Northern California Angora Guild

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Double Shows at Monterey

Would you believe that these pictures are taken today? Betty and Casey are wearing their jackets! What happened to the California heat wave?

The double shows were held in Monterey, which is 2 or 3 blocks from the Pacific Ocean. When the rest of the state was being baked last week, Monterey remained at 70s. Today it's 60s all day long. We never saw a trace of the sun, it's marine layer all the way. After surviving record breaking 12 days of heat, it's such a treat to be able to put on a jacket.

The two shows produced different results. In show A, Betty took Best of Breed with Chu's Emilia in her 18th month coat. In show B, Casey took Best of Breed with Casey's Malina, a 7-3/4 months old tort doe. Neither girl made it to Best In Show or Reserve In Show. We had a good time nonetheless.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Casey's Yarn

A while back Casey sent in photos of the yarn that she recently made. Other news and the hot temperature pushed these pictures off the blog. Now that weather is back to normal, we are showing off Casey's beautiful work.

In the first photo, Casey has three skeins that are from black rabbits and white rabbits. The red one is not from a red rabbit, of course. It's her effort of using KoolAid. We'd say that she did it really well. In the second photo, Casey wants to show how she weighs down the yarn after wash to make the skein straight and balanced.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Mum Puppies

Our member Denise from Willits, CA sends in some interesting pictures of puppies made from mums. She suggests that it will be very cute to make Angora out of mums too. If we imagine adding some length to the ears, making the nose a little flatter and the legs a litter shorter, it will be a perfect English Angora. Anyone wants to try it?

This is a wonderful treat for our eyes after so many days of battling heat. Thank God that the temperature has come down. Hope it stays that way.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Swamp Cooler

It was another hot day on Tuesday. Temperature in Morgan Hill was predicted to be 100 to 102, but shot up to 109 in the afternoon. Our readers probably are tired of reading about how Betty's rabbits are being carried in and out of her family room by now.

Betty received a few e-mails asking about the swamp cooler and why it is being used on her barn. Here is her reply:

The evaporative cooler or a swamp cooler is a device that draws outside air through a wet pad. Water is the cooling agent. If the entering air is dry enough, the results can be quite comfortable. The area to be cooled does not need to be closed off and the air is always fresh. The swamp cooler works best in dry areas, it does not work well in the places that have high humidity in the summer.

Swamp cooler could go from very small units to industrial size units. In CA, the larger units are routinely used in the fairgrounds because the buildings in the fairgrounds need to be kept open for the public. It requires less power to operate. The utility companies in CA such as PG&E are offering rebates for those homeowners who install a central unit in their homes.

I prefer swamp cooler to air conditioner mainly because of the "fresh air" feature. I consider ventilation as one of the most important element to set up a rabbit barn that promotes healthy rabbits. We now own three 4,000 cfm swamp coolers, each covers up to 1100 square feet.

In the top picture, the swamp cooler is placed behind a small maple tree in a covered area. This swamp cooler is installed on a window of our family room. It reduces the temperature in our family room by 15-20 degrees, and by about 5-10 degrees in other areas than the family room. The shady spot is perfect to install a swamp cooler.

In the second picture, a swamp cooler is placed on a cart just outside our garage. This is a temporary set up for the rabbits in the garage when our barn is being remodeled. The lesson of placing a swamp cooler at this location is that the full sun reduces its efficiency. The temperature in the garage is reduced by about 10 degrees instead of the normal 15-20 degrees.

Another swamp cooler is being taken out of its box. The third pictures shows the front where the air comes out. The fourth photo shows the inside of the swamp cooler which has a motor and a water pump. The fifth picture shows the "wet pad" which is called the "Aspen pad". The pads need to be replaced every couple of years to maintain the level of efficiency. This third swamp cooler is to be installed in our barn under remodeling. With the heat, we cannot take the temporary cooler in the garage to the barn for installation while the rabbits are still inside the garage, so we bought another one a few days ago.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Another Day of Extreme Heat

Betty reports again:

Monday came and went. It was better than Sunday but not by much. The official number for Morgan Hill was 107 degrees, but the thermometers in our garage and unfinished barn still showed 100 and 110 respectively.

I was more organized after my experience in the last two days. I added few more carriers. By noon, 40+ rabbits were brought inside. We do not have air conditioning, but there is a swamp cooler on the window of our family room. Temperature inside is in the mid 80s, not wonderful but bearable.

Each buck had the first claim of a carrier; next in line were the does with show coats. Bunnies shared bigger carriers; the last batch were the does that were cut down. When the carriers were filled, the cut down does went into bathrooms.

There are more carriers with rabbits in the first photo than the previous day. In the second photo, does are sharing the shower stall and bathroom. In the third photo, Mercedes is having a reunion with her bunnies in another shower stall. One of her bunnies is not in this picture because he's out of the camera range.

When the temperature became more bearable around 8 pm, all rabbits were put back to their cages in the garage. After feeding and watering the rabbits, I went through the same procedure of dragging all the carriers out of the family room, then cleaned the bathrooms.

This morning, the carriers were dragged in again as a standby. So far only one rabbit show a sign of discomfort, she was brought in. I hope this is the last day of taking the carriers in. My old body is feeling like going to shows with 40 rabbits for four days in four different locations in a roll, except that there has been no fun of seeing my fellow friends, no joy of winning nor any agony of defeat.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Surviving in the Extreme Heat

Report from Betty:

I've lived in Morgan Hill for almost 30 years. Each year there is an average of a week to 10 days of very hot temperature in the low 100s spreading in 2-3 day at the time. We expect that to happen and has equipment such as evaporative cooler (swamp cooler) to cool the rabbits. Evaporative cooler works the best if it is dry heat.

This year we happen to be doing barn remodeling. Forty plus rabbits are in our garage which has very little ventilation and not well insulated. We bought a large brand new evaporative cooler to keep the rabbits cool.

Most of the nation has been in a heat wave and it was in the high 90s and low 100s in Morgan Hill for a while. I was still totally caught off guard on Saturday that the heat was so intense, went over 114 degrees with humidity. One rabbit after another showed sign of heat exhaustion, their nose and mouth got wet. I put in ice bottles, wet towels, put on additional fans, I rushed some inside the house, let the does run loose in our shower stalls and bathroom floors, ... Despite all the effort, one of the does that had an asthmatic condition did not make it through.

Hubby is usually not in favor of any animal inside our house, even he suggested that I should get carriers ready and take some of the rabbits inside on Sunday as the temperature is forecasted to be over 110 degrees.

On Sunday I was more prepared to document my life under this intense heat and humidity.

The first picture was taken on Sunday morning when 20 carriers were ready for rabbits to come inside our family room.

The second picture shows the temperature in the garage being 100 degrees with the evaporative cooler in full blast. The third picture shows the temperature in the unfinished barn was 110 degrees at 3 pm.

The fourth and fifth pictures show that by 2 pm, all the carriers were occupied. There were still some in the garage. More and more were taken inside our house. Eventually by 5 pm, all were taken inside. Some of does were let loose in the bathrooms while the bucks got the carriers.

Around 9 pm, it was cool enough for them to go back to the garage. It took me several hours to resettle them, to take the carriers out and to clean the bathrooms.

Today, it's the same all over again. As of right now, there are 40+ rabbits in our family room and bathrooms.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bunny Settled

Holly sends pictures of the rabbits settled in her rabbitry.

In the first photo, Eqadora is in her new cage with Martin next to her. In the second photo we see Fawnarina. Both does are Betty's grand champion does but cut down. Eqadora is a recent champion but Fawnarina has already been a mama.

Holly's cages are very different from what we see in the US. Don't know whether it's a standard set up or she has something truly different from everyone else. The cage floor is not the welded wire that we are used to, her floors are made of "punch steel". As the name suggests, it's a flat sheet of steel with holes, very sturdy and easy on the rabbits' feet. Don't know whether there is such product in the US.

The third photo is the view from Holly's rabbitry. She describes it as "middle of nowhere". It's a Canola field. Canola is the material for Canola oil that we buy in the supermarket.

This is the final post of the bunny shipping series. It's wonderful to learn that the shipping went through smoothly, Holly is happy and that the rabbits are all settled well in her rabbitry.