My obsidian antagonist, my nemesis of spring, he who eats $150 worth of plants in a single go, the Black Rabbit of Cuchulainn has taken up residency on my front porch.
I’m a rabbit person. I love the way they nibble the clover in the spring. I find their twitching noses adorable. A fat buck is perfectly capable of ripping a cat to shreds (my apologies to cat fanciers). They do have a rabbity intelligence that seems to steer them clear of tight spots and pitfalls.
Many moons ago the Black Rabbit of Cuchulainn was a sweet little pet bunny named Onyx. He had a sweet little hutch and a sweet little girl who fed him carrots and doted on him.
“There’s more to life than this, as surely as I’m a black rabbit in a hutch, which I am,” said the rabbit.
He escaped and become the neighborhood rabbit. We have all sorts of wild animals out here: deer, rabbits, mice, chipmunks (or shitmunks, as I call them), squirrels, and Things Which Howl in the Copse Down the Way. We have prowling cats, loose dogs, heavily trafficked roads and a plethora of curious children. The Black Rabbit, a fixture here prior to our arrival in 2005, has evaded them all.
Our yard is set up as a habitat for animals and the majority of animals respect it. They don’t shred the sheltering plants nor do they greedily suck down every last bit of clover. They are content to munch on the crab grass.
The Demon Rabbit eats the grass rather than the crab grass. He destroys the sheltering plants by parking his humongous body smack in the middle of them (he’s larger than a house cat, outweighing my Italian Greyhound by quite a few pounds. Should we ever need to take him for a ride in the country, he’ll require, by Ohio law, a toddler’s booster seat.)
We fight every spring and summer. I’ll arrive home from an errand and there he is, chewing his pellets and staring at me. “Laissez-faire, toots. I do as a please.”
On one momentous occasion, I marched right across that yard with the intention of spooking him off. He doesn’t spook easily. He never broke into so much as a hop. Rabbits do walk, you see, and walk he did.
“Get – out – of – my – garden – you – bastard!”
‘Round and ‘round the maple we went, the gimpy chick and The Black Rabbit, until I caught up with his posterior and gave him such a whack on his ample rump that we didn’t see even so much as a whisker for several weeks straight.
“Ah, I’m done with him,” I smirked one fine morning as I sat out on my porch and sipped my ice tea.
He returned that day. He might have crouched under the holly for hours just to hear me utter those works. Surely the bastard wouldn’t hesitate to engage in a little illegal wire-tapping? Regardless, I went inside to fill up my glass and as I came back out, I saw his fat little body squashing my beautiful hosta flat.
Hoses have no effect on a wild-yet-domestic rabbit. “Thanks for the bath, madam,” and he waves one ear as he lopes away.
Critter-Ridder, a brutal capsaicin mixture, is a waste of time: apparently he has a poor sense of smell due to his age.
Dynamite might work but it would mess up my garden.
Yet here we are, The Black Rabbit and I. He squats on my porch and respectfully confines his potty habits to the yard. We have a temporary truce between us. Better Half feeds him carrots. I purchased some alfalfa blocks and pellets and leave those out for him. He allows Better Half to pet him and to pick him up. I certainly will put my foot down to any of Better Half’s pleas regarding a hutch or him (or worse, bringing him indoors.) He has become a fixture here.
Until next spring. Then it’s war.