EDITORIAL

No need for a mower

By JOHN HOWELL
Posted 5/13/21

We've been invaded, and so far, it's been a good thing - except for the missing crocuses. Never have I seen so many rabbits. They outnumber the squirrels in our yard. Just the other day I spotted three of them, evenly spaced about 3 feet apart, hopping

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EDITORIAL

No need for a mower

Posted

We’ve been invaded, and so far, it’s been a good thing – except for the missing crocuses.

Never have I seen so many rabbits. They outnumber the squirrels in our yard. Just the other day I spotted three of them, evenly spaced about 3 feet apart, hopping across the yard in broad daylight. They looked to be on a mission. I watched. What could they be after? In unison they stopped and started munching. They paid no attention to me even after closing the car door. I could see their mandrills busily chewing.

What could it be?

The crocuses never bloomed. They were reduced to stalks. The tulips pushed up through the cold ground to be beheaded, but the daffodils not only survived but thrived. Maybe it was all that bunny poop.

Now the rabbits were on to something else. I stopped to consider what it could be. I’ve never been big on cultivating the perfect lawn. If it’s green and holds the ground, I’m happy. Usually by August the crab grass has taken over. It doesn’t need watering and leaves me with a green blanket. When it’s needed the mower levels their stalks along with the weeds that likewise have free range.

The spring lawn, if you can call it that, is a mix of hardy grasses and lots of dandelions. Most springs it grows quickly and the mower gets a workout.

Not this year. The rabbits have done a great job of keeping control. Not once have I needed the lawnmower.

What’s more, to Carol’s delight since they continue to proliferate, our rabbits have a taste for trilliums. Trilliums, their blue flowers offset by their dark green leaves put on a colorful display. Once past their prime, however, their stalks filled with a gummy substance make for a mess. Carol attacks them with a vengeance. I use the hedge trimmer to level them. It’s a sticky business.

This spring the trilliums have been chewed nearly to the ground. Carol’s not complaining. The bunnies are getting high marks.

One would assume a spotted coonhound would chase rabbits. Not ours. Ollie pays no heed to them. Even when I’ve seen them inside his pen – there’s only one way in and out – he doesn’t seem to care. That may explain why he never made it as a hunting dog in North Carolina and how we came to adopt him from the East Greenwich Animal Protection League.

Ollie was not going to control the rabbits.

So it was with trepidation that we decided it was time to plant the vegetable garden. I got Carol a flat of parsley, lettuce and basil. This seemed like a good place to start. The tomatoes would come later along with the squash that I’d plant from seed.

Were we serving up the perfect rabbit salad? Would it all be chewed flat by morning?

A fence surrounds the garden and boards designed to keep burrowing critters follow the fence contour. I raked the plot free of leaves and dried tomato stalks from last summer. Next I set to turning over the ground with a shovel. That’s when I discovered a hole as big around as a dinner plate. It was no more than six inches deep with a bedding of grass.

What had I uncovered, a bunny burrow?

I evened out the ground and then made furrows in the soft earth. It was ready for Carol to plant.

We checked the fence perimeter. It looked to be rabbit proof, but then hadn’t the garden been secured when we closed the fence last fall?

Perhaps we had planted a delectable rabbit dinner. I suppose I shouldn’t complain if that’s the case. Our tenants have trimmed what portends to be a lawn.

mower, rabbits

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