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Cotton Tales

April 19, 2018

On quiet evenings if you walk outside at just the right time, you’ll discover a momma rabbit forging around the multiple flower beds that line my driveway. I’ve noticed her for years hopping across the gravel to inspect her next favorite spot. Or, heading back from the front yard and secret places unknown. All the while, I was certain she lived in the empty lot next door, as the grass is always high. A perfect place for bunnies to hide.

Yet, with the onset of warmer days I’d forgotten about my nightly visitor as we made a plan to tackle long overdue yard work. Trees and brush hanging over my vegetable garden were cut away. Along with the long dead apple tree, I even asked for a low hanging limb on the pecan tree to be removed. The pay off was a warm and inviting, sunlit garden sure to produce ample supplies of scrumptious veggies. Dickens, I may even learn to make my favorite…bread-and-butter pickles.

Toiling in the warm sun we dragged limbs, logs, weeds and other debris away to reveal again the garden and natural area I had created shortly after I’d moved in. Yard work can be a full-time job even in small spaces. Yet, it’s so rewarding to admire a yard after its first manicure of the season.

Wowzer, mine was almost a complete makeover. Since I didn’t trust gravity enough to use a chainsaw previously by myself, everything was overgrown. So, I waited. And waited. And waited…until…a tall, handsome man (with chainsaw) offered to help. Unbelievably, we accomplished a lot in one day. The entire view of the backyard changed. It was phenomenal.

That was a few weeks ago on that one rare, warm day. This past weekend was another rare, warm day and we took advantage of it. This time the tidy-up concentration was all in the garden. Well, I did stray slightly and weeded flower beds while Jeff mowed the grass. But the main event was to rid the garden of weeds and till it under so vegetables would thrive. (That’s the plan anyway.)

Grabbing a spade, I set to digging up wild onions while he raked up the black walnuts that had fallen from the overhanging limbs. Then, for some reason, (likely that I haven’t done yard work in the area for years) ivy was growing into the garden from the natural area. I didn’t even know there was ivy in the natural area. Yet, pulling, tugging, clipping and snipping got it under control and, for now, out of the garden. Removing the remaining vines will have to come later.

Meanwhile, I was tugging on some ivy along the east side when Jeff called me to dig onions on the south side. On my way, I noticed a pile of what looked like cotton on the ground. Wondering what it was, as I approached my heart sank to think we’d hit something with the tiller. About the same time, he noticed it too.

Horrified, I suddenly realized where momma rabbit lived. In my garden. Apparently, she’d made a burrow, hidden from view, amongst the weeds and leaves. The tiller had unearthed a nest of baby bunnies. I was stunned. Kneeling down I quickly raked my fingers through the dirt searching for signs of life. One little fella was moving.

Snapping into action, I nestled him in my gloves and rushed out of the garden. “I have to try and save him!” I called out rushing into the house. Pulling my gloves off with my teeth I hurried to the sink. There, I gently laid him on a paper towel to assess his injuries. He was injured, but I was hoping it wasn’t too badly. So, I bound his right foot by wrapping a bandage around him, and then one on his left foot. Remarkably, he wasn’t bleeding. Thus, securing him in a cloth to conserve his warmth, my only thought was to keep him from going into shock.

Jeff ran to buy replacement milk and the little fella ate from a dropper that night. However, the next morning, still alive, we actually thought he’d make it. Yet, his injuries were too great to survive. I was devastated. Never in a million years would I have guess rabbits were in the garden. I had secured it with extra chicken wire to avoid that from happening.

Sadly, I’ll never look at momma rabbit the same. But I’ll make triple sure it won’t happen again.

Can you imagine…a yard makeover?

Smile, it’s a rare, warm day!!!



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