Marilyn Stevens (PA) (passed away 2/5/15)
My name is Marilyn R. Stevens. And as some of you know, I am ancient, but feel like an energized rabbit. I did my first marathon in Canada when I was 66 and I’ve done a total of 9 since then, including Alaska. So you see, age is relative.
I live with my husband Ed, the rabbits and 2 dogs, a Golden and a Carin Terrier. I have a blended family as Ed has 2 children and I have 4. Together we have 6 grandchildren who are great people. They are scattered all of the United States.
Ed and I met in Saudi Arabia. Oh yes, we had a wonderful time trying to date there. Our second date was a group picnic on the desert at sunrise. When he told me I wouldn’t be satisfied until we climbed to the top of the sand dune to see what was on the other side, he was right, and that was the beginning of a long marriage. He was in Saudi Arabia coaching the Saudi Olympic Team and I was there developing the BSN Nursing Program at the University of Riyadh.
I always wanted to be a Veterinarian, but my mother said I spent too much time doing the football players homework to take up any serious studies. So I settled for nursing and I have never regretted it, as it has offered me opportunities I had never dreamed of. I have spent most of my professional life either in Academia or in an Executive/Director Position. I have taught at many schools of nursing including University of Maryland, Penn State and developed the nursing program at St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa. I was the Director of Nursing and opened acute care hospitals in Abha, S.A., in Baha, S.A. and worked at the King Khalid Armed Forces Hospital in Jeddah, one of my favorite cities in the world. I was also an International Nursing Consultant in England, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and spent a considerable amount of time in the Philippines.
I have enjoyed collecting wherever I was traveling. You could say that my rabbit house is a collection of Lionheads and English Angoras. I like to do research and to be challenged with new projects in my spare time. So I have a collection of pearls, a collection of hand-carved decoys, collection of brass coffee pots from S.A., a Bedouin jewelry collection from S.A., and a collection of early hand-thrown crocks with blue painted designs from here in the U.S.
I don’t remember where I first saw my first Lionhead rabbit; but wherever it was, I was awe stuck by the tiny ears and the mane encircling the head……..that’s what I had to have. My daughter found 2 Lionheads in Baltimore, Md., at Bundles for Bunnies. This is the same rabbitry where Amy Whitmore got her first Lionheads and just about the same time in 2002.
I got a Black-Tort Doe with the sweetest white toenails and a Harlequin Buck (and Harlequins were “no-nos” at that time), but both of their grandsires were from England and that sold me. I named them Alpha, my beginning and Omega, my end. I hadn’t the foggiest idea about breeding, but I started to read and listen to everything and everyone and I’m still doing that today, but now I’m wise enough to filter through it. Maybe after 8 years, I’m starting to get a handle on it. The first rabbit I brought into the rabbit house was Sues Spring Hill Connor, Susan McCollough’s Buck. He was a little guy, but a wonderful sire. He sired my favorite and most winning rabbit, Zelda’s Beau. He is now 6 years old and lives comfortably in our house. From Spring Hill’s Connor I slowly added additional stock, but I was never into crossing the Lionheads with other breeds. I left that to the experts.
I added English Angoras to my rabbitry when I became interested in wools. I also wanted to miniaturize the Angoras and I did cross breeding then. I love the Angora’s personality, but unfortunately with the COD I will have to cut my stock.
I was awarded the COD for Blues, Blue Torts, and Sable Points on June 22, 2010. My Blue-Tort Doe got BOSV Nationals last year. So that spurred me on. She’s a beauty and recently had a litter of 6—all are Blue Torts. She is out of a PrideLand’s doe owned by Melissa Kelly. I am currently looking for some well-developed Blues, Sable Points and Blacks that carry Shaded. I have modified some of these COD colors. So if you have any questions or just want to chat, please feel free to call. I don’t have a web site, I never have, but I do get on the NALRC Blog site. Lionhead people are great sharers. Before I decided to apply for the COD I really thought through the amount of time, effort and financial resources it would take to do this. I am committed to see that these colors are approved.
I really don’t feel that there are any hard and fast rules in breeding and raising rabbits, but some may be more sound. To me, consistency is one of the most important factors in raising rabbits; consistency in feed and feeding times, water, haying, and most of all clean cages. In the time I’ve been raising rabbits, I have only changed the feed I was using once. Consistency also means keeping your program as simple as possible. People get caught up in quick fixes in breeding; consistency also means to forget the quick fixes. Keeping logs on rabbits is also important. Logs can also be in the form of Comment Cards at rabbit shows, but these are being done away with in the East, so we need to record our own. Judge’s comments are over in a flash and unless recorded, valuable information may be lost.
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