Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “rabbits”

A Way to Skin a Rabbit — Unillustrated

Beau tries to retrieve what Sugar did not want retrieved.

Shootin' the Breeze

There is, they say, more than one way to skin a cat. I contend that the same is true of skinning rabbits. Today’s lesson involves a cat and a rabbit. Now do I have your attention? Don’t shy away. There will be no photos.

In many of my posts, I have mentioned various animals. Beau, our male Yellow Lab, is featured in some of the more popular of those posts, including the most recent prior to this very one, which is about his dietary choices.

So, to continue on a related theme, I describe the scene of tonight’s meal at our home, prepared by Sugar, my trophy wife. We decided to eat on the front porch. It is covered, offering shade, unlike the courtyard to the rear. We had four companions, none of whom had been invited — two dogs and two cats.

After Sugar finished her meal and put…

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A Way to Skin a Rabbit — Unillustrated

There is, they say, more than one way to skin a cat. I contend that the same is true of skinning rabbits. Today’s lesson involves a cat and a rabbit. Now do I have your attention? Don’t shy away. There will be no photos.

In many of my posts, I have mentioned various animals. Beau, our male Yellow Lab, is featured in some of the more popular of those posts, including the most recent prior to this very one, which is about his dietary choices.

So, to continue on a related theme, I describe the scene of tonight’s meal at our home, prepared by Sugar, my trophy wife. We decided to eat on the front porch. It is covered, offering shade, unlike the courtyard to the rear. We had four companions, none of whom had been invited — two dogs and two cats.

After Sugar finished her meal and put down her plate, Beau grabbed her fork and went down the stairs to exit the porch. I suppose the barbeque sauce on the fork was the attraction or maybe it was just to tick us off.

Although he is nominally a retriever, in this situation he felt it was funnier to have me retrieve the fork for Sugar. So I went down the steps too. At the bottom of the steps was a sight to behold. I warned Sugar to not look, which, naturally, aroused her curiosity, and she, well, looked. Then she sort of moaned and then she definitely gagged. It was her own fault. Remember, I told her to NOT LOOK. She failed to thank me. Nevertheless, ever eager to please, I promised to get a shovel, and I did just that. What a good boy am I!

The title to this post hints at what I shoveled up. Yes, it was a rabbit. Well, sort of a rabbit, the leftovers at least. It still had a head attached to a spine, from which ribs were attached, and there was also a pelvis and legs. All but the head and the feet were pretty much skinned to the bone. I credit our cats.

Beau noticed my shovel and its contents, the skeleton, and followed me to the river flowing fifty yards from the house. I tried to flip the shovel so the remains of the rabbit would fly across the river to the other side. I thought that maybe coyotes would finish the job after nightfall.

It will surprise you that someone with my athletic prowess did not propel the skeleton sufficiently to clear the river and reach the far bank. Believe it or not, the rabbit’s remains hit the water and started flowing away, probably in violation of some E.P.A. regulations.

Beau, who keeps up on E.P.A. regulations, was concerned about the river being polluted by the rabbit carcass, apparently, although he did not specify his motive for jumping off the bank of the river, into the water, and swam to where the rabbit had hit the water. The rabbit remains had not, if you will, remained in the same spot. It floated for awhile and then sank. Beau desperately tried to retrieve it, as he does sticks and balls and, sometimes, birds. This rabbit did not float like those other things that he retrieves. Beau whined. He paddled. He had to tread water to keep from floating downstream. It obviously bothered him that he did not find the rabbit. I told him that it was okay. (I really did not want the rabbit back, nor did Sugar.) I called him off the task, but he was reluctant to quit. Eventually, he left the river. He was probably tired. He seemed kind of down. He acted ashamed. I petted him as he laid on the porch. Then I went inside.

I hope that rabbit does not reappear in the morning. The cats seem to have an endless supply of rabbits. Sugar can attest to that.

Multi-Tasking — A Dog For All Seasons

Beau hat

THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC AND VIOLENT MATERIAL.  INTENDED FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.

I have heard that Rat Terriers and Jack Russell Terriers are very efficient at killing rats.  They don’t stop to eat them.  They break the neck of a rat by shaking it and then move on.  They don’t have to be taught to perform such a task.  It is in the DNA of such breeds.

Beau is a Yellow Labrador Retriever.  His lineage is bred to retrieve birds that have been shot by hunters who do not want to look in the brush for birds or swim out for birds that land in water.   They are supposed to gently carry the birds in their soft mouths.

Recently I wrote about herding dogs and Beau’s interest in being a cow dog despite a lack of encouragement from my wife, Miss Sugar.

Today he ventured into the line of work for which terriers are genetically programmed.  My that Beau is a dog with many interests!

Miss Sugar noticed that Beau was carrying something in his gentle mouth.  It was not a bird.  It was furry.  It was a bunny rabbit.  It was alive.  Beau had made a new friend.  Or not.  Sugar called to Beau.  He looked right at her and shook the bunny, which caused it to cross this vale of tears into bunny heaven.  Apparently, Beau watched a program about Rat Terriers on the Animal Planet TV channel and learned the technique.

Shortly after that alarming display of terrier skills, Sugar saw that Beau had captured another young rabbit.  Again, Sugar did not approve.  She commanded that he drop it.  (He does drop balls that he has retrieved so he knows the word.)  To her amazement, Beau dropped this second bunny.  He dropped it without first shaking it.  As a result, it actually hopped away.  What a good dog!

When I came home and Sugar relayed the stories of the two bunnies, which stories had opposite endings, I looked out on the deck.  Sadie was laying there.  Beau was laying there.  Next to Beau, laying very, very still, was a little bunny.  I got a shovel, planning to be the undertaker.

You see where this is going, gentle readers.  You are thinking that this bunny had passed away like his peer did earlier in the day.   Beau picked up his bunny when I opened the door and went down the steps from the deck to the ground.  Miss Sugar brought out a treat.    Sugar told me to get the bunny as Beau came over for his treat, but I did not.

I did not scoop up the bunny because when Beau dropped it in order to get Sugar’s treat, it hopped away to the woodpile from whence it likely came.

Maybe Beau isn’t cut out to be a good terrier.

beausnowrun

By the Dawn’s Early Light

My trophy wife, Miss Sugar, had a good idea several years ago.  Her idea was for us to build a waterfall in front of our house, on a slope.  So we did.

Here in the Rocky Mountains, God placed plenty of rocks suitable for landscaping.  We have a place on our ranch that is our own personal quarry.  We made many trips with our pickup truck to gather suitable rocks and bring them back to the construction site.

I dug an artisticly shaped hole for a pond at the bottom of the slope.  We covered the pond and waterfall with special plastic liner material from a pond store where all the cool people with  “water features” shop.  We put in a pipe to carry water from the bottom of the pond to the top of the waterfall, powered by an electric pump, also available at the water feature store where the cool people shop.  We ran an electric line to the pump, which pushes the water from the pond back up to the top of the waterfall.  We covered up the liner and the pipe with rocks.  We covered the pump with a piece of driftwood.  It looked natural.  It worked well.  We were cool.  We had a cool water feature. 

We got some goldfish to add to the atmosphere.  The goldfish ate algae in the pond.  They grew fast. 

Also, birds are attracted to our water feature habitat.  Miss Sugar is a bird watcher, so she likes the extra birds.

In addition to the fish and the birds, our Yellow Labrador Retrievers, Max and Sadie, share in the water feature habitat.  Also, rabbits, drink there and, apparently, hide in the rock “cave” we created at the top, out of which the waterfall emerges.  Sadie is aware of the rabbits’ hiding place.  Consequently, she digs around and walks on the rocks and, apparently, disturbs the plastic liner, which has resulted in leaking.  We keep trying to find leaks.  We also have to add water twice a day or the water gets so low that the pump makes a sucking noise.  The sound of the waterfall is soothing.  The sound of a sucking pump has the opposite effect.

We are now on our third pump.  They get clogged up.  Even though we occasionally clean the pumps, they eventually wear out.

By morning light, I can usually hear the pump sucking so I go outside and put a hose in the water feature to refill the pond until the pump stops sucking.  Also, in the morning, I let the dogs out.  (They sleep in the house.)   The dogs and I let Miss Sugar sleep a bit longer.

We live on a road that does not get much traffic.  As a result, I have a great sense of privacy.

Confident in my privacy, I do not take the precaution of emerging fully clothed from the house.  A couple days ago, not fully clothed, I emerged from the house as is my custom, walked down the steps off the front porch, went around to the side of the house, got the hose, and put it in the cool water feature that was sucking air. 

I have always figgered that I could hear any approaching vehicle and hide behind a wall by the water spigot.  That theory depends on the vehicle making a sound.

After I went back inside, I noticed a motor home parked by the bridge.  It is not a camping spot, but I thought maybe someone parked there to sleep.  It is a pretty place.  The occupants were probably still sleeping. 

Then it quickly drove away.  It seems they were awake when I was outside.

Today there were fifty vehicles, including motorhomes, campers, pickups and several luxury cars parked on our road along our fence.  I guess they heard about the cool water feature.

How do I explain this to Miss Sugar?

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