This week’s Wild City post is a gift from guest blogger, Cindi Brown. Cindi is a professional writer and editor, my dear friend, and my writing partner. She is also the author of the book, Poverty and Promise, the moving story of her time as a volunteer in Kenya. Cindi and her husband live in New River, Arizona near Phoenix. Check out her blog it is a work of art.
Spring has sprung baby bunnies across the desert. They’re more than adorable, the size of a dove, their tiny ears pointed skyward.
Apparently, baby bunnies go out on their own when relatively young. Brent spots one on the walkway in our courtyard and excitedly yells out, “Cindi, come here! Quick! It’s a baby bunny.”
We watch through the front window as the baby nibbles the only few blades of grass in the courtyard. The ground is dirt, but will soon be landscaped.
In a minute, the baby runs under a large rock. If it stays in the courtyard, it might be safe, I think.
The next day, when I open the garage to go to work, I sneak out to the courtyard, practically tippy-toeing, to see if the baby is out and about. No signs. Crossing the driveway, I look at the yard between us and our neighbors. A large bunny sits quietly. Two babies scurry along their trails, oblivious to me. I watch them frolic.
In the evening, a baby bunny comes onto our back patio, under the table, while big bunnies and doves and quail peck away at the bird seed I just threw out. Brent and I watch the baby from the door leading onto the patio from our bedroom. We softly chant for the baby to get into the fray and eat some seeds. But instead, she hops into the little forest of potted plants that make up our nursery.
For 20 minutes, we watch her move between the pots, sometimes looking out at the big bunnies and birds. Then she stops in front of our antique potbelly stove. Then she’s on her hind legs peeking into the lower open door of the stove.
“She’s going to get into the stove,” I say.
“No way,” Brent says.
She’s up and her little back feet pump up and down a couple of times before she is safely inside the stove. We’re giggling.
She hops out of the stove, and then back in, in one brave bound.
“I hope she nests there,” I say. “Then she’ll be a little safe.”
“A coyote could pull her out of that thing,” Brent says. Maybe. But several potted cacti sit very close, blocking the entrance to the stove.
“Put some strips of cloth in the stove,” Brent advises. “Natural cotton is the best thing for bunnies and birds, but since we don’t have any, the bunny can make a nest with cloth.”
“When they’re finished eating,” I say, “I’ll water the plants, fill their trough and throw in some cloth.”
I find a few quilt scraps of white and pink cotton fabric and place it carefully in the stove, after removing a rusted grate. The stove isn’t big at all, and the baby is climbing in the little compartment at the very bottom, not even able to get up to the larger door of the stove’s main compartment.
For this morning’s 6:30 feeding, I scatter the bird seed on the lower patio and then drop a couple of tablespoon of seeds just outside the stove. In a couple of hours I check to see if the stove seeds are there. In the process, I scare the baby, who is at the back wall. But all the seeds near the stove are gone, and the fabric in the stove is flattened, as though she scooted the cotton around to suit her.
I follow the baby to the other side of the house and she is sitting in the dirt.
“Hey, baby,” I goo-goo. “Don’t run away. Come back and see me.”
She runs under a nearby board, still fully visible, and I continue to talk until she lights out for the bunny trails in the side yard.
Back inside, Brent is making pico de gallo and has shaved corn off a cob. “Throw this outside, will ‘ya,” he asks, handing me the corn cob. But he pulls it back quickly and cuts it into five smaller pieces. One piece I sit on it’s end just below the potbelly stove door. The others are tossed into the yard. Bunnies love gnawing on the cobs as much as they love apples.
I’ll keep making sure there’s food and plenty of fabric for the stove, as long as the baby can fit into the door. I hope she stays in our yard and remains covered, safe from hawks, owls or coyotes. I wish all the babies could come into our yard and live in the stove.
Safe. At least until they’re a little bigger.