Go to Tuesday, April 30, 2019 for latest entry.


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April

"Try not to try too hard;

it's just a lovely ride."

 

James Taylor, singer/songwriter

Good Day Sunshine


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

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Not every creature or insect that shows up in our woods and gardens during spring brings good tidings or great joy.  Over time, I've been bitten and stung by a bumble bee, a scorpion, and a saddleback wooly worm , cute as a button.  I've been threatened and bullied by a 4-inch praying mantis, a 5-inch horn worm, and too many snakes to mention.  

Red Tulips

I've been attacked by armies of ants, whole troops of wolf spiders, and an odd-looking  prehistoric insect with spikes instead of legs.  But the "baddest of them all" was when one of The Boys kept telling me over and over, "There are a lot of wasps in this bush." 

"Yes, stay away," I answered, absent-mindedly.  When he told me the same thing a 4th and 5th time, I decided to take a look.

Partially hidden in the tall nandina bushes was a papery white nest of some kind, about 10 inches wide and a foot and a half tall. Shooting out from it was a squadron of wasp or hornet creatures, flying back and forth from us to their nest.  They were fast and agitated.  

Without wasting any time, I called an exterminator.  The man who came to help us was just as quick and just as bad. I told the boys he would probably have to wear a "bee suit."  Unfortunately, they thought I meant a suit with black and yellow stripes, and were disappointed to find neither that nor antlers.    

The Bee Man went straight to work.  He told us with great authority that we had a nest of Australian hornets, aggressive and in need of eradication.  He covered himself in mesh and a white space suit with gloves then finished the deed.  In a flash nature's sting was gone, as the whole nest evaporated into only a whisp.  

Corner of the Garden, 2016

The boys and I stood watching from the porch.  It was almost enough to make a body rethink the need for a garden.  Almost.

The fact is, I have no intention of staying indoors when the sky is as blue as it was today, deep and sparkling. And while I'm there, what about putting a tomato plant or two in the ground; or some garlic chives for winter's scrambled eggs?  It doesn't just stop, you see. 

Before long, the excitement of hornets from another continent slowed to only a hum.  I put on my gloves again and began trimming the apple mint.  

There is much good work to be done in our home and garden, much that needs my attention ... scorpions and ants to fight, basil and tarragon to trim, chickweed to pull up.  In August comes the payoff:  ripe tomatoes, lemongrass tea made ready for winter, and a field of butterflies and lace wings, each of them easy-going and friendly.  

"My formula for living is quite simple.  I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night.  In between I occupy myself as best I can." 

Cary Grant, actor

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

Friday, April 5, 2019

Dogwood in Bloom

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April, you would be pretty. . .

 . . . if it wasn't for that green and yellow friend you bring along with you.  

Pollen season has dropped in uninvited in our budding Appalachian woods, as it does every year.  It's the unwanted guest, come to puff around and irritate before moving on to annoy someone else.  We are swimming like goldfish in a bowl of yellow, north Georgia powder. 

 

I did, however, manage to get some herbs planted before this friendly plague arrived in earnest, as well as two cherry tomato plants--a yellow one and a red one.  The orange variety is about to come up from seed in the big clay pot in the up front garden.  I can see salads fresh and green on beautiful plates in my future.  

Speaking of beautiful plates, a friend of mine came to visit this week and "talked me into" going to the thrift store with her.  "It's never a bad idea to go to the thrift store if you haven't been in 24 hours," I told myself, so my "yes" was well thought-out and quick.  That's where I found this wonderful red and cream-colored plate.  It was 99 cents and had no chips or scratches.   

Elegant Place Setting

I can already see a summer salad on it:  greens from my clay pot garden, cherry tomatoes, chives and burnet from the herb pots. With only one plate to work with, it will be perfect for an elegant summer lunch for one on the patio, a glass of sweet tea by its side, a book about herbs to feed my mind, and Tucker the Dog watching for predators, all of us in the half shadow of a small but red umbrella.  It's a classic summer picture, isn't it? 

I need only wait until the pollen blows through, wash off the surface of things, leave my cell phone in the house, and let the good times roll.  Oh, and April, you're going to be alright. 

 

It's amazing how lovely common things become, if one only knows how to look at them. 

Louisa May Alcott 

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

Monday, April 8, 2019

Smile

 

Do you get the feeling  lately that you're being watched?  

I mean, in the last several weeks I have read article after article about the lack of security on our phones, tablets, laptops.  Alexa, Cortana, Siri--all of them, it seems, are in cahoots to know more about me than I know about myself. I fear it's spreading too.  The dentist, the electrician, the pizza delivery man--everyone wants my phone number or my email address. This week has been especially busy. The whole world of technology came out of the woodwork like ants, charged and smiling.  

While I can appreciate their urgent concern, I don't have time for a digital friend, and I wish they felt the same about me.

So here are the new Rabbit Hill Rules For Devices:  

#1 -- Call it what it is--a world-wide invasion into our homes.

#2 -- If a device is Turned Off, that's the same thing as Turned On.

#3 -- Assume nothing, assume everything.  

#4 -- Devices are not the same thing as friends. 

#5 -- (This one is hard.)  Never let a device talk back to you or get the upper hand.

Now, let's all do what we have to do.

"When the wolf is trying to get in, you gotta stand in the doorway."

B. B. King, blues guitarist, singer

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Happy Hens

In our neighborhood lives a man who has built on his vast property what looks to me like an early 1900's village.  He has a covered bridge with a waterfall, a gingerbread house, a tiny church, a creek with real boulders, a chalet cabin, a tiny retro wooden house, and other things I can't quite see for all the beautiful trees.  During Christmas he uses hundreds of colored lights to create a fantasy world that everyone around here comes to see, some of us many times.   

In the summertime, geese cross the narrow two-lane road in front of his property and people stop their cars to let them pass.  Sometimes on the Fourth of July areas are roped off for parking and we can hear fireworks from our house. 

I would be interested in knowing more about this man.  In spite of all the activity that appears to be going on, I never see anyone actually working.  It's a curious thing to me and only adds to the mystery.  

But what fascinates me mostly is the fact that someone is living my dream, even if he is invisible.   The small townscape is so close to a favorite dream of mine that I can almost see myself there directing the peaceful busyness of our lives.  

I would be the overseer, director, mayor,  and person of interest in charge of the day to day activities.  

What we do have here at Rabbit Hill isn't quite a village, but I have made a small attempt at it.  So far we have a potting shed, a separate screened porch, and a smokehouse where you can often smell hamburgers cooking on an iron grill.  Oh, and a picnic table just like the old wood tables you used to see at state parks.  

Pretty nice, huh?  

On Main Street

April is the time of year when I begin to clip and clean the streets and alleyways of our humble village in the woods and make sure everything is open and ready for business.  I've been moving yard pieces and clay pots around, then moving them back again to find just the right place; and I've taken to leaving the back door open again, in spite of the snakes and ocasional birds. . . all so that summer can pack its bags and come on over.  I put up two windchimes, a bird feeder, two folkart chickens, cleaned out the potting shed of its nest and chipmonk droppings, and hung up a "Fresh Eggs" sign. 

It's not quite as impressive as the mystery man's village, but I'm not complaining.  I'm the mayor, the director, the city council, and the Queen Bee.  The Head Rabbit runs the show.  

Tucker the Dog, of course, believes it's all real, and that's quite enough for me.

"My plans are still in embryo; a town on the edge of wishful thinking"

Groucho Marx

 

 

Until next time,

The Head Rabbit