Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Mr. CPA and I were doing some much needed yard work at a small rental property we own on a recent Saturday. The building itself is circa 1940 and is on about a half acre of yard.

The property had a plethora of “deferred maintenance” issues (real estate talk for run down) when we bought it 2 years ago and we haven’t quite caught up on everything yet, though it currently looks much better than when we started. It seems like something critical is always popping up and competing with the time we have available for regular things (like any additional yard work outside the weekly mowing and weed eating) . It’s a constant struggle to thwart the building's attempts to return to the earth and the grounds from looking like a complete jungle!

But I digress - back to my main story:
We started in early on Saturday morning and after filling a 90-gallon yard waste container with weeds and pruned branches (and stomping down and filling it some more), we decided to tackle the ivy that was starting to overgrow the rickety picket fencing still remaining near the front of the property.

The new American Gothic - with ivy!

Mr. CPA hams it up for the camera

It was a hot day so Mr. CPA and I were taking turns using the mattock so the ‘resting’ person could just use the pitchfork to pile the uprooted ivy into the second 90-gallon yard waste container.

Now I should mention here that just the previous day one of the tenants had called me to say that she had mice in her unit. We had the exterminator in the same day to take care of the problem and this episode was an added incentive to get busy removing all the ivy around the yard (ivy, it seems, is tremendously popular among the rodent set for cover and habitat).

So while taking my turn on mattock duty, I took a swing and pulled up a chunk of ivy. As soon as I did I saw three rat-sized grey bodies take off in three different directions – one almost running over my foot. I yelped and jumped back, dropping the mattock. “EEEEE – RATS!”, screamed the hysterical, rodent-phobic ‘lizard brain’*. But the more developed part of my brain quickly noticed, “Hey, wait, those rats don’t have any tails and…aren’t those ears kind of long?”

Bunny Nest

Evidently ivy is also the preferred habitat for adorable little baby bunnies waiting, quietly hidden, for their mother to return. ::sigh::

Two of the babies had run out and then doubled back into ivy. One bunny though had taken off across the lawn some distance from the family home and into another flower bed.

I took off after it to attempt to return it to the rest of the group (they were really quite small and I was afraid it was easy prey out in the open and so far from the group). It let me pick it up and it easily fit into the palm of my hand (I had dirty garden gloves on so I’m sure I only smelled like dirt). I took it over to the same approximate spot as the others. I wanted to return them to the fur lined nest, but they started to scatter a bit as I moved towards them so I decided to leave well enough alone. We placed some ivy over the bunnies for protection and decided to call it a day. Or a month. Or however long we think it will take to give them enough time to grow up a bit more before we remove the rest of the ivy.

I really hope mom was able to round up all of her babies when she got back…

(I didn't get a picture of the disturbed bunny nest until after this whole episode was over. I had the camera because we were doing 'before' photos of the mess. I wish I'd thought to get a photo of the bunny in my hand, but at the time I was too concerned for it to think about blog photos! After they were back in the dirt near the ivy it was almost impossible to see them, due to that agouti fur coloring, and I didn't want to get too close and risk scaring them off again.)

*The ‘lizard brain’ is the term we use here at Casa del Chaos for that rudimentary part of your brain that handles the basic functions - like breathing , sex drive, or an inherent disdain for rodents and other icky things!


Jacqui said...

aww. poor baby bunnies.

if it makes you feel any better about your actions, look what my Mom's dog did...

afterwards, after he realized it wasn't a toy, he was depressed for a week.

Sheepish Annie said...

Awww...little bunnies, so sweet! And I'm sure that mama came home and got everyone rounded up safely. She is probably composing a thank you note as we speak to commemorate your helpful actions!

Lizard Brain...heh, heh!

www.knittingnutter.com said...

Awww, you did a good deed.

Kris said...

I bet they were so cute. It amazes me that bunnies can survive in the wild. They seem so vulnerable.

vanessa said...

i'm going to call you mrs. macgregor from now on ;-)

Romi said...

Aaaahhhhhhhh! Bunnies! Did the mother bunny come back? I hope?

Joanne said...

I have an ivy covered fence. I've discovered that if I get rid of too much ivy? the fence begins to fall down. The ivy is keeping the dang fence in place, and keeping the dogs from getting through it!

Glad to hear the bunnies are safe. Our resident bunny is brown colored and lives safely beyond our dogs' reach!