Before my trip, before the clearing of the yard, at the very beginning of June, Christine called me over to a pile of grass that Edward had explored and that had MOVED. A toad might be under there, we agree, and we leave it alone.
Monday June 4th [link to journal entry]: Christine interrupts me during work, distressed outside the window. I go out to find she has a baby bunny, and that Edward is eating another one. I take the baby, return it to the nest -- that pile of grass we'd seen before -- and find there are others. Rapid web research suggests that you can determine that the mother rabbit returns by placing a grid of yarn across the reconstituted nest, so i do so.
Tuesday June 5th [link to inaturalist]: Ha, the ribbon has been disturbed and woven back into the nest. Mom bunny has been back to care for the baby rabbits (which are apparently "kits" or "kittens"). I leave the camera trap out.
Wednesday June 6th: i go out to fetch the camera trap and find the nest empty. Oh, i think, they have left the nest -- juvenile rabbit images on the trail cam!
Friday night: Happy to be home. It's pretty dark, so i don't greet the yard. Christine notices the bunny in the yard.
Saturday early morning perambulation: Check rain measure to find barely any rain. Many more wildflowers blooming the int island and one of the phlox i bought blooming (but hidden in the high weeds). The rain garden looks fine with a cranberry ripening and deer tracks across the sand. Daylilies bloom in a variety of colors (unfortunately less visible because of the rain garden berm). Peanuts blooming, tomatoes still green and blooming, and AIEEE what have they done!? Carrot tops and lettuce and potatoes mown down!
It's somewhat challenging to figure out who is eating what. I'm not used to systematic grazing by the deer. But some of the potato nibblings seem high for deer. Still. The completely eradicated lettuce sure looks like rabbit work, and the deer would have taken out the pole beans, i would have thought. Other aspects of the garden hint at the heat of the previous week. And the sorrel that was thriving -- and that i planned as part of the meal i'm making Wednesday -- has been mown down.
I am sharing with my neighbors. I am sharing with my neighbors. Later in the morning Christine has a teary spell about the fawn carcass she had to clear from the road. If we could be a deer refuge we would be.
Mid morning i dig out some potatoes, find beets that critters have picked for me, pick a bright read cayenne pepper and find a green one picked for me. I remind myself as i dig the potatoes that the goal of growing them is just as much to improve the soil (by turning under the organic matter i had buried in the trenches) as to get great results this year. The purple majesty potatoes are gem-like.
This morning: i step out to greet the mor--- Who ate every single violet???? This must be rabbits: i can't imagine deer grazing so systematically so close to the door.