Missy plans her escape (or the joys of (re)bonding bunnies)

I’m not sure that someone who doesn’t *know* Missy can see by the look on her face how much of a devil she is about to be. I caught her, with this photo, in the act of debating whether or not she could make it over the fence or onto the fancy chair without being noticed.

She and Freckles were out yesterday evening for a rebonding session, using the x-pen I set up in my living room. She and Freckles had lived together for 4+ years until Missy got sick last summer. Freckles decided at that time that she preferred to live alone.

While Freckles may prefer single-life, I know it’s not best for them. They both are lonely and need the company and comfort of a friend. Bunnies are happier in groups. So, the last week or so I’ve been setting them up together in the living room to see how things go. They’re making progress, but Missy still tries to bite Freckles when Freckles won’t groom her. With time, it will get better and they’ll get along again, I’m sure.

Missy’s way of dealing with the discomfort of being forced together with another bunny is to try and escape from the situation and get herself into trouble in the process. Where she thought she might go once over the fence is anybunnies guess!

Cricket the Brave

Cricket turns a suspicious eye to me lounging on the couch in front of the TV on a Sunday afternoon. This is about as far as she and Boomer will venture into the living room. They’re a bit braver since we rearranged the furiture, but still stick close to the edges of the room. I’ve found evidence of their comings and goings behind the couch (a stray marble-sized poop that could only have come from a Flemmie) and nibbled magazine edges on the coffee table. They must be exploring in there at night while we’re asleep and they know the dog is in the bedroom with us. During the day, the edge of the TV cabinet is as far as she’ll muster the courage for. Sillty rabbit!

Dog-tired

It felt a bit like Spring today, so once I finished up my normal Saturday errands I decided to go for a stroll with the dog. I’ve been really lazy the last few years with walking him every day. We mostly take special trips to the beach for a run or to a favorite wooded park that is about 20 minutes away in the car. Gone are the days when I had time to walk him through town every day or to the park that is right next door.

So feeling energetic (and sort of guilty) today, I set out to visit our favorite local spots. This circuit through town usually takes us about an hour if we don’t stop to birdwatch or daydream along the way. We walked through town – we do this quickly because all the activity frightens him – and made our way to the local “nature trail”. This place makes Buddy happy because there’s lots of fallen leaves, mud, and things for him to explore. Not much there today in terms of birds, but we did see a red-tail soaring above the tree tops. We continued along the marsh and creek and paused where it widens and one can imagine the ocean that is only a few miles away. The marsh side of the road has access to shallower water and Buddy often takes a dip there, but not today. He wanted to, but it was still a bit too cold for him to be swimming.

Sadly, it was low tide and most of the ducks were way back in the marsh hidden in the phrags. The open water had groups of mallards and canada geese visible. Further out, I imagined a few buffleheads. By this point, Buddy and I were a bit more than half-way home and it was clear that he’d had enough and was tired. We walked the rest of the way very slowly. My Boo is feeling his age, I’m afraid. He’s 11 this year and is stiff and having chronic problems with his ears and skin. He sleeps a lot. Until today he had boundless energy on walks. I guess maybe we just overdid it today.

Irish Fiddle

Just passing along this link to an NPR story this afternoon about an Irish-American fiddler. Listen to the story for a treat!

I adore Irish folk music. I love the fiddle. Wish I could learn to play. Last spring I started taking a series of courses at the community college where I teach to learn the pennywhistle. Fun courses, but difficult for me to learn in such a large group. I hope to repeat the beginning level course again this spring, but would really like to find a private tutor to give me lessons.

Another water lily “Patio Joe”


“Patio Joe” was a very profuse bloomer for me last summer. I don’t think there was a single day from June through early September when this lily was not in bloom and it often had multiple blooms at the same time. In these photos the color looks very pink, but I remember it as being quite variable depending on the stage of bloom. This link has a nice description of the charm of this lily.

These photos were taken in early June when the locust blossoms were falling. I loved the effect of the white petals floating on the surface of the water. The blooms look stellate rather than cup-shaped indicating to me that the photos were probably taken during the second or third day of bloom. On the first day of bloom the flower opens only part way and each bloom lasts just a few days before it sinks beneath the surface of the water.

Both of these smaller photos show buds waiting to open. Part of the fun is anticipating when a bud will break the surface and bloom. This often leads to disappointment for me if a lily blooms during the workweek and I’m not there for it. You see, lily blooms open late in the morning and begin to close for the day around 2 p.m. when the heat and height of the sun diminish. With this particular lily this wasn’t an issue; as I said it was almost always in bloom – even on weekends. I used to have a tropical night-bloomng lily called “Red Flare” that was just as difficult to get a look at. It bloomed while I was at home, but it was too dark to see it properly…. 😉 What I liked most about that lily was the large burgundy-colored lilypads and the way that the blossoms stood well-above the surface of the water. Like so many plants, we killed it over the winter. We couldn’t leave it out in the pond because of its tropical nature, so we tried to overwinter it in the basement and it rotted. Someday we’ll learn how to overwinter the tropicals we both love so much.

Hot Buns 2007 Contest

Send your favorite bunny photos for the annual Hot Buns photo contest; the winners will be featured in the Buns 2007 calendar which benefits The Rabbit Habit. Send entries (gif or jpeg files) to lilbun@verizon.net or dhoffman_48@yahoo.com (which can handle bigger files). The deadline is April 10. All entries will be posted at www.geocities.com/dhoffman_48/.

Dora, who (almost) always gets away

If anyone is inclined to wonder why I post so few pictures of Dora, the photo to the left should answer that question. She mostly steps out of any photo I try to take of her. Boomer and Cricket, who appear here most often, are very cooperative and lounge about everywhere. Dora, on the other hand, is very wary.

She has her favorite resting places where she feels safe, but it is hard to get a good photo of her beneath my office chair where she loves to hang out. She naps there and will nudge my feet with her nose or nibble on my pantlegs for attention. I’ll reach down and scratch behind her ears for a while and then she settles back for her nap.

If the dog is too rambuctious or if I’m running the vacuum, she’ll head back to her cage for safety. She’s confined there during the day while I’m at work, but often chooses to relax there. She seems to have a sense for when it is time to go to bed because I will find her waiting for me to close her in before I turn out the lights for the night. In the photo at left, taken on the day I brought her home, she is looking very suspicious of me and my camera.

Dora is a stunningly beautiful rabbit; a Checkered Giant. She is small for her breed (I suspect that is why she was sent to slaughter by her breeder), but she shows the gorgeous markings and graceful shape that is typical of her breed. She even has polka-dots on her belly!

She looses any sense of wariness when I sit on the floor nearby. She dances over and presents her little head on my leg for pets. If I don’t oblige her quickly enough, she licks my pantleg for attention. She hasn’t worked up the courage yet to climb all the way onto my lap, but will settle beside me and click her teeth with contentedness. I think she would stay this way for hours; she loves the attention so much. Like most rabbits, Dora is loving and affectionate when given the chance and on her own terms.

Road Trip

My husband and I took a ride today to Peddler’s Village in Lahaska, Pa. – the drive was short – only about 1 1/2 hours. Closer to home is Smithville, which we usually combine with some birding at Brig. Believe it or not, we didn’t get lost despite the easily distracted navigator (me!)

We did some shopping and had lunch at the tavern. I spent too much money on things I don’t need (like the adorable pair of ducks at left). We’ve been doing some remodeling at home and are finally buying proper furniture after 12+ years of marriage, and I’ve decided that I’m tired of looking at bare walls and empty shelves. I hate to spend money on silliness like this, but they do make me smile! We found them in one of the shops that had the primitive-style country crafts that I like.

There was also a lovely shop that sold imports from France – beautiful things! I couldn’t resist this dried flower arangement; now I just need to find the right place for it – and figure out how to keep it from getting full of dust! My poor flash photos don’t show the intensity of color – the deep red and yellow of the roses together with the lovely purple of the dried lavender. Just gorgeous!

A few weeks ago we drove to Conneticut to pick up a huntboard for our dining room and plan to go tomorrow and order the farmhouse table we picked out locally to go with it. The table is huge – really too much for just the two of us -but it will give me a good excuse to have holiday dinners here at home after all these years. Anyway, I thought these dried roses were a perfect contrast with the black-painted wood of the huntboard.

The DH is snoring in front of the TV, tired from all the driving he did today; and I’ve got bunnies to feed and love on. So, I’ll have to share the rest of my finds from our road trip on another day.

Helping Missy breathe easier

Miss Buns has a chronic respiratory infection called Pseudomonas that was diagnosed in December of 2004. This bacterial infection is very difficult to get rid of. My vet and I have been treating her for more than a year now with various bunny-safe antibiotics and still every culture and sensitivity test we do comes back positive. I’ve more or less given up on the idea that we’ll ever cure her of it (I’m not willing to subject her to a cocktail of strong, injectable antibiotics) so I concentrate my efforts on coping with and keeping the infection in check. When her breathing gets bad and she starts sneezing too much I dose her with 10 days of Baytril and that seems to do the trick for a month or two. Twice a day I clean the crusty stuff from around her runny eye to keep the fur on her cheek from falling out. She enjoys this extra attention and daily *grooming* from me and generally won’t struggle as I wash her cheek fur and comb through it with a small flea comb. Sometimes she gets pissed and will nip me if I’m not careful and pull at her skin.

Every so often her breathing sounds just horrible and I can see that she is congested and struggling to breathe through her stuffy nose. Today was such a day. My vet was kind enough to loan me a nebuliser machine (used by people with asthma) to treat this congestion. I use a very weak mixture of a liquid antibiotic and saline solution in the nebulising machine. Then, I corner Missy and hold the mouthpiece in front of her face so that she has to breathe in the medicated mist. We’ve done this often enough that she is no longer freaked out by the mist floating past her nose, nor is she bothered by the sound of the machine. She’ll sit quietly for the 5 minutes or so that the treatment lasts and will sometimes nibble hay from her litterbox or wash her face in the adorable way that bunnies do. None of it seems to faze her at all, thankfully. Lately, she is so comfortable that she *chins* the mouthpiece, claiming it as *hers*. Once we’ve finished, I always give her a favorite treat to reward her for behaving. I also give a treat to Freckles who lives on the other side of the lattice wall you can see in this photo. A favorite and convenient treat is a few craisins which she gobbles up quickly.

The nebulsing has a dramatic effect on her breathing and I’m thankful to my vet for suggesting it as an alternative treatment. I know a few people who nebulise their rabbits every day to treat chronic respiratory problems and they’ve all said that their bunnies handle it well. For Missy, I think it’s the craisins when we’re finished that make it worth the bother. And she does breathe easier afterwards. She always feels well enough for a treat!