How we made our awesome rabbit village

Rabbit run bunny run rabbit hutch
A long view of the rabbit run.

We took over about 1/3 of our garden (the third with the lawn in) and turned it into a little bunny village that could originally hold all 6 of our rabbits (when we actually had 6 rabbits), it was designed to be a self-contained play and living area for them because we didn’t want them getting cooped up in unfamiliar hutches while we went on our holiday driving around Europe in summer 2014.  This way, all our designated rabbit feeders had to do was feed them, the rabbits had toys, companionship with other groups (they were three pairs) and lots of room to exercise.   The third hutch was at the back of the run but we threw it out (actually it’s still partly standing on the concrete, wood is always useful) when Fifer got Katie because she was too big to share his first hutch.

When we came back from Europe, we moved the 2 rabbits from the shed back into the house (Banacek and Cleo) and bought Fifer and Katie a new deluxe 2 storey hutch that was 5 foot wide and 18 inches deep, Katie adored it.  We took the downstairs hutch doors off so they could have 24/7 indoor-outdoor access, which all the rabbits were used to by this point, and we’d already removed a couple of bricks so rabbits could get from the brick shed into the main run.  The floor of the shed I covered in straw so it was basically an extension of their rabbit hutch.  At this point, the rabbit run was still sectioned into three parts and Banacek and Cleo had the back of the run now when they wanted to play outside, which was slightly awkward for carrying them because Banacek never got used to being handled.

Rabbit run bunny run rabbit hutch
We removed a couple of bricks from the shed so Fifer and Katie could go in when it rained and play out when it wasn’t raining.

When Neville died, leaving Sebastian behind, about 18 months ago, I thought it was best to let Sebastian live out his days in the hutch we got him in, since he was very small (Netherland Dwarf) had a whole shed to himself (the wooden one) and a garden, and I wanted him to have continuity.  Unfortunately, about three months ago with the really shitty weather we’ve had, the bottom of his hutch started to go rotten.  I ripped the whole thing out one afternoon and redesigned a second hutch – the spare one we’d kept in the kitchen, that was going to be Banacek and Cleo’s outdoor hutch until Banacek died – and gave that to Sebastian.  It’s the exact same hutch that Fifer and Katie (and now, Fifer and Poppy, who live part-time in the house because Poppy likes being inside but Fifer doesn’t like being an indoor bun) have in their shed, with a few slight differences because this hutch was a £30 fixer upper and the other was in pristine condition for nearly £100 (with discount vouchers). More info on how to design an inspirational rabbit hutch

Rabbit run bunny run rabbit hutch
Sebastian’s hutch inside his shed.
Rabbit run bunny run rabbit hutch keep warm
Sebastian lives alone so I like to make sure he stays warm.  It pulls down when it’s cold.

These links have more info on keeping bunnies warm in winter and cool in summer

The most important thing to talk about is the type of fencing to use, to make sure the rabbits really can have 24/7 indoor/outdoor access.  You need a fencing that is really rabbitproof (insert joke about Australia’s rabbitproof fence here).  We used different types of fencing in different areas to make the most rabbitproof run without having to spend 100 years making it:

Rabbit run bunny run rabbit hutch rabbit proof garden
Around the wooden fence, I nailed up some chickenwire over the first 18 inches so the rabbits can’t burrow out.

Apart from where it’s against a fence, the chickenwire starts at 4 feet high because rabbits WILL chew through chickenwire, even the coated green stuff.  The chicken wire replaced that awful lurid green stuff that was made of plastic that my husband bought, and which has been an eyesore for 18 months.  Don’t use chicken wire anywhere that a rabbit’s mouth can reach unless there’s something behind it, and AVOID that stupid plastic stuff at all costs, I was against it from the moment I saw it, and when we were removing it, Poppy came out to explore, got tangled in it before we could stop her, and she nearly died. £600 of vet bills later she’s ok but it was the most harrowing experience.

Rabbit run bunny run rabbit hutch wire fencing rabbitproof rabbit proof
This wire goes at the very bottom.

At the very bottom of the rabbit run we have put this thick and relatively inflexible metal the squares are about 1.5cm wide each, so rabbits can’t get their noses through.

rabbit run4

A little bit higher, we never had a problem with the green squares until we got Poppy.  She’s a gorgeous Dutch bunny with a slightly more petite bone structure than our other rabbits, and being a bright young thing she will leap up and climb through these two levels of squares so I had to wrap this green wire diagonally to stop her getting out.  I wouldn’t mind but it takes her too long to get back in because her bum gets stuck, and if a cat was in the greater garden it could very quickly eat her.

Rabbit run bunny run rabbit hutch wire fencing rabbitproof rabbit proof
The silver low fence keeps Fifer and Poppy out of Sebastian’s territory. I did find Katie in there once (when it was Fifer and Katie), but her temperament was so nice that she just snuggled up with Sebastian, so we never saw an issue with Katie having two male partners.
Rabbit run bunny run rabbit hutch wire fencing rabbitproof rabbit proof
Sebastian’s run – that little wooden thing was his original run (from his previous owners) and when we got him we found he likes sitting in it sometimes, I think he feels more secure in there. It’s good for attaching his water bottle to (left hand side, just after that open shed door).
Rabbit run bunny run rabbit hutch wire fencing rabbitproof rabbit proof
And that’s Sebastian’s entrance/exit between his shed and his run, it’s in his old rabbit run because he likes his little porch!
Rabbit run bunny run rabbit hutch wire fencing rabbitproof rabbit proof garden toys
One of Fifer and Poppy’s garden toys. Poppy loves running up and down in the holes like a cat, Fifer loves chewing it.

Toys are important to me for the bunnies, as important as grass I can’t stand the idea that they ever might be bored in their bunny village, so I like to give them as many things to do as will fit.  I did make a little climbing frame for them but we had to take it apart when I replaced some of the fence panels earlier this year, so the components (such as this ladder) are still around.

Rabbit run bunny run rabbit hutch wire fencing rabbitproof rabbit proof garden toys
Another outdoor bunny toy. Rabbits like things they can eat, chew, rub their chins on, sniff at, lick, scratch, dig, run around and sit on.

And the most important thing in our giant rabbit enclosure is to make sure they can’t escape, because there are a lot of neighborhood cats and there are local foxes who have shat in our greater garden (bag it using 2 sandwich bags so you don’t touch it, clean the area with neat jeyes fluid, rinse with boiling water) so we know they are aware of our rabbits.  So we fasten the door (an old garage side door we got on Freecycle) with a lock and a piece of wire.   Before we used the wire, the vicious northern winds had been known to blow it open which can be very dangerous at night.  I do let Fifer and Poppy out into the wider garden regularly (Sebastian doesn’t like going out of his run) they eat all my weeds it’s amazing.

Rabbit run bunny run rabbit hutch wire fencing rabbitproof rabbit proof
The locking arrangement, from before we replaced all that lurid green plastic stuff.
Rabbit run bunny run rabbit hutch wire fencing rabbitproof rabbit proof
View from the back of the run towards the house.

So that’s our bunny village, currently housing Fifer, Poppy and Sebastian!  What do you think?  Have you made anything similar for your rabbits?

If you haven’t already, check out my other rabbit care articles

It’s all a war on intelligence.

The following four articles prove that Turkey and the UK are both seriously bad places to be an academic or researcher or teacher at the moment. <sarcasm> I’m sure glad I just applied for a master’s degree </sarcasm> it’s all part of a less-well-known but ever-growing phenomenon I’ve been noticing for several years now.  There is an actual war on intelligence going on.  Intelligent people with good qualifications can’t get jobs because they’re viewed with suspicion.  They’re outsiders.  But they can’t integrate with wider society because wider society won’t let them.  And it’s seen as okay.  Just like thin-shaming is believed to be acceptable.  Oh, yes, thin intelligent bitch coming down the street, let’s hurl our faeces at her and start shouting “ook ook” to ward her off.  She might have cooties or witchcraft.

This article is seriously disturbing. Turkey won’t let academics or teachers leave the country, and they’re rounding them up and “making them pay” for a coup… by… the… army??? WTF??

UK scientists are losing funding for big projects because all the EU funding is drying up from independent sources, long before we have lost the actual EU funding from the actual EU government. We still have that. Yet science is being attacked.

This letter was written by “UK academies” (by which they don’t mean schools, they mean big fancy clubs for British scientists). It just reminds me of children telling their mum that another child has hit them in the playground. What the hell do they expect our impotent British government to do about it, when they’ve been proven to be so out of touch with normal people that they genuinely thought everyone would vote to remain in the EU, then when that didn’t happen the Labour party disintegrated into a bunch of five year olds throwing sand in each other’s faces and not letting anyone else into the sandpit while the Conservatives had a bizarrely comical power grab?? These people are supposed to “fix” this threat to science??

And of course, perhaps most interesting of all, since it affects new students, the government’s new inspections on universities is a precursor to letting universities raise fees. Because underperforming universities clearly have too much money coming in and need to get rid of some of it so they can teach better! They also have been doing this to comprehensive schools for a while along with their bullshit “forced academization” crap. As a former teacher I just don’t like where this is all headed, none of it is in the best interests of the pupils. It’s really funny that the Labour government are the ones criticizing it since they’re the ones who introduced tuition fees in the first place and consistently raised them, the Conservatives are just following suit. The Labour government also got rid of aptitude based scholarships for private schools for a while, disguising it as “education for all” (by which Labour always mean, education for people who lack any capacity to actually learn stuff but who probably have pushy parents, so they drown out the people who know stuff when they grow up).

I remember watching a quiz show called “The Weakest Link” where you started off with a bunch of contestants who were supposed to eliminate people after every round of general knowledge questions.  For the first 2-3 seasons, people genuinely used to vote out the people with the most incorrect answers.  Then, around season 3 or 4, someone worked out that if they voted off the people with the most CORRECT answers, they would have a better shot at winning, despite not being “the strongest link.”  That’s exactly what’s happening with education, academia and research.  The brightest and most outstanding are being taken down in the hope that their accomplishments can be split between distinctly mediocre people who believe there’s a secret “world government” that is run by Satanic lizard zombies (rapidly overtaking homeopathy as the single stupidest thing the public have been duped into believing over the past few years).

People have always viewed intelligence with suspicion, unfortunately the working class (which I was born into and am still part of) were purpose-bred for thousands of years to not be able to think for themselves, the upper classes encouraged them to be suspicious of intelligence or dissent for the status quo – if the working classes destroy people who are their only hope of escaping the working class, then the upper classes don’t actually need to involve themselves.  Now, of course, with the class divides having greater overlap, and some of us actually believed people when they said achievement at school is the key to a good life (false), it’s even easier than ever to find and take down intelligent people and put them back in “their place” which is so clearly not their place that it doesn’t even have their name on it.

It’s the war on intelligence, people, humanity can’t allow themselves to progress any further, it’d be far better to shoot civilization in the foot and get a medical discharge from that whole contest of survival of the fittest.  If you are a scientist, researcher or teacher, now’s a great time to consider a career change.

I hear the world always needs more plumbers.

Bipolar Migraines

Allegedly yesterday was the hottest day of the year.  I wouldn’t know about that because I spent the last 60-ish hours holed up with the worst migraine of the year.  I get at least three types of migraine.  There’s the ones where they start bad, then get worse and worse until the pain is unbelievable and I want to rip my own nose off (or punch it until it stops moving); they usually come with sensitivity to light but not sound.  Then there’s the ones which cause extreme sensitivity to light, sound and any other stimuli, where the headache is actually secondary to the sensitivity but they’re usually controlled the quickest by painkillers.  These are the ones I wear sunglasses in the house for, they’re most frequent and if they’re not kept in check they can develop into either of the other two.  Maybe this is actually a pre-migraine, I don’t know.  Lastly, the rarest ones, where the headache builds up and builds up and builds up from nothing until it’s impossible to think about anything or do anything then the vomiting starts.  This makes the head pain worse, then it fades a bit afterwards, then starts building and building again and so on until you wonder if there’s any point eating food because it’s a waste of money.

All three of them come with weird visual disturbances (I frequently get flashing blue lights) and fun illusions such as seeing black holes where there are none.

This week’s been characterized by the third type of migraine.  I took paracetamol (why do you call that acetaminophen in America?  Why?), it did nothing, I was going to move up to co-codamol but my husband convinced me it was time for an Imigran (sumatriptan).  I tried one, it seemed to clear it and I went to sleep.  In the morning, I woke up at 9am with the same migraine (or a very convincing impostor), but worse.  It doesn’t help that the sun is making it hotter than the fires of hell in our bedroom (HVAC isn’t really a thing in the UK except in fancy hotels and some offices) and so I felt like I was near a volcano until I could get into the bathroom.  Where I was stuck for the next four hours due to major vomiting.  After that came the muscle weakness and inability to hold things (the same one you get during/after an anxiety attack) which meant I was holed up on the sofa watching re-runs of Gilmore Girls. What a write-off of a day. It’s claiming to have cleared this morning (Wednesday) but it might be lying, since it clearly lied on Monday and came back Tuesday as soon as I was awake.  I’m going to take the day slowly, with many more episodes of Gilmore Girls, and investigate the possibility of food since all I could eat yesterday were weirdly tangy side dishes such as microwave rice (lime flavor), and a sandwich made of lettuce with a hint of mayo but I don’t know what to eat that won’t be wasted.

This morning I got up at 7:30 to make sure I wasn’t in our bedroom since it’s so hot in there after sunup (currently about 4 or 5am), and at first I felt cold, but within 30 seconds of being awake I could feel how hot the room was and I couldn’t believe my body would lie to me and tell me it was cool enough just to stay asleep!!!  I am never a morning person but I literally RAN to the shower this morning and I got straight in so the cold water would bring my temperature down.  This house has never been this weird on temperature before, usually it’s pretty good at not getting too hot.  Is this global warming?  The morning sun seems to be so much more intense than usual.

I suspect my meds may have been involved but I can’t pin anything onto them.

I’ve started to notice in the past year or so that these migraines seem to either cause, pre-empt or announce an underlying mood phase change.  I’ve been in a bit of a mixed state the past few weeks, characterized by severe agitation, which is why I re-started my medication.  It’ll take a couple of days at least before I know but I think that mixed state might have shifted.  That would be neat.  Maybe I can stop taking my meds again.  The pattern (such that it is, this is only the third time I’ve stopped/started them) seems to be take meds for 2-4 weeks, until severe migraines, then when enough severe migraines, brain is all better for now.  Two to four months later, lather rinse repeat.  Wash hair frequently in the meantime.


So impatient.

Waiting for my passport to come back – the supporting documents turned up today but my passport has not, despite the fact the passport office sent me a text message on Tuesday saying I’d receive my new passport soon, so I informed the tax office already.  It’s worrying because they’ve sent my deed poll back, so I hope they’ve accepted it as evidence of my name change, but until the passport turns up I’m not going to feel confident on that front.  I can’t apply to Canadian immigration until I get that new passport number.  Waiting for my book contract for the book that’s supposed to be released this weekend. It was supposed to turn up yesterday but did not.  And, of course, waiting to hear back about my Master’s degree application.

I hate waiting.  I can’t settle to anything right now.

It doesn’t help that someone tried to rob us last night and I was zonked out on Seroquel and couldn’t manage to open the handle to the window to get it open.  I knew that part of how it worked was to repress my PTSD-induced startle reaction, but now I need to reassess how safe it is to take it if it’s preventing me from reacting to actual danger.

Waiting for the Seroquel to wear off so I can get some writing done.  It stops me making connections.

So I applied.

I applied for a master’s. I am still worried they might not accept me. They wanted two pieces of written work and I didn’t know whether to send in two pieces that were relevant or whether one piece that was more recent and better reflected my current ability was more appropriate. I went with the more recent one, and one piece that was older but more relevant, because the more recent one showed how my critical thinking has grown into a more mature style. I hope that’s what they’re looking for.

I don’t know when I’ll hear back but now I need to fill in an application for this postgraduate student loan. Whee, I get to deal with the abundantly incompetent Student Loans Company again!

In other news, I now also need to find out whether I can research/write an essay on my meds, and whether “avoid alcohol” really applies to the quantity of my prescription or if I should take it as a suggestion (like “don’t walk” or “fire exit”)…

Hopefully normal updates to my blog will resume soon, around the same time I hope to start reading all yours again.

A Master’s degree dilemma…

I was hoping to have a few days now I’ve finished writing my latest book (just wait for the edits to come back…..) to just unwind and chill out, but it hasn’t really worked out that way. For starters, I’ve increased my dosage of medication back up to what it should have been, and mysteriously, some of my side effects seem to have improved (others have not). Weird.

The main issue is, I set myself a deadline of researching and applying for a master’s degree by this coming Friday. If I don’t do one this year I can’t do one at all.

Tuesday’s gone (and Wednesday) and I’ve narrowed it down to either computing or writing, but I can’t pick between them it’s so damn hard. Part of me likes to imagine that if I did a MA in Creative Writing (or journalism, or marketing, or theatre writing…), that I might actually write really good books that became number 1 bestsellers and that I might actually feel like writing could be my career. I genuinely don’t know if that’s delusions of grandeur though, because the problem with being diagnosed bipolar is suddenly every damn thing you thought you were good at is completely indistinguishable from a delusion of grandeur. How does anyone with bipolar maintain confidence without letting it tip into delusions of grandeur? It’s as bad as the “was it a religious experience or was it ideas of reference?” conundrum. I literally second guess every stupid thing because I don’t know how else to keep myself in check. I can’t allow myself to think that I might be successful at anything, or good at anything, or a nice person, or whatever, I have to constantly believe that I’m not. And then that takes me into depression again.

I’ve sold 1000 copies of my last book now, BTW (God knows how, it only has 3.5 stars), but I still don’t feel like writing is a sustainable (or legitimate) career choice, and every time I have to make edits I feel like complete crap, through no fault of the editor, I just have no self esteem at all.

Add to that, I always wanted to do computing but believed for the longest time that I didn’t have the aptitude for it, so I’m naturally super nervous about doing it as a potential career change despite being constantly proven wrong about my ability with computers.

It’s like there’s these two diametrically opposed interests pulling me in two different directions.

Has anyone reading either studied Creative Writing or studied programming who could possibly tell me what they gained from either? Did it move you forward in your career?

Bipolar Meds Haiku

Back on my meds now,
Blinded in the house.

And a second, bonus haiku:

Back on my meds now,
Sleepy, thirsty, craving sweets,
Less agitation.

Also my laptop’s fallen in half and is barely working now, so I can’t tell if its my altered vision or if the laptop screen is actually flickering dark every few seconds. That’s what I get for wearing prescription sunglasses in the house.