“Follow. But! Follow only if ye be men of valor! For the entrance to this cave is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel, that no man yet has fought with it… and lived!”
~Tim the Enchanter, Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Over the past few weeks, I have found myself in an epic battle against a seemingly insurmountable enemy. I have done extensive research against this enemy. I have fortified my resources and sought out the most expert way in which to engage the battle. I have lost hours of sleep formulating a battle plan. So far all I can say for my efforts is that I’m sitting at zero and my enemy has playing field advantage. I mean I really do not want to resort to violence; I do not want to cause any harm, I just want this adversary to walk away peacefully, admitting defeat. Yet all of my efforts are for not.
Who is this adversary you may ask? What on earth could drive an adult to such extensive lengths in order to see its defeat? My enemy, I tell you, is a most skilled foe when it comes to the art of subversion. It is able to thwart anything I throw at it and rebound with laughter. It chuckles in the face of my pathetic attempts to overcome its evil powers and sits, mocking me, underneath my hydrangea. I can seriously hear it laughing. This seemingly unconquerable foe is the cutest little brown bunny you could ever meet and he lives underneath my deck. Some days I wish I took the warnings of Tim the Enchanter to heart:
“So! Brave knights! If you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth…” (Monty Python and the Holy Grail)
If I just surrender, I think I would be a much happier person. Its powers are just beyond my capacity to defeat.
One of the only things I have in my life right now that brings me joy amid cancer treatments and the ensuing side effects has been my garden. I have been looking forward to spring all winter when I could get outside and begin to dig in the dirt and lovingly cultivate my precious babies that have been dormant all winter. One of the absolute prizes of my garden are two miniature rose bushes, each gifted to me by my wonderful sister in love; one was given as a Mother’s Day gift and the other just after my first round of radiation treatment.
One of the absolute prizes of my garden are two miniature rose bushes, each gifted to me by my wonderful sister in love; one was given as a Mother’s Day gift and the other just after my first round of radiation treatment.
These plants mean the world to me and last year they bloomed their little hearts out, bringing beauty beyond dreams to my both my garden and my heart; each bloom a reminder of the loving person who thought enough of me to give such an enduring gift.
The sentimental value of these plants is what makes this bunny such an intolerable foe. The first thing it decided to munch on was the rose given to me after my radiation treatment. The darn thing ate it, thorns and all, right to the ground. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how beautiful the bush was becoming with the mild spring weather. The tender leaves were sprouting, I could see growth from the previous season and the promise of yet another year of gorgeous blooms to bless my heart. Then came the beast. It stalked this defenseless plant, oh his plan was calculated. First he ate around the base so I could not notice his stealthy attack. Then he moved on to the upper leaves, making his presence known. Then, finally, came back and ate the bare stems. That dastardly little devil. Reminds me of this epic conversation between Tim the Enchanter and King Arthur:
King Arthur: You got us all worked up!
Tim: Well, that’s no ordinary rabbit.
King Arthur: Ohh.
Tim: That’s the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
Sir Robin: You tit! I soiled my armor I was so scared!
Tim: Look, that rabbit’s got a vicious streak a mile wide! It’s a killer (Monty Python and the Holy Grail)!
It may look cute and fuzzy on the outside. It just might melt my heart as it is sunning itself underneath my newly budding hydrangea bush; however, underneath is an evil being with nothing but death on its mind. And right now it has the upper hand.
My first line of defense was to send in my front line combat troop, our beagle. I mean beagles are bred to hunt rabbit and fox so I had to have an ace in the hole. First time I sent in the beagle, she ran in the opposite direction, allowing the bunny ample time to escape then spent the next 15 minutes sniffing around the yard, following the bunny’s every last move. The next time I sent her in had her baying all through the house, out the door, and down the deck. That darn rabbit heard her coming from a mile off. The final time I sent her out, she stood on the steps of the deck sniffing the air, the bunny not 3 feet away from her, and she wandered off in the opposite direction. The bunny never moved, not once. I think it knows that as a rabbit dog, our beagle is about useless.
Immediately after seeing the danger I was facing, I consulted Pinterest to get ideas on how to ward off this evil. First, I tried lining my backyard with chopped up Ivory soap, something which several bloggers swear does the trick. I must be blessed enough to have a rabbit with zero sense of smell because shortly after I strategically placed soap cubes all around its little hole, I found it, sunning itself underneath the hydrangea, sitting ON the soap! Sitting on it, mocking my futile attempts to thwart its presence in my garden. Next I tried “seasoning” my roses and hostas with a combination of garlic powder and cayenne pepper. Personally, I think this rabbit has a taste for garlic because it chowed on the hostas that much more aggressively. It would be just my luck to have a rabbit that has no sense of smell and lacks taste buds.
My final attempt to ward of this demon was a concoction of hot peppers. I went to the grocery store and bought every single hot pepper I could get my hands on. A handful of habaneros, several well chosen serranos, jalapenos, poblanos, and a few chilies thrown in for good measure. When I got home, I threw this array of peppers in the blender with some water, pureed it up, and let it sit and ferment on the top of the fridge for roughly 12 hours. Upon opening the container, the aroma sent me into a coughing fit. Good! I hoped that this mixture would give me a fire-breathing bunny next time it decides to chomp on one of my precious little plants! After straining out the pulp and putting the whole nasty mess into a spray bottle, I proceeded to saturate all that darn bunny’s favorite plants with this lethal concoction; a task that left me in a coughing fit from the fumes.
I have to admit that I thought it was working. The hosta that it had eaten down to the ground started to grow. The hostas that had shown signs of munching now had leaves that were tooth mark free. And, much to my absolute joy, my poor mini rose bush began to show signs of new life. Since that time I have been very regimented when it comes to spraying down my babies and it looked like I had finally won the battle (with a little help from an old pile of bricks I used to block off the entrance to its hole under the deck). So, just as I was starting to finally relax and feel safe, I noticed this morning that the darn rabbit had eaten a newly sprouted hosta to the ground! The little bugger must have done that last night. Ooooohhhhhh!!!!! I guess Tim the Enchanter was right about these little critters after all:
I warned you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you *knew*, didn’t you? Oh, it’s just a harmless little *bunny*, isn’t it (Monty Python and the Holy Grail)?
So I made sure to liberally spray down all my plants, paying extra special attention to the latest victim and hope that the bunny will learn that nothing in my backyard will ever taste good again. Either that or its time for a live trap. Or, better yet, I may just borrow my neighbor’s pit bulls.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Directed by Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, performances by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, and Eric Idle. Michael White Productions, 1975.