Cottontail Conundrum

I gave my babies Beatrix Potter with their milk. Peter Rabbit, little Benjamin Bunny, these were our friends. When they were older, we read Rabbit Hill, a compelling story of wild creatures who hope the new owners of the farm will be generous cultivators instead of mean spirited slackers who let the garden grow up in weeds and set wicked animal traps. And we hoped with them.

Baby girl and I have watched the beautiful brown wonders as they bound through our yard. Comfortable with us. Our friends. It has seamed natural, this kinship with these beautiful creatures of God. And good.

The lettuces were the first to go. A fine stand of Arugula and Paris Market Mix Mesclun. One morning I walked out to the garden to find nubs where the tender leafy greens had been. Next was the Red Russian Kale. Not a single stem left standing. Yet I kept my sense of humor, thinking of the crusty Mr. McGregor; realizing with some measure of satisfaction that as the bunnies spoke of me in their cozy burrows at night, I was a hero. A friend.

Until they started on the tomatoes…

Black Krim is one of several heirloom varieties I am growing this year. The first fruit set on only a couple of weeks after I planted, despite an unexpected spell of cool weather. I watched with fascination as it swelled to 4 inches or so across and as the first blush of purply red began to spread over its skin. Then, one evening about dusk, I found this…

I wanted to throw up. Then, I began to wonder if there was a recipe on-line anywhere for that pie Mrs. McGregor put Peter’s father in. Because, after all, if I was going to be deprived of the vegetables I was working so hard to cultivate, I would need something to feed to my family.

I am not a violent person. As a rule.

Last night, while I was erecting a fence to save my tomatoes (and the lives of the furry little bandits), I made an interesting discovery. Four baby rabbits huddled in the oregano. Just outside their burrow, as it turns out. You can see two of them above.

I don’t mind telling you that my “peaceful by nature”, “lover of all things beautiful and wild” self is at war with my practical, farm girl self. Pray for me. And for the adorable little marauders. That we might find a way to live together.