Bashful bunny

Yes, she’s here, but not ready for a photo shoot just yet! Boomer is curious and has taken to lying beside her cage and stealing strands of hay from her pile. We’re taking things very slowly so there’s no troubles, but it looks promising. She’s here as a *foster* until we’re sure that the two of them can be friends. She has ear mites, which take about 6 weeks to clear up, so until then she and Boomer will only be meeting through the bars of her cage. Her face is so young-looking – she’s just six months old – and she’s small compared to what I’m used to in a Flemish Giant, but I never had one so young. She’s frightened – who could blame her – but with enough time and gentleness she’ll be bossing me around like the rest of the long-eared gang. More pictures when she’s feeling less shy!

The price of bliss

The idea to adopt another bunny has been kicking around in my head for the last week since Cricket passed away. The self-protective part of me wants to swear off any more bunnies, but I have Boomer to consider. I’ve been concentrating on trying to understand the impact Cricket’s death is having on him. I’m giving him lots of extra attention and even offered a stuffed animal for him to snuggle beside during the day while I’m away at work.

So far, he’s mostly ignored my overtures. He’s doing okay and eating well, but seems lonely. He’s sleeping in odd places and seems out-of-sorts. Cricket was always the more affectionate bunny towards me; Boomer never sought me out for pets, instead he wanted all of his affection to come from Cricket. You might have gotten a sense of the depth of their friendship from the photos I post here, but needless to say the two of them were joined at the hip and were very happy with nothing but each other. I’m feeling like a very poor substitute for the companionship they had as brother and sister.

My other bunnies live alone and are fine with it. Missy and Freckles used to live together, but now just share playtime; anything more than that and they’ll fight. Peeper lives alone and hasn’t ever known the joy of a bunny friend. Ideally, I could put the four of them together to live happily ever after as a group, but that’s just not possible given the realities of health issues and personality quirks. So I’ve decided, in consultation with Boomer, to find him a new friend.

KGMom recently shared her opinion that our past animal companions may return to us in the form of another animal. I’ve not had that experience, but do believe that we are often led along the path to adopting another by the spirit or memory of a deceased pet.

“It may seem like an odd comfort, but I really do take personal comfort in the fact that matter cannot be destroyed–it can be converted into energy, but is never lost. I think of this as a way that animals achieve immortality. They die and are born in new animals. Of this, I am personally convinced–and sometimes I go looking for past loved animals in the new animals coming into my life.”

KGMom’s comment rings true to me in that I often feel like I’m trying to correct past mistakes when taking in a new pet. Especially with beings as sensitive and fragile as rabbits, the time spent loving and caring for them is a long learning process. I made a promise to Boomer and Cricket when I brought them here; one that I’ve kept and can continue to honor by adopting another bunny in need.

As coincidence would have it, there is another bunny. She is also a Flemish Giant and was just spayed this week and she’s living with the rescue that I adopt from. Like Boomer and Cricket, and Mr. Bean before them, she was rescued from the local slaughterhouse where she was left by the person who bred her. Whether she was meant for show or bred for the few bucks a slaughterhouse pays for *meat rabbits* doesn’t matter – her need and ours is the same. Love and safety. That is my promise to them.

Have a peek at her petfinder page here.

My barrens are burning

A fire has been raging (link to video) across some 15,000 acres of the Pine Barrens since yesterday. Aside from the worry for people and property, there needn’t be much concern for the health of the habitat as most species that grow there are fire-adapted. Some, like the pitch pine, require fire in order to reproduce. Its bark is thick and resistant to fire. After fires, many pitch pines sprout needles directly out of their trunks. In addition, pitch pine cones only open in extreme heat, so after forest fires, the trees reseed themselves.

One place that I do worry for, and for entirely selfish reasons, is the bog at Webb’s Mill (pictured here in the fall of last year). I’ve been waiting for late May and early June for the chance to see some rare plants blooming there. There are approximately 55 endangered plant species in the NJ Pine Barrens. Reasons for the dwindling numbers include introduction of aggressive non-native plants, the prevention and extinguishing of fires (a natural occurrence of the Pine Barrens), and changing the natural water flow because of farming and development.

I hope the expected thunderstorms and efforts of firefighters can control the blaze. My husband is waiting for the call from his department to go help out.

More wildflower confusion

It’s a good thing the spring wildflower peak is just about done here because I have many more photos of mystery flowers than I have the time or patience to sort out. I found these blooming over the weekend in my brookside haunt; the jack-in-the-pulpit that I found there has since grown very tall and there’s still some spring beauties blooming. There could be other things hidden away there, but the understory is so full of garlic mustard that it would seem impossible to find anything else. My best guess for this flower is that it’s some type of cress – maybe spring cress? At first I thought bluets, then some type of flax, then maybe a speedwell of some sort – but have settled on cress because of the alternate leaves. Whatever it is there’s lots of it, but this is the only one that I found in bloom so far. It’s been quite fun to return each week and see what’s new and spend a little more time exploring the far ends of the greenway. The last two visits have been especially nice because of the spring migrants that are there in the woods and along the old horse pastures. This weekend I saw the first Indigo Bunting that I’ve seen in a long while and listened to it sing while I rested in the sunshine.

Pond progress

Mary had asked for some pond pics and we’ve done a bit of work lately so that I’m not so embarrassed to share photos. The filter’s been running for a few weeks after the major cleanout we did and the 20 or so fish are back in the pond. This past weekend we finally bought a few plants and that has made a world of difference in how the pond looks! We bought some parrot’s feather and a sensitive fern, some rushes, and a pickerel plant, and some elephant ears. We also bought a few of the *floaters* to offer some shade until we buy any waterlilies. The floating heart that grew last year as a volunteer has started sending out shoots and the mint that grows in the rocks is already out of control! This year I would really like to work on planting the edges of the pond; other than a few hostas, daylilies, and some monarda, nothing much that I’ve planted in the past has been able to survive. The pond is in full sun for most of the day and those rocks really heat up! I haven’t spotted the frog since we did the cleanout, but I’m sure he’s lurking there somewhere.

Mother’s day

Hope you’ve all had a lovely Mother’s Day. Thought I’d share a pic of a new mother spotted along the drive to work. I pass at least four new foals (that’s the right word, isn’t it?) on my drive in the morning, but on my way home, when I have time to stop, the horses aren’t out to pose for photos. I snapped this during a quick drive by yesterday; not the pic I wanted, but you get the idea of just how adorable they are.


World Series Day

Today was the World Series of Birding here in NJ when birders try to find the greatest number of species to raise money for conservation. I play every year with the Sandy Hook team, but this year only joined the group for a few hours in the late afternoon. While the poor souls who had been at it since 5:30 this morning had their dinner break, I watched the terns feeding on Sandy Hook Bay. That’s a battleship of some sort in the background at the nearby naval weapons station.

The terns weren’t the only ones fishing on the bay, but they seemed to be much more successful than the others. I love to watch the terns wheeling and diving over the water – makes me dizzy!

We did the *death march* out to the salt ponds at the very tip of Sandy Hook and saw hundreds of swallows and some shorebirds. Patrick from The Hawk Owl’s Nest is somewhere in this group photo; he was a co-leader for the day and is a nice guy and has a wonderful smile!

We visited the locust grove looking for warblers feeding at dusk. The sunset over the dunes was gorgeous tonight – somehow I managed to miss the peak of the beach plum bloom, but they’re still very pretty. We ended the day listening for woodcock, barred owls, whipporwills, and nighthawks, but found only a great horned owl perched in the distance. All told, I think the group had about 125 species today which is a respectable number, although they missed some *sure to see* birds.

Cricket’s garden

I spent the day with the spade in my hands and dirt on my knees and planted a garden of spring flowers around the place we buried Cricket. I planted another section of my little woodland garden with her in my thoughts.

Just a week ago the mountain laurels were delivered and today there was finally the time to plant them. I added some snowdrop anemones, fringed bleeding hearts, lady’s fern, lilies of the valley, and even some Virginia bluebells that were marked down because they’re past bloom now. All of this in the place where she lies with the dogwoods flowering overhead and the scent of lilacs on the breeze. I think I’ve made a sweet place for her.