Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Cute and The Fluffy

This is Tarquin. Yes, there is a rabbit under all the cuteness. I know, I know, he looks a bit like Twisk. It's been a great comfort to me though the reason he's here is very sad. Tarquin and Grainne (Graw-nya) a red French Angora doe came to live on the farm because their owner passed away. Tarkie is a sweetie who lets me cuddle him like a baby . . . remind you of anyone??? Grainne is his exact opposite. I have to wear gloves and move fast when I need to get in her cage. She attacks me and has bitten me several times though with the gloves she can't do much damage. All that rigorous training St. John has given me in bite avoidance maneuvers is coming in handy. That's precisely why Grainne is here . . . her owner wanted her cared for by someone with experience, who would know how to handle her. That's probably the first time I've had a reason to be glad about St. John's disposition. On the positive side, did I say she was red? Grainne makes Reindeer Station Farm officially patriotic, the home of red, white, and blue rabbits! There may be a yarn in that, a three-ply red, white, and blue yarn. Hmmmm . . . will have to give that some thought.

Next time . . . even more cuteness. I have finally gotten close enough to the fawns to snap pix of them together. They are up and romping around the meadow. The UPS man wanted to know if I was raising deer. Well, this is ReinDEER Station Farm . . . But that will have to wait until next time, when I can see straight. I have been writing all day trying to catch up on my quota which was derailed for a bit by Tarquin and Grainne. And even later I may explore some Beatrix Potter art which I have been gorging on like a starved wildebeest. If I do not find time to sit down and play with my paints soon I shall not be responsible for my actions.

This will not surprise anyone who knows me, but incidentally their names weren't Tarquin and Grainne when they came here. They were called Christopher Robin and Pepper. Which got me to thinking . . . there's not a beast on the place who has their original name unless they were born here. And when I finish writing my current book I think I'll hold a contest to see if anyone out there can match everyone's original name with the name I gave them. Gotta think of some awesome prizes . . .

Monday, June 4, 2012

I Found Some Words

I just wanted to say thanks to all the folks who have expressed their sympathy in the loss of Twisk. Everyone has been so nice, but I know a lot of people who've seen my swollen eyes today wonder what on earth could be so upsetting about losing a rabbit, especially since I have a bunch of them. So I'd like to take a minute to correct the perception of rabbits as pets. In the process I'll get to talk about what made Twisk so special which is about all I can think about today anyway.

Twisk was special, first of all, because he was born here. He was the only Reindeer Station Farm bunny and so he was the face of the farm. Because he was born here I've held him since he was hours old and you could tell the difference because he trusted me completely and I could hold him in silly positions and he didn't mind. I held him so much, in fact, that he was the last of the babies to learn how to hop. Rob finally told me to put him down so he could practice. The funny thing was that I never liked ruby-eyed white rabbits but when I was looking for pictures it was pretty obvious I held him more than all the other babies.

I didn't plan to keep any of Poppet's babies but even though I had a chance to sell Twisk I wouldn't do it. Raising him and his siblings was one of the best experiences of my life. I cried when the others left and swore I was done raising rabbits because it was too hard to let them go. I couldn't do that again. But Twisk stayed and was more like a pet than the other rabbits (except Fergal) and he came upstairs every night to hop around. He and Fergal (and Rachel's bunny Finnoula) were the house bunnies.

People think rabbits have no personality but that's not true. They just have subtle personalities. Twisk had a toy basket and he would play ball or move his toys around if you played with him. Sometimes he'd do it on his own. He loved to yank the slinky around. But his favorite game was Naughty Bunny. He was only allowed in certain parts of the house and he made it his mission to go explore the parts where he wasn't supposed to be. He had an uncanny knack of knowing when a door had been left open and whenever I'd find him somewhere he wasn't supposed to be I'd say, "Naughty bunny!" and "chase" him back down the hall. He'd always act like a kid caught red-handed and he'd tear down the hall, his little bunny slippers kicking up behind him. Some bunnies like to play chase and some don't; Twisk loved it. Lately the front door would get left open sometimes and we started to catch him venturing further and further out of the house. One day I was talking to Rob out by his truck and I noticed something white halfway up the driveway. Wondering what on earth it was I turned to look and saw Twisk. He wasn't in a hurry to go back inside either. He loved to explore. I buried him under the apple tree which is about as far as he ever made it.

Date night will be the hardest. We always watch a movie and Twisk would jump up on the couch with me and drape the front half of his body over me so I could pet him. He loved to cuddle. He was the only rabbit I've ever seen who loved to be held like a baby. Most rabbits don't like the vulnerability of that position. Twisk would actually fall asleep like that. Eventually he'd wake up like all the hounds of hell were on his tail and want to get down.

His first Easter the movie Hop had come out and the bunny on it (played by Twisk in his second movie role; his first was Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp) could poop jelly beans. So on Easter Rob set Twisk in the middle of a pile of jelly beans and then brought me over to show me what he'd "done." This was his second Easter playing the Easter bunny. He would have been two in September.

Fergal and Finnoula will really miss him too. He spent half his night hanging out with each of them, stretched out next to their cages. Every night when I gave Finnoula her supper and a papaya tablet I'd put one in my lips and Twisk would give me a "kiss" to get it. I got such a kick out of his papaya kisses that he always got two. I'm going to really miss that.

Those are just a few of the things that made Twisk special and why he leaves such a hole in our lives.

Goodbye My Baby

I always said I didn't like ruby-eyed white rabbits so how one completely stole my heart is beyond me. Twisk, the face of Reindeer Station Farm, died last night the way he lived . . . in my arms. He had a sudden acute case of colic that didn't respond to treatment fast enough to save him. To say I am devastated beyond words is an understatement. Twisk was my baby and he took a huge part of my heart with him when he left. Rob said it best, "He was a part of our family." I'll love him forever. Goodbye my baby.