The Great Bunny Rescue – encore

A Facebook friend posted this warning: Live Easter bunnies are not a good idea. It reminded me of spring 2011 and the night La Petite got a phone call from a friend’s mother. The point of the call: five domestic rabbits needed help.

When La Petite’s phone rang, it was the mother of a friend. She and her youngest two children had come across five domestic bunnies that had been abandoned at a construction site near a local bike trail. They went back with lettuce and a large box, lured the furry ones, brought them home, and called The Bunny Whisperer, a.k.a. La Petite.
We knew what to do, so Chuck and I joined her. We gathered two cages from our basement with litter, hay, and pellets for each. La Petite knew where we were going, so she drove. When we pulled into the driveway, Friend’s Mom and two kids in pajamas led us into the garage where she’d set the box.
Five full grown domestic rabbits were in the box. Two were harassing the others, so Chuck picked up those two first and looked them over closely. “Yep. Boy bunnies. Let’s separate these from the others.” We put the two males in one cage and the three females in the other, and they calmed down significantly. All five started to nibble on the hay and pellets, and they even found the corner with litter and used it appropriately.
Four looked like they may have been related or from the same litter; the other was a lop-eared character who didn’t resemble any of the others. He was either a major case of recessive genes or was unrelated. Cute, though. They were all cute, even though they were incredibly dirty and smelly from their adventure and trauma.
We left them settled for the night, and La Petite made arrangements to help Friend’s Mom take all five to the Humane Society the next day. When they delivered the bunnies, La Petite reported to me that all five looked cleaner and they were eating well and (are you sitting down?) at least two of the three females were pregnant. We were further appalled.
We’ll never know why the owners dumped the bunnies. Maybe realizing the males were mature was too much to handle. Getting them neutered could have been too expensive. Maybe the owners realized that not only were the males mature, but the females were expecting. If five bunnies are too many, five plus two litters of babies would be overwhelming.
The girls, getting a little attention
I still don’t fully understand, though. La Petite and Friend’s Mom brought the rabbits to the shelter. The previous owners could have done that instead of dumping them. Pet rabbits are not equipped to survive in the wild. They don’t know what to eat, and they’ll be eaten soon because of their lack of camouflage. With their domestic coloring, they’d be hawk bait before long. The little albino in particular would be easy prey for eagle-eyed predators – and I do mean eagles.
La Petite was pleased with the people and the set-up at the shelter. Rabbits and other small animals were kept a significant distance away from dogs and cats and in a separate room. She said they looked clean and well cared for. We wished we could have done more. When cash flow is a little easier, maybe we’ll make a donation. We’re grateful to have a Humane Society in town. We’re also grateful to know people like Friend’s Mom who thought it was important to rescue these animals when they were homeless and in danger.
The Boy Bunnies

We’re grateful we’re able to make a good home for our pet rabbits: Buttercup at our home; Krumpet, Biscuit, and Sadie at La Petite’s apartment. We love them dearly.

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Where’s the Bunny? Encore.

Here’s an oldie but a goodie. The room looks totally different now, many years later. Amigo no longer plays host to a bunny. If he did, we’d have electrical cords galore to hide. This small bunny was very special; here’s one part of his story.

This little bunny moved into Amigo’s room from his outdoor hutch when winter hit. Chuck has been working in Amigo’s room, remodeling and repainting, and the small rabbit has found new places to hide and hang out and do rabbit things, like bathe and nap. Can you find him?

Okay, I give in. Here he is. He has taken this shelf, temporarily stashed in the middle of the room and currently empty of Braille books, as his own.

Cute, huh?

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

There is hope in our younger generation.

An encore only because I’m no longer teaching fifth grade history. If I were, I’d have a whole new collection of student answers, and a whole new feeling of hope for the future.

My students were learning about the Articles of Confederation and the events and debates and compromises leading up to the writing and ratification of the United States Constitution. As I corrected their tests, a trend emerged in the essay questions – a rather thoughtful, insightful trend..

I can’t post the specific question, but I’ll just tell you that they were discussing the creation of the Constitution and interpreting George Washington’s warning against the destructive nature of political parties.

Actual student answers:
-“I think Washington wanted people to be happy and to work as a team.”
Can this student run for office some day? Please?
 
-“They would disagree on things because they would have different opinions and they would argue a lot.”
Run-on sentence aside, she was predicting the future with amazing accuracy.
 
-“It creates tensions and the good that could be done is lost in the arguments of each party’s plans.”
Another candidate for office someday – governor, perhaps.
“Washington knew that if the country split into political parties, then the country would be more split up and there would be too many disagreements.”
Politicians, stand warned. This student and others like him will be voting before you know it.
 
It’s time, it’s well past time, to start cooperating. Bipartisan collaboration would be a good start, but in all honesty, nonpartisan cooperation would be even better.
I’m sure George would agree.
Now back to the grade book to grade the maps of Ancient Egypt. My students know the real history of the pyramids. Maybe a certain candidate at tonight’s debate needs a little Common Core in his life.
But anyway, readers, feel free to step in. Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. How do you feel about that?

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Who is Paul Ryan? An encore, updated.

You heard the news, folks. Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan is now Mitt Romney’s running mate.  Speaker of the House. But who is this guy? What’s his vision? What is Paul Ryan really like?

Paul Ryan represents a district in southern Wisconsin in Congress. He is 42 45 years old, the fourth youngest candidate on a major party ticket when he was Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012..

Paul Ryan is an economist by trade. He graduated from college with a double major in economics and political science. On the surface, this could be a plus on his balance sheet. He is articulate and intelligent, and he can expound upon economic theories at length.

But let’s look deeply into this economist’s vision for the country. His budget plan, nicknamed the “Path to Prosperity,” didn’t really propose to increase prosperity for the average middle class American. His plan as introduced last fall (2011) included major changes in the programs known as entitlements, most notably replacing Medicare with a voucher program. His overall plan also relied on severe spending cuts. These cuts, and the austerity policies that would result, promised to be extreme and far-reaching.

The Ryan Budget bill did not become law. It passed the House, but the Senate voted it down.

What’s next, moving forward? Well, blog readers, that’s where the problem sits. Paul Ryan’s plans would move our country in reverse, back to the archaic values of the 1950s. His plans are extreme, severe, and austere in all the wrong places.

Ryan describes himself as being “…as pro-life as a person can be.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t include pro-women who need birth control, empathetic toward women who become pregnant by rape or incest, or supportive of women who have a legitimate need to terminate a pregnancy. He doesn’t value their lives at all.

Rep. Ryan’s budget proposals favor privatizing public education and using public funding in order to do it. His austerity measures and cuts will harm public schools – schools that are suffering  financially already.  A full generation of students are at risk. These students, unfortunately, are too young to vote.

Rep. Ryan likes the idea of for-profit colleges. He ignores the years of evidence that show for-profit colleges’ students’ poor payback record for federal student loans. Defaults on loans like this – well, where does the money come from to make up the missing dough? Ryan hasn’t answered that question. He has a history of voting against increasing amounts or availability of Pell Grants, grants that target low-income students pay for college. In general, his policies show that he views education as a privilege for the wealthy rather than an opportunity and a right for all.

Three years after the Romney/Ryan loss, I still question Ryan’s priorities. I’m glad to see him insist on family time, but I’m disappointed that his voting record doesn’t support middle income and low income families. Readers and Voters, what do you see in this new Speaker of the House? 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Observations from a fall day in 2006

Here’s what I said on an autumn day nine years ago. Photo credit goes to La Petite. She was already talented with a camera back then.

Things I can do now until the cold weather strikes:
*Clean the bunny litter boxes outside with the hose
*Take small amounts of easily digestible compost out to the bin
*Shake rugs out on the deck in my stocking feet
*Take out garbage and recycling without a coat or jacket
*Rake leaves (a simple pleasure)

I can’t:
*Harvest from the garden, the last frost did it in
*Sit out on the backyard swing, it’s just a bit too cold to enjoy
*Leave the windows open, because the heat is on

But I can enjoy:
*Coffee or tea or hot spiced apple cider in a favorite mug
*A wood fire blazing in the fireplace
*NFL or college football on television
*leaves falling outside as I read a book in the cozy, warm den

Know what, readers? Not much has changed. I now compost through the winter with a second bin closer to the house. I still carry the bunny boxes outside, and after I empty them in the compost or in the garden, I rinse them with water from the rain barrels instead of using the hose. It’s windy enough today that I don’t feel the need to rake leaves, but I don’t mind the chore. I pile the leaves, like the biodegradable litter, on top of the raised beds. No wonder my tomatoes grow so tall!

Readers, how about you? Do your fall chores stay the same each year? Or differ greatly?

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Like Minded People – an encore

First posted in July of 2012 – the memories are positive, and the sentiment is still true.

Imagine a busload of people who like Car Talk, get the jokes on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, and know the difference between Michael Feldman and Michael Perry.* This is a bus trip of people who are polite to each other, make friends readily, and enjoy intelligent conversation about issues that matter to you, er, them. Amigo and I took just such a trip a few summers ago. Sponsored by Wisconsin Public Radio, the trip goes to tiny Bayfield, WI, where the group takes in a show at the Big Top Chautauqua.

A summer City Council meeting seemed like it was ripe for conflict. People attended to speak for the trees, speak for the right to raise urban chickens, and support an up and coming project that will turn a former country club and golf course into a large community garden. Despite the differing opinions, all in attendance had something in common.

Last, but never least, I attended two meetings at the local Organizing for America office. One was simply a monthly update of the citywide group, and the second a training in canvassing techniques for the upcoming campaign kick-off weekend.

What do these three have in common? I’ll give you a moment to think. Take a look at the OFA office windows from summer 2012 while you’re contemplating.

How can you resist? Pose with the cardboard cut-outs!

Remember the question? I asked you to consider what these three examples might share in common. It’s the people.

In each example, you’ll see a group of like-minded people. The Public Radio bus trip was thoroughly enjoyable because of the camaraderie. In the second example, all three issues had to do with sustainability and the city environment. In the third, all of the meeting attendees were motivated to help re-elect the President of the United States to a second term.

Seeking out like-minded people is one way to stay calm and focused during difficult times. We share experiences, we share attitudes, and we share priorities. These groups will meet again, I’m sure. Trees, chickens, Public Radio, and elections are topics that inspire passion. Finding focus for a passion can lead to making a difference in the world.

Go ahead, readers. Find like-minded people. Talk. Then come back here and tell me: what will you do to make a difference?

Michael Feldman hosts a Saturday morning show on WPR called Whadya Know?. Michael Perry hosts Big Tent Radio on Saturday nights. Good enough?They’re both comics, hosts, and fascinating people. 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Encore: Autumn Garden Chores

Was this really only two years ago? So much has happened since then. I was looking forward to spring, not knowing what awaited me. I still look forward to spring – as soon as I can get the tomatoes indoors for the fall harvest.

I’m looking forward to spring. I know, it’s not even winter yet, but autumn is the season when I pull apart the fading foliage of my garden and take steps to prepare for next spring. Chuck got into the thick of it this year. Take a look.

Straw bales and repurposed boards

Straw bales and repurposed boards

Another Angle

Another Angle

Rather Awesome, I'd say.

Rather Awesome, I’d say.

Yesterday and today I took to the task of harvesting all tomatoes that could ripen indoors. The herb pots are already inside. Next, I pulled all the tomato plants and tossed them on the brush pile at the back of our yard.

We’re adding leftover potting soils to the new patch as I deal with most of the containers. If weather permits, I will dig out compost from the base of the brush pile and from the base of the compost bin and fill in what I can of the new patch. It’s going to be a raised bed, built inside the repurposed lumber that Chuck assembled so nicely. Whatever I don’t fill this fall, we’ll build up next spring.

It’s another experiment: straw bale gardening. As long as we were expanding the once-triangular plot, we decided to try the bales. A year from now, when the growing season is done, the straw-based soil will become compost for the future. Planning ahead, we are.

But stay tuned, folks. There are still piles and piles of green tomatoes ripening indoors. I’m sure there will be stories.

So, readers, what kind of autumn tasks have fallen your way? Leaves? Lawns?

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Kindergarten, already?

She now has a full head of hair. She speaks very articulately, for a five year old, which means she can hold her own in any conversation. Is she really old enough to go to kindergarten already? It seems just yesterday that we were celebrating her first birthday…

The best toys, of course, are the simple playthings.

A handful of curling ribbon.
A lap full of tissue.
Here, grandma, this is fun. Want to share?

Remember your first birthday, little sweetheart? We do.
And we’re watching your first days of kindergarten – days that will also go quickly, much too quickly.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Plenty Ladylike

Claire McGaskill, Senator from Missouri, has released her memoir, Plenty Ladylike. The title reminds me of a post from September 2012. Senator McGaskill still represents the state of Missouri, and Todd Akin? Anyone know where he is now? Never mind, don’t answer that. Just look back a few years and ponder the title of her book.

Todd Akin, the idiot, er, candidate from Missouri who claimed women can “shut that whole thing down” when raped, has done it again. He opened his mouth yet one more time and showed that he views females to be inferior beings.

He complained that his opponent, Claire McCaskill, “came out swinging” and seemed “aggressive” in their debate. This threw him a little, took him unawares. He thought he remembered McCaskill in her 2006 campaign being “…very much sort of ladylike.” Apparently he didn’t expect the little female to be strong competition to an old-fashioned guy like him. If you ask me, he didn’t expect McCaskill to be strong, period.

Remember the movie Field of Dreams? Annie Kinsella accuses an ultra-conservative PTA mom of having lived through two 1950s and jumping straight into the 1970s without ever experiencing the peace, love, rock and roll of the 60s. Akin is stuck in the past somewhere, too, in an unrealistic vision with unrealistic plastic people.

When a candidate is strong, that’s good. If a candidate has enough knowledge and skill and strength to come out swinging in a political debate, that scores points in the candidates favor.

Male or female, I want my senator to be intelligent, articulate, and yes, strong. Male or female, that legislator needs to be able to come out swinging when it’s necessary. Ladylike? I’d rather see someone with strength, knowledge, and ability to work in a team.

Ladylike? I think we’re looking for womanly, myself. No apologies for being female, and no tolerance for inaccuracy and idiocy and condescension.

Hm. That sounds a lot like Tammy Baldwin for Wisconsin as well as Claire McCaskill for Missouri. Come November 6, I know who deserves my vote.

I’m proud to say that both Tammy Baldwin and Claire McCaskill won their elections to serve in the U.S. Senate. I’m also looking forward to reading Senator McCaskill’s memoirs. As for Senator Baldwin – Tammy, when will your memoir be ready? I’m eager to read it!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Scavenger Daisy Returns – Encore

This is an encore from last fall – or was it autumn of 2013? I don’t remember. I’m still a scavenger, within reason. I did love the way the tomatoes and onions fell so perfectly into the crock pot and posed for the camera.

I’ve talked about curb-picking. I’m not a full time full strength make-the-rounds dumpster diver, but once in a while something turns up on a curb and calls my name.

I don’t like to waste leftovers. If the leftovers are food in my own refrigerator, they’re likely to become part of a pantry raid. If the leftovers are food sitting somewhere else, it’s harder.

One year in June I staked a claim for leftover tomatoes and onions after our big school picnic at the amusement park. Someone on staff has been pooped on by a gull the last two years running, and – but that’s not suitable for mealtime conversation. Sorry. The tomatoes and onions were clean.

I rescued the leftover tomatoes and onions that were originally destined to top sub sandwiches and brought them home. They slid nicely out of their trays and into my crock pot.

Soon to be Sauce!

Soon to be Sauce!

I added fresh oregano and simmered the lovely mix overnight. The next morning we had tomato sauce, made from scratch from scavenged leftovers. Three containers of sauce, in fact. That’s quite a pantry raid for the last day of school.

And now, with the school year beginning, who knows what kind of scavenging might occur? Readers, you’ll find out here.

Oh, readers? What kind of luck have you had scavenging, food or otherwise?

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS