Blog, Evergreen Rabbitry

Introducing Our Rabbits, and Our “Evergreen Rabbitry.”

Cottontail

Hey there! So let’s jump right in to why we started a Rabbitry. First off, let it be known that I was the one who did not like the idea of getting Rabbits. My husband wanted a Rabbit for our little one, but I thought Rabbits would be pointless. However, I came across two facts. One being that they have great droppings for garden fertilizer, and the second, is that they are actually a great meat source as well! The breed that we got is multi-purposeful. It’s the Standard Rex breed. This breed you can even use their pelts because they are so velvety soft. So with being kind of cute to look at in your yard and now having a purpose, we decided why not get some, and why not breed them for others to enjoy as well?

There are actually two Rex breeds, Standard and Mini. We chose Standard mainly because they are a bit bigger being between 7.5 – 10.5 pounds (12” in length) where as the mini’s are only 3 – 4.5 pounds (10” in length). We’ve never had Rabbits before and are having so much fun with them so far! Four will be our breeder Rabbits, three of which are shown below. So far, we have the two does (female Rabbits) and one buck (male Rabbit) with one buck on the way (around September, so excited to get him!). These Rabbits won’t be our meat source, that will be later in the future with the offspring, so we are still preparing for that. Currently, we are just using them as our garden fertilizers and friends to our little one to enjoy! 

The name is “Evergreen Rabbitry,” because one, we love our home in the Evergreen state of Washington (hence this blog’s name), and two that name will eventually tie into the name of our (future) farm.

Our Rabbits:

When we do breed them if not this Fall, this coming Spring, we are hoping to send good and healthy, little Rabbits to families who will enjoy them as either a 4-H friend, a meat source, a pet, or even just a garden fertilizer! These Rabbits have so many options it seems like, and that’s why when choosing a breed, we chose this one. I also heard that this Rex breed is the most “cat like.” So, there is a random fun-fact for you. I am looking forward to writing about the whole breeding process with them, so keep a look out for that in the future!

Blackie, Mopsy, Cottontail

 Animal Stewardship, and Young children:

We wanted to start doing animals while we grow our family, and while our little Beatrice is young because we are big advocates of helping our children understand that while animals are cute and friendly, God has given them all a purpose. To teach them that we take care of, and respect the animals that the Lord has provided for us to use as food for the table. It is a true blessing, to be a steward of the earth.

Great book for the beginning!

Rabbit Care:

We have researched quite a lot, because we wanted to make sure that any animal we have never had experience with, would be well taken care of when we did become the owners. Luckily, rabbits in general are pretty low maintenance, and easy to take care of. They also don’t need a ton of space! That’s another reason why we decided on rabbits for our next animal. It’s a smaller space in our backyard, so we can do the Rabbits with no problems! We definitely didn’t want to get an animal who would not enjoy life in a smaller space at first. Also, with the gardening we are doing now they can, and will eat any cuts or clippings you don’t want to eat yourself! Beside’s a couple of things, they can eat just about anything in the garden (in moderation of course). I’ll make another post later, about what to feed them!

Rabbitry Info:

We might have one or two more Does later on, but I’ve heard often that It’s easy to find yourself with more rabbits than wanted. So, I’m keeping us limited to just the four breeders right now (two does, two bucks). With the two Does hopefully being bred 2-3 times a year, that will be plenty enough rabbits to have and give to other families!

I post about the Rabbitry on here, but if you are near the Key Peninsula area of Western Washington, and would like one, or a couple Rex Rabbits, head on over to our Rabbitry Facebook page “Evergreen Rabbitry” for further details and updates on the litters. You can also contact me through this blog, or any other social media! (all links at the bottom of this web page).

Purely for your enjoyment. Blackie in the Rabbit run, chilling.
Family

“Part 3: Young Mom.”

We got through the first two topics, here we are at being a “young mom.” I’ve always known I would be a mom. I grew up with lots of siblings, so maybe that encouraged it, but I’m confident it was always going to be that way, regardless. A stay-at-home mom specifically, is going to be the topic. One who chooses to be at home 24/7 taking care of the kids and house, although she could go and work in any career. I became a mom, when I had our baby just after my 19th birthday!

Becoming a Mom, Among Friends:

Being pregnant while hanging out with groups of friends is difficult, mainly for physical limitations during activities, but it was also just hard to relate to everyone. I still could have conversations of course, but it was hard to find a common, relatable topic between us. We couldn’t really relate to each other anymore. Not many people are married and pregnant at 18 for one, and even the ones who wanted that in the future, were not quite yet interested in conversations that consist of such. Eventually, the friends that were more so acquaintances in a group of many, began to dissipate to go do other things, as did I.

I am a bigger fan of small, close-knit groups, rather than big groups of people you only have small talk with anyways. My husband is the opposite ironically, and loves big groups. The main reason people go to group activities with their friends is because they all relate in some way and enjoy doing whatever the activity is. You can have friends that are in different phases of life, but I think it’s good to also have friends who you can relate with as well. I think it’s just a matter of finding a new balance among them, through big changes in life.

Priorities change:

I’ve heard this from many, even my husband felt this way, that women feel more like a parent earlier in the pregnancy, due to carrying the child and having the physical effects. Where as the man, usually starts feeling the impact when he can feel the baby move, see it on ultrasounds, and then obviously the birth. The point is, usually the woman is treated as a parent earlier, so you get the effects of certain changes sooner. That’s what happened with us anyways. My friendships changed and/or just drifted apart a lot sooner than his did, just because some of the friends and I just couldn’t relate anymore. Our priorities were changing, but as they should! 

Thoughts:

I think that change is a part of life, and it’s not bad that having a baby changed relationships with certain people and didn’t with others. That is just how life works, when a big moment in your life happens. That shouldn’t scare you into not doing it at all though. Being a mom is an important job. It is the best job a woman can do! Becoming a mother, while young was a decision my husband and I made confidently, that it wouldn’t have mattered what people would have said anyways. The Lord loves children, He says they are a blessing! We should never treat them as a burden or curse.

Nevertheless, I know some people disagreed or thought it was crazy when I got pregnant. Getting married so quickly, it was obvious some people thought it was only because we had already gotten pregnant. Regardless, it was expected to happen, if I wasn’t already. Most people’s opinions this time around fell silent, nothing discouraging, but nothing encouraging either, which wasn’t all that bad. Try not to let people who are negative about becoming a mom, weigh in on your decision. I’m keeping the reminder on here, that everyone has different timing in life, and don’t discourage becoming a mom entirely if that’s what someone desires. The world does that enough for everyone already! Biblically speaking, I don’t think it’s wrong at all and I encourage starting your family as a young adult, if that’s what you and your husband want, and if possible of course.

Highly recommend this book. SO good!

Family:

It changes your entire perspective on things, watching someone grow and to be able to teach them about life. Planning to have or having any more than 3 kids, having them quick, and having them young is all (most times) considered, odd. My question is, why does it have to be? I don’t think it has to be considered a bad decision, or a regretful one, so long as you keep walking towards the Lord with the decisions you make. As for friends, I still have a couple great friends who aren’t in the same boat as me. In fact are younger, going into college and focusing on school! So it’s definitely possible to have and make it work with friends who are doing different things, but the point of this is, don’t be surprised to find that you lose some, and make new friends when you start having a family.

Overall:

It will be inevitable to drift from certain people, but it’s usually making room for new people to come into your life! That’s one of the reasons I made this is because I know the struggles of finding people who relate. Most 20 year old women, aren’t really starting families with their husbands, not in my area anyways! In my opinion there should be more young women and men getting married and starting their families, especially in the Christian community! but that is just my opinion.

Big decisions, cause big changes, and it’s not always a bad thing! Your family will automatically become your [new] top priority, if it wasn’t already! That’s one thing my husband and I talked through before marriage, was how do we see ourselves raising our kids? Are there differences, or are we on the same page? That was so beneficial to communicate beforehand, instead of pushing it off to do later, after marriage. There are obvious things that we wouldn’t know until having a baby, but we needed to be on the same page, all the same.

Like I said before, is there really a reason to wait if it’s something you want anyways? Beside’s certain physical or health limitations, why wait? If you’re waiting for the “perfect time,” It’s probably never going to be “the perfect time.” As my husband always says, “there will always be reasons or excuses, not to.” Regardless of when you have kids though, just know that they are a true blessing, and it’s okay for things to change around you.

Blog, Family

“Part 2: Young Wife.”

You Read it Right:

If you read anything on the About page or even on my Introduction post, you probably thought, “did she really say she got married after 5 months?” or you did the math really quick and calculated that I was just 18 years old when I got married. If that’s what you did, then yes it was only 5 months, and yes, I was 18. 

Actually, both of our parents got married young, (and are still married 20+ years later) and my parents got engaged within a month or so of knowing each other. I guess you could say because of that, we never found it odd to do something along those lines. I was never really encouraged to go find a husband at 18 years old and leave as soon as I could, but I was encouraged to find a man of God to marry, who I could commit to live a life with. My husband was also, always encouraged similarly.

Ironically, we moved just 10 minutes away from him in April 2015. I crossed over the same friend groups and places plenty of times, but never heard of him until May 2019, when a friend of ours said she knew a good guy named Bergen, who I might like. By the way, I was definitely not looking for a guy at this time, but for some reason I decided it couldn’t harm anything to meet him, and just see what happened. Pretty simple story really, got set up by our friend, met at her bonfire, went on a date, and now we’re here! and all because of the Lord!

Becoming a Wife:

To me, being a wife is staying home to take care of the household and to “nurture the home.” While that is not always seen as a good thing, and is often looked down upon to do (and to think). An already difficult path to take in this society becomes harder when doing it at say, 18 years old. This society, makes it look like a rougher path. It discourages being a wife, and starting a family young because we are supposed to go date around, go be free from the chains of a husband and child(ren). Surprisingly, even in the Christian community, you don’t hear about how we should use our singleness to prepare for marriage and a family while being young that often anymore. We [as women] are supposed to be dependent on only ourselves, not a man, and should not have children, at least not until we are completely fulfilled with our careers first. Says, the world.

This one is next on my list of “books to read.”

Although, not everyone is like this, and not every Christian either. There are wives who are mothers and have careers, who are mothers who work from home, and mothers who are also just full time stay-at-home too! Every family is different. Biblically, it’s a woman’s strong-suit to nurture, be the caretaker and obviously, have the children. Where as a man’s strong suit, is providing, protecting, and working hard for his family. It’s beautiful, to think each one is sacrificing for the other, while following the Lord together. 

As a woman, never settle for a man who isn’t Godly. A woman needs a man who will lead her towards the Lord, not away from Him. A good sign that he is, would be if he is comfortable and willing to openly talk about the Lord in your free-time. Use this season of singleness as an opportunity to search for a willing and open guy that you can have those conversations with! If you’re ignoring a red flag, getting married won’t change someone’s mind on any said topic, (for example, like the number of kids to have). Luckily, red flags don’t always mean a done deal! I just encourage you to talk through those red flags, and make any compromises before marriage, so it doesn’t cause a rocky foundation to start with. One of the for sure signs that my husband was the one was, he immediately asked about my views, and wanted to talk about the Lord, and face to face, not over a text or anything. The important part is, he initiated those conversations at first, and he put in that work for our relationship to grow! I will note, that is not an excuse for the woman to be lazy, we absolutely need to work for it too!

Going forward down this path and becoming a young wife, I was confident about my decision, but not everyone around me was. Even in friend groups of other Christians, it was hard because it’s still not the normal thing to do. When you become a wife, to stay home when you don’t have kids yet is “weird.” We knew having a baby was in the very near future, so there was no point for me to get a job, when I would leave it to stay home with our baby anyways. We knew we stood firm in our decision, so we didn’t care too much what people said about it.

A Big Decision:

It is a commitment, a big decision, it is something that takes communication, prayer, and much thought, but is worth it all the same. I hear a lot that it’s [marriage] a “ball and chain, so you’ll regret it” which may be so when it isn’t done for the right reasons, but when you do it the right way, for the right reasons, its really the opposite. You should feel confident about your decision, you both should! Which is why I think it’s great to start preparing for that future now, while young. Why wait to get married and start your family? If you have found a great “potential husband” (or potential wife, if you’re a man that’s reading) for you, is there a reason?

Being a Wife:

I feel so much joy in the fact that I am caring for my husband and our household. It’s an important job that no one should take lightly. If you are thinking the same, I just want to let you know, society will get over it, the group of friends will let it go eventually, and if you both know you are following the Lord, then what’s it matter if it flusters a few people? If it’s also family you’re flustering, I know how hard it can be, but if it’s the Lord’s plan, then they too will be okay, in time. If you are on the opposite side of things and think we and others are crazy, thats okay too! I understand not everyone thinks this way. Like I was saying previously, even among an all Christian group, it wasn’t fully accepted. Everyone is different, this is just the perspective of one, young wife.

Blog, Family

“Part 1: Young Marriage.”

Why Wait?

Fast forward to the engagement, which was only 6-7 weeks after meeting My (future) husband Bergen. Obviously, I said yes. We had talked about everything important, we knew what our beliefs were, and what we wanted from the other. We were on the same page with everything. I mean, truly, what was the point in waiting to get married?  We didn’t see any point to it, so we got engaged and set the wedding date for 3 months later! (I wanted an outdoor wedding, but it still most likely wouldn’t have been that much longer, had I wanted different). We had a small wedding in late summer/early fall, and it was the best time. We had tons of support, we both have big families, with lots of siblings, and so we were definitely encouraged throughout that whole time, which was a huge blessing. However, because we were so young and so quick to our decision we had also been discouraged as well.

From a christian’s perspective, biblically, I think it’s perfectly fine to encourage getting married young, so long as you both have the Lord as your foundation and understand the commitment. I think because of all the bad experiences, and bad advice out there, there is a lot of fear about getting married young. Marriage and family is encouraged all throughout the Bible, it’s something the Lord loves! If you are one of the people who got married when you were older, or haven’t found a good guy (or girl) yet, thats okay too. It’s not the same timing for everyone. Unfortunately, we ended up with a handful of friends and a few of our relatives who were negative towards us and our decision. A lot of the relationships we had changed, or just ended up drifting away.

What People Said to Us, and Say to Others:

“You really should get in a few big fights, before you get married.”

“You should really go date around more first, and have some fun!” 

“You should go experience life more, and be young. I’d hate to see you give that up for a life of marriage and making a family.”

“Are you old enough for that?”

“That quick?”

There were also silent commenters, who just made faces of disagreement and shock. Some of these were said to us by our close relatives, and some from friends. Some of them really did try to talk us out of it. We also had a bad marriage counselor at first too, who seemed to have had a negative view on marriage, entirely. At the end of the day, we knew we loved each other, we trusted the Lord and were fully committed. We didn’t let it affect us too much, but it was a discouragement all the same. 

If you are in this same place in life, just know unfortunately, not everyone understands, and just try to stick with the people who do, and are encouraging you. If you know someone who is trying to get married young and you are unsure of their decision, I would say just encourage them to stay close to the Lord, pray about it more, and to talk things over with their future spouse. Let them know what you feel that is off. I would have loved that from the relatives and friends who didn’t agree with us, instead of discouraging the entire thing altogether, even with good intentions!

a fun devotional to do with your significant other!

As For Friends :

We are only 2 years into our marriage, but I still am very confident about my decision, as is my husband. Over these last couple years since meeting him, we’ve both drifted from friends and found that our big groups, have become fairly small since, and not all of it was because it ended badly! More often than not, we change seasons in our lives at different times, so people we meet come and go and thats okay. 

Getting married, Is a big life change, and doing so while young right now in this day and age, is not really seen as the normal thing to do. I think its because it is hard to find people who actually commit to things fully. Going out with a group of friends who are single and/or dating or starting their career jobs, while you’re married is hard to do at times, because it gets trickier to relate to them now— I say this because I believe the wife should stay at home and take care of the home (although, every family is different!).

  So while that doesn’t mean it does not work (because it still could), it’s just harder to relate to the most popular conversation topics. Especially if you’re focused on starting a family soon and they are not! Priorities change, and thats okay. Overall, if you’re in the same boat or know someone who is, just put trust in the Lord. It’s a new season. Getting married young is not a bad decision, and it shouldn’t be a regretful one. You just have to keep your relationship close to the Lord. And lastly, if you’re having a hard time letting things or people go, remember that new things are coming, and you have to make some room! 

Farm

“Straw Bale Garden. How it Worked and Total Cost.”

If you’ve read my introduction post, you know that this is our first year of a full garden. We were starting with a complete blank space. Originally, when deciding on a type of raised bed we really wanted cost-efficient, raised beds that did the job and also that looked decent enough. After running across a Pinterest board idea of raised beds using straw bales, we gave it some pricing thought, then went out and bought everything we needed!

 Obviously depending on size of yard and layout you want, it can be any shape really. Keep in mind how many straw bales you need for each design as for where you are located, might have different sized bales (we have two-string bales, about 3.5ft x 1.5ft). We went with three rectangle beds for the design, pretty simple. two of them consisted of one bale on the ends, and three bales on the sides. The last bed had only two bales on the sides, so it was a little smaller.

garden design pic
The design we made and took reference from.

After setting up the bales, we finished by laying down the dirt and planting everything. It turned out pretty well and honestly after we finished setting it up, I thought it looked pretty nice! Total cost for us after the bales, dirt, netting, and seeds/plants was around $500 dollars. If you already have netting and don’t need the two planting bins, then that would cut the cost down by around $70 bucks.

small bed picture
Our Small raised bed. The after picture.

The actual sizes; big ones were 6.5ft x 11.5ft, and little one 5ft x 8.5ft. Pretty decent, since after the season is done you can break apart those bales and use them for mulch, compost, etc. They hold up pretty nicely (strings kept on), and for a “beginners” first garden, I think its a great way to go! I do have a couple things to review, but please note it might not be the same in different climates and zones, (our zone is, WA Zone 8a). 

side by side bale beds
First done, and Now.

With our weather here, the constant water/sun exposure the bales grew a type of cup fungus— harmless, and nonpoisonous, but annoying to keep cleaned out due to crowding our plants. It also grew quickly at first, but eventually went away after consistent cleaning and maybe warmer weather, perhaps. I don’t have picture of those unfortunately. They stopped popping up by the time I thought of it. Here is a picture from online that matched ours. click here

 If you live in the PNW, you too probably struggled through the big heat wave we had just before the Fourth of July. Well, with our bales they again, grew another type of fungus— a type of slime mold. This was also harmless, and nonpoisonous. I’m fairly certain it was only due to the extreme heat, and wasn’t that hard to deal with anyways because it grew on the tops of the bales, and not in with our plants. However, its pretty gross to look at and made me think our cats were having some serious stomach problems at first.

fungi pic
Quick, overnight growth of the “yellow slime” and a different patch that dried up, to show its next step.

 

After the season is over, and the bales need to be taken apart, as long as the fungi are removed, the bales are still fine to use in your mulch, compost, or whatever you choose to use them for. Where we live, our backyard for some reason was appealing to some yellow jackets who made a nest in the smaller raised bed, which we dealt with. A tip I read somewhere that prevents that, if you also have an appealing set up to yellow jackets while using the bales, try to keep a gap between each bale of around 3” inches. If the bales aren’t touching, it seems to help people with deterring those mean guys.

heat damage and strawberry
Heat damage on strawberries, and salvaged bale from the small bed Yellow jacket takeover.

When we cleaned the jacket’s nest out of our smaller bed, we noticed that the dirt held up its shape just fine after the bales had been removed, carefully. So, fear not if you have to dismantle a bale, it shouldn’t disrupt your dirt or your plants! We actually had to get rid of that whole smaller bed, because its location wasn’t the best for our lettuce and spinach.

 It all worked out in the end even with that surprise nest. We salvaged what we could and we are going to add some of those bales to cover our flower bushes, and then the rest will be shoveled and raked at the end of summer, to prepare for winter and next season’s raised beds. 

 The straw bales were cost-efficient, and multi-purposeful. I would definitely still recommend them for a beginners first garden set up, so long as you remember to keep an eye out for those fungi. This next garden season we are doing concrete block raised beds, along with something DIY and fun for our garden area. It will be fun to do something my little one can be participating in, even now while 9 months old. It involves beaches, and searching. Any guesses? Can’t wait to share!