Canning Applesauce, Cleaning Up After Rabbits, and Hoping to Build a Fodder System

I got one batch of applesauce made and canned today and will likely do at least two more batches with the apples left on the tree. We have a very sour, very ancient apple tree. It does not make for a good eating apple, it is definitely a pie apple, but since I don’t generally make pies, it is our applesauce tree.

I don’t really follow a recipe when making applesauce. I just peel and cut up apples until they fill the six-quart crockpot. I add a cup of sugar and a tbsp of cinnamon to start with and let it cook on low for a few hours. Once is is smooshable I smoosh it up and taste it and adjust the sugar from there. Usually I have to add about another half cup with these apples. I have done it with other apples and used only 3/4 cup sugar total. Once it is at the appropriate sweetness I let it cook a little longer, maybe twenty minutes. Then I put it in jars and water bath can it.

I never liked applesauce until I started making my own. While it is still not my favorite I am coming round to it more and more. The first year I made it (last year), I only made it in half pint jars because the husband was the only one eating it. This year I am making it in pint jars. I don’t think we are ready for quarts any time soon though.

Today we did a full on scrub out and bleaching of the pregnant does’ cages. They are due in a week. I gave both Piper and Sweetie Belle a good going over today. They have both filled out really well and I can feel the lumpy little kits inside them. They both have beautifully soft fur right now. Their winter coats have replaced their summer coats and have a wonderful texture. They also seem to have a sheen. I got the nesting boxes sterilized and did the bottom layer of kiln-dried pine shavings. I will add straw tomorrow and then hay and put them in the cages. It had gotten dark by the time I got the nesting boxes.

I helped the runt to nurse on Phoebe like I did yesterday by keeping a hand on Phoebe’s back so she couldn’t bolt. Two of the other kits took advantage of this as well, one of them the second smallest and the other, the biggest. I can already see a difference in the runt since yesterday. Her face is filling out and she seems a lot perkier. I will have to keep this in mind for runts in the future.

I’ve been researching growing fodder and came across a few systems for sale, but they are expensive. Then I figured I may as well check the eternal time suck that is youtube. And sure enough there were some ingenious people who came up with ways to do it for far less money. And one of them is easy enough that I could do it by myself, though it will probably still be relegated to the husband to build. Like most homesteady things around here, it’ll be up to me to maintain it, though. Still, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes a day.

This is what I am going to try first:

I figure this would be big enough to feed all of my rabbits some fresh fodder daily through fall, winter, and spring. I am going to try growing it in the garage next to the big window. I don’t know if it will be warm enough in the garage, but it is worth a try. If I had a spot in the house I’d do it inside where it is warm. Well, possibly the old bathtub, but I’m not sure it gets enough light there. I could set up a grow light on a timer, I suppose, but then that adds to the expense. And since I am saving my pennies for my quail set up, I don’t want to add to the expense right now.

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