If you read this blog regularly, then you probably know that we haven't been able to let the dogs go out their doggy door into the dog pen because of Daisy. She's jumped the pen twice which puts her in the bigger yard, and she's managed to get out of the bigger yard too.
At one point, I filled in all the spots around the yard where she could get out but rabbits made a place under the fence and she got out there. I fixed that spot but then she dug her own gully to get out.
She really only tries to get out if she sees something in the field in the back, usually a rabbit! We have a privacy fence on three sides but the back is barbed wire and regular wire fencing. The dogs, especially Daisy, love to lurk and watch the other side of the fence when we're at the pavilion. I usually keep Daisy on a leash now when we're back there so there's no contemplating how to get out of the yard when she sees a rabbit.
We plan to redo the fence around the dog pen eventually but for now we came up with a temporary fix--we weaved rabbit guard in and out of the pickets and reinforced it with wire ties. I was so excited to be able to let the dogs out that I let them out the doggy door while we were finishing up the fence.
This is our weaved fence on top of picket fence. Not exactly beautiful but it works for now!
(It doesn't look like it but there's also a temporary five foot tall wire fence across the driveway area where you can see the house next door. We plan to redo all the front fence too.)
So within minutes of being in their pen, the dogs gather 'round a little area. The next thing I know, Daisy comes up with something in her mouth and throws it on the ground. This time my lightening fast mind knew it was a rabbit!
I immediately started screaming, "No Daisy, No girls!" I ran into the yard, picked up Daisy, rallied Sally and Mitzi, got them out of the yard and back into the house.
The rabbit Daisy grabbed was dead--guts coming out, mouth open-- so gross and so sad! I buried it.
When I investigated the hole, I found two more rabbits. I lightly touched one with my gloved finger and they both started squealing. We had just mowed over top of them an hour earlier. Between the loud mower, and Daisy sticking her head into the hole to steal a sibling, I'm sure they were traumatized! Poor little things!
I covered their hole back up with the original matter--grass and Mom's fur. (Not my Mom, the rabbits Mom!)
That was two days ago, and I've been checking on them twice a day every day since then.
Can you see their cute little ears?
The rabbits are about
1-1/2 to 2 inches long.
I researched wild baby rabbits on the web and found out the mother will stay gone during the day so as not to attract predators. She returns at night, actually in the evening and morning to feed which she does for no more than five minutes a day. They open their eyes in 10 days and are weaned in three to four weeks. I will continue to keep the dogs out of the pen and when they get big enough to find their own way, I may move them if they don't move on their own.
The website also said a mother will sometimes move them within 48 hours if the hole has been disturbed. If she does move them, I didn't want her to move them to another spot in the pen so I filled in the other rabbit hole with garden soil. (The hole where we found rabbits recently and thought they were mice). Actually, I ended up filling two holes.
And speaking of predator, several days ago when I walked up to the pavilion with the dogs, I was hooking Daisy to her tie when I heard a large bird make an unpleasant squawking sound right over my head. I looked up and caught the shadow of a big black bird soaring off just above the trees but didn't give it much thought.
When I turned around Sally and Mitzi (not on leashes) were gathered around something. Much to my horror, about 3-1/2 feet off the back of the pavilion was a rabbit with it's head bit off! The head was laying next to it! Talk about being beside yourself! It was fresh too because the blood was bright red! OH YUCK!!!
Once again, I'm screaming, "No girls! Here girls! Come on girls!" and I'm shooing them away. They were good about listening and we all went right back into the house. No sitting under the pavilion for me that day!
I checked later that afternoon and in the evening, and the headless rabbit was still there. The next morning, George and I headed up to the pavilion with a shovel to pick it up but it was gone. Not a trace was left but a little fur and some bird do-do. I guess the bird (probably a hawk) finished it off!
Getting back to the baby rabbits, this afternoon when I took the dogs out to do their duty, this is what I see--a wet fence and water in and all around the dog's pen!
My first thought is "Oh no, the rabbits!"
George had been watering the patio earlier which is on the opposite side of this area. This part of the pen is the only part that's wet. though I'm stumped!
In any event, I hooked Daisy to the outside of the dog pen and went inside with Sally & Mitzi. I pulled the grass and fur out of the hole only to find that the hole is full of water, and the two babies are holding their little little heads just above the water!!!!
They're usually in the hole head first or sideways. I've never seen them with their tiny little heads facing me. Even at this young age with their eyes not even open yet, their innate rabbit instinct knew what they had to do to survive the massive flood! Well, I'm sure it was massive to them!
I reached in and gently pulled them out. One started crying and squealing right away and continued to do so even after I placed them on the ground. The other one was breathing and eventually let out a few cries too. I think it is okay.
I took this photo just after
I pulled them out of the water.
I left the rabbits laying in the grass outside the hole, and took the dogs back into the house. Daisy was going berserk wanting over the fence to get at those rabbits but I wasn't having it!
I retrieved a cup and a clean hand towel and dipped the water out of the hole. I stuck the towel in and absorbed water, rung it out, absorbed more, etc. I placed some of the grass and fur back into the hole first since it was really wet in there, and then set the rabbits on top of it. I pulled up more grass from another area, and covered the hole with it.
When I set them into the hole, they immediately went head first and got comfy. I am about to go check on them again! I hope they survive!
One day last week, we opened the garage and this small baby turtle was just outside. We see a bigger box turtle around the yard once or twice a year but this is the first time we've ever seen this little guy. It's one more animal to add to our fast growing zoo.
THE ANSWER TO MY LAST POST, "MICE OR RABBITS?"
Speaking of zoo. Rabbits is the answer to my last post! I am so traumatized that we got rid of them! I wish I'd have known because we could have put wire fencing around their little rabbit hole, and let them stay until they grew up, and went off to bunny college. I feel so bad!
I wish I'd have listened to my first instinct which was that they were rabbits. I told George that it looked like rabbit hair covering the hole and I'd seen a rabbit in the dog's pen a couple of times. They were clues, hints! But did I listen to my instinct--Ooooh Noooooo! And I didn't take a hint either! Linda called me immediately when she saw the post to tell me they were rabbits and Jeanne mentioned it too when I talked to her.
When I found this out, I asked George how he threw them over the fence and he told me that he dropped them over rather gently. I am hoping they lived and got adopted by the rabbit that we always see back there. Our fence in the back is wire and we often see the aforementioned rabbit when we're sitting under the pavilion. I think she lives in the little brier area back there. I am thinking that maybe she has a little rabbit adoption agency set up in the brier--file cabinets, desk, computer, beds, list of baby seeking clients, nurse, ordained minister--fully equipped for any situation. As far as the rabbit Daisy brought in, I am not sure that it was alive, and I did chunk it over the fence. Next time, we'll know.
Also last week, George and I sat out under the pavilion one evening as the sun was beginning to set. The temperature was perfect and there was a light breeze which felt fabulous.
I ran into the house to get my camera so I could take a picture of this dappled shade to share with y'all. I love it!
More dappled shade! Or is it more like dappled sun?
And George, Sally & Mitzi of course.
A REALLY WICKED STORM
The night before last, we had one hellacious storm. Of course, this is not news to anybody who lives in the North Texas/Southern Oklahoma vicinity. This photo was taken at 7:00 p.m. when the storm hit here. As you can see, it was pitch black outside. These doors face the west and rain pounded them for 20 to 30 minutes straight. At times, I could hear hail pellets hitting them too. The wind was wicked, 60, 70 mph, maybe more. I'm not sure on that but I did hear in some areas over 70 mph.
The next day, I went up to the pavilion and tree area to see if there was storm damage. I was greeted by my dethroned welcome flag on the ground.
Leaves still connected to short little pieces of limbs were everywhere and I do mean everywhere!
This tree was snapped in half as if it was a twig!
This is the entire tree.
And this giant pink and wavy arrow showed up too! (Amazing what these Texas storms blow in!) It's pointing to the damage on this limb which is hanging there not connected to the tree. It's pretty high up but George will get it down somehow. This tree is really leaning forward. It was already leaning but now I think it's trying to take a bow. Or a bowel movement!
What are they? Last evening, the dogs were fixated on a little hole in the dog pen so I investigated and saw something moving in it. George was nearby cleaning out the shop so I called for him to come check it out. He used a piece of metal to reach in the hole, and this is what he pulled out. Our neighborhood is rabbit city right now so I thought at first that they might be rabbits. George thinks they're mice and so do I. Creepy, huh?
The hair in and all around the hole looks like rabbit hair too! Perhaps a mouse beat up a rabbit and scalped him?
Geo scooped them into the pooper scooper and threw them over the back fence into a wooded area to let nature take care of them. About five minutes later, George was cleaning out the shop and he started laughing. "Go look in that green thing," he tells me. Yikes! A snake skin! A snake shed its skin in the shop! I started looking for the naked snake but Geo says it's probably not in the shop anymore. BUT how do you know? It looks like the head was pointed. Doesn't that mean it's poisonous? If so, I'm thinking rattlesnake! Geo suggested it might be a rat snake. Rat snake, Rattlesnake, it doesn't matter! A snake is a snake!
Here's the skin in the middle of the floor.
This morning when I got up, I decided to try something different and let Daisy go out the doggy door with Sally and Mitzi. In the past, Daisy has jumped the fence in the dogpen which puts her in the big yard, however, she has gotten out of the big yard too so I don't leave the doggy door open anymore. In the mornings, I usually let Sally & Mitzi out the doggy door and I take Daisy out on a leash. This morning when I let all three dogs out into the dogpen, they hovered around the same mouse hole that they were fixated on last night.
I'm watching out the window to see if Daisy is going to try to jump the fence, and I see her with a mouse in her mouth! Yikes, we must have missed one last night! As I'm hurrying to get my shoes on and get out there, Daisy comes running in and drops it in the middle of the kitchen floor. Ewww! I scooped it into the pooper scooper and threw it over the back fence. Boy, did I need a cup of coffee! While downloading these photos, I looked out the front window and saw this little bunny. I prefer the cute cottontails to the mice any day!
We're thinking about ordering a giraffe and an elephant off the internet, and opening a zoo in our backyard!
The other day Linda opened the door and in slithered this nasty little rattlesnake. It's about a foot and a half long. Linda grabbed the dogs and David quickly kicked it back out the door. It's a timber rattlesnake but I guess it doesn't really matter because a rattlesnake is a rattlesnake!
David trapped it against the house with a board and killed it as it rattled.