Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

Thought for the day:  The other day when I was walking through the woods, I saw a rabbit standing in front of a candle making shadows of people on a tree.  [Stephen Wright]

It's that time of year again. As I type this, it's March 20, the first official day of spring. HA! As if the calendar meant diddly squat to Mother Nature. I can tell you, without doubt, spring unofficially blustered into Georgia weeks ago.

Record high temperatures in the mid-eighties.

And wipe your eyes and blow your noses ...record high pollen counts coming atchoo, too. Yesterday hit a staggering 8164 particles per cubic meter of air, which tops the previous record by more than 2000. Believe me, that's nothing to sneeze at. So to speak.

Yep, it's deja-choo all over again. Atlanta is a beautiful place in the springtime, as long as you don't mind shoveling pollen and chewing every breath you take. Ah well. On a Claritan day, you can see forever. And on the bright side, I'm expecting the crime rate to plummet. Everybody's too busy sneezing to be bothered with criminal activites. And this is just the beginning. The calendar says so.

A couple weekends ago, my husband and I spent the day with our son and his family in Alabama. My daughter-in-law decided she wants to get each of the children a baby rabbit, so my hubby and son spent the day making a huge cage for them.

"Four rabbits?" I asked.

"Uh-huh," my DIL replied. "Three for the big kids, and one for me. When Devyn gets a little older, the fourth one will be hers."

"You planning on putting partitions in that cage?" I asked. "Y'know, to keep four from turning into forty?"

"Oh, no," my sweet naive DIL said. "We'll just get them all the same sex."

It isn't easy to differentiate baby bunny gender, but we'll see how well that turns out. As for me, I'm pollen for a happy outcome.

Okay, no more deja-choo or pollen nonsense, but how about a little deja-vu? Thinking about our grandkids and their soon-to-be pet rabbits reminded me of a post I wrote last April, entitled Lessons From a Killer Rabbit. I decided to toss it atchoo (sorry ... last time, I promise) again for those of you (most of you) who missed it the first time around:

Thought for the day:  The Energizer Bunny was arrested. He was charged with battery,

Got an early wake-up call of the wild this morning.

You're nobody 'til somebody loves you.
 It was a woodpecker,  imitating a miniature jack hammer on the tree outside our bedroom window. His serenade only lasted for about fifteen minutes, but his presence reminded me of another wacky woodpecker who spent the entire summer here some years back. In fact, he was here so much we gave him a name. We called him Clem.

Now, I've been told that male woodpeckers pound out their jazzy rhythms in the early hours of the morning in order to attract a mate. Don't know it that's entirely true or not, but let's say that it is. And if it is, poor old Clem was sorrowfully unlucky in love.

Because he didn't just show up and rat-a-tat for fifteen minutes just before the sun came up. Oh, no. Clem was an industious and rather desperate suitor, and showed up several hours before daybreak, and rat-a-tatted his heart out for one or two hours every morning. On trees. On the gutters. On a fiberglass canoe. If it wasn't moving, our little visitor took a whack at it. If nothing else, he was persistent. But, alas,  I don't think he ever found love. He eventually stopped coming around, but  I fear the crumpled zig-zag beak he must have had held little appeal for the fairer sex.

Back to this morning. After the woodpecker finished his drum solo, the cats took over. If you have cats, I'm sure you're familiar with the routine. There's the piling-on game, the nose-rubbing and purring-in-your-ear game, the patty-cake game, and let us not forget the rousing round of king of the mountain, where you, of course, are the mountain. All designed, of course, to get their staff out of bed and into the kitchen.

I took all of this as an omen that it was time to write another blog about lessons I've learned from our pets. We've already talked a little bit about cats in the past, and about fish, but today, we're going to talk about rabbits.

Let me preface the lessons learned with a lesson of a different kind, a history lesson. About Jimmy Carter and the killer rabbit.

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter went fishing in Plains, Georgia. While out in his row boat, enjoying a peaceful respite from the White House, his serenity was shattered by a rabbit and a pack of dogs. The dogs were doing what dogs do. They were chasing the rabbit. But this rabbit didn't do what one would expect a rabbit to do. This rabbit jumped into the water, hissing and gnashing its teeth, and swam towards the president's boat. Though the president said he didn't have any experience with out-of-control animals, he successfully shooed it away by splashing water at it with a paddle. As you can imagine, if you don't already remember the incident, the media had a field day. "President Attacked by Killer Rabbit" was a common headline around the country. Late night comics took the story and ran with it, and poor President Carter became a laughing stock. If you do a google search now, you can actually find pictures of the rabbit, and of President Carter shooing it away from his boat, but they weren't made available at the time. But I, for one, didn't need to see any pictures to believe the president's story, because I'm pretty sure we ended up with the spawn of that killer rabbit.

My daughter had a pet rabbit. It was a precious little bit of fur with a tiny pink nose when we first brought it home, but here are some of the lessons we learned from owning that rabbit:

  • Precious little bits of fur with tiny pink noses grow up to be big fat rabbits. With sharp claws.
  • All big fat rabbits do is eat and generate a big fat ton of hoodles.
  • Little girls don't like to clean up hoodles.
  • I don't like to clean them up, either.
  • Rabbits don't like you to put halters and leashes on them.
  • Rabbits have very sharp claws.
  • Once the halter and leash are attached, rabbits are lousy at taking walks. They hop. Very leisurely. Because they have to eat every green thing in sight. And, of course, drop hoodles.
  • Rabbits don't like you to take halters and leashes off of them.
  • Did I mention they have very sharp claws?
  • If he ever hopped away from home, (no such luck!) we would have been able to find him quite easily. Hansel and Gretel had nothing on him. He could leave a steady two-mile trail of turds.
  • Here's the funny part. The mountain of rabbit poop that critter generated was useless as fertilizer.

I don't remember what our daughter called that rabbit. Something cutesie like Fluffy. But after a few weeks of shoveling his poop, I started calling him Hoodles, and that stuck. Oh, and on second thought, maybe he wasn't related to President Carter's rabbit, after all. When we tossed him into the lake, he didn't swim.

Just kidding. We ended up donating him to the Yellow River Game Ranch, where he lived out the rest of his life with a bunch of other rabbits, eating, generating hoodles, and ... um... multiplying.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other. Oh, and I know some people have rabbits that make wonderful pets. My sister-in-law had one. Ours, however,  wasn't the cuddly type. And I might have mentioned? He had very sharp claws.

No trees were killed in the sending of this message. However, a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

I hope you enjoyed the re-run. For some reason, the song Doing What Comes Naturally is running through my head. Maybe because rabbits typically do a LOT of what comes naturally? Maybe we'll get lucky. Maybe our grandchildren's bunnies will be all the same sex. Or maybe doing  it won't be so natural to them at all.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.


  1. It's not easy to discern the sex of a bunny until they start multiplying. Then it's too late.

    Pollen? I had severe hayfever in California and in Missouri. When I moved to Texas - with all the dust, dirt, and weeds - my hayfever miraculously disappeared.
    But now I have severe sinus headaches.
    Go figure......

  2. We have amazing thick yellow clouds of pollen when the pine trees are 'in flower'.

    I once saw a video of a rabbit getting it on with a duck. Hilarious; I must see if I can find it again!

  3. Jon- That's what I thought about rabbits, too. Some people claim they can determine the gender of baby bunnies by the shape of their heads. Dunno about that. (But now that the kids have their four little bunnies, I guess we'll find out.) Hmm. I guess your current neck of the woods is long on dust and short on ragweed? Anyhow, sorry about the sinus headaches. They're worse than sneezing.

    Cro- A rabbit and a duck? That MUST be hilarious. Take care.

  4. I don't blame President Carter in the least! Perhaps he'd recently seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Now that's some vicious bunny!

  5. There is always a market for baby bunnies so if the expected happens they can sell them to a) other unsuspecting parents b) the meat market or c) a laboratory.

  6. LOL! Your darling DIL is in for a surprise, I think. ;)

    I had a pet rabbit when I was 6 years old. It didn't take long at all for my cute little fluffball to grow big enough to kick our fox terrier across the yard. It was always very gentle with me, though.

  7. Kleenex can't make tissues fast enough for me.

    We had lop eared bunnies for many years while my children were growing up. Three of the four times we requested female rabbits, only to find out later, that only one of them really was a lady. However, we only had one bunny at a time, so there was no problem with multiplication. They were fun pets, all jumped in and out of the kitty litter when nature called, but no, they would have nothing to do with a leash. One of them was so loving and when not in her cage, would jump on our laps and lick our faces. She also greeted people at the door when someone knocked. She was a sweetheart. The males were not so loving, except with our cats. The cats did not appreciate it.

    I am allergic to both cats and rabbits, but I love animals, and I support our local pharmacist. I probably have sent a few of his children to college.

  8. I do remember that Jimmy Carter headline now. But I never really knew what the story was about. Cool.

  9. Ha! Your take on spring is informative and funny.
    And what is it about bunnies that makes me want to pet them and run at the same time?

  10. Holy turd balls!

    Aw, Carter could have saved the poor rabbit. The wuss. I didn't even know rabbits could swim.

    I'll stick to my wild rabbit who lives out front. :)

  11. fun post! we have like a million of every sex rabbits in our yard...they happily eat all my flowers.

  12. You made me laugh and that's quite a feat today.


  13. Dianne- That Monty Python movie was my kids' favorite, so we must have watched it a kazillion times. Still have it on VHS. But you're right, that was one nasty rabbit!

    Delores- Our son is a terrific cook, and he said he wouldn't mind cooking the rabbits if they multiply, but no way his wife would go along with that. Should be interesting.

    Linda- Yeah, I think you're right. I think she's gonna be in for quite a surprise. Gonna teach the kiddies about the birds and the bees a little earlier than she planned. Sounds like your bunny was a tough egg, too. At least with your terrier. (And they look so deceptively gentle!)

    Arleen- Sounds like your bunnies were real sweeties, and you were real smart to only have them one at a time. HA! I know what you mean about sending the pharmacist's kids to college. The things we do for our pets.

    Jennifer- I'm glad you remember the Jimmy Carter headlines. Now you have the tale to go with them.

    Emily- I dunno. Bunnies look so sweet and gentle, and their fur is oh-so soft, but they can be downright mean and nasty. With long freaking claws. (Not afraid to use 'em, either!)

    Carrie- HA! Holy turd balls ... that's a good one. Don't recall ever hearing Batman or Robin say it, but that's probably only because they never thought of it.

    Momto8- We used to have a lot of rabbits in our yard, too, but I haven't seen any for quite a while. They used to eat the heck out of our vegetable garden, but I suspect the hawks in the area have now eaten the heck out of them.

    Janie- I'm always happy to make you smile, but a laugh is even better.

    Y'all take care.

  14. I'm laying odds there's a pecker in the bunch and in a few weeks there will be a whole new post about...
    BTW, male woodpeckers drum to mark their territory. That's why it lasts all through the mating and chick raising season.

  15. Mr. C- Thanks for the info about woodpeckers. Boy, ol' Clem musta thought he was like Yertle the Turtle, and king of all he could see, because he hammered away on everything in sight!

  16. I didn't realize people still bought rabbits for their kids for Easter. Not to soapbox this, but isn't it a tiny bit irresponsible for your DIL [who doesn't seem to know anything about raising rabbits] to adopt one, let alone four? I'm sure she means well, & what kid wouldn't be thrilled with a real live rabbit on Easter? I know mine would. So would the dog, come to think of it. heehee But this is why the shelters & rabbit rescue leagues fill up with unwanted bunnies come late summer. This just doesn't look to have a good outcome, especially if she is going to put them all in one cage together. Perhaps you could get her a book on the care of them before she jumps in - bunnies are a lot different than having dogs & cats. I wish the family luck.

    They are irresistible tho' - there is no denying it.

  17. I love all the bunny photos! Very Eastery. I had pet bunnies as a kid. Brings back memories.

  18. Skippy- I understand what you're saying, but the bunnies aren't Easter gifts. In fact, they already have them. My DIL had a pet rabbit when she was a kid, and totally adored it, so when she wanted to get the kids a pet, she immediately thought of a bunny. Only problem is, there are four children, so there are four bunnies. In the pictures we've seen of them, teeny rabbits were in the house being spoiled rotten. I have no concern over the rabbits being well-cared for, not at all; I'm just a tad concerned about the idea of them reproducing like ... well, like rabbits! I don't entirely trust the ability of the pet store being able to discern the gender at that young of an age. (the rabbits, not the pet store...)

    Liz- Glad you liked the pics. And glad to remind you of happy memories.

  19. St.Louis was voted worst city for allergies last year (or year before) for good reason. Everything is covered in pollen.

    Every time I read about rabbits, I always think of Monty Python. Just can't help it.

  20. Your posts always crack me up. My favorite part is that you said the crime rate would go down because everyone is sneezing. :-) Crazy, crazy weather I tell ya! I have a cold and have a new respect for people with allergies. UGH. Cute bunnies too!

  21. Write us in a few months about what darling DIL will be doing with the 40+ Baby Bunnies that are gonna come from that venture! ;)

    The pollen seems incredible this year.

    We are coming to Atlanta (Emory) probably in July for the transplant - have to stay there from 6 to 8 weeks~!

  22. Jay- Really? I thought Atlanta had to be at the top of the list. (Or bottom, depending on how you look at it.)We've topped 10,000 particles per square meter in recent days, and a "very high" reading in only around 120. My sympathies if your neck of the woods is worse than that. Ah well, springtime won't last forever. As for rabbits and Monty Python, I think most of us who saw that movie makes the same connection.

    Tracy- well,thank you. I love that I make you laugh. Sorry about the cold, and I'm with you. I really fell bad for anyone who suffers from pollen allergies this time of year.

    Wonder- I'll be sure to post an update if (when?) the baby bunnies come along. Wow, I'm glad to hear you're gonna get your transplant at Emory. That's an excellent hospital. And with it being July in Atlanta ... the hospital is also air conditioned, thank goodness. Take care.