Month: May 2020

A Rabbit is My Nemesis

Rabbit from Hell

We’re big gardeners here at Chez Small. It’s in the blood. I grew up on land that had been part of my grandfather’s dairy farm, and even my mom’s family who were poor-as-dirt country folk lived off the land and always had a garden.

So we (me and the husbot) have had a vegetable garden since moving back from Ye Ol’ England. And of course, we’ve battled a whole host of pests over the years: squirrels, mocking birds, bats, carpenter bees, squash bugs, Japanese beetles, green horned tomato worms, vine borers, ants, snakes, black widows, turtles, murder hornets (yes, we had them before they became a thing) and honestly, I could keep going on and on about the wildlife that we encounter in the garden. It’s an in running joke about what we’ll wake up and find on our soapstone porch. 

But this is the first year we’ve had to contend with rabbits.

Scratch that . . . THE Rabbit.

One autumnal morning last Fall, we looked out onto the porch, and lo and behold, the cutest littlest baby rabbit you could ever imagine was hanging out. That’s a lie. He was trying to get into the house and we thought he’d lost his everlovin’ mind, but still, he was cute, and not really scared of us and we thought, “Awww, little guy is nuts, but hey, live and let live. And he’s so cute!” I must’ve said “cute” like two dozen times. I currently hate that word because . . .

 . . . fast forward to Spring 2020. We’re stuck at home going insane during the pandemic, but hey, we still have the veggie garden to get underway and the yard looks great and all is well with the world (or as much as it can be sheltering in place).

That is until one day when the husbot notices that there’s a rabbit in the garden.

Now I should point out a couple of things:

  1. We have a ten foot brick wall, geogrid fencing, and a retaining wall with a 10-12 foot drop that requires a railing system. The only thing getting into this garden is Spiderman or a squirrel.
  2. I really wanted a pet rabbit. The irony is not lost on me that you should be careful what you wish for.

Back to the rabbit.

The husbot swears that the rabbit has created the crater-sized hole in a veggie box that contains my leeks. Skeptical, I place my bet on the squirrel because I’ve had run-ins with those fluffy rats with furry tails before – they are notorious for burying nuts in said boxes. But before I can debate the finer points of my case, we chase the rabbit out, it escapes through a hole, and I make a mental note to fix the fence.

Within 2 days, the rabbit is back and this time, we watch in dismay (okay, I watch in dismay, the husbot feels smug and vindicated) as the rabbit hops in the box and starts digging. Like a screeching harpy, I rush out the door and start yelling obscenities at the rabbit (note to self: small children live next door). It escapes through the fence. By this point, I feel like I’m living the live action version of Peter Rabbit.

Pissed, I then spend my weekend re-doing all the fencing with brand new high tensile geogrid mesh (yes, the stuff they use in construction) then secure it to the ground using landscape staples every 12 inches and even run a piece of geomesh all along the railing and retaining wall until the big wall drop. There. Take that, you weasily rabbit!

We go to have lunch several days later and you know where this is going, right, that little bastard is back inside the fence! And he’s digging another damn hole! It’s like Houdini rabbit. I have no clue how he’s gotten inside. Everything is latched down tight. But by this point, I’ve lost all rational thought. I make the husbot go outside and we corner the rabbit and torment it for a full five minutes chasing it back and forth. I’ve trapped it behind the boxes and I’m determined to a) find out where it’s getting in, but also b) scare the bejesus out of it so it doesn’t come back. 

Come to find out, through the husbot’s strong deduction skills and these wee tiny little wet paw prints that the devil rabbit has been squeezing his furry behind through the closed gate and onto the soapstone porch. At this point, many less stubborn people would’ve given up, but not me, oh no, not today Satan! I’m determined to thwart this rabbit once and for all and so I do what only a sane person would do – I WRAP THE ENTIRE GATE IN FENCING. Exhibit A – 

fence wrapped gate

This time I’m the smug one. I have finally defeated Satan’s little minion. In my mind, it was kinda like this: There is no way he can get the better of me. Ha! That rabbit thought he was smart, but I’m smarter. Stupid rabbit. I’ve got opposable thumbs, motherf*@&er!

You see where this is going again, don’t you . . . 

We sit down to lunch today to have this gorgeous Chinese chow mein that I’ve made from scratch. I’m not six bites into my noodles when the husbot is like, “You’re never going to believe it. It’s the rabbit.”

My back is to the porch and sliding glass door so I can’t see the damn thing right away, but when I turn around, which I finally do with a sigh, there he is. He’s already dug a whole in a pot only 2 feet off the porch (like he was trying to taunt me), but he’s more skittish this time. The moment he sees me get up from my chair, he backs up toward the fence. My first thought is, “that’s not going to help you this time, buddy,” until I realize my error – 



My old fence had been up over five years with nary a scratch on it, but within a week of the new one going up, that stupid rabbit has used it’s titanium-covered gnashers to go through my beautiful, shiny fence.


But this war is not over. It’s on like Donkey Kong. I’m getting chicken wire tomorrow. The husbot has pointed out that rabbits can dig, but I’ll deal with that later. For now, it’s full steam ahead. There can be only one victor . . . and it’s going to be me.

xo – shawnee




Hitting the Wall

I’ve been AWOL now for about a month. Not just here, but on my social media everywhere. I’ve interacted on a couple of posts, but by and large, I’ve lurked rather than participated, I’ve stood aside while I’ve watched others interact. That isn’t to say that I haven’t try to get out there in some meaningful way – I’ve taken walks with friends and have had drinks outside taking the appropriate distancing measures, but even with that, I feel . . . depressed. I’m not even sure that’s the right word to describe it. It’s stronger than ennui, but it’s not the crawl-into-bed-and-shut-the-curtains level of despondency. I guess the Victorians would’ve called it melancholia or melancholy.

We’ve just entered Week 9 of sheltering in place at Chez Small. I know this because the last time that I went out and enjoyed myself was with my Dad the day before my 48th birthday and then the next day – BAM! – birthday dinner plans with friends cancelled and the long interment began.

Sheltering-in-place was novel at first then that began to wear off after about Week 2. Then the next few weeks were full of frenzied DIY and garden activity – anything to keep me distracted and away from the news – Week 5 came around and that wasn’t pleasant. I hit a slump, but then pulled myself out of it and thought, “Hey, I’ve got the swing of this if I can just get back to writing,” and now I’m in Week 9 and I find myself with no appetite wandering around my house like a zombie going from room to room and not knowing what I should be doing.

The simple answer is I should be writing, but I just can’t. I can do every physical labor imaginable right now, can paint and dig and sand and nail things, but I can’t nail myself down to the chair long enough to even get a sentence out. And it’s not just me. Every author I know is struggling to get the words out even though we probably have more time than ever on our hands. It’s the great ironic conundrum.

I think this is the problem and it’s not just my problem, or an author problem, it’s everyone’s problem – we’ve hit the wall. We’ve struggled for so long now to stay positive, to not worry about bills, mortgages, homeschooling, politics, loved ones, etc. that we’ve depleted all of our psychic energy. There is no more energy in the well – we’ve tapped the last bit of juice we’ve had left. And when I say psychic energy, I don’t mean that in a woo woo sort of way – I mean the part of us and our brain that allows us to cope. It’s exhausted, you’re exhausted, hell, I’m exhausted.

I don’t write this post to depress you more. That’s not my intention. I write this post to say “I know how you feel. I know that you’re suffering. You are not alone in your darkness.” There are many of us out here just like you and we see you – you are our kindred spirit despite the topsy turvy world we’re living in right now. And I hope you can take comfort in that. I want to take comfort in knowing I’m not alone in this struggle.

So if you’ve hit the wall, do no be afraid to say something. Talk to your family, your friends, your loved ones and if you can’t do that then talk to me. I’ll listen, I promise.

Stay safe. Be gentle on yourself. It’s okay to be wobbly right now.

xo – Shawnee