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Down the Rabbit Hole

Spring definitely had arrived in 2012. Thanks to the
unusually warm days of March and April, my landscape and flower gardens were in
an advanced state of readiness.

I set out impatiens, as usual, by the backyard gate. After a
week or so of watering, they came into their own. Soon they were in full bloom.
A day or two later, to my dismay, there was little left of their delicate
blossoms.

A few feet away, I had planted moss rose for the first time
in several years. One day, I saw that its small, fleshy leaves had been gnawed
to the quick.

I was excited to see my new summer bulbs sprout. Before
long, the shoots had been nibbled away.

I bought an animal repellent spray at the garden center, but
it didn't seem to curtail the feasting. Next, I tried a powder form that was a
little more effective.

By mid-May, one thing was clear: It was going to be me
against the critters.

Then one night, I was sleeping soundly when I heard a
strange noise in the upstairs of the house. My husband, Stan, heard it, too. As
he got up to check on it, I murmured, "It sounds like it's coming from the
bathroom."

Before long, I heard him go down the stairs. I was drifting
back to sleep when he returned. I thought that I heard him say there was a
rabbit stuck on the sticky trap in the bathroom.

Surely not! I didn't believe there was an atom of meaning in
it. It must be a dream.

Meanwhile, by the light of day, out in the garden, I was
waging a daily battle to save my tender bulbs and buds. There was little rain
to wash away the repellent, but I wasn't taking any chances. I applied more
powder for good measure.

Wake me when it's over

A couple of days
later, I was upstairs, getting ready for our daughter to return home from
college for the summer. I carried an item to a bedroom down a dimly lit
hallway. Just before opening the door, I dodged a dirty sock on the floor. When
I came back into the hall, I stopped to pick it up. Suddenly, I froze in my
tracks, staring at the shadowy, motionless form. What if it weren't a sock?

I waited until Stan came into the house. "Could you
come and look at something in the upstairs hallway?" I asked. He confirmed
my suspicions: It wasn't a sock. I could have sworn that he said it was a
rabbit. No way!

A day or two later, I was tidying up the living room. When I
bent down to move the ottoman, my eye fell upon something on the floor between
the ottoman and the chair. Was it a dust bunny or a bunny that had bit the
dust? Stan calmly removed the recently deceased.

This just had to be a bad dream!

The next day, when I came home, Stan told me to make sure
that the mudroom door was tightly closed. He was certain he had seen a bunny
hop in the mudroom. It disappeared down the basement stairs.

By this time, our daughter, Alexa, was home. We had to break
the news to her that she might wake up some night to find she had a four-legged
roommate who was into hip-hop. She was not impressed.

How, she demanded, was this possible? We assured her that we
had the same question. Stan remembered coming through the backyard earlier in
the spring, only to see that the screen door to the mudroom was partially open.
The winter winds had damaged the door, and the latch wasn't catching just
right.

By now, I was wondering, how many more uninvited houseguests
I should expect. I looked it up: five to seven per litter. I also read that the
average life expectancy is 10 years. Our house apparently did not offer a
balanced menu of pellets, fresh lettuce, and other vegetables, or grass hays.
To top it off, there were no moss roses or lilies.

Meanwhile, the outdoor rabbits were thriving. For the next
several weeks, I patrolled the garden perimeter. I toyed with buying
night-vision goggles and an infrared-scope 50-shot Red Ryder carbine action BB
gun. I decided that it was just a wild hare. I waited for the next rabbit's
foot to drop.

Then, one day in late summer, I woke up realizing I had
overslept. I exclaimed, "Oh, dear! Oh, dear! I shall be late." As I
backed the car out of the garage, I noticed the plump leaves of the moss roses and
saw the blossoms in brilliant bloom.

After a hot, droughty summer that had shriveled our dreams
for a great crop (and a beautiful garden), the moss rose seemed a hopeful omen.
Last spring's bunny trail seemed a fuzzy memory.

Did I dream that I had fallen down a rabbit hole? Was it my
overactive imagination or a hare-brained happening?

Will there be a sequel?

As spring slowly but surely arrives this year, the screen
door is safely shut. My ears and eyes are wide open, however, and my senses are
on high alert for another home invasion. I've read the last chapter of Alice in
Wonderland, but is my bizarre tale at an end?

Stay tuned for hare-raising updates and more
tips about edible flowers. If I happen to come across a blue caterpillar
smoking a hookah, I'll be sure to let you know. 

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