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!

1 comment:

  1. As your father, I'm very surprised how you live your adult life. I never would have foreseen your life now,,BUT,,on the same note I can die a happy father and grandfather knowing that you and the girls are living the life you all love!! Rich or poor, you've found the meaning of life and love, and living the life you love!