Author: Cottontailfarms

Classes offered

Small Group & Individual Classes Available 

Beginning Spinning
The basics of spinning wheels, how to use them, what are their parts & of course…how to spin!

Spin the Yarn you Want
Covering different spinning techniques and why you would want to have each in your spinning arsenal. Including beginning long-draw, arguably, the fastest way to spin.

Spinning Different Breeds
There’s more than one type of sheep?! Different breeds result in vary different yarns and why you would want to spin each.

Spinning Different Fibers
Covering everything from sheep wool, Angora Rabbit, Mohair and so much more!

Fiber Preparation
Getting that wonderful fleece ready for spinning. Everything from skirting & washing to combing & carding.

Beginning Spinning Lessons

Curious about how to spin wool into yarn? It’s wonderfully relaxing and ends with beautiful skins of yarn…what could be better than that?

Learn the basics of wheel operation and maintenance, treadling, drafting, and spinning yarn. We’ll cover the pros and cons of different fiber types and practice spinning different types of wool preparations.

Small lessons and private one-on-one lessons are available in Dublin, California. We can work on your wheel or use one of the wheels in the fiber studio here.

Going through a series of lessons in everything from what to look for when selecting fiber, fiber preparation to spinning singles, then plying them into yarn.

Learn to spin on a few different wheels to find the style that feels most comfortable to you including a Ashford Kiwi 2, Schacht Sidekick, Schacht Flatiron and a Schacht Matchless.

Email me here for more information

 

A Gentle Giant

Yesterday heaven was given a true gift as Doc, the giant angora rabbit left us to live with the angels. The only thing larger than he was, was his strong gentle heart. He was a wonderful ambassador for German Angora Rabbits everywhere.

Through his several surgeries, daily medications, shots, and two amputations, in a hard fought battle over a relentless infection, Doc never for a moment lost his sweet, loving nature.

What was most remarkable about him was his ability to capture people’s hearts. From Vermont, to Washington, to California, people were rooting and praying for Doc’s success. Because of his special needs and required medications, he traveled when we did. This brought him to UCWDC dance events including the South Bay Dance Fling and Paradise Dance Festival where he won over the hearts of many swing and country dancers.

Jules Veterinary center in Tracy became a second home to Doc and the amazing staff there loved him almost as much as we did, bringing fruits and vegetables from their own homes to keep him eating. They made sure his bed was soft and warm and that he was never without loving attention.

At home Doc spent time with Daisy. With all of his medications making it completely against all odds, somehow a miracle happened. Daisy gave birth to one single beautiful white baby rabbit. She was a Christmas miracle that we named Lilly. In Doc’s one and only offspring we can see so much of him and his determined nature.

Our hearts ache for our big, sweet boy and Daisy wanders the room looking for him. None of us can believe that a simple rabbit could touch so many lives. But, then again, he wasn’t just a simple rabbit. Even in pain he loved to give a sweet hug; even though he wasn’t always comfortable, he never tired of sitting on a lap; even in the last moments, when at the end, when he could barely move, he managed to nuzzle under my chin and give reassurance like only he could. No one who ever met him would ever say that he was ‘just’ a rabbit. Doc was a living example of unconditional love, bravery, strength, and giving – all dressed in the form of one large white, and very fluffy, rabbit.

We love you and we miss you Doc, today and every day.

A growing bunny

Our little miracle bunny is growing SO fast! Although her Dad, Doc, is almost 12 pounds and her Mom, Daisy almost 10, I guess it’s to be expected. Her ear furnishings are starting to be visible and even though she’s only 8 weeks old, she looks like the awkward teenager. Her amazingly soft fur goes off in every direction giving her a permanent “bed head” look. With the amount so far, I have high hopes for the softness and amount she’ll produce.

I’m still so thankful that we have her. From a buck that we thought was sterile and then being a single baby from a first time Doe. I fully realize how amazingly lucky we are. She’s still with Mom, sharing a cage although

img_5272I’m sure that she is fully weaned. She does a great job eating hay, alfalfa, oat grass, pellets and her favorite treat…oats.

She doesn’t mind being held, picked up and LOVES to run around at full speed in the fiber studio. What a little joy to have!

Rabbits and Other Animals

Rabbits, Dogs, Cats…Can a whole food chain live happily ever after? I think so. Sort of.

I have to preface this with the fact that with only a few exceptions, I don’t leave the house with them all running together. But, while I’m home, it works well.

Since the two house rabbits pre-date the cat, Noah has grown up around rabbits running loose. He’s used to hanging around the smaller house bunnies, but when the German Angora rabbits were introduced, he was a little more cautious. While Noah is a Ragdoll cat, which is not a small breed, the German Angora Rabbits are really large. Wisely Noah doesn’t try to play with them. Although he’s absolutely fine just hanging out with them.

Bear came in at five months old, so not full size, but with a full size personality. Out of everyone, he is definitely the one in charge. Not only has the cat given up and walks away when bear decides to sit on him, but bear regularly chases even the dogs out of the room, nudging them until they get up and leave.

Since the dogs were full grown and moved in only a few years ago, the fact that they learned to peacefully live with rabbits running loose still amazes me. Honestly, I think they just don’t know quite what they are or what to make of them. Except that they quickly figured out that these fuzzy, hopping creatures are wonderful Pez dispensers. And, if you watch them long enough, they will magically leave a coco-puff type treat. While not so popular with the humans in the room…it’s proven a favorite canine pastime to try to sneak one of these magic treats as the bunny hops away.

Actually, it’s a pretty great way to spend the day, if the fiber studio watching them all interact.

More Rabbitry Cleaning

This is a subject that I apparently keep come back to. But, it’s an important one. I share a space with now…six wonderful rabbits and I’m one of those people that is sensitive to smells. Usually that doesn’t go well together. Honestly, I do clean cages and sweep up hay twice a day. So, there’s admittedly a lot of cleaning going on. But, I’ve gotten it down to a pretty quick process.

Cooper and Emma are my original bunnies. They are rescue and a bonded pair. I’ve had Cooper for over eight years now. So he’s a pretty old man. They both live in the x-pen and use a litter box. Neither wanders out much since they aren’t as active as they used to be. I have pine shavings in their box and change it once to twice per day.

Doc, Daisy and Lily live in Condo’s, which are very large cages. I think 36″. I can’t remember exactly…but plenty of room. I go between odorless, lightweight, low dust cat litter and pine shavings in the trays under their cages. I also use some lime in the area where each goes most. This makes cleanup really easy.

Bear has his own large condo. He is very sensitive to smells. Pine shavings and kitty litter make him sneeze. So, I use a large puppy pad in his tray. I just wrap it up and toss it and replace with a new one. Not as cost effective, but easy and it work better for him.

Since everyone gets run time every day I also have a lot of organic spray cleaner and shop type towels available. Running around they usually only have an accident (actually, they’re marking) near the other rabbits. So I expect that and it’s a quick clean-up. Okay, except for Bear. If he see’s me cleaning it up, he’ll get upset and really…and I mean really… spray. So I have to be a little more ninja in my cleanup. And, I leave the towel there so he is sure that his mark is still around, until he goes back into his condo.

All of the cages get a deep cleaning once a week. You might be able to tell from the picture, the cages have removable hard plastic mats. German Angora’s are heavy rabbits, and although I don’t trim the bottom of their feet (so that they have as much cushion as possible) I like having the extra protection of these liners. They don’t particularly like laying on them (I notice they lay in the area where the liners don’t quite reach), probably because it’s a little cooler with more air circulation under them, but I like the added protection they have on their paws.

These get taken out and disinfected every week when the rest of the cage is wiped down. You can find them from Amazon here.

I have the air cleaner running in the room as well. Honestly, I don’t know if it does much, but with that filter as dirty as it is, it must be cleaning something.

The biggest challenge, really, is hay. Not that it smells, and I only sneeze during allergy season, but that stuff does seem to get everywhere and is not vacuum friendly. So, there’s a lot of sweeping going on. But, it’s a small price to pay for such sweet critters and the beautiful ‘wool’ that they produce.

The Velcro bunny

We’ve had a wonderful addition to our little rabbitry…Pooh Bear. Actually, he got his name from the CoCo puff trail that he leaves everywhere as he marks his territory, but Velcro because he is a complete Momma’s boy. This beautiful five month old came from Serendipity Angoras in Oregon. Rebecca is such a friendly, knowledgeable person and has a beautiful rabbits.

German Angora with color seem are harder to find here in California, and while I love the white, I was anxious to add some color to the mix. This young tort buck was the perfect answer. He is not only handsome, he is full of energy…I mean really full of energy and absolutely loves to be with people.

I have to admit, I’m not a fan of male puberty. And wow, can this little guy spray. I think the comment from my son was, “Geez, how does that much liquid get into one rabbit!” And the distance this guy can get has to be Olympic medal worthy. In one desperate moment I eventried a diaper for his free run time. He was not a fan and I gave up. Luckily as he’s getting a little older, he’s getting better.

His fiber is just beautiful and I’m anxious to see how it spins up. Although, it’s now shearing time and I’m not looking forward to shearing this sweet bundle of energy!

Welcome to the World!

A wonderful Christmas surprise welcomed us. Daisy was actually pregnant and delivered one large, healthy and incredibly adorable baby! After several attempts and her thinking she was pregnant each time. I have to admit, I didn’t believe her this time. My comment to a friend was, “Yep, Daisy thinks that she’s pregnant again.” Well the joke was on me.

Even though I was skeptical, I still kept an eye on the dates, albeit somewhat loosely. Day 31 she stopped eating, I have never known Daisy to miss a meal for any reason. That evening I reached in to pet her and talked to her…I got boxed….From sweet Daisy. This is so out of character that I was no thinking that this might actually be it.

Checking on her every hour or so, sure enough at around 11pm on December 18th. A little, well, actually rather large, and very bald, pink baby was in the nest box. Just one.

Of course the nerves set in with just one. Will it be warm enough? Will it get enough to eat? More than my share of worrying and more middle of the night “check-ins” than I’ll admit to.

But, with luck, and Daisy being a GREAT mom, the little one is thriving wonderfully. Daisy is a fairly hands-on Mom and they are always snuggled up together.

Now, at 4 1/2 weeks the little comes out to play, run and jump, loves alfalfa and oats and drinks from the water bowl like a champ. The perfect name is Lily…and it will be even more perfect if she’s a girl!

Bunnies & Infections

Well, we continue to fight an infection on Doc’s right leg. A rabbit’s system is fantastic at walling off an infection. Unfortunately, this same tendency makes treating an infection very difficult. Sometimes a bunny is lucky and the antibiotics win, sometimes it’s a bear of a battle…this is one of those bears.

Even after a partial amputation of his foot (since the infection was in the bone), almost as soon as it healed, that stubborn infection moved up his leg. With the implantation of beads it looked like we were starting to get ahead of it, and I think we were, but now that sneaky thing has again moved up his leg.

His leg is flushed daily and the beads are on order for yet another surgery to implant another set a little further up the leg. Luckily, we have sent in samples on two different occasions to find antibiotics that, at least in the lab, work.

Although Doc hates the meds that he has to down ever 12 hours, the fact that he now has to travel with us if we go overnight everywhere has made him a bit of an ambassador for German Angora’s. It’s a good thing that he’s such a good traveler.

Other than the infection he is sure a happy and healthy bunny that loves to be carried around and enjoy’s lap time. We’ll keep hoping that THIS time the procedure will kill of the infection for good!