I had rabbits as pets when I was a kid. We kept them in a pen all the time since we didn’t want them to be mauled by our dogs. One day one of the rabbits dug out from under the pen and committed suicide by jumping in the pond. I’m joking. He thought the duckweed that covered the pond’s surface was turf grass, so he jumped in. We helped him out but he died a few days later. Once the other two rabbits died, that was the end of rabbits as pets. Until I planted a garden….
They are not exactly our pets, but they are part of our garden. We are friends as long as they stay on the lawn and eat only weeds. Yes, they love broad-leaf weeds like Dandelion and Plantain…hence the name Fuzzy Weedwacker.
One of them doesn’t care at all when I walk back and forth close to him while I was working in the yard. He continues munching the weeds. Once in a while he violates our treaty by nipping off Hosta, Echinacea and other broad-leaf close by. This year he has already leveled two clumps of Echinacea, but hasn’t touched any Hosta yet. I caught him red-handed, more like red-pawed, by one of the Echinacea. He stopped and made such an innocent face…’nooooo, it wasn’t me.. I was just checking it.’ But, I wasn’t buying. I chased him out of the flower plot. He jumped a few steps back to the lawn and continued to chew on Dandelion, disappointed, may be.
He can hang out with us as long as he stays away from the flowers. I never liked rabbit meat anyway. Aside from helping us get rid of the weeds, he also guards the garden from other rabbits. I saw him chase the other rabbit away from the yard last year. He actually chased that rabbit across the road to our neighbor’s yard, not just out of our garden. Then he came back and stood guard under the Japanese maple, his favorite spot.
2:30 p.m Siesta time… After munching under the sun for a while, it was time for afternoon napping. Sprawled on his side showing off his white underbelly, eyes closed. He opened his eyes lazily when I got too close, but never got spooked or jumped up. If I do my normal stuff like carting a wheel barrel or digging somewhere close by, he would just closed his eyes. Once in a while he would get up and scratch, change position and go right back to sleep.
But when Bill gets the lawn tractor out, he repairs to his bungalow under the Forsythia, cracks open a brew and turns on the TV. We wouldn’t give him a drop of our cable, so he uses rabbit ears. He’s generally a good guy, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t litter and acts as an indicator for us. When all we can see of him is his ears, that’s our cue to get out the mower.