I admit it. I love bunnies. Every time I look out the kitchen window into our yard that contains our tomato and raspberry gardens, I expect to see at least one. Sometimes there are as many as four or five out there and it just makes me smile. I will stand at the window and say “Hello, bunny!” as if they can hear me. Apparently they can’t because they never respond.
We have had many bunnies in that yard since we moved here twelve years ago and every year there is at least one crop of baby bunnies. Our dog Yoshi (she has since moved on to the Rainbow Bridge) was a master bunny hunter. I won’t go into the time we found just a bunny head in the sill of our back window, but just take it as proof that she could catch them. One Mother’s Day about seven years ago she swallowed a whole nest of baby bunnies whole. I felt so terrible! Poor bunnies! Poor bunny mother, and Mother’s Day to boot.
We never really had much trouble in the main backyard while we had Yoshi and Reese, but once in a while a bunny would get back there and eat roses, hostas, coneflowers. You name it, they chewed it down, and that we could not stand. We found a way to defend against their entrance by clipping chicken wire all around the fenced perimeter and that worked pretty well. We have a construction project going on right now and that has lowered our defensive bunny shield, so Steve has had the live trap going most of the summer. Suffice it to say that three bunnies have been transferred to new, undisclosed locations in the public area of our city.
We had a new crop of babies this year. A mama bunny made a nest in a flowerpot right on our back porch. On our twelfth wedding anniversary as Steve and I were going out to celebrate, we must have scared them as we left the house and five babies jumped out! It was amazing to see them hopping all over the place, and mama kept a watchful distance. I am pretty sure the three that we moved to a new home were part of this batch. That picture at the top is one who just stays in the safe yard. And again, whenever I see it out there, “Hello, bunny!” is my greeting through the window.
I know why I love bunnies so much and it goes back to our childhood. Grandpa Piskac raised bunnies in his garage. (It was many years later that I learned it was for his DINNER!) That garage was a magical place for us, especially with those rabbit hutches situated on the south side. There was an earthy smell in there that was so amazing.
Daddy would not let us have a dog or a cat when we were growing up, but for some reason he said “yes” to rabbits. Heidi got the first one, a big black rabbit that she named Midnight. We could put a harness on him and take him for a walk! He was beautiful. For several months he was our only rabbit, but one Easter we went to a local pet store and they had a whole batch of babies. “Please Daddy? Can’t we get them?” We must have had very imploring eyes and voices because at least three more rabbits joined the family after that. Mine was a white bunny with black ears, one of which was torn. Nobody wanted her but me. Her name was Cuddles. I remember Heather named hers Grey Shadow, but those are the only names I remember.
With his cousin Joe’s help, Daddy built them an awesome hutch and we learned how to care for them. We cleaned their hutch, we fed them Purina rabbit chow and we just loved them. They lived in the backyard, eventually under the weeping willow tree at the end of the driveway.
One spring day about a year later there was a tornado warning after school and we were so worried about those bunnies! We brought them inside into the basement where they would be safe with us. We had an old, large dollhouse frame and we turned it on its side. It made a great high-walled container for those bunnies while the tornado sirens wailed outside. They were safe and so were we.
Several weeks later Cuddles gave birth to a new family. All my dad could do was roll his eyes and sigh. I’m pretty sure I said, “Hello, bunnies!”