Mr Bunches and I were outside raking today in my 1 hour of Saturday chores. That's how I tackle big chores now: I do an hour on Saturday and an hour on Sunday and then that's it. So far, we've gotten two rooms and three closets organized and spring-cleaned, and I haven't had a whole weekend ruined the way big chores used to.
So we were raking, while Mr F and Sweetie went for a ride in the country (Mr F is not a good partner to rake with. He gets bored and tries to head off for the lake or a park or wherever it is Mr F intends to head to when he makes a break for it, so Sweetie takes him driving for an hour while we rake.) And as we raked off the back porch, I heard something crawling away under the leaves into the corner. I got Mr Bunches over and we carefully scraped away the leaves, thinking it was a mouse or a chipmunk, but it was:
One of the kits (or baby rabbits) we'd seen in our yard the other day.
The baby rabbits first showed up two days ago, when we noticed them outside our dining room window, a mother nearby. (The mother, in a move that helped cement Sweetie's views of animal mothers as "A-holes", ran away from the babies while we looked. Sweetie already had a low opinion of animal moms since Mrs Raccoon abandoned her five kids and fled our old shed as The Boy and Middle and I tore it down.)
We hadn't seen them since then, but now here was one cowering underneath a corner-full of leaves on our patio. So I shooed it out by gently nudging it with the rake handle (I didn't want to touch it and make it smell like human in case that's not just a myth), and it ran off down the path to our backyard.
That was the last we thought of it until twenty minutes later when I turned around and the rabbit was back, laying on the blanket we use to haul big piles of leaves (because our trees produce two hundred zillion tons of leaves per year and the piles get too big to rake):
He was just sitting there, and didn't even try to get away when Mr Bunches leaned down to pet him:
Even then, we shooed him off the blanket again, because I thought maybe he just liked that it was warm and soft and in the sun. But he ran off to the left of that picture and promptly fell into the back stairwell of our house, where we found him again crouching and not moving:
So by now I thought maybe he was too little to take care of himself, or was hurt or had been abandoned or something, and we picked him up and carried him into the garage, where, lacking any better plan, we put him into an old cardboard box that up until now had just held some stuff from my old office.
With one of our old beach towels ("We don't need it back," -- Sweetie), and then, lacking any better plan and being a bit short on rabbit food we got some dried peas and strawberries and milk to put in there (some sites I read said rabbit milk is higher in fat than cow's milk, but this was only temporary.)
And that was where we left him, about noon, while we finished up with the raking and ate lunch and then did our annual Futile Seed Planting for our garden (this year, we're theoretically growing pumpkins, eggplant, radishes, sunflowers, and carrots).
For most of the afternoon, we'd check on the rabbit -- Mr Bunches named him "Baca", and I have no idea where that came from -- and each time he was just huddled under the towel, not eating anything and not moving much.
About 3 o'clock I began to think that maybe his refusal to eat wasn't so much sickness or because he was little; one website said that rabbits leave their mothers when they are about 5" long, which Baca was. About the same time, both Sweetie and I had the same thought:
"We should turn the box on its side and see if he wants to leave."
So Mr Bunches and Mr F and I went outside and did that, and while we were sitting there, Baca just huddled behind the towel, and eventually we went back inside.
Just before we started dinner, we went to take a look and see if he was still there. He'd left: the towel was empty, the strawberries and dried peas just abandoned.
I got a little worried that Baca would be eaten by a fox or coyote, both of which can be found around us, or a hawk or something. Sweetie, who believed all afternoon that Baca had been abandoned by his "A-hole" mother -- Sweetie does not approve of nature -- told me to just imagine that Baca had gone back to his house.
"That's what 10-year-olds believe," I told her, although I hope he's just sitting somewhere telling his friends an amazing story about how he spent his day, rather than cowering under another pile of leaves waiting for his mother to come back and show him how to eat. I left the box and the towel and the strawberries and peas outside just in case.
'Bye, Baca. Help yourself to some zucchini seeds on your way home.