Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rabbits Run Amuck

My husband grew up with all kinds of animals in and around his house. From those infamous flying squirrels to ferrets to baby skunks to farm animals like goats, chickens, and pigs. So I should have realized that animals would factor quite heavily into our lives together as well.

And we have had many animals, but this post is about rabbits. I was able to avoid rabbits for several years. We had one when Genevieve was very little, but it lived outside and escaped. After Lili came along and was big enough to talk, getting rabbits was something the girls brought up over and over.

After Jeff's brother moved to the west end of the UP, Jeff began to make a visit to a big annual animal sale every spring in Bruce Crossing. It is where he bought our first peacocks. Jeff noticed that for a couple of years, there were no rabbits at the sale, so he came up with a plan. He purchased $80 worth of rabbits and took them to the sale to make a tidy profit. The problem was that everyone else had the same plan that year. He couldn't give the rabbits away, so $80 worth of rabbits came back home.

As he arrived home on a weekday before I was home from work, he decided to set the rabbits free. This began a many-year challenge of ridding the yard of rabbits. The rabbits ate all my flowers, they destroyed the foundation of the barn, and the concrete floor of the barn cracked and collapsed after they burrowed under it. So we managed to capture and get rid of most of the adults. But a few lingered, so every couple of months, we'd spend a few days netting babies.

At one point, we seemed to have them under control, but we must have had 40 rabbits in cages. The cages were in two areas inside the barn, on the wall outside the barn, and inside the chicken coop. In the winter when the waters would freeze, it would take the girls and I over an hour to take care of them. And when we began to spend much of our summers on the houseboat, it was a pain to have to run home to take care of the rabbits. That was when we loaded up a bunch and sold them at the Trufant flea market. Since then we have also given many away through free cycle.

In the last couple years we haven't had much problem with rabbits. Someone once must have confused our house for a rabbit sanctuary and dropping off two cute lop-eared rabbits was the worst we had to endure. I captured the tamest one and gave it to a student but the other one has been hanging around for about two years. As of late, Floppy has found a tipped mate. And this leads to our latest baby catching necessity. When Lili and I got home from school, he had three in a Rubbermaid tote. Then I tried to help and we caught one. But Jeff is a pretty intrepid rabbit hunter all on his own. I took Lili to dance tonight and we come home to find that we now have 7 baby rabbits in the house. Lili is in heaven. She has named each one and claimed them all as her own.

Here's Lili with the first three babies.

The little tan one is her favorite.

Two in the upper left corner, three in the lower left corner, one each in the right corners.

Lili will have all sorts of fun loving them up while they are little. But as they grow, she'll spend less and less time with them. That won't stop her from crying and fussing when it is time to get rid of them. Luckily (for her) Floppy and Tippy seem to be working on the next batch already!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Add a day...

I am going to preface this post by saying, my husband is a wonderful man. He is so smart and can figure out how to do just about anything. This is a great thing when our budget has shrunk, money is tight, and things often break or stop working around the house.

The down side is that whenever he tells me how long it is going to take to fix something, it always ends up taking longer. I have learned that whatever time frame he tells me, I have to...add a day. Let me share a couple of examples.

Two weekends ago, I was away in Detroit at a reading conference. I left on Thursday night and did not return home until Monday evening. Jeff had to take the girls to school on Friday morning and on Friday afternoon, he had to attend Genevieve's last volleyball practice but the rest of the weekend he had free to work on the plumbing in the house, as the girls would be staying with Nama and Papa.

His plan for the house was to install two new water heaters and a new rust remover, and to replumb the entire house. Our well water is very iron-y and our old rust remover stopped working several years ago. This caused iron build-up inside all the pipes. It was so bad that at times there wasn't enough pressure through the water heater to even make it kick on. Ice cold showers might wake me up in the morning, but they don't make me a ray of sunshine to be around!

He said he could have the job all done by the time I got home on Monday. Now, to me, having the job done means that everything looks the same as it did before I left. Apparently, he and I have differing definitions. On my way home Monday, he called from G's volleyball game and said, "Ignore the mess. It's going to take me one more day to clean stuff up." Yep, that's right, add a day!

Again, I will sing his praises and say hallelujah for water. Hot water. With pressure to run out the sink and shower at the same time. However, he had also hoped during that weekend to replace the pump in the well. There wasn't time for that, so it got put on the to-do list.

At the beginning of last week he asked me if I wanted him to replace the pump this week on Wednesday or Thursday. I had to work Monday through Thursday, so I asked him how long it would take. He very confidently said, "It should only take me a couple of hours. I can get it done while you are at work." Scenarios began flashing through my mind and I told him I wanted him to do it Thursday. Any guesses why? That's right, I had to work Thursday but not Friday. By adding a day, I knew that the day after he started the work, I'd be out of water because he wouldn't be done yet. I didn't want that day to be a day I had to get ready for work.

So, you may be asking yourself, did she underestimate her husband? Surely he was able to change the pump in a day. Well friends, I am writing this blog post from the office in my dad's house. I spent the night here last night (Thursday night) because...he wasn't done yet.

To be fair, Jeff ran into many obstacles in his quest to install a new pump. I won't go into them here. I will say that when he finally does finish, I know the water will work fantastically. But I will continue to stand by my motto that whenever he tells me how long a job will take, I add a day.