Discussing Damn Rabbits

November 20, 2010

I heard a “good morning” shouted when I opened the back door, but couldn’t find the source. Invisible Neighbor was blocked by a tree and, for a moment, really was.

She was unrolling her hose to give her bushes a watering and so I headed over to say hello and admire them out loud. I found her in a state of disgust.

And I could see why. Her beautiful new bushes, which had been armfuls of branches about 18″ high, were now savaged by the Damn Rabbits. Some of them were barely nibbled, some of them were just decimated. She ran the water on each one, telling me that THIS is why she’s never planted, THIS is the reason for her bare yard. Trying to ignore the fact that she didn’t have a sprinkle head on her hose and just ran the harsh stream on those new plants, I made sympathetic noises (I’m suffering from severe laryngitis this week). She mentioned that she’s purchased mothballs and I laughed. “YEAH RIGHT,” I croaked. She asked about deer urine and I bleat that even coyote urine was a bust. I told her I’d help her out and trudged around to the garage and dragged the bag of milorganite to her yard. I scooped up a cupful and gestured for her to smell it (we have entered completely new territory now in our budding friendship, don’t you think?). I crackled that it’s processed sewage and it’s been relatively successful this year in my garden. I sprinkled it on a bush, scooped another cupful and repeated this process until all nine bushes and the surrounding area is dappled with milorganite.

She tells me she’s afraid to plant flowers next year. I explain my strategy in a harsh whispered caw (lovely sound, I’m sure) – anything onion-based like daffodils and allium, anything poisonous like foxglove and coneflower, and anything smelly like catmint and oregano. I promise her I will split some of the hardiest with her in the spring.

I think I need to stop referring to her as Invisible Neighbor. We have become friends across the garden this year – how amazing – and it is almost rude to still keep that wall up in my mind. Her name is Gwen and isn’t that much nicer? As a matter of fact, it’s so much nicer all the way around – it makes me feel settled and cozy knowing that I’m now surrounded by neighbors I know personally, by name, by circumstance and by leisurely conversation.

And I think I will buy her a sprinkler head for Christmas.

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