jmgoyder

wings and things

A rabbity argument

Ming and I had an argument the other day about our rabbit plague. He said they were attracted to the wheat I feed the peacocks, guinnea fowl, geese, duck etc. I said, what nonsense – everyone around here is being rabbit plagued!

It was only when I went outside to feed the birds the other afternoon that I realized Ming is absolutely right!

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Shooting bunnies

When I was a kid, we used an expression, “shooting a bunny” if anyone broke wind. I’m not quite sure where that expression comes from but my youngest brother still says it!

Well, so far I haven’t had the heart to shoot the bunnies and this is one of the reasons why.

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They are kind of cute!

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Annie get your gun!

Well last week I finally got my firearms licence and was able to collect Anthony’s rifle from the lockup. It was a rather strange rigmarole which began three months ago when a policeman came to the door and frightened the hell out of me (because I keep getting speeding tickets – another story). He said he had come to seize the guns because Anthony’s licence had expired due to nonpayment of annual fees. I said I had deliberately let that go because Ants was in a nursing home now, so not in any fit state to shoot, and that I had no idea where the gun cabinet key was but his brother probably had the guns anyway. The policeman said he would go across the road and ask the brother and give me a few days to find the key.

So, as the brother did have the rifle, but said he didn’t have the other three guns (an air rifle and two shotguns), the policeman seized the rifle and put it in the lockup place for me to pick up when I got my own licence. Then I had to search for the gun cabinet key. Now you might be wondering why on earth I didn’t know where this was but (a) I have never known Anthony to shoot anything and (b) pre-nursing home, he had a habit of hiding strange things in strange places throughout the house and (c) when the new gun laws came in way back when, we got the gun cabinet and it hasn’t been opened since – nearly 20 years ago!

I didn’t even know what was in the stupid cabinet except I recalled Anthony putting a bunch of antique walking sticks in it (yes, he was eccentric even before the Parkinson’s disease). Anyway, after a 3-day search of all the nooks and crannies, I found a zillion keys, including the one for the gun cabinet.
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Inside was one rotting old shotgun (which had to be seized and destroyed) and the walking sticks.
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You see, I have to shoot the rabbits before they dig up the foundations of the house. Of course I am not relishing this horrible task, because I love animals, but these rabbits are taking over. Here is one of the bigdaddies flirting with one of the peahens – argh!
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I will get a better shot of how MANY rabbits are here tomorrow. If I can’t do it with the camera, how will I do it with the rifle? Oh dear.

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Well now I’ve seen everything!

Phoenix 1, our golden pheasant male, was actually flirting with a baby rabbit! Golden pheasants perform their mating ritual by fanning out the feathers around their heads on one side, then turning around and doing the same thing on the other side. When we had our female pheasants, the two males did this continuously (which obviously drove the females crazy and may be why they disappeared!) So now that we only have the one male, he tends to flirt with every bird that is roughly his size – the new hens for instance. And now a baby rabbit!

It was difficult to get decent pictures of this little incident because it all happened so fast. Phoenix 1 had been terrorizing this baby rabbit with his flirting when suddenly the mother rabbit chased him off. Hilarious!

A moment after I took this second picture, the mother rabbit collided with Phoenix 1 and he got a terrible fright and flew into the closest tree. I stood there amazed and grinning.

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Rabbits rabbits rabbits!

As mentioned before, we have a bit of a rabbit plague. In rural areas like ours, rabbits are regarded as a pest because they destroy crops. So far, our zillion seem to be content to co-habit with the birds, dig little holes everywhere and look cute. They are also quite good lawnmowers, so I have decided on a truce; after all we have a bit in common.

Rabbits are not natural to Australia, but neither are white people.

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Gotcha!

Here is one of the several million rabbits digging up the foundations of this farm and all of its buildings. So far they have avoided camera capture but yesterday evening, whilst sitting outside waiting for the blue wrens to surround me (which they didn’t) I spotted little bunnykins and took a quick photo.

Yes, bunnykins is very cute, I agree. However, bunnykins and his extended family are apocalypticing our home. Any day now I anticipate waking up to a mine site rather than a grassy farm. I have dreams in which the house has fallen into a big hole and I have to climb out via the ceiling.

I have decided to try and find Husband’s mother’s recipe for rabbit stew.

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Down the rabbit hole

Yesterday, in the early evening after all the birds were safely in their yards, I decided to take some photos of the rabbits. Oh yes, haven’t I mentioned them before? We have hundreds of rabbits – well, perhaps not quite hundreds, but lots and lots – so many, in fact, that a friend from Perth asked if I was breeding them. No, I am not breeding them; they are doing that extraordinarily well all by themselves.

In other words, we have a rabbit plague.

They are everywhere! At any time of the day or evening, I can look through any window, or go outside, and I will see not just one or two rabbits, but entire families scampering around, here there and everywhere, in amongst the peacocks and guinneas and geese and ducks and chickens and turkeys. The scene resembles something rather heavenly except it is not heavenly because those rabbits are digging up the foundations of every building on the farm – that is five sheds and this house! I keep expecting the house to suddenly tip over. After all, it’s a very old house.

So last evening I sat outside, camera ready and waited. And waited. And waited. And I didn’t see one rabbit – not even a bunny! It was as if, like Alice in Wonderland, I had fallen down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world – this one devoid of rabbits. I wish.

Anyway, I thought I better take a picture of something, so I took one of the feathers on the lawn. In a previous post I mentioned that, with all the birds molting, it looks a bit like it has been snowing. Then I took a picture of King peacock’s final feather. As I said in another previous post he’s been hanging onto that last symbol of his former glory for ages. Now, having shed that final tail feather he will have to wait several months for them to all grow back. Poor guy seems a bit lost now.

I was still waiting for a rabbit or two to appear so I took another couple of photos of feathers that had blown into a blossom tree. I say a blossom tree because I’ve forgotten what kind of tree this is and Husband isn’t here to enlighten me (I’m ashamed to say that after nearly 20 years of marriage and living here, I still don’t know what many of these trees and flowers are!)

Actually, I’m not comfortable with the little white lie I just told about the feathers in the tree. They were in the tree earlier in the day but had blown onto the ground again, so I put them back in the tree to take the photos. Is that false photography? Interesting concept!

I am not, however, white-lying about the rabbits. The weird thing is that I haven’t seen any today either, so far.

Perhaps I’ve magicked them away somehow. On the other hand, the house does feel a little tilted today!

Or maybe I’m just stuck inside a ‘Julie in Wonderland’ rabbit hole.

When I go in to see Husband today, I will ask him what the blossom tree is called. He will know.

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