would only take her one Steel gene for it to have Steel. If both parents pass on a Steel gene, then it could be a super Steel and so instead of the hair shaft looking black at the base and gold at the tips, it might appear completely black. Test breeding him and his father with self doe like my Silver Fox would reveal more about the father's genetics, but we are getting tight with cage space, even though that would be interesting.

Do you understand why I would want to keep records?


GG's November Kindle
NZW/SF 75/25
1 Black (maybe with Silver Fox no-fly back fur but probably will not silver), 
2 Ruby Eye Whites, and 1 Gold-tipped Black Steel

On top of that, I decided to I would need to break a personal rule...it was more of a guideline to be honest. I have always said that it is not a good idea to try to maintain more than one blog, because a person cannot really compartmentalize the parts of her life: for instance, at one point I could have had a blog just for book reviews, but I was not trying to be a famous book reviewer, it was just something I enjoyed doing for a time, and what we read contributes to our perspectives in life. Truthfully, I rarely have anything one thing that would be worth a blog by itself because I am interested in so many things and rarely stick to anything for a long period of time. Yet, there are situations that make it quite wise to have a separate blog. This is one of those, so I will be creating a blog/website solely for the rabbitry separate from this blog. I am not even going to state the name of it here because I do not want it linked to this blog at all.

The reason I have decided this is two-fold. First, I want to be able to send prospective buyers and breeders and others looking for information about our rabbits and not know so much about our personal lives, especially those who could make trouble for us, as some people who believe that animals should have rights over people, have been known to do. Second, I really do not need to subject my sensitive readers to all that we shall be doing with the rabbits, which might include recipes and attempts at tanning hides.

So, speaking strictly about blogs, I shall keep the rabbitry apart from my sanctuary.

Thank you, my Lord, that we have choices in our lives and that while we cannot yet do homesteading as we would like, and we may never be able to, that we are able to do this much and that we enjoy it.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Flowing Oil

When a Christian tries to live by reason he is moving out of God’s country into the enemy’s land. We belong in the miraculous and the supernatural realm. –John G. Lake

I have heard of many wonderful miracles. I have seen healings where the person being healed said he or she could feel the healing taking place even though it was completely internal and I saw nothing. I have seen people healed of pain, which is a bit more visually obvious to others. I personally have been healed.

You would think I would not doubt God's love, but I do at times...because I am human and human nature is a harsh reality in a world of reality and harshness. We tend to believe what we see and know what is material. While unbelievers would say things like if there is a God, you would think He would make himself known, I see all His creation proclaiming Him—when I want to, that is. Sometimes—probably most times if I am to be honest—when I am sitting at a desk and typing our my thoughts, I see a desk and computer, same as unbelievers see. What I should see...well, what should I see?

God knows. God knows this. God knows this about us. God knows all this about us. God knows all this about all of us.

Yesterday, I saw a miracle. It was one of those miracles that I have have heard about yet never had seen for myself. This miracle started with a little prayer group in a little room in a little gift shop in a little city...just two hours away from my little space. Just a handful of people who prayed, who sought God, who were told to that He would show them something after the inauguration of the President in January. A new Bible of one of those members began to produce oil.


Oil so pure that it is clear and odorless. Thick and yet when placed in the eye or in the mouth it seems to becomes more like a water-based substance. When it began, they thought a grandchild had spilled something on it, When it continued to spread throughout the Bible, they placed it in a plastic bag. When it filled the bag, they placed it in the clear tote. The Bible stays engulfed in the oil that continually replenishes. In fact, God told them that as long as they do not sell the oil and give it away, it will replenish. It has been analyze and they were told it is like mineral oil but not. It is thicker and has properties that no one can explain.

God told them that they were to go out. Even in the sermon, the preacher mention how we are accustomed to say "come." Come to my church. Come to the alter for prayer. But Jesus told his disciples, told us to "go." So, this little group of people have had their lives changed because now they go out transporting a tote with a Bible producing oil to various churches to spread refreshing news about God and His love.

They have only gone where they have been told by God to go and they do not accept invitations. They give the oil freely but differently than when they first started. Weeks ago friends of ours watched quart jars being filled while the oil stayed at the same level. They watched people dipping their hands in it and yet it stayed clear. However, now that so many more people know about this oil, God has told them to just give out small vials. They fill vials on Monday night and send some out as they receive so many requests. They place the Bible in a tote until it fills and then in another. Oil is also dripping down in the prayer room.

One man, who goes to the prayer room on some Mondays, told us that when they open the Bible, each book has a different aroma! Imagine that from an oil with no fragrance.

What is the oil? They describe it as the presence of God, they call it Flowing Oil. To me, it is that and something that I would describe as a purest white light in oil form. It is like...pure love.


The oil will sometimes multiply on a person, usually one gifted with healing, but not always. Some say a small vial has lasted them a long time or would refill! And while the oil is a gift, I think the miracle was a small group of people, who were seeking God in prayer in a little room, being chosen to share this gift. Whenever we think, who are we...whenever I think, who am I is insignificant, I will think on these people, because I want to live in God's natural realm of the miraculous and supernatural.

My Lord, my world is so small, but keep reminding me that it is not insignificant. I was thinking of two friends of mine in particular yesterday. One who is struggling financially and in need of her finances to be replenish like this oil replenishes. Another, who has a very small church, who may be feeling their efforts are rather insignificant, but are not to You. I ask that you bless them both...significantly. Thank you, my Lord.   

Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Intolerant Tolerant

The world needs anger. The world often continues to allow evil because it isn't angry enough. -Bede Jarrett

Where have I been for the last few weeks? I have been home, but my husband has not. This week makes for five in a row although he did come home on the third and fourth weekend. This weekend starts a week long vacation and we all need it!

What have I been doing for the last few weeks (since I have not been blogging)?  Quite a few things but it feels like hardly anything at the same time and that is probably since I spent too much time on a few things that cannot be fixed.

I am so disgusted with a wide range of immoral, unethical, and just plain disrespectful things that are going on in my country right now and those are the things I have been spending too much time on when I have been online.

  • Football players kneeling to our National Anthem and Flag so now children are doing it too is one of the latest. I really do not care why they are doing it, it is just wrong and disrespectful to our military, our vets, and all other who serve this country. To top that off, the blacks who are doing it are not considering how their enslaved ancestors, who endured being subservient to all free men and women, would have been appalled that they, who have the freedom to stand in equality, have decided to take a subservient knee. Actually, our founding fathers would have been even more appalled, because they were against kneeling to any man or object; they would only take a subservient knee to God.
  • The alphabet crowd that just seem to never have enough letters to fit in every kind of sexual deviancy making more demands about what we all must tolerate.
  • Politics and the Anti-Trump crowd, including the media, trying to make him look bad and take him down in any way they can. Enough said there.
  • Liberals with their specific agendas are not standing united against conservatives as they did but increasingly they are finding fault with everyone who does not support their agendas, including other liberals. The result: They are now in the process of eating their own! Bernie Sanders bowed out of a speech at the Women's Convention because the women on social media had a fit about a man speaking, apparently they want only women speakers. Black Lives Matter protesters use their free speech rights to shut down an American Civil Liberties Union speech, who is a defender of free speech, with chants, one being that the ACLU defended Hilter (meaning, the ACLU would defend—probably has defended—the free speech rights of any white supremacist). Which all just goes to show what I have known all along: The tolerant only tolerate what they find tolerable and never the intolerable, yet they never see themselves as intolerant. In the end, they tolerate very little, but demand the rest of us to tolerate much.
This world is becoming so wearing on my spirit. 

My Lord, I know it is not as bad as it could get, but that is what bothers me the most...and You, my Sweet Lord, are thought of little in all of this turmoil. Forgive us, forgive me, for that.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Background Workings of My Blog

It’s not lost on me that I’m so busy recording life, I don’t have time to really live it. -David Sedaris

Since March I have been considering giving my blog a new fresh look, but being that I have so many other more important things to do I decided to put that off. However, I began updating the css codes on my older posts so that all the fonts would be like the ones I have been using since 2011. It was low on the list of my priorities but I have been working this from time to time.

Then something else major happened to my blog that requires a great amount of time and patience to make it right again.

Since before I began blogging, I have had a Photobucket account. I stored all my blog pictures there and every picture on my blog was linked to there. This year, I decided to just up load them to Blogger directly when I make a new post to my blog and use Google Photos, which made it even easier to upload photos directly from my phone. So, I stopped uploading to Photobucket and I would call that a "Thank you, my Lord, for that nudge!" kind of thing, because....

A few months ago, I went to my blog to find that every single picture and graphic and including my backgrounds were replaced with this:


Sweet, right?

I thought I had misread and violated the original Photobucket policies and they just caught up with me, when I first saw this little annoying graphic that now took the place of every one of my pictures and graphics hosted there. But, no! I found that they could be seen not just on my blog but also several others as well as websites and other people were just as unhappy because it had just happened to them also.

Photobucket changed its policy in June of this year and did it in a quiet way, with a memorandum on their blog and then just no pictures. Now if I want to pay for 3rd party hosting that would be for the bargain price of $400 a year. Thank you, but NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! Some people use the pictures to make a profit from their websites, but I, and probably a significant number of others, do not. Some people complained that they were not able to download their digital images as if Photobucket was holding them for ransom, but they could. They just could not be see those pictures on their webpages.

I have downloaded all my pictures and graphics from my Photobucket account to my computer, even though most of them were already there. So, now I am working on replacing all my digital images by uploading them on each and every blog post. Photobucket is no longer my friend and I will be deleting my account with Photobucket. This unplanned project will take far more days than I have to spare, but my blog is important to me. I periodically download the entire thing to back up on my computer.

Why bother with all this? Because it is a journal of my journey in life and my walk with my Lord. In between the lines, I remember far more things that I did not share publicly. It not only gives me pleasure but chronicles many things with which I have struggled, loved, lost, and cherished. I am not ready to let it stay in a state of neglect and disrepair. I have seen so many blogs that have been abandoned or that have been deleted since I first found them. I wonder what happened to those people: why they started, why they stopped, where are they now. I feel a lost when they are gone, even though I did not know them,

No, I am not yet ready to give up on my blog.

Well, my Lord, it is not like I do not have enough to do already with this coming up as well. Please, help me to keep my priorities and perspectives in line with Yours.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Back to the Rabbits

There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace. -Aldo Leopold

We are trying to get back into raising rabbits. With all that was going on throughout this last year, we had only bred for one kindle about a year ago, so we have not really been raising rabbits...just feeding them. Not breeding broke down our cost effectiveness for having them. You see, we feed rabbits and then we buy less meat for ourselves and for our dog and cats. Our grocery and animal feed costs have risen so we are looking forward to getting them back down again.

Then we had another issue to overcome. Of our original three New Zealand White rabbits, two does and one buck, we had one doe who probably should have been put down months ago. She has recently been laid to rest because she was in pain and would have passed in a day or two.

We started with the three NZWs, but later added two Silver Foxes, a black with the blue gene buck and a blue doe. When we bred them together we usually got average of half of them being black and half being blue. We still have the blue doe although this will be her last year for breeding most likely and we had to put down the buck because of teeth and eating issues. I have been trying to find a black buck with blue to replace him, but the breeder we had gotten them from is not breeding them anymore. Silver Foxes are more rare and it looks like we are going to have to take a trip to get some. Since they are so rare and I like them so much more, my husband and I are considering raising Silver Foxes solely. They have smaller kindles with usually six to eight compared to the NZW which have had up to thirteen, but we lose less and the SF does are excellent mothers. The offspring do take about three to four weeks longer to go to full size for culling, but their coats and temperament are worth the bit of extra expense. Plus we could probably sell more as breeders, since they are difficult to find for those of us who are looking.

What we have now:

Whoops is a New Zealand White who was sexed wrong and put in with her brothers so she ended up pregnant, hence the name. Of all our NZWs she has been the gentlest so we decided to keep her as a breeder.

Golden Girl is a NZW and Silver Fox cross that is actually a Gold Tipped Black Steel. She was a real surprise to us after having crossed NZW with SF for two years and getting mostly brokens (spotted). We learn that the genetics causing the albino, called Red Eye White (REW) appearance in NZW also covers a lot of genetic coding, like the broken gene, that cannot be seen unless they are bred with another rabbit that is not a REW. We kept Golden to breed with her father who had the steel gene, but we did not get another one and will not since he died of old age. (This is also is a picture of our latest modification in the kindling cage. The drop nest is supposed to help keep the kits in the nest. Even those who get dragged out will wiggle around and end up falling back in, which is very important because they need their siblings covered with mama's fur to stay warm enough to survive.)

The oldest and largest of our rabbits is Misty Blue, a Blue Silver Fox. She is also our biggest eater! I think this will be her last year of breeding which is why I am trying desperately to find a SF buck. She is a very good mother. I have never lost any of her kits.

For weeks during this summer we had no bucks. As I wrote, our NZW died of old age and the SF could not eat due to teeth issues, so we had to put him down. I found a NZW breeder who was selling off his stock to move. We planned to buy one buck, but he offered three for the price of one, so we got the three, two are brothers and the other a distant cousin, but we plan to only keep one of them as we begin to replace all the NZW with Silver Foxes. These bucks were a little young, but we tried a breeding with the rowdy distant cousin and Golden Girl.

Golden Girl was due yesterday and it looks like she is not pregnant, although I have had the does fool me before. Rabbits really do not show their pregnancies. Palpation can be done at two weeks half way through a pregnancy, but I have yet to master that. In fact, I have rarely felt the babies until the week of the due date and even then if there are many and they are small, I still cannot tell with certainty.

So, if I see nothing in the nest for the next two days we will try breeding her with the same buck to see if he can reproduce.

My Lord, please bless us with some Silver Fox rabbits, which have been so difficult for us to find, and may all our rabbits be healthy.