A Rabbity Kind of Spring

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Spring is here! I know this not because the weather appears less wintry, but because when I glanced out the door the other day, I noticed Mum Rabbit working on her annual nest in my garden. Mind you, I have no way of knowing whether the same rabbit is turning up each year, or whether it’s always a different one; I just know that someone keeps sneaking into my garden as though it’s their own personal maternity ward.

I wouldn’t object to this but for the fact that the little buggers wreak havoc with my delphiniums. For that reason, the hubs made me a lovely scaled-down picket fence for this particular patch of foliage. I felt certain that it would repel those pesky rabbits, but naturally, I was wrong. Evidently, rabbits aren’t put off by sharp, pointy objects that could impale them in a most unpleasant manner.

With that new little fence in place, I couldn’t work out how, exactly, Mum got into the forbidden zone. And then one day, I got lucky: I happened to glance out the door just as Mum was hopping out from under a nearby shrub. She ever-so-casually hopped up – and into – a large pot that was devoid of plants but filled with dirt, which was sitting next to the mini fence, and without so much as a by-your-leave, cleared that fence in one leap and landed next to an echinacea. Thankfully, her mind was on digging a nest rather than eating a feast of my perennials.

In spite of the nasty things that she and her relatives have done to my garden over the years, I was pleased to find that, once again, she had favored it as a nesting site, and was equally pleased when I noticed her back at it, a few days later, this time topping the thing with a collection of dead grass. But alas, it was not to be. Every year, a nest is made in my garden, and, every year, the site is abandoned before it’s even had residents. I have no idea why. It seems like the perfect spot to safely raise offspring, what with the aforementioned potential apparatus of impalement serving as a warning to area predators. Indeed, I found that a second non-nest had been built a small distance away in another fenced-off area of the garden. Curiously, no one seems to want that nest either.

I suppose I should be glad of this, given all the damage those mini buns would eventually do my plants. But I take it as an insult, and I’ll tell you why: because the little buggers always – mark that, always – make nests next door in neighbor Russell’s yard, a yard that is completely and utterly devoid of safe areas in which to hide a nest. That is to say: in his on-going efforts to avoid anything resembling yard work, Russell has removed every living thing that could possibly require maintenance, save for the lawn itself. No tree, no shrub, no flower – nothing – grows in Russell’s garden. I’ve no doubt that Russell very probably spends the better part of his summers patting himself on the back for his ingenuity!

Mind you, I like Russell. He lets the hubs and I swim in his pool any time we like, and he’s never complained about those leaves that must surely jump from our tree and flutter, every November, into his aforementioned completely-devoid-of-foliage garden. But why on earth would any self-respecting rabbit in search of a safe place to hide her nest choose Russell’s garden over mine? It’s mystifying! And, I haven’t even told you the worst, yet.

 The worst is this – that virtually every year, as I’m performing some outdoor activity, Russell peeks over the fence and asks my advice on the same issue every time: the fact that he’s run over (or nearly done) a rabbit nest in the middle of that bare yard with his mower, and could I come over and assess the damage? Last year, as he drained his pool, he very nearly drowned some as well. And yet they keep coming back! You’d feel insulted too!

Happily, Russell rarely actually murders any rabbits. They run a few feet away from him and then sit completely still – which Russell mistakes for deadness – but they’re always breathing just fine when I go round and have a look. As for nesting, it’s still early days so perhaps someone will deign to give my garden a try after all. I’ll keep you posted!

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