by Chuck Gillies
People occasionally ask me if I have gotten any photographs of the bobcat or bear lately. I have to say, “no, not for two years.” But recently I did have an experience which I think is worth reporting.
For some reason in my wife’s family – and now in ours – on the first day of the month the first person to say “rabbit, rabbit” wins! I’m not sure what they win, or where this came from, but years ago I heard it used in a play we were attending so I know it has some legitimacy. Now, I am always aware of the rabbits populating Lathrop’s lands. Recently – May 24th, to be exact – while cleaning last year’s refuse around my “gladiola patch” (probably not, I admit, native) I first felt a handful of fur and then noticed a full nest. I thought they were mice, but quickly realized they were rabbits.
Not sure what would happen. Years ago when my children were young we had two kittens born and abandoned in our garage. Of course, Janet and the kids could not let them expire and they were brought into the house to be fed with an eye-dropper. They were named “Saint” and “Patrick” (guess when they were born?). Saint survived ‘till old age as our family cat in part, we are sure, because he was nuzzled and cuddled by our black lab retriever (mother of about 35). They became best friends.
Back to my rabbits. Without local children or grandchildren we didn’t want to repeat the night-time feedings now. As I checked day after day they seemed to be maturing, though I worried that they might be abandoned to their fate to die of starvation or victims of some predator. A few days later, as I rounded the SE corner of our unit on Huckleberry I saw a white tail disappearing into the tall grass and decided she had just come from feeding or tending her babies.
A week after uncovering their nest I went to check on them and they had disappeared! Some tragedy had occurred or they had matured and left to fend for themselves. But the next day I found them nestled in the corner of the house just a few inches from the original nest. I counted six at this point. A month later, though, they have gone.
So, if you see rabbits scampering about at Lathrop Easthampton they may have come from Huckleberry Lane. Or, alas, as we have learned from the Lampost, they may have been food for the coyote, bobcat or hawk that lives here with us! – -Chuck Gillies, 53 Huckleberry Lane