Peter Rabbit’s ass-whoopin’

My mother-in-law is stuck in the country today. Poor Mama.

I have an athletic son who loves chasing his sisters around the house, wrestling and badgering his jie until she gives up her spot, and generally being a cute naughty boy. Life for Tay has been quite boring lately, what with the heat and the long boring days and the disrupted sleeping schedule. So I decided to give him a kick this morning.

I have some Mexican heather (Cuphea hyssopifolia) that is beloved by a certain rabbit. Check out the photos below. The one on the left is the healthy rabbit-free heather with some Lamb’s Ear in the middle. The one on the right is of a couple of much smaller plants continuously eaten on by that rabbit. Little bastard.

Incidentally, I have already nailed an extra board on the fence to keep the critter out, and he’s eating my caladiums in the front yard, and already tunneled a bed out of my mulch in several places. I keep putting people hair in the burrows, and he stops sleeping there, but eating…different story. We’re now adversaries. He’s getting used to me, too, because I will go outside in the evenings and there he is, smack in the middle of the yard, and he doesn’t run or hide or anything. Just stares me down. Until I run at him and yell. That gets him movin’. But not five minutes later, there he is, eating my heather again. Ugh.

This morning I went into the yard to do some watering from conservation buckets gathered in our shower, and Pete was right there, in the flower bed next to the door. I said, “Hey! What are you doing there!?” And he just looked at me. A little nervous, but mot even scared enough to leave. I’d had it. Time to bring out the big guns…

Now, Taylor is the sweetest kitty we have in terms of not biting people. I have never been bitten by him in his life, more than I can say for the other kitties. Very mild and gentle unless he is in a feisty sparky mood, he won’t bite people. Period. Walk on you with his heavy feet and then just throw his body down on yours, yes. He doesn’t always lay down, sometimes it’s like a 15-lb sack of potatos falling on you. But, I digress. He is a gentle kitty, with the notable exception of this incident:

While living with my Mom, she had dogs, and a dog door. Mom said the cats weren’t smart enough to use the dog door. That they’d never get out. Sometimes I think she left it open deliberately, to let Taylor get out and “smell the fresh air”. Yeah. Not a good idea. That’s how Big Kitty disappeared forever, being let “out for fresh air”. So I would be sitting in the living room, watching TV in the morning, and I would see Taylor leap high into the air next to the bird bath, swiping at birds. I would yell at Mom for leaving the door open, she would say “Sorry, I forgot” in mock contrition, and passive-aggressively leave it open again a few days later.

She was way more careful after Taylor brought this gift into the house and laid it next to my bed:

Now, I know, you think I am a sick monkey for taking a picture of it, poor little dead bird. But for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel sorry for the bird as much as I felt proud of Tay. And it won’t happen again, because he is not going outside ever again without strict supervision. He didn’t kill it by biting it, either, he whacked it to the ground. Which is why I thought him the perfect candidate for Operation Rabbit Scare.

I don’t want a dead rabbit in my yard, and I don’t care if he lives in my side yard, I just don’t want him in my back yard. So I went back into the house and picked up my little cougar cat, and set him in the flower bed right in front of the rabbit. The rabbit froze in beady-eyed terror, staring at this new predator. Taylor stared in confusion at the rabbit, wondering if it was real or not. Until the rabbit twitched. Then the chase was on.

Taylor pounced into the flower bed, and not being too good at rabbit chasing in the garden, landed astride the rabbit instead of on it. He was too tall to pin the rabbit in that position, so Pete streaked out of the garden and towards his escape hatch in the front gate, scrambling across the patio and down the side yard. Well, our side yard is covered in pine bark mulch, so the rabbit, as he bounded through the mulch, kicked up little clouds of bark, like puffs of dust. Taylor was close on his heels, racing the 50 feet right behind him. He looked exactly like a wild cougar chasing down game, or a lion, or a little bitty cheetah, his tail acting as a rudder as he skidded through the mulch rounding the corner. Beautiful boy.

The rabbit escaped through a hole in the fence that I will now try to patch, and Taylor just stood there next to the hole, out of breath, looking dazed. He looked at me, panting, like, “What happened, Mama? Where’d he go?” I swept him up in my arms, telling him what a good little boy he is and how proud I am of him for chasing that mean old rabbit away. My little cougar boy.

We’ll see this evening if Pete comes back.

Some flower pictures, and a picture of Salju all balled up on my desk. You’ll notice that all my favorite plants have the word “Mexican” in their name. That’s because these native plants and grasses can look this good in this 100-degree heat and sun day after day with a weekly watering. Amazing little plants. Australia doesn’t like them, though…

Mexican Petunias (Ruellia brittoniana)

Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima)

Salju sleeping on the desk here next to me. Silly girl…She’s got her eyes covered because of the light in here.