Monday, July 16, 2012

Saving Peter Rabbit

Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail
Peter, of course.

Awwww, aren't they the cutest little things? 

Guess who's come to visit at Reindeer Station Farm? Here's a hint . . . 

Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter. They lived with their Mother in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree.

Actually, I'm not sure where they lived. I think it was a field. And Mother Rabbit had an accident so one of the girls who works at my vet's took these little guys in and has been raising them. Only, she was going on vacation and needed a bunny-sitter. Which is how I happen to be surviving on only two hours of sleep at a stretch at the moment so this will be brief. Beatrix Potter never mentioned that Peter was the runt of the litter and has special needs. But he lives up to his namesake by being a bit of a loner. You can usually find the others cuddled up together, but you've got to go hunting for Peter. I'll try to post some more pictures as they grow a little. I think they will be here for about a week. 

Interesting, barely related tidbit my exhausted, sleep deprived brain has just spit up . . . my first bunny ever was a wild rabbit someone tamed. It kept escaping to come visit our bunnies so finally my parents just kept her. I called her Honey Bunny (I'm much more original nowadays.) I loved that rabbit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Cute and The Fluffy

This is Tarquin. Yes, there is a rabbit under all the cuteness. I know, I know, he looks a bit like Twisk. It's been a great comfort to me though the reason he's here is very sad. Tarquin and Grainne (Graw-nya) a red French Angora doe came to live on the farm because their owner passed away. Tarkie is a sweetie who lets me cuddle him like a baby . . . remind you of anyone??? Grainne is his exact opposite. I have to wear gloves and move fast when I need to get in her cage. She attacks me and has bitten me several times though with the gloves she can't do much damage. All that rigorous training St. John has given me in bite avoidance maneuvers is coming in handy. That's precisely why Grainne is here . . . her owner wanted her cared for by someone with experience, who would know how to handle her. That's probably the first time I've had a reason to be glad about St. John's disposition. On the positive side, did I say she was red? Grainne makes Reindeer Station Farm officially patriotic, the home of red, white, and blue rabbits! There may be a yarn in that, a three-ply red, white, and blue yarn. Hmmmm . . . will have to give that some thought.

Next time . . . even more cuteness. I have finally gotten close enough to the fawns to snap pix of them together. They are up and romping around the meadow. The UPS man wanted to know if I was raising deer. Well, this is ReinDEER Station Farm . . . But that will have to wait until next time, when I can see straight. I have been writing all day trying to catch up on my quota which was derailed for a bit by Tarquin and Grainne. And even later I may explore some Beatrix Potter art which I have been gorging on like a starved wildebeest. If I do not find time to sit down and play with my paints soon I shall not be responsible for my actions.

This will not surprise anyone who knows me, but incidentally their names weren't Tarquin and Grainne when they came here. They were called Christopher Robin and Pepper. Which got me to thinking . . . there's not a beast on the place who has their original name unless they were born here. And when I finish writing my current book I think I'll hold a contest to see if anyone out there can match everyone's original name with the name I gave them. Gotta think of some awesome prizes . . .

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Found Some Words

I just wanted to say thanks to all the folks who have expressed their sympathy in the loss of Twisk. Everyone has been so nice, but I know a lot of people who've seen my swollen eyes today wonder what on earth could be so upsetting about losing a rabbit, especially since I have a bunch of them. So I'd like to take a minute to correct the perception of rabbits as pets. In the process I'll get to talk about what made Twisk so special which is about all I can think about today anyway.

Twisk was special, first of all, because he was born here. He was the only Reindeer Station Farm bunny and so he was the face of the farm. Because he was born here I've held him since he was hours old and you could tell the difference because he trusted me completely and I could hold him in silly positions and he didn't mind. I held him so much, in fact, that he was the last of the babies to learn how to hop. Rob finally told me to put him down so he could practice. The funny thing was that I never liked ruby-eyed white rabbits but when I was looking for pictures it was pretty obvious I held him more than all the other babies.

I didn't plan to keep any of Poppet's babies but even though I had a chance to sell Twisk I wouldn't do it. Raising him and his siblings was one of the best experiences of my life. I cried when the others left and swore I was done raising rabbits because it was too hard to let them go. I couldn't do that again. But Twisk stayed and was more like a pet than the other rabbits (except Fergal) and he came upstairs every night to hop around. He and Fergal (and Rachel's bunny Finnoula) were the house bunnies.

People think rabbits have no personality but that's not true. They just have subtle personalities. Twisk had a toy basket and he would play ball or move his toys around if you played with him. Sometimes he'd do it on his own. He loved to yank the slinky around. But his favorite game was Naughty Bunny. He was only allowed in certain parts of the house and he made it his mission to go explore the parts where he wasn't supposed to be. He had an uncanny knack of knowing when a door had been left open and whenever I'd find him somewhere he wasn't supposed to be I'd say, "Naughty bunny!" and "chase" him back down the hall. He'd always act like a kid caught red-handed and he'd tear down the hall, his little bunny slippers kicking up behind him. Some bunnies like to play chase and some don't; Twisk loved it. Lately the front door would get left open sometimes and we started to catch him venturing further and further out of the house. One day I was talking to Rob out by his truck and I noticed something white halfway up the driveway. Wondering what on earth it was I turned to look and saw Twisk. He wasn't in a hurry to go back inside either. He loved to explore. I buried him under the apple tree which is about as far as he ever made it.

Date night will be the hardest. We always watch a movie and Twisk would jump up on the couch with me and drape the front half of his body over me so I could pet him. He loved to cuddle. He was the only rabbit I've ever seen who loved to be held like a baby. Most rabbits don't like the vulnerability of that position. Twisk would actually fall asleep like that. Eventually he'd wake up like all the hounds of hell were on his tail and want to get down.

His first Easter the movie Hop had come out and the bunny on it (played by Twisk in his second movie role; his first was Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp) could poop jelly beans. So on Easter Rob set Twisk in the middle of a pile of jelly beans and then brought me over to show me what he'd "done." This was his second Easter playing the Easter bunny. He would have been two in September.

Fergal and Finnoula will really miss him too. He spent half his night hanging out with each of them, stretched out next to their cages. Every night when I gave Finnoula her supper and a papaya tablet I'd put one in my lips and Twisk would give me a "kiss" to get it. I got such a kick out of his papaya kisses that he always got two. I'm going to really miss that.

Those are just a few of the things that made Twisk special and why he leaves such a hole in our lives.

Goodbye My Baby

I always said I didn't like ruby-eyed white rabbits so how one completely stole my heart is beyond me. Twisk, the face of Reindeer Station Farm, died last night the way he lived . . . in my arms. He had a sudden acute case of colic that didn't respond to treatment fast enough to save him. To say I am devastated beyond words is an understatement. Twisk was my baby and he took a huge part of my heart with him when he left. Rob said it best, "He was a part of our family." I'll love him forever. Goodbye my baby.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Technology on the Farm: Looking for a Few Good (Wo)Men

Allrighty boy and girls, I'm about to go all techie on you; stand back. I have to admit, I've spent the last few years trying to get AWAY from technology and back to the simple pleasures of living in real time. I created a serious learning curve for myself which was less than fun to surmount, but I digress. Point is the bunnies have decided that it's time to get with the program. When they found out I got a Kindle Fire (after swearing up and down I'd never read a digital book. Like. Ever.) they started taking turns using it whenever my back is turned. I mean, like seriously, they hide it from each other and someone has nibbled a corner of the jacket, probably St. John. Good thing I got that super-duper screen protector. I think they downloaded Watership Down even though I warned them it had some scary bits in it. They are also very fond of LOTR because they like to imagine they are hobbits.

Anyway, it should be no surprise that they are anxiously awaiting the digital release of a book I co-wrote with Eric Stoffle. I should state now, right here, for the record, that it ends on a cliff-hanger so if you decide to read it get the sequel, Midnight Hour, before you finish and save yourself the kind of knuckle-popping anxiety that people raked me over the coals for when it came out in print and they had to wait years - yes, years! Oh the agony! - for the sequel. You can thank me later.

Anyway, Eleventh Hour is going to be released digitally on March 12 - ta-da! - and we're looking for a few good men - and women, and even bunnies - to give away some pre-release copies to in exchange for an honest review - seriously, dude, you won't hurt our feelings, we can take it, we've got big strong backs from hunching over keyboards every spare second - and post it on or wherever else you like to post reviews of eBooks. So if you want to be one of those people please send me an email at and tell me which format you'd like (I think your choices are .mobi or .epub but you'd have to ask Fergal because he's the geek in the house.)

A bunch of my other print books are about to make the leap into technology and become eBooks as well through one of my publishers, Pacific Press. As resistant as I am to change, and technology, this is actually a good thing. People often ask me where they can find some of my earlier work and a lot of it has gone out of print. Now they'll be able to get their hands on it again. Wait, maybe that's not a good thing . . . By the way, may I state, also for the record, no one, and I mean no one, has guessed who the real people were behind the characters in Playing God. No one. But if you'd like to try, you'll soon have the digital opportunity to give it a shot. Ain't technology grand?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hopping Down the Bunny Trail

You know what is cool about finally having snow??? Seeing bunny tracks!! I've been waiting all winter. When I went out to feed the chickens this morning I noticed someone had been busy so I ran inside, grabbed the camera, and followed him around. I'm working on (working may be a bit of an energetic term since really I'm working on writing for about 16 hours every day...putzing a few minutes here and there might be more accurate) a series of bunny paintings. Yes, folks, I've taken my obsession to the next level. I'm now creating bunny art. And not copied bunny art either (ie., my lovely paintings of Beatrix Potter bunnies) but my own, original creations. My first is a mixed media canvas. I'm still working on it but the background looks like this:

(Can you guess what the background color is made from???)

It's got a bit more on it now because as soon as the background was finished I started building up the layers. I like how it's going so far. But this morning I had an idea to do bunny tracks. I've been thinking someone ought to stamp bunny tracks in metal, maybe for pendants or something. But when I saw them on the ground this morning I knew exactly what I was going to do with that second canvas I got for my two-fer. But you'll just have to wait and see.

After following Peter Cottontail all around the bunny trail he went home. Here:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bunny M.A.S.H.

I know I'm a lazy poster but it's hard to believe I haven't posted anything to the blog since late November. There's a very good reason for that, however. Several of them. All fluffy. All cute. All sick unto death.

Around Thanksgiving Fergal had an accident. We think he was pulling on the bars of his cage and ripped his jaw ligaments. I won't tell the whole story here (I'm including it in a book I'm working on . . . more details when it's closer to being finished) but let's just say that it was a couple months before I got to sleep longer than 4 hours at a stretch. This picture shows Fergal in his baby bib (courtesy of my nephew Destin) getting ready for one of his every 4 hour round the clock feedings. He did really well. He still needs feeding at times,when he refuses to eat, but for the most part is now eating on his own. He doesn't seem to be able to eat regular pellets so I have to grind his food in the spice grinder and mix it with water to make mush.

Then Twisk got a cold. And then Pippin got a cold. And then Dougal got an ear infection (and died in my arms.) And then Posey got a cold. This may be the Year of the Dragon but it's the Winter of the Bunny. Dougal was the first rabbit I've lost (aside from Poppet's runt and two stillborns.) It was difficult. I try not to think about it. Everyone else is on the mend.

Through everything Dr. Bruce has been a medical MacGyver. It's nice to have someone so resourceful and knowledgeable in charge. I've spent so much time with him since fall we're considering adopting him.

In other farm news, well, I guess there is no other farm news. Just sick bunnies. The sheep, llama, and alpaca are anxious for spring and real grass, otherwise they are doing well. Beatrix is rocking a new camo colored jacket because that's what came the last time I ordered. She looks like she's getting ready to go on a mission but then she always looks like she's plotting to take over the world. Now she's dressed for it.

Exciting writing news though . . . I'm about to sign a contract to let Pacific Press ePublish all of my titles they have published in print. Except for Eleventh Hour and Midnight Hour which Eric Stoffle and I own the digital rights for. We're busy converting those files ourselves and will release them through Amazon. I'll keep you posted. I am embarrassed to say that I've broken down and ordered a Kindle Fire. I never thought I would. I'm still not sure I want one. But I'm ridiculously excited about it anyway. This ePublishing gig opens up a whole new world. Especially for control freaks like myself. I'm not entirely sure I won't pop a couple books onto Amazon that I've been noodling on for years. Might be fun.

Now if we could just get a little snow before winter is officially over it might smooth my re-entry into reality.