English Angora babies are one of the absolute cutest rabbit babies out there. A mature English angora in show coat is stunning to behold. As a result I receive many requests from people wanting to buy an English Angora baby. Some even telling me tales of how they have contacted other breeders who were 'rude' to them and refused to sell them a rabbit.
I have experienced and heard so many sad stories of seriously neglected English angoras, that I can sympathize with 'cranky' breeders who won't sell rabbits to people they don't know. It took me 9 months to develop a relationship with quality breeders before purchasing my first English Angora. It was definitely worth the wait, as good quality stock are actually easier to care for and have the 'look' that we all love.
I decided to write this post to honestly explain the challenges of the breed so people can seriously evaluate if they are up to the challenge. Please do not be offended by my frank descriptions. My goal is to increase the number of happy outcomes for people who fall in love with the breed. This is NOT a beginner breed and NOT a pet breed. There are many rabbit breeds that are great beginner bunnies. So for anyone seriously doing their research:
Here are the reasons you DO NOT want an English Angora:
Everyone who wants a baby tells me they will have no trouble grooming once a week. EVERYONE. 75% of them are LYING. I have learned this the hard way. I am naturally a trusting person, but on this issue I am starting to lose my faith in humanity. Think about your personal habits. Do you tend to neglect regular duties? Do you put things off until they are an emergency? Be honest with yourself, the life of a helpless animal is at stake. If you have ever had a cat, did you clean the cat box regularly? Think of any other animal care experience you have had. How would you rate your ability to perform REGULAR care? I am not a terribly organized and timely person, but when things really matter I find time. If you are not 110% committed to regular grooming, you should not own an English Angora.
SO, if you've made it this far you might be wondering why anyone keeps English Angoras.
Here are the pros:
I had a great time at the Downtown Wichita Falls Farmers Market today helping people learn how to make Kim-chi, Sauerkraut and Pickled Beets!
Here are the 'Recipes'/ basic guidelines we used.
Wash hands, utensils and jars well in hot soapy water.
Mix 5 lbs chopped vegetables with 3 TBS salt. So if you only have 1.5 lbs of cabbage about a tablespoon of salt is good. This does not need to be super precise.
Stir well to distribute the salt and start the process of pulling the water from the vegetables. Many people like to 'massage' the cabbage.
Stuff cabbage or cabbage mixture in jar and continue to squish it down (kraut pounder helps) until the liquid rises above the vegetables. You can really smash it all down hard. The more squishing the better.
Weigh vegetables down with pebble so that the the liquid is always covering them. Add Brine if needed (1.5-3 Tablespoons salt per Quart, or ~1 Teaspoon per cup water. )
Let ferment loosely covered by a lid (bubbles are a good!) for 5-10 days pressing down on pebble daily to keep vegetables submerged.
Put in refrigerator when it tastes the way you like it. It will keep 6 months-1 year. refrigerated.
For more details: http://www.thejoykitchen.com/.../brine-fermented-sauerkraut
Simple Kimchi Recipe:
I haven't tried this one before so I hope it works out! I found the many recipes online to be overwhelming. I like to use pre-made 'chili pastes' to simplify some Asian recipes at home and this recipe uses the same trick.
Mix together in a big bowl:
1 Napa Cabbage, quartered and soaked in brine (1.5TB salt per quart) overnight then chopped. Discard the brine.
1 peeled Daikon Radish chopped into sticks,
a couple carrots chopped into sticks (optional)
one small hard pear chopped into sticks (optional)
4-5 green onions chopped,
a couple TB minced Ginger,
a few cloves Garlic minced or pressed.
4 TB fish sauce,
1/2 cup (one jar) of 'Red chili paste' or 'Red curry paste' (Taste of Thai makes some that can be found at regular grocery stores. I like the 'Maesri' Brand sold at Hung Thinh Market on 9th st. For the demo I used 'Panang' Curry paste, mostly because it is milder and I have 'spicy' sensitive kids. If you like it spicier you can also add some Siracha.
Squish in jar same as sauerkraut. Let Ferment 5-10 days making sure all vegetables stay submerged.
Slice, chop or grate Beets as desired then fill clean Mason Jar.
Add any fun seasonings, Herbs or Spices that you enjoy.
Add a few tablespoons of Whey to introduce extra Lactic acid bacteria.
(This is the watery part of yogurt. Often if you have yogurt in the fridge some water will have accumulated on the surface. You can also make some whey by straining yogurt over cheesecloth or a coffee filter. )
Add brine until beets are submerged.
Top with clean pebble to hold beets down.
Cover loosely with lid and allow to Ferment 5-10 days.
I do prefer the plastic wide mouth lids over canning lids because they do not corrode.
You can use a small sandwich ziplock baggie partially full of brine instead of a 'pickling pebble' but I prefer a glass or stone pebble because you can push down on the pebble every day to release the gas and keep everything submerged. Also it is more rustic.
Once upon a time I was a research scientist working with yeast mitochondria... then we moved to the middle of nowhere Texas and had kids... need I say more? Now I keep myself happily busy by playing farmer and pursuing homegrown and homemade. You may bump into us at estate sales and antique/junk shops around the South - I'll probably be knitting.