Gold Rush Homesteader

Evening Mist in the Garden

Sarah CuthillIt had been raining all day, but when the drops let up around the time for evening chores, I decided to get all my outside time in at once. After feeding the animals and refilling the fodder trays, I sauntered down to the garden making my way –in my boots instead of sandals for a change– down the muddy and eroded slope. 

There is something almost magical feeling about a cloudy, misty evening. The air smelled moist and I could feel the electrical charge of the garden and its leafy inhabitants. I surveyed which bare spots needed attention and set to work. Quite a few tomato plants I had started from seed were becoming well established and needed to be thinned and replanted into individual squares. When the dirt is dry, the natural granite dust and sand present in the soil cuts up and dries out my hands. But tonight the dirt was moist. Moist, dark, fluffy, and absolutely divine. 

Nothing will make you a believer in something bigger than you like working in the soil. Dirt is my religion. 

I carefully dug up the seedlings that were grouped together and gently teased their roots apart. Once they were free from each other, I replanted the seedlings singly this time. Part of the magic of gardening is hoping for the best yet not knowing the outcome. We can always expect that a seedling will live if given the right conditions, but we don’t really know until the day we harvest that beautiful tomato, or cabbage, or pepper. Experiment and wishful thinking are all an integral part of the experience. Smelling the rain in the air. Hands in the soil. Dirt under your nails. Tiny, living plants in your care. Wet garden paths. Evening mist. 

How To Keep Rabbits Cool in the Summer

Sarah Cuthill

Rabbits are no easy customer and anyone who tells you that rabbits are "easy" pets, are quite mistaken. I always tell people that just about anything will kill a rabbit. And it's true, especially on a hot summer day. But with a little know how, you can keep your outdoor rabbits alive and well through the summer heat. If I can keep my wool producing angoras moderately cool in 100*F weather, so can you. 

I have a few simple tricks on keeping your rabbits cool in temperatures over 80*F degrees: 

 • Always keep your rabbits in a shady area away from direct sunlight! 
 • If your rabbits have a long coat or wool, shear their coats down to 1/4" inch or less in length using scissors or electric clippers. 
 • Provide each rabbit with a frozen bottle of water to lean up against during the hottest part of the day. If necessary, exchange thawed bottles for freshly frozen bottles during the day. 
 • Turn on an oscillating (rotating) fan near your cages or hutches. Keep that air moving! 
 • Periodically hose down the dirt or floor around the rabbits to encourage cool air through evaporation. 
 • Be sure your rabbit's drinking water is cool. Consider dumping out old water and refilling their water bottles or automatic water system with fresh, cool water in the morning and evening. 
 • Provide rabbits with a dish of ice cubes. 
 • If your rabbits look especially uncomfortable, rub an ice cube along their ears to help cool them down. 
 • With the exception of wooled breeds, set up a misting fan system for your rabbits.