Springtime in the Rockies the Iris War
by Marijo Phelps 7/01/2010 / Short Stories
My iris need water and fertilizer so I am braving the winds. It is 46 degrees after being in the 60s over the weekend, those rascals on NOAA, our online weather "channel" are saying an inch of snow this afternoon and another overnight.
I glance over my shoulder to see the snow capped ruggedness of Pike's Peak against the cerulean sky filled with puffy white clouds. As I look down I see my tulips in yellow and flame finally blooming in spite of the weather forecast. Contrasting with the tulips are the brilliant purple hyacinths and the two tones yellow daffodils.
Then I see what I have been fearing since we live trapped one of our two rabbits a day ago. Nimrod, the hunter I am married to humored me and bought a "live trap". We caught one of the bunnies and transplanted him about five miles away in a lush field with some rocks and a culvert for hiding places. With one down and one to go, I could only dream they were both boy bunnies. As I get ready to water my flower beds I now realize my grave mistake. There is a tiny little heather gray little one looking at me with great brown eyes. It is the size of my open palm. I am thinking kitten only this is no feline. This is an iris munching herbivore with huge front teeth. Oh, no, maybe both of our "guests" are female.
Some things I consider vermin. It doesn't bother me in the least to dispatch them with a shot gun.
Now before you have a tizzy, let me remind you I am referring to the Richardson ground squirrels better known as "picket pins" because they stand straight like a picket fence. They also were digging tunnels under the concrete which supported our propane tank a couple more holes and splat-boom the propane tank would hit the ground and possibly blow up. These squirrels have carried bubonic plague in nearby Colorado Springs.
They are so prevalent that they run all over our roadways. You see them flattened every few feet this time of year. They eat their own buddies who have been run over and look like rats. OK?
Back to the bunnies, notice I am not referring to them as rabbits. Our orange tabby was that size when we brought him home as he fit in the palm of my hand. I am getting all misty eyes thinking of Hooney as a kitten and relating that to the bunnies. This will not do. I glance over at what used to be a healthy iris leaf and is now a nub. Whose side do I take, the flower or the bunny-rabbit?
I have called Nimrod to wish him a happy father's day. We are both thinking out loud. What if we relocated their mother? How will they survive? Hum, judging from the looks of the garden they seem to be learning really fast. No one else has gone into the trap to get those apples either since our first catch.
Then I see another little one. How do I know I am not seeing the same rabbit twice? This one is smaller than the other. Oh, no. Now I am pretty sure they are both females, hence the difference in size of the babies.
I look at the ponderosa pines across the road, dark green,swaying in the wind. exuding peace. My tummy is tied in knots.I close my eyes and see our five acres bounding with bunnies. Did I mention we also have a jack rabbit. The other night at dusk I saw a huge critter loping across the yard and wondered if some neighbor's dog was out, no, the gait was strange. Oh, my goodness, look at those ears! It was like a small kangaroo that jack rabbit. I could see my iris garden going in one night with him around. Yes, all rabbits are HIM until I sadly find out otherwise.
Back to those babies, I have now seem four of them. They scurry back into the fenced propane tank area. I catch one going into a roll which is cardboard with some rubber matting material rolled on it. Hum, about twelve feet long and eight inches in diameter, great bunny warren, bet Mick, ah, Nimrod is going to wish he'd stored that in the garage.
Well, we are going to have our work cut out for us. We didn't buy the live trap so we could exterminate the bunny clan. What is next on the agenda, how to catch those babies, the other mama and reunite them with our exported Mama Bunny.
BAM! Nimrod is home. No it wasn't a bunny, he got one of those pesky ground squirrels.And to think I thought springtime in the Rockies meant fertilizing my iris. Sigh.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.
Saved by His grace in 1974, from 9 years of professing atheism into His loving arms. RN for 23 years, missionary with YWAM then statistical analyst for Every Home for Christ over 9 years. Living with my husband in the middle of a mountain meadow. GRIN! Wanting to spread the good news