Some kids can boast of a visit from the Easter Bunny. Here at our house things are a little different. Here the Easter Bunny doesn't just visit. It moves in.
For the last year a wild rabbit has been dividing its time between our yard and the yard of our neighbor, owing in large part to our neighbor's decision to feed it. I never thought this was a particularly good idea; quite quickly "Peter" lost his natural wariness of humans and will now run over expecting a handout. We've trained the dogs to leave him alone and so Peter just does as he pleases, knowing he's safe with us. His favorite hangouts have been the ditch bank, the tall weeds by our compost bed and underneath our overturned canoe. More than once he's given me a start sprinting out from under it.
Lately, though, Peter has become a bit more wary and a lot more secretive. Then on Easter morning I found out why when I went to feed the ponies and discovered this in Kipper's stall:
Yes, that is a burrow. I stood watching in amazement as two huge bunny feet kicked sprays of dirt from the opening. Cautiously I opened the stall door. Peter heard me, shot from the burrow and out from under the lower board of the stall. When I went behind the barn, there was the rabbit, staring at me from the ditch bank with a slightly put-out look on his face.
I fretted a bit about disturbing him, but decided that if he wanted to come back he would. I wasn't too worried about leaving the burrow in the stall. Peter has positioned it under the hay rack where Kipper couldn't step in it if he tried. And since Kip rarely goes in his stall anyway, it's not like he'll be that inconvenienced should the burrow become a nursery.
Last night I put out some hay and rabbit chow in the stall and kept the door locked. This morning some of the hay and all the rabbit chow was gone. But Peter was there. He stood up and looked at me before sprinting back to the ditch bank. I put more food in the stall before I left. Larry said we may need to rename the rabbit "Petra."
I have to say I'm pretty impressed by how Peter - or Petra - has used us humans to his or her advantage. Thanks to the handouts from our neighbor he's too fat for a hawk to carry away. And thanks to us he now has a burrow that is protected from wind, rain and predators.
I'll try to document her activities to the extent that I can without disturbing all this hip-hop drama.
The appearance of the burrow capped off what was really the perfect Easter weekend for me. We had a great day on Saturday at my friend April's egg hunt and cookout. I took so many fabulous photos at her farm that I'm going to make a video slideshow, which I'll post when it's done.
And then, last night my daughter Jessica called to tell me that Brandon, her boyfriend of several years got down on bended knee and - with ring in hand - proposed marriage to her. I don't often cry from sheer happiness, but I did when she told me the news. It's hard to describe how much I adore Brandon. He is so good to Jessica.
Jess graduates college in May, and we kind of thought he might pop the question then. This holiday proposal took us all by shock, but it's the kind of shock that makes you all giddy with joy.
I am so happy.