I just had to share these beautiful plates. They are hand painted Noritake made in Japan. The porcelain is thin and fine with gorgeous encrusted gold floral crests and scrolls. The hand painting is amazingly well done. The plates measure 7.25″ in diameter. They have minimal utensil wear and some loss of gold to the center and rim bands. I don’t know how a human could create such meticulously perfect detailing. The scrolls are all so uniform.
The backstamp is in red and dates to right around 1918, making these plates antiques next year. I was surprised to find the beauties in a thrift shop. They were a set of three, but one had a good-sized chip. I made that into a very fancy underplate for one of my african violets. The other two plates are for sale in my eBay shop.
Moonstone’s three babies are achieving maximum cuteness at one month of age. The angora rabbit fawns are little bundles of fluff that fit neatly in your hand. Two are white albinos with red eyes and one is a chocolate point with blue eyes. I believe the chocolate point and one white are female and there is one boy. They are still so young that I can be fooled when sexing babies. I’ll check again in a month. At that age their sex will be fairly obvious.
By copying what mother does, the little ones have learned to eat pelleted feed, drink from a waterer and bowl and nibble grass, hay, fruit wood twigs and apples. Young rabbits have big appetites. We go through a lot of pellets when there is a litter of rabbits to raise. Happily, there are only three this time so the feed bill won’t be as big as when there are six or eight to grow.
I talk to the babies and handle them frequently so they will be gentle and accustomed to humans. As they enter four to five weeks of age, the fawns develop a natural curiosity and are moving away from the protection of their mom. This is a great time to socialize them with humans.
Mom still nurses her fawns and allows them milk once per day. Whenever anyone tries to get a little extra drink, she hops smartly away. At two months she will wean them and the little ones will be ready to go to new homes. If the chocolate point turns out to be a doe, I may keep her for my rabbitry. She is adorable!
This guy first showed up here at the farm in early September, a cock ring-necked pheasant. These birds of Asiatic origin are a common introduced species that lives in the wild throughout most of the US. They are fairly hardy, surviving on the Great Plains and as far into New England as southern Maine. But, they have never established a presence here in central Maine due to the deep snow and cold. When a pheasant is seen running loose in this area it is generally due to escape from a breeder or intentional release for hunting purposes.
Mr. Pheasant is a sociable yet wary bird. He comes out on the lawn when all is quiet. If a human is spotted, the bird quickly takes cover. A few days ago on an overcast afternoon he was right outside the house in the yard, not twenty feet from the door. I snapped a few photos of him. The bird could see me moving in the window which is why he is watching me in the pictures. Quickly he determined I was no threat and went back to scrounging in the leaves for whatever a pheasant finds tasty.
If the weather has become warm enough due to climate change from global warming, perhaps this pheasant is part of a scouting party from down south, come to check out the possibilities. I heard through the grapevine that there are a couple more cock pheasants running free about two miles away. It seems more likely the birds were released or are escapees. If they are able to survive the winter in the wild, a pheasant community may develop here. The birds are great reproducers. Since they are not native, they will put pressure on the wild turkey and partridge populations for the limited resources.
I suspect Mr. Pheasant will not make it through the winter. He is showing an interest in my free-range chickens and may be attempting to insinuate himself into the flock, not realizing that involves being around me. I have considered trapping him and may still try that. I would like to see him safe for the winter and not the victim of cold and coyotes.