Circa 1981 Sense and Nonsense
I miss our rabbits! There I’ve said it. But not too loudly I hope. I don’t miss them enough to accept any replacements! After all, what rabbit could replace Brownie the first? Or second; or third ; or…? And Snoopy…we only had three of him (or her) and then there was Blackie…
I cannot recall all of our Blackies but I do remember the last one. Last spring she proved herself to be the Houdini of the rabbit world. She successfully escaped from her confinement on an average of once a week – to dine upon my neighbour’s tulips!
Sometimes, after eluding her captors for days, she would boldly re-enter her cage to visit her 11 babies. I would find her crouching there, her delighted offspring leaping fore and aft. The desperate “these kids are driving me crazy” expression on her face was one that many human mothers could sympathise with. I suppose if I had 11 babies I might be tempted to escape too!
I would carefully mend her cage, but somehow, in the dead of night, she would find a hole (where no hole oughta be), enlarge it and once more ease her way outside to freedom.
Blackie had the largest surviving family of all our rabbits. Charlie (sometimes known as Charlene) surprised us one summer with ten.
Our rabbits were always surprising me. I wonder if they are like earthworms (or is it bees?) and can change their sex at will. We had three does last winter (we thought) but somehow Blackie got pregnant. (Snoopy the third was blamed but he denied everything.)
Our rabbit farm began when a friend’s little girl gave ours a fluffy white bunny named Snowball. Snowball was lonesome all by herself, so along came Brownie the first. It seemed like no time at all before Snowball was known as Grandma Rabbit.
Rabbits are not that high up on the list of smart animals. We did, however, have one Brownie who had personality. For some reason he was allowed the freedom of the place (it must have been before or after the tulip season). Brownie would follow us everywhere, darting back and forth underfoot and making a general nuisance of himself. We always knew when the outhouse was occupied. Brownie would be scratching frantically on the door eager for human companionship. One visitor referred to him as “that vegetarian dog”. It was an apt description – he could do everything but bark!
At times we would eye our rabbits and discuss the merits of rabbit stew. In order, however, to transform rabbits into food, one has to (shudder) shoot them. What rabbits are lacking in smarts, they more than make up for in cutes. It can be very hard to pull the trigger on a caged rabbit.
On the rare occasions that we did butcher (mostly escapees) I found that the resultant meat was not as appetizing as I had thought it would be. When I served rabbit for supper we used to refer to it as a “long chicken!” (our youngest child never suspected that her father was a murderer!)
This past summer we sold the last of our rabbits. I still feel a trifle guilty when I pass their empty cages. Then I remember the tons of grass we picked and the cages we cleaned. I also remember our frustration when we tried to recapture an escape artist.
Our next door neighbours turned off their TV one day last spring to watch my husband stalk an errant Blackie. She carefully avoided all the snares he put out for her. Finally, he lost his patience, found a good piece of rope and lassoed her!
For awhile he was known in the neighborhood as “The Cottontail Cowboy!”