Come home and eat my carrots

I have had the great pleasure of welcoming five new babies into our family.

I didn’t know they were coming, but I was thrilled when they arrived.

I was simply carrying garbage to the dumpster, in the back yard, when I noticed the first arrivals.

Our house is next to a big empty lot where there are only fruit trees, a garden space and big clumps of rhubarb plants.

It was in a thicket of rhubarb and a bent-over peach tree that I noticed them.

Sweet little twitching noses.

Jumpy little legs.

Soft, fuzzy ears.

Three little baby bunnies were going in and out of the plants.

I stopped and sat a good distance away so as to not scare them.

They hopped around and even seemed to play with one another – they were baby rabbits but they acted more like a bunch of puppies.

Two actually hopped over to the third and jumped on top of him.

Over the course of a week, I realized there were actually five little ones living in that rhubarb area. They, along with their mother, had set up camp.

One night, as I sat in the garden pulling weeds, I was surprised to see them remarkably close to me. One got within a few feet and didn’t seem to remotely care about my presence. I stayed still . . . he just hopped about.

And headed to my row of carrot plants.

He nibbled about for a while . . . ran away for a few minutes . . . and returned with two of his brothers.

“Seriously?” I thought to myself. “Did he just alert the siblings that he’s found a new buffet?”

I sat amazed, and a little annoyed, while the young ones launched into a full-on feeding frenzy.

But seeing how I had fallen in love with them, I couldn’t bear to shoo them away.

The next day, when I returned home from work, I glanced toward the garden . . . and there they were. All of them, Mom included. They were gleefully partaking in a carrot-top feast.

I could have yelled at them to stop, but they seemed so happy.

When they finished, they hopped around me with their little bellies full and happiness in their eyes. Two ran right up to me . . . I swear I could have touched them, had I just reached out my hand.

They nibble in the garden and roll around a lounge chair by the patio.

They are curious about me at times . . . I’ve even spoken to them without spooking them.

It’s been a while now, that I’ve been enjoying my little family. I watch them run from the dwindling carrot row to their rhubarb house . . . and notice they are growing quite nicely. But they are still small enough to be some of the cutest things I have ever seen.

It occurred to us last weekend that in our chosen profession, we have a lot of scraps from cleaning produce. Why not try to save our carrot patch by providing a nice trough of leaf lettuce, as well as peelings from cucumbers, full-grown carrots and potatoes?

I loaded up a container and hauled it home. I carefully placed the offerings right outside the rabbits’ door – in a little buffet line so they would clearly see their grocery delivery and just grab a seat at the table.

“They are going to be the fattest baby rabbits in all of Nebraska,” I chuckled to myself. “And I might actually get some homegrown carrots out of the deal.”

The next day, I went to the rabbit house to see how things were going. Much to my dismay, none of the food had been touched.

And even more eerie was the fact it seemed no one was home.

A few hours later, I noticed nothing had changed . . . and no one was in the garden, either.

The temperature grew hotter, the produce wilted to nothing . . . and still no rabbits.

It’s been a week now since I’ve seen my baby bunnies.

And I’m pretty sure it’s all my fault.

I can just imagine the Mama Rabbit telling her babies it was time to go.

“That lady is trying to trick us,” she probably told the tiny furry ones. “She acts like she likes us, but she’s really mad that we’ve been eating her carrot plants . . . so she put this food here as a trick, as a trap. We can’t trust her any longer . . . we have to leave the rhubarb house behind.”

So now I’m all alone because they misunderstood my intent.

Someone tried to reason that they had probably grown big enough to be on their own, so they naturally graduated into adulthood.

But I know they weren’t ready yet. They were growing rapidly, but they were still very small and were continuing to follow their mother’s lead.

They left because I acted suspicious.

So here’s my message to the little ones, who I dearly miss . . . It’s OK. I won’t bring any more questionable packages to your house, I will let you get your own food. I will stay away from your rhubarb house and I will mind my own business while being entertained by you, from afar.

Just come home and eat my carrots.





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