Sunday, July 18, 2010

Another new addition

The Unfarm has another new resident. A rabbit, this time. And, coincidentally, this newcomer arrived while my parents were camping on the coast and thus out of town. Somehow I always seem to get into trouble when left to my own devices, and this time I didn't even set out to get into trouble. Admittedly, most of the trouble I get into is my own fault and, more to the point, planned specifically for a time when I am left unsupervised. This time, however, I had nothing up my sleeve. No painting the kitchen, ripping out the basement carpet, or creating murals on the laundry room walls - just a regular, uneventful weekend. (Besides, I've already done all those things.)

So, how then did I come to acquire another rabbit? It started a few days ago when I was late walking the dogs. I set out too late and ended up at the end of the street after it was dark already, which is when I saw a rabbit bolt across the street in front of us, and while we do have wildlife in the area, we do not have rabbits. Two days later, with a live trap borrowed from the Rabbit Advocates (a great group that rescues domestic rabbits, check them out at: I had caught my very first rabbit in a live trap. It was a boy, as yet unnamed, he's white and orange with a scruffy coat, a bit beat up, thin, and pretty hungry. He was probably abandoned by his previous "owners" and had been fending for himself for a couple of weeks. He's lucky to have survived so long with limited food and more or less unlimited danger from coyotes, cars, and dogs.

Fortunately for him, his luck held out and he ran into me. He is, at the moment, sitting in an extra cage here in the bunny room. (I have found that, given my propensity to attract animals, it is always a good idea to keep extra cages, bowls, leashes, collars, crates and beds for when I find strays following me home.) He's been given fresh hay, food, water and a bath. He was, however, considerably less than enthusiastic about the bath but he tolerated it well and his coat seems much better now that the dirt and gunk has been washed out. He seems to like being held and petted and I have great hope that he will recover from his ordeal and flourish here. If the weeds are anything to judge by, things seem to have a habit of flourishing here on the Unfarm.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A series of unfortunate events

Where to start? To begin with, I stink. I reek, actually. I was working in my garden earlier - which, by the way, I am beginning to doubt I will ever finish - digging a hole for the rosemary plant that has been languishing on the deck ever since I bought it approximately thirty seven weeks ago. (I may be exaggerating a bit - perhaps it was only thirty three weeks ago.) At any rate, as I was widening the sides of the hole I noticed a smallish rock lodged in the dirt near where I was digging. Not wanting to hit it with my shovel, I reached in to take it out. It was upon touching the rock that I came to the sudden - and rather unpleasant - realization that what I had thought was a rock was actually an egg. Or, to be more specific a rotten egg. It must have been one of Minna's eggs - in addition to the eggs that she's laid in various places all over the yard, I've also buried some of them (they are fertilized so we don't eat them.) I came to the conclusion that this was a rotten egg and not a rock when touching the object caused it to explode a foul smelling fluid all over me. My previous experience with rocks tells me that they neither explode nor contain fluid, that's how I knew it was an egg. And this was no normal rotten egg, this was a rotten rotten egg. Needless to say, having rotten egg fluid sprayed all over you is a less than agreeable situation.

Speaking of disagreeable situations, I experienced another one a couple weeks ago when I was awakened at two in the morning by an entirely disheartening sound when Maia's poor choice in diet finally caught up to her. A day or two prior to my early morning awakening, Maia and the other two dogs, Kita and Buddy, had managed to rip their way into a bag of chicken food and gorge themselves on a diet better suited to feathered creatures who lay eggs, both of which the dogs are not. So I was disappointed but not surprised when I discovered, at 2am, that Maia had had explosive diarrhea all over the wall and carpet in my bedroom. After spending a good twenty minutes vacuuming up Maia's mess in my bedroom, we then spent a week cleaning up after Maia all over the dog run. While Kita and Buddy showed no ill effects from their change in diet, Maia developed Clostridium and had to be put on antibiotics for a week. She has, however, finally recovered and we are now both able to sleep through the night uninterrupted.

And, finally, the grape arbor. The grape arbor is, at long last, finished. And, as is usually the case, it took three times longer than I figured it would, and was ten times more difficult. For the last several weeks I have spent every spare minute I could out in my garden, trying to keep everything (except, of course, the weeds) alive and salvage what I could of my grapes. What I thought would be a fairly straight forward project was immensely more difficult than I had planned. Why I seem incapable of learning from my past experiences (or, some would say, mistakes) I am not sure, but it seems to be a chronic problem with me. Here is a summary of what I had planned on happening, and what actually transpired.

Plan: Dig five holes, put in 4x4s, add cement. Reality: Move ten plants out of the way, work around three other large (read: immovable) bushes. Get out post hole digger and begin digging a hole only to discover that the arms of the tool run into the old grape arbor. Recruit brother to dig holes while I push the old arbor out of the way and hold back approximately 23 grape vines. Dig the two holes on the southern side, then start on the three northern holes only to discover that the arbor is leaning too far over for me to push it out of the way on my own. Search the less-than-organized garage for rope, then set up a system of three ropes tied around the arbor and fence to pull the arbor upright enough that it can be held out of the way of the arms of the tool. Finish digging holes, put in 4x4s, add cement. Add support beams. Find out I didn't buy enough 2x4s, then scrounge the aforementioned garage for enough wood to finish the support beams. Dismantle old arbor. Discover that in dismantling the old arbor the grape vines have collapsed into one another in a giant tangled mess of vines. Lose half of my grape vines - and thus, half of my grape harvest - in the process of untangling the plants, but finally finish the project, three weeks behind schedule.

Here's hoping the next few weeks are blissfully uneventful. I'll take boring over rotten eggs and diarrhea any day.