Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Get to Know Your Weeds and a Rabbit Emergency

What's up with this weather??!! This is Georgia at the end of May, and our highs are in the 60s!

After selectively hand weeding all of my garden over the last several weeks, I thought I'd let you know what I left in there. Granted a large portion ended up in the compost heaps. But I left quite a bit to pull up while waiting for my neighbor to till. I might mention we haven't mowed our yard yet also because I'm still harvesting spots in rotation. If I miss some of the roots, by the time I get back to a spot, 3 or 4 days later, the missed roots will spring back with new growth. They are easier to see because everything else is cleared out.

When I say know your weeds, I mean know how they grow. Take a look at their roots, how they grow, and how they propagate.  Are there any medicinal qualities you might need? Are they edible and do they taste good? These are important factors in knowing how to kill them, or simply move them to a new spot where they can flourish.

Weeds like plantain, wild strawberry, violets, blackberries, clover, fleabane, and wild Amaranth do double duty as critter food and for us. If you wait until the wild Amaramth goes to seed, These are easily harvested with a paper bag. Once fully dried. it can be a grain side dish or can be ground into a gluten-free flour. All the rest can be eaten in salads or dried and made into medicinal teas or tinctures. The chickens love the small red berries and leaves as much as the rabbits.

Speaking of rabbits, Buddy Baby, is ill. When I went out to feed her yesterday, she was lying on her side. Only her ears and nose twitching at the sound of my voice, made me realize she was still alive. I tried to stand her up to no avail. She can't use her hind quarters. There was something neurological going on with her because she had no external bleeding. This doe was my entry into angora rabbits before my husband's death. He and Buddy had a firm bond. No matter how high I elevated his hospital bed, she found a way up there to be loved, snuggled, or just nap with him. 

I'd have Mel bring her in when we got back from my treatment. We'd check her our thoroughly then. After my  treatment, which I was 15 minutes late to because of my bunny baby (she's six years old but still my baby bunny) issues, I told Mel about her. Mel brought in my girl after feeding the pretty pullets (I did think of a new name for my chickie babies). We ran warm water in the kitchen sink. We gave her a good soaking and checked out her skin and bones. Nothing. We did our normal March shearing of the bunnies in April just in time for the weather to get cooler in May. Go figure. With less than an inch long fur, there was little danger of her fur matting. In the bath, there was one instance of her fighting. That was when she got a snout full of water. Otherwise, she was cold and limp.

Buddy Baby
I figured she was on her way out to join my husband in heaven. Mel wouldn't give up so easily, thank God. Now normally, Buddy Baby would drink a 32 oz water bottle of water a day sometimes one and a half. Now she wasn't drinking. She just laid on Mel's desk while Mel sprayed her down with a generic brand of "No More Tangles" and vigorously started rubbing her to get her circulation going. The spray will allow agitating her fur without matting.

Mel ground up some rabbit pellets, water, and a pinch of antibiotic powder and gave it to her for nutrition. She only managed to get two syringes full into her. This was followed by six syringes full of water. We still didn't know what was wrong with her. Mel and I put her in a medium dog cage with several folded towels under her and a hand towel over her for warmth. She was as snug and comfortable as we could make her.

We hit the internet researching what possibly be wrong with my beloved bunny. I know it couldn't be poisoning from the greens I was giving her. I'm extremely careful about what I give our girls to eat and what's around them. We ran down the list of what it could be. The only thing that fit was Encephalitozoonosis (E. cunculi), a small microsporidian parasite that's intracellular (it has to live within another cell. parasite). It's carried by rats and mice. As much as we've combated rats on our homestead, we still have some that frequent the bunny/chicken barn. There is no treatment. All you can do is boost the immunities and pray. Once infected, you'll stay infected. The leaky hoop barn had lowered her immunities to where these spores attacked her. But Mel, God bless her, fed and watered this bunny every couple of hours through the night.

This morning, I checked on Buddy Baby. She's still alive! Mel again fed and watered her with the syringe. This time she ate/slurped down four syringes full of food. She passed urine and a tiny bit of feces during the night. This is a very good sign that she might recover. We're crossing our fingers. Rabbits can be an easy or difficult animals to raise. No, we aren't taking her to the vet. He'll just say there's nothing to be done and offer to put her to sleep. Better not to put her in more stress. She'll be by those who love her and cared for. If she dies, she'll die. She will be sorely missed by me for the love and antics that always made me smile. But if she survives, so long as she is kept healthy, she continue to make us smile. So long as she's not in pain she'll be with us, we'll have her.

After I typed this my Buddy Baby died. RIP Buddy Baby. You'll be missed but I know you are happily reunited with my late husband.

Y'all have a blessed day!
Cockeyed Jo


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about Buddy Baby. You all made a valiant try, and it's heartbreaking she couldn't pull through. RIP Buddy Baby.


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