Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fishtail Cottage's New Rabbit Hutch...

Its hard to believe it's already been five years since we brought home our bunny, "Bam Bam". He is a Mini Holland lop and has been such a sweet pet for our daughter.  His original cage was perfect, but after the five years it literally began to fall apart!  The roof was slowly beginning to come apart, the bottom literally was about to fall out from under him and all the chewing that went on inside that cage didn't help. 
We recently started shopping for a new cage for our Bam Bam - however, it seems any bunny hutch was ridiculously priced and very cheaply made.  So I enlisted a friend to help build us one.  Already having a rabbit hutch and being a parent to chickens as well, it is important to me to have an easy to maintain (and clean) living space for pets.  After several conversations of the 'vision' that was in my head we decided it was best to go ahead and order a kit from Wayfair.com.  The idea was close to what I wanted and seemed easy enough to customize it. Click here for the link...
Wondering ways we decided to customize this?  The bottom is meant to be open so that the bunny can have access to free roam in what I assume to be grass. However, for us that doesn't make a lot of sense because for one, we have gravel where this cage will be and also we have critters (raccoons mice and rats) that would be happy to dig underneath and access the food and perhaps hurt our rabbit.  So it was necessary to put both a solid bottom and a wire bottom - its good to have different textures for the bottom of a rabbits feet.  Also, they like to lay down and laying on wire isn't always comfortable. For easy cleaning the hutch needed to be lifted up off the ground so that I could clean easily by just hosing it out. This roof had to go - not a fan of it being so basic. And of course, because I already have a white chicken coop and picket fence in the same area that hosts the bunny cage, I wanted to also have the cage white.
It might sound silly, but it was crucial that the cage was "cute" from all angles.  Which I am so happy now that I decided that was important as I decided not to set the cage back inside the picket fence where the coop area is. 

Setting the cage on a platform of 16x16 pavers has worked out nicely (same thing I did with my chicken coop) to just hose any fallen debris right into the landscape. We also had a perfect pan that came from a storage bin that we no longer used that slides perfect underneath where the droppings can be dumped in the garden as well.

We ended up facing the hutch 'south' that way the bunny can hide in the upper portion of the cage where it is fully enclosed during the wind and rain. This area of the hutch slides out in case "Bam Bam" has an accident up there - it's easy to hose off to keep it clean. We keep cedar shaving up there for him to sleep on and stay warm.  I also will keep the food, timothy hay and the salt up there as well so it will stay dry when its windy and rainy.  We always keep two water bottles in the cage because I worry about the water running low in the summer months.
I am very pleased with how the whole 'vision' and implementation of the rabbit hutch turned out.  I think Bam Bam feels pretty special too!

Thank you for coming by to take a peek at our new bunny cage.  xoxo, tracie

Monday, August 8, 2016

Cottage Garden 8/8/16

Oh my goodness, it's been a crazy summer!  I am excited to share with you this weeks garden photo's.  The Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas are certainly a favorite to showcase here at my home. So much so, I ended up adding four more last year to the curb outside my white picket fence.  I recently shared this photo (below) on Instagram and was surprised to see it had over 1400 "likes" - that is the most attention I think I've ever been given on any of my social media outlets. 

The change in the weather has quickly turned these beautiful blooms from white to pink and this week I am already seeing plenty of the last stage of hot pink.  You can see in the photo below the four tiny ones I added last year to my garden landscape.  It will be a few years before they are large like the ones at the corner curb.
Many names have been circulating on the internet as to what these beautiful shrubs are called...and how to maintain them.  These beauties are easy for me to grow here in the Pacific Northwest, Zone 8. I have them planted in poor (clay) soil and in full sunshine.  They need a good watering a few times a week.  Their stunning white blooms appeared this year in late June and have continued through the summertime.  I assume they will complete the curbside show in September ~ which is when I generally cut all my hydrangeas back in the garden. Yes, one by one, I snip off each bloom just below above any new growth that has begun. If I go any lower than that, I will be removing next years blooms. 

Some other gorgeous garden blooms that have appeared since my last post (in order) is the David Austin Olivia Rose, David Austin Gentle Hermione, Souvenir de la Malmaison, Double Scoop Cranberry Echinacea, Stargazer Lily, Peaches and Cream Hollyhock (first stage and also as it has changed), Lucifer Crocosmia, Cosmo (from seeds), Phlox and Gladiolus.

Hope you are enjoying your week, xoxo, tracie

Friday, July 15, 2016

Cottage Garden 7/15/16

The Gardens here at Fishtail Cottage is certainly keeping me busy these days. I can't believe how much I have been cutting back and maintaining to keep everything orderly.  As you can see the Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangeas are finally showing their white blooms along the front of my of the house. Tucked in at the base of each hydrangea is Pink Supreme Carpet Roses peeking out with their showy blooms.
I just noticed today that the middle of the Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea bloom in beginning to show pink.  I never noticed that before, this must be the beginning of the pink stage!
So many Hydrangeas are blooming in the landscape this week so I'm just sharing all the pretty colors and glory that they are displaying. If you are interested in the name of a certain variety, please message me as I keep a garden journal, and am sure I have the name of everyone of these somewhere.
 Thank you for coming over to see my landscape this week! Hope everyone enjoys their upcoming weekend! xoxo, tracie

ps - please follow me on Instagram (i'm having so much fun over there!)