Two Rabbits plotting against me to get into my veggie garden
What are your first thoughts when you see those cute little bunny rabbits in the picture? You are thinking, “they are sooo cute.” I can see why you think this because we associate bunny rabbits with Peter Rabbit, Bugs Bunny cartoons, and the Easter bunny.
I too felt that way. I loved to watch them hipidy hop around my lawn and wiggle their little noses until one day we tangoed. They invaded by inner sanctuary. My garden. Then I realized that they were wolves in rabbit clothing and the garden gloves came off.
In order to explain how we tangoed I need to start at the very beginning. It all began with a dream of the perfect garden with eight raised beds with butterfly and bees dancing in the sun, and of course, Steven Spielberg filming this beautiful scene. In order to protect my garden, I had to fence it in against the deer, who believe me are not related to Bambi. They eat everything, even if they are not supposed to.
So, I fretted about the eco-friendly perfect fence, which needed to be 8 feet tall to keep out the deer. (Sounds like an oxymoron. An eco- friendly fence to keep wildlife out so I can reduce my carbon footprint by eating veggie I raised myself. Hmm.)
A wood fence was out of the question since it was too much maintenance and I wanted to be able to see through the fence. Metal was out because it would rust. Metal with a PVC coating is out since I am anti-PVC. What was left? The only other choice was a Polyethylene Plastic deer fence. Not a great choice but I could pick it up at Home Depot which was close to lessen my footprint plus it seemed to be the best of all evils. While I was at Home Depot we also picked up three feet rabbit fencing that I was assured that rabbits would not be able to get their teeth around the small holes to chew on it.
I planted my garden after my husband put up the deer fencing. He told me he would get to the rabbit fencing shortly. A couple of weeks went by and I thought no rabbits. This is good.
Then the Mother Nature slapped me in the face and told me to wake up from my fairy tale. One day I was checking my plants and the straw mulch started to move. Was this a mouse I wondered? Perhaps an animal? It moved again. Sometime I am too brave for my own good and I lifted the straw. There were at least nine baby rabbits huddled together. Before you say how adorable or ooh and ahh, just realize what nine hungry young rabbits could do to my garden. “Schwarzenegger” it and say they will be back.
In my mother-like stern voice, I banished them from my garden. They leisurely hip hopped out of my garden through the holes in my fence thinking who was the crazy lady. I sure I heard one of them say “get a life.”
One little guy go caught in the fence and I knew he would not be able to get out. I gently picked him up as he squealed and sent him on his way. I am not sure since I touched him if his mother would reject him. (Do you think they all talked about me at the dinner table and said she (which is me) is not so bad after all? Then the rabbits concluded since I was such a nice human that they will leave my garden alone. Not on your life.)
That night I told my husband that we needed to put up the rabbit fencing since the babies could climb in and out of the deer fencing. Around 10 pm that night I had a sense that something was up in my garden. Those veggies were like children to me and nothing gets between a mother and her babies.
I was right and I screamed out “Rabbit!” as I peered down from my bathroom window. The Mother Rabbit had either come looking for her children or surveying the goodies in the candy shop. She had gotten through my gate that I did not protect well. Lessons learned.
I became an agile 15 years old gymnast leaping down the steps (either that, a ninja fighter somersaulting my way down to where my garden was.) Mrs. Rabbit had met her match. I screamed “out” so the whole neighborhood could hear it. She freaked and kept hitting the fence and finally went under the fence. Another chore for my husband to fix. (Add another one to the endless list.) No rabbits can sneak under the fence. It was rule number 20 of the garden; right after no rabbit can come to visit. No exceptions. If I was being discriminatory, then sue me.
So, the next day up went the rabbit fence and no more rabbits that summer. I had a ground hog who was so pissed off at me for not being cordial enough to invite him into my garden that he ate all my plants around the garden.
I thought I got my revenge when I saw a coyote saunter by (I don’t make these stories up.) and I started pointing to the ground hogs den, saying, “he is over there.” He disappeared shortly after that. I did not feel bad since I figured it was Mother Nature’s way even though I helped a little.
Scene Two: The next summer.
I did not think I had a care in the world. The rabbits were hip hopping all over my lawn but I had my rabbit fence that would keep them out. So I thought. Remember those mother instincts? Right before we were to leave to go on vacation, I surveyed the garden from my bathroom window and low and behold there was a larger than life hare in my strawberries. Again, I yelled “Rabbit!” and raced down the stairs. I yelled out to him and he gave me the paw and hip hopped out. (Every time I tell the story, my “hare” gets bigger and my eyes widen even further in disgust.)
Back to the story. Hipped Hop where? How did he get out? I walked around my garden and there was perfect round hole large enough for a nice size hare to go through. I thought, I was told that rabbits can not eat this fencing. Plus, where did the plastic go? Did they swallow it? These must be mutant rabbits capable of eating anything.
How did they know I had strawberries? I know. I was kind enough to throw the bad ones out of the garden for the rabbits, ground hog and deer to eat. Lesson learned. Don’t feed the bears.
We immediately put up new fencing thinking it was a fluke. The vacation week went by and when we came back that morning there was a smaller rabbit who just hip hopped right into the garden and ran to the strawberries. How many countless of times did they come into nibble when I was clueless they were there?
To make matters worse, landscaping was being done while we were away and my landscaper innocently told me, the rabbit was in and out of the garden. I guess the rabbits did not need a key. Shoot me in the heart now! The rabbits must have been laughing at us thinking go ahead humans, put up that silly fence. We’ll put our star rabbit on the job to chewing it up. The Berlin Wall could have fallen quicker if a bunch of rabbits were put to the task.
This time we installed hardware wire around the hole. I think in time, we will have to fortify all around the garden with hardware wire which has very small holes. I did not want to do this because I think the hardware wire will rust.
As for that ground hog. He is back and fatter than ever. I noticed none of my plants flowered near the garden. I wondered why?
Do you have any suggestions to keep my ground hog and rabbits at bay?
Oh, I forgot to mention a black bear cruised across my lawn last summer…My strawberries must be legendary
Update July 10, 2008. We installed hardware wire all around the fence. I was tried of chasing baby rabbits through my garden for the last week. Everytime they chewed a hole through 2 plastic fences, I would reinforce it with another layer. I am sure they were laughing at me because the next day, they chewed the same hole.
I swear they had a meeting on how to outsmart me. They were no longer afraid of me and decide if I found them that they would run and hide. Even if I knock the leaves where they were, they still would not move. Kind of like playing possum and hoping I would leave. When I did catch them, they would not squeal or make a noise, figuring it was a game. I would catch them and take them far away to the bushes and they would just come back, as if to say, “Lucy, I’m home,” as Ricky Ricardo would say from “I love Lucy.”
These bunnies were no bigger than mice. And boy could they move. I felt like I did not need to go to the gym anymore. I would chase the rabbits for exercise. I even saw them scamper up a wall to get away from me. I am so exhausted. I hope they don’t get the last laugh…