So I walked outside a couple of nights ago to check on the sky -- was it going to rain or not?? -- and low and behold, I inadvertently interrupted the dinner plans of two baby bunnies. Until I appeared, the pair was contentedly nibbling away at the clover on my front lawn. One look at me and they froze like a couple of fuzzy gray statues.
Reverting to my Doctor Dolittle personality, I began what turned out to be a totally one-sided conversation with my furry guests.
"Hey, guys, there's no reason to get nervous. I'm perfectly harmless, just one of the humans who happen to live here."
Total silence reigned as two pairs of beady brown eyes focused suspiciously on me.
"No, really, fellows. Just pretend I'm not here. Enjoy the grass, but do me a favor and leave the flowers alone, okay?"
More stony silence. The larger of the two bunnies flicked an ear in my direction, but that was the extent of his response. The smaller rabbit took a cue from his partner and also held his peace.
"An occasional dandelion is fine. Just no flowers. And no vegetables, either."
It might have been my imagination, but I could swear I saw the little guy frown when I said 'vegetables'. The bigger bunny definitely raised an eyebrow. It hit me that they hadn't yet visited the backyard and therefore didn't know about my garden. Big mistake on my part even mentioning what grew back there.
"Clover's ever so much sweeter than flowers or -- ha, ha -- vegies," I said as, trying to appear casual, I sidestepped to the right, effectively blocking my guests' view of the hardy cucumber plants enthusiastically giving birth to baby cukes in a large white flower pot on the back stairs.
My ploy didn't work. The rabbits abandoned their statue pose and slowly inched closer to me. Their tiny noses twitched in anticipation of a better meal.
While they smelled food, I smelled trouble.
I didn't want to do it, but seeing the sparkle in their beady little eyes, I suspected there was nothing for it but to bring out the big guns.
"One step closer and I'll call the CAT!!!"
That got their attention! Ears flicking madly now, the bunnies backed off a respectable distance. Their eyes were still glued on me, but I could tell they were thinking.
"Your relatives ate every one of my fall asters last year," I growled. "They nibbled the leaves down to the stalk on the lilies, and then they decimated my carnations. I WILL NOT STAND FOR IT this year!"
The bigger bunny scratched his ear with a back foot as if to say, "Your hard luck, lady. Rabbits gotta eat."
"Not in my yard you don't! You're welcome to the clover in front, but step into the backyard and you're dead meat! CAT will see to that!"
The second mention of CAT seemed to convince them I meant business. The littler guy slunk off to my neighbor's front yard to hide in the bushes. His big brother glared at me a moment longer before taking the same route south. No hiding for him, though. He made quite a show of investigating a bed of marigolds lining the sidewalk before finally settling down to snack on a patch of newly planted grass.
I stood my ground near the cucumbers until both bunnies tired of the game and hopped off to search for better pickings across the street. Satisfied they wouldn't return any time soon, I was about to go back inside when out of the corner of my eye I spied a squirrel gazing hungrily at my peach tree.
"Don't even think about it!" I hissed. I leveled a finger in his direction. "CAT climbs trees, you know. He'll catch you and feed you to his babies for dinner!"
The squirrel just grinned before scampering up the tree and grabbing a half-ripened peach. He peered down at me from his perch high on an upper branch and twitched his tail in that particularly frenetic way known to squirrels everywhere as "doing the Victory-Over-Humans dance". With the peach still clasped to his chest, he chattered away, the gist of his message being this: "Those guys were dumb bunnies, but I'm a smart squirrel! As I recall, CAT went to cat heaven last year, so this summer the peaches are mine, all mine!"
I swear I heard him laughing madly as he leaped from the peach tree and disappeared into the night. Well, he wouldn't be laughing tomorrow, not when he saw the little surprise I was planning for him.
A gift wrapped tree. Heh, heh, heh!