By mid-August, my lawn grass is normally brown from a combination of heat and drought, but this has been a strange summer. There have been no dry spells at all, more wet days than dry ones, and few heat-waves. Some of the rains have been deluges, like the “100-year-storm” that arrived on my birthday in June and caused flash-floods, but mostly the precipitation has fallen as frequent showers and brief thunderstorms.
The outcome of all this moisture has been spectacular lawn color. I look out at my acres of grassy sward and think I’m in Ireland. The lawn is mowed weekly by an enterprising local couple who cut grass in summer and plow snow in winter. No guesses as to which season will make them the most money this year!
As a consequence of having a lush and weedy lawn, my best garden crop of 2017 is rabbits. At any time of day I can spot one, maybe two, cottontails nibbling or just sitting still and looking satisfied. The rabbits’ favorite spots are underneath the bird feeders, where the grass grows greener from bird poop fertilizer, and there is the added bonus of finding a fallen sunflower seed if the chipmunks haven’t beat them to it.
I am not sure how many rabbits are out there. We started the year with two adults – one wintered in the barn, the other under the deck – and then babies started to appear. There have been occasions when two baby bunnies were visible at once, so I know there are at least that many, but they all look fairly alike and I’m never sure if I’m seeing the same ones every day. They are doing a wonderful job of eating dandelions and other lawn weeds, and my flowerbeds are such an overgrown mess that I can’t tell what else is ending up inside the rabbits. I’m just enjoying the sight of them hopping around.
I suspect that the rabbits spend as much time watching me as I spend watching them, because they certainly know that I can’t move very fast and they have nothing to fear from me. When I stumble from the house at dawn, to fill up the bird feeders, the rabbits ignore me and I have to detour around them.
The ultimate beneficiary of all this bunny abundance will be the foxes and coyotes. By next spring, we will probably only have two rabbits again.
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