I was going to write about our little Bugs Bunny, but then I realized that he wasn’t the only Looney Tune character that we’ve had in our midst lately.
I’ll start with Bugs though. A month ago while Ted was moving things around in the garage, he found a bunny nest amid some piles of wood he was storing for future use (always future projects in the back of his mind). Anyway, he tried not to move it too much after exposing it and took some pics and sent to me – I was in the Pacific Northwest for some time with our friends and a visit to Olympic National Park (I’ll review that area on another post). He then got out some of his surveillance cameras and put them along with a motion sensor near the nest so that he could make sure Momma Rabbit was going to come back and take care of the kittens (yes, the term for a newborn rabbit is a kitten). Ted wanted to allow them to live there until they were large enough to show the neighbor kids.
Well, momma did come back a couple times each day for the next few days to nurse the tiny kits. That was, until the neighbor dogs wandered over and into the garage and also found the nest. No, we weren’t home, but cameras don’t lie. The shepherd mix tore up the nest, killed one bunny, broke the back of another and when Ted finally found the other two later, they were shivering and not looking great. He put the broken one out of it’s misery and then took the other two inside and warmed them under the heat lamp we have for the chicks when they are young. After remaking their nest, he put them back outside hoping Momma would return.
He didn’t see Momma that next night and got quite worried. He googled what to feed the tiny things and went out and purchased some goats milk powder, heavy cream and a tiny bottle. The word is, you mix the goat milk powder with water and add a spash of cream. He was successful getting one of them to eat, but the other just would not even try. That second night after the attack, he feared they would get too cold without Mom around and so brought them again inside. Halfway through the night, the Mom showed up on camera and found no babies. Ted put them back outside, but she of coarse was already gone. He placed a heater under the layer of rocks and materials their nest had been built upon so that they would have some heat from below and hoped she would return. It never happened.
Peter, as Ted now called the thriving bunny, was taking to the bottle and bits of greens that Ted would provide, pretty well. The sibling did not ever take any food and thus the little thing also passed and we were down to just one baby.
Ted soon established a routine with Peter aka Bugs (as Devin and I called him) . Ted had the sensor set to his phone and if the bunny was up and moving about, the alarm on the phone would go off and Ted figured Peter was looking for food and family. Ted would then feed him and snuggle a bit as he did so. Devin helped out while we were at work and would take the mid day shift. Just like any baby, he grew quickly and adjusted to his environment. Ted learned that after a bit of milk, the little dude liked to have some greens and was partial to fresh dandelion leaves from the yard.
As he progressed, Ted would then put him in the yard under a basket and let him graze on the grass in the section in the containment area. One evening just as we were getting ready for dinner, Ted put Bugs in the basket and went about his business. I let Ted know that dinner was ready and noticed that he was out walking the yard. When he came in to eat, he simply said: “I didn’t know baby rabbits could burrow so quickly”. Turns out, while he was busy in the yard, little Peter/Bugs had burrowed his way out from under the basket and set himself free. We looked for a bit, but if you have ever seen our yard, you know there are a million places for a tiny animal to hide. We had done what we could for the little fella, so if he decided it was time for a jail break, then we could only hope for the best for him. It took several days for us to look at every movement in the yard and not hope it was him.
The next character to show up in our yard was Wile E Coyote. As Woody and I enjoyed the evening on the deck several nights back, the coyote trotted into the park space just outside of our fenced area and stood and just looked at us. Woody took offense and ran down through the yard, out the gate by the garden and chased him off into the park. Quite close for the lone prairie wolf., but that wouldn’t be our last time seeing him.
Sunday night as Ted was doing some last minute work with the mini backhoe he had rented, I saw Wile E run across the road down by the neighbors. Woody and I was making our way down the drive checking out the flowers and shrubs that were starting to get more growth when we heard the chickens scream. I ran down just in time to see the coyote with a chicken in his mouth. I was the next one to scream as I ran after him. He must not have had a proper grip as the chicken wiggled loose and took half flight over the wood pile to hide somewhere. The Coyote, not wanting to leave a fresh dinner he had just stolen, kept approaching.
I tried to keep an eye on the thief all the while making my way down into the yard and to another section with a gate to let Woody out once more and see if between the both of us, Wile E would finally leave. Woody immediately gave chase and I then noticed a chicken on top of the outdoor coop area. The chickens have a fully enclosed outdoor area with fence above it and even buried down into the ground so that predators cannot dig their way in. Problem was, we also have a free range area that only has fence around it and not over or buried. It was this free range area that the chickens had been allowed to journey about during the day that he had pushed his way under a section of the fence. Three times Woody chased the coyote over the creek to the other side of the park area and three times the coyote came back. On the last one, when I called for Woody to come back, the Coyote began a chase on Woody and tried to snap at him as he got close. I screamed a warning to both Woody and to let that coyote know that if he didn’t take off, I was about to envoke the presence of one Elmer Fudd with the gun. The neighbors will confess to calling Ted Elmer Fudd on more than one occasion.
As Woody was keeping an eye on the Coyote, who was beginning to see that this wasn’t a drive thru take out diner, I retrieved the chicken on top of the run and made a quick count. It was not the chicken that had been taken as I was still one short. Leaving Woody to guard the area, I went and signaled Ted that I needed help. With the help of Woody, we found the abducted chicken and she seemed no worse for the wear. Realizing that he wasn’t going to leave with who he had come for, the coyote skirted off into the park area once more.
One might think that this is the end of this cartoonish story, but you’d be wrong.
Yesterday morning as Ted was loading up his car for work, a little ball of fluff and ears hoppity skipped out from under the old truck and was making way for the next hiding spot when Ted saw him and called out: “Hey Peter, how have you been little buddy?”. The bunny, now about the size of a softball, stopped, turned and looked at Ted like he was someone he hadn’t thought he would see again.
I like to think he was thinking “What’s up Doc?”
Oh, and we have also had visits from Pepe Le Pew again this year. We lucked out and his spray missed Woody this time (he got sprayed 3 times last fall). Ted found him in the compost bin and decided to douse him with ice cold water a few times to see if negative therapy might be a deterrent. I guess it worked (and thank goodness those glands were empty and Ted didn’t get retribution from the skunk) as we haven’t seen or smelled him again this spring.
“Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!” …