Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Rabbit's New Year

Mrs. Rabitowitz.
On New Year's Eve I painted a little portrait of Mrs. Rabitowitz - just as a sort of memorial. She is dead of course, mysteriously murdered, perhaps poisoned. I miss her terribly. She liked to be around me as I tidied up the yard and did my chores. She was especially attentive during the winter months when I put out feed for her and the other critters and of course the birds. She wasn't at all afraid of me, and she was always respectful of the gardens.
Sadly, her relatives are not quite as civilized. They are voracious eaters... eater bunnies, I call them. Perhaps Mrs. Rabitowitz had been too indulgent with her little ones, but I rather think the trauma of her early demise, the tragedy of the circumstances of her death, as well as growing up on their own without a mother - I think that may account for the new generation's disrespect for boundaries and their avaricious behavior.
At any rate, the new generation of rabbits is eating my hedge row - last year they killed out a section of the back cotoneaster wall, this year they are going after the south wall. They eat the bark of the mature stems, just as the squirrels consume the bark of the lilac trees. This despite the fact I have provided nutritious feed for all of them, comprised of seeds and nuts and hard grains. Unfortunately for the birds, I've had to stop feeding for now, and I've resorted to spreading granulated fox urine throughout the hedge row, although I noticed new footprints in today's fresh snow.
In the meantime I will pray St. Martin De Porres to help out, he is very persuasive with little critters. I'll continue some of the natural fox granules before doing anything else. I'm considering a 'Have-A-Heart' trap and possible relocation, although that would be my last resort. I couldn't kill any of them.
I don't like killing.  I've even gone so far as to have an arrangement with the mouses that they may not live in the house, although they are welcome to come into the garage when it gets too cold. I have a little bag of peat that they can either snuggle in or take from for their nests - peat warms a nest nicely - I found that out from a gnome many years ago.
Young mice can be rather impetuous... they sometimes 'forget' and attempt to barge in, but the cat takes care of them when they dare to do that. Last year a very handsome young mouse got in. Xena was still alive, and as heavy as she was I woke up to what sounded like a wrestling match going on. I got out of bed to see what all the ruckus was in the middle room. Both Agnes and Xena were standing somewhat proudly over the tail of the Zebra rug. Still rather drowsy, it appeared to me a portion of it had been torn away. As I bent over to pick it up I realized it was a very striking, young mouse, black as coal, his coat so shiny as to glisten in the night light from the hall. Sadly, I disposed of his still warm carcass, congratulated the cats, washed my hands and went back to sleep. The story must have gotten around, because there hasn't been a mouse in the house since.
I wish animals were more understanding of domestic rules.  But I digress...
As I began to tell you, for New Year's Eve, I painted the portrait of Mrs. Rabitowitz alongside the hedge.  She often sat exactly like that when I came out.  In her honor, I shot off a few small fireworks leftover from summer as the clock struck midnight.
Today is the 11th day of Christmas by the way, and tomorrow is 12th Night...  happy Christmas! 
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  1. A lovely portrait from a very talented artist.Nice post too.

  2. Agreed. Lovely portrait.

    And I feel your pain about the wanton destruction. They live in a welfare society in my backyard - free food, free living-quarters, no responsibilities, no workfare - and they do their best to turn it into a slum.

    And with all the housing developments going up in the surrounding (former) farmland, there are a lot of immigrants showing up.

    The Queen of this here acreage may have to rethink the largesse she distributes.

  3. Halloo-uh, Terry. Have not been by in awhile but love the memorial portrait and sharing of those with whom you share hearth, home and gardens. Just read last evening in The Name of Jesus (by Herrschauer) that St. John Chrysostom digressed for the bulk of four homilies on The Holy Name of Jesus.

    Now for a request of a boon. I am doing a little research survey of person's perceptions of what a real hermit looks like with three, simple survey questions. Would you consider encouraging your followers to consider responding? The more responses the more valid the findings. I made a blog all it's own with the one survey post: www.therealhermit.blogspot.com

    No, it is not professionally done.... I'm sure you may have thought so except for the fact that the photos are here and there, and it took me four hours to post them and get them numbered properly.

    Also, please say a prayer for the project, and be assured of my prayers for some other Rabbitowicz descendent to take up residence if you really want. I have a distant cousin here in my gardens, and come spring I may send it to your place as a pilgrimage site, and then pray it remains there.

  4. Very nice painting (and I really enjoyed your post too). The rabbit has life, and the plant material gives it a Japanese feel, if I might say so.

    I had a rabbit the summer before last that visited the garden. I don't know if it was wild or an escapee. But I was sad that the rabbit only stuck around for a couple of days.

  5. michael r.7:50 AM

    Love the painting of Mrs. Rabitowitz!

    When I got home from the hospital, I discovered strange tracks in the snow at my back door. I knew it was some kind of large bird. On Christmas Day, I watched in wonder, as a wild turkey foraged around. It wandered off after a few days, as I'm certain it didn't like my dogs.

    In response to 'nothing' I can't seem to locate this -- www.therealhermit.blogspot.com

  6. Hi Terry, Thanks for doing the survey. I tried to clarify the instructions better. Doing my best with chronic pain, but am desirous of getting answers to the three questions and a photo pick. Want to gain person's perceptions on what they think a hermit might look like or be like, live like, attributes.
    The site is www.therealhermit.blogspot.com
    I just checked, and that is the site the blog is on. Thanks for anyone who can take a few minutes or less and do the survey.

    Yes, I am a very solid Catholic, but I did not want to specify or identify since I also hope the general populace will respond. However, from all the varying reactions and comments at other times from Catholic friends and clerics, there is a wide variety of assumptions and perceptions about hermits in the Church, and I want to try to focus on contemporary times with what perceptions remain today. Do they reflect what used to be a hermit, and have the attributes or appearance needed to shift with society and culture and era?

  7. Terry, maybe this helps. I am not tech savvy, but maybe that is an attribute?


  8. A gentle Franciscan reminder: DON"T KILL _ANY_ ANIMALS!!!!!
    By the way, i thought you meant the new year is the year of the Rabbit. Sure enough it is (starting on 2 Feb this year)

  9. Lovely portrait..thanks fo r sharing..

    I too feed gthe birds and a couple of cats that cruel people have dumped....have no idea where they sleep in this bitter cold...one is black that you can't get near..another is OM "Orange Marmalade" and he is the sweetiest thing...but I already have three indoor cats so no more.

    Brother William...about 15 years ago I volunteered at the County Animal Control and Shelter....we did have to euthanize critters...some because they were vicious dogs and feral cats, but others because they were pets that n one wanted, and there was no way we could keep them all...I was not Catholic at the time but I prayed over each one, so that they knew they were loved at the end. That job really sucks but what can you do?? I currently volunteer at a no-kill shelter taking care of abandonded horses...they are expensive beasts to take care of in this poor economy and lot sof them are dumped or turned loose to try and live with the mustangs (which incidently they don't accept)..



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