Now that the bunnies are pretty effectively excluded from the kitchen gardens, and their numbers greatly reduced from a year ago, they are cute again. The collapse of the rabbit population last fall through winter coincided with the residence of a gang of coyotes. Late in the winter only a few large rabbits remained in evidence on the whole 40 acres, and the coyotes were heard and their tracks seen less and less. A month after the dogs left we began to see little rabbits and now there are some third-generation individuals.
Just this morning, though, I found scat on the lane from something large that was full of fur... It was also full of coarse grass and looked like an attempt to purge. To hear tell, old rabbits mostly die from parasites.
But when they gather four or five at a time in the lane on the dam and take dust baths (fleas?), or graze on grass seed at the verge of the lawn and waterfront, or chase each other around one or another of the large trees, they're pretty cute.
Good old Squeaky Tree, one of the bull bur oaks. The undergrowth in the woods, the unmanaged everywheres on the farm, are overgrown, rank and impenetrable. Most of the game trails that autumn's die down revealed are lost again. Even keeping to the extreme center of the groomed trails is no guarantee against finding a tick later.
It's a bass! Caught and photographed and released by Donna.
It's a rare day this spring and so far into summer that clouds of gnats are not a serious nuisance. A stiff breeze helps keep them from lighting, and Absorbine, Jr., but it's often so bad that they still get into the eyes and ears and nose and mouth and hair. Our expectation — ok, hope, really — is that drier weather less favorable to the gnats will predominate as summer progresses and we have more favorable outdoor work and recreation conditions.