Bear with me, I’m going to be nerdy for just a second. I promise it’s relevant later.
Ralph Waldo Emerson has been quoted as saying metaphysics is “a blind man, in a dark room, chasing a black cat which isn’t there.” For today’s post, allow me to go with the spirit of the quote, rather than the letter. I say that’s the definition of futility. After all, I think the futility of metaphysics was Emerson’s point.
…I became the definition of futility!
We have rabbits. More specifically, we have a breeding trio of rabbits. I like rabbits. They are quiet, calm, docile, and they don’t stamp their feet and glare at me if I feed someone else first.
Because we have a breeding trio, it follows logically that we occasionally have baby rabbits. Our does (females) typically have about six kits (babies) per litter. We also have a large metal building. This ‘shop’ is part wood working area, part tack room, part feed and hay storage, part household storage, part overflow pantry…and completely full. It has large garage type doors front and back. There’s also one small pedestrian door off to the side. All these doors are closed at night. (Closing them has been SOP since the Great Skunk Kerfuffle of 2016.)
During winter, we clear a space and put the rabbits’ hutches in there. It keeps them warm and away from predators. Our mama rabbits have a large two story wooden hutch for when they have babies. After all, even the best moms need a little space for alone time!
Once upon a time, Grace went out to feed the rabbits. Eggy had a litter of kits that were almost a month old, and they were all living it up in the Lagomorphic Penthouse. This penthouse is awesome. It has room service, a cozy nesting box padded with straw, a quiet nook away from the kits, and state of the art security!
Well, maybe the security was a little lacking. Nothing could get in, so the rabbits were safe, however…there are two doors on each floor. They’re each hinged on the outside and they open from the middle. There’s a little slide bolt that holds them closed. At least it holds them closed IF the caterers ensure the bolt is perfectly centered and flipped down. If it flips down, it locks both doors.
However, if it’s left sticking out, it’s jiggle-able, and Eggy is an expert jiggler. This particular morning, jiggling had occurred. Rather a lot of blame was cast around, but no one readily confessed to leaving the slide bolt jiggle-able. So, Grace kicked off the morning’s adventure as she often does with a phone call.
Grace: Mama, the rabbits are out.
Me: What do you mean “the rabbits” they’re in separate hutches. They can’t all be out!
Grace: Pfeffer and Kipper are still in.
Me: So, Eggy’s out…wait… Oh, you’ve got to be kidding! The babies are out?!?
Grace: Yes, Ma’am. Um, Mama. Be really careful coming in the shop, I think one of them is hiding behind the flower pots by the door.
Grace: Um, Mama?
Me: (Sigh. I know that tone.) Yeeees?
Grace: You need boots. There might be some broken glass from canning jars.
Me: (Do you remember Muttley from the old Dick Dastardly cartoons? I’m pretty sure I made the sound Muttley made when cursing under his breath. Something like, “Frissa-Frassa; Frissa-Frassa!) Awesome. I’m on my way.
I know my kids. The phrase, “there might be glass”, from Jonah would imply a cracked jar. Jonah is very safety conscious and would worry the jar might have shed semi-lethal splinters. The same statement from Sam would imply at least one broken jar; Sam is pragmatic. Our oldest, Seth wouldn’t say, “There might be some glass.” He would shout, “There is shattered glass EVERYWHERE!!!! The rabbits will be cut to ribbons and disemboweled before you can make it here from the house!!” At that point, I would know at least one busted jar was in the building. To be fair, he would genuinely worry that the rabbit would choose that particular glass strewn space to hop along.
With Grace, it’s a different story. “There might be some glass”, from her could mean anything from one shattered jar to twelve cases that fell from a twenty-foot height and rained debris solidly from door to door. Either way, she’d figure boots and a broom would solve the problem, and there was no reason to get in a snit about it. (I don’t know where she gets that. 😉 )
Now, we hit the first road block. I’d just been released from the doctor to walk unsupervised and been allowed to take off the belt strap of my sling. (This sling had been my constant companion for W A Y too long. It strapped my right arm to my side and across my stomach with NO wiggle room. I still had to wear a sling, but it was a normal sling, not the evil sling-on-steroids.)
Did you know, it’s impossible to put on boots (that fit) with one hand? There was no way I could get my boots on alone. The boys and Liam were gone. Awesome! So, I shoved my feet in my slippers and picked up Jonah’s nasty mud-encased work boots and carried them to the shop. Just FYI, muddy ginormous boots are awkward to carry single-handedly. Upon reaching the shop I gingerly stepped out of my slippers and into Jonah’s size 13 steel-toe Sasquatch-fitting monstrosities! After months of being threatened with dire consequences if I fell and jarred my injuries, I was a little leery to shuffle along in my weighted space-walking-clown shoes!
As I was about to go in the shop, I remembered, that I was Mister McGreggor in this scenario. So, I wedged my foot into the crack in the door and tried to ease in sideways. Let’s just say size 13 boots are longer than I am wide. I effectively kicked the door open. It ricocheted off of the huge boot, slamming back into the flower pots stored behind it. Luckily, there was no floppy eared squatter back there AND I kept my hold on the door. This prevented the door from nailing me in the nose when it bounced off the plastic pots and came back at me.
Grace greeted me, my bizarre footwear, and my grand entrance with a raised eyebrow, but she had furrier fish to fry. It seemed that Eggy was willing to be caught and was sitting outside the hutch. However, the babies had dispersed and had no desire to return to the penthouse. Grace had managed to spot two of the miscreants, but she wanted to catch Eggy first, so she didn’t freak out and hide when the action started. Since I was unable to pick up any of the little beggars with one hand, we decided I would watch the two babies, while Grace rehomed the big doe. This went well. One down; Six to go.
Then, I shambled over to block the two baby rabbits’ escape, while Grace went to block them at the other end. I slid an old cane pole back into the area where they were hiding. They both ran toward Grace. She nabbed one and I watched to see where the other went. We used much the same strategy to catch the next two babies. Four down; Three to go.
Here lies the second road block. The shop has two very high, very dinky light bulbs. This isn’t normally an issue, because, we simply open the doors for light. However, that wasn’t really an option. The first four rabbits had been albinos. White rabbits with pink eyes are easier to spot in dim light. The remaining three were black as night!
I had somehow become a one-armed hobble-footed woman, in a dark room, chasing three black rabbits, that she can’t see and couldn’t catch even if she tripped on them. I think Emerson would admit this the apex of futility!
We debated the best way to proceed. Finally, I had an idea. There’s a trick deer hunters sometimes use in Texas. (Let’s ignore the legal niceties, shall we?) It’s called spotlighting. Basically, after dark, you drive slowly with a big spotlight. You shine the light in the deer’s eyes. The deer goes all “deer in the headlights”, and you eat roast venison. We decided to spotlight the rabbits.
Grace went and got our biggest flashlight. This thing is serious! We can shine it over the pasture from our balcony and easily see the horses at our property line. My job was to slowly shine the light in likely hiding places until there were eyeballs glowing back at me. (No, that’s not creepy at all! Please, Dear God, let that be a rabbit!) Finally, behind a shelf of canned goods, we saw three pairs of eye shining. We also saw the four or five (thankfully, empty) canning jars they had knocked off the shelf and broken. Note to self: Remember to strangle male children for putting the jars out there loose. We have boxes for a reason. Oh, and avoid kneeling on, falling on, or chasing rabbits through sharp shiny debris.
Grace and I repeated our stick-poking maneuver. However, when three rabbits panic and run at one time, it is a sight to behold! It felt like standing inside a giant pinball machine with three balls! They were moving like lightning and bouncing from one potential hiding place to another. Grace flapped her arms (kind of like pinball flippers) and tried to ‘herd’ them to more accessible areas. You’ve heard the old expression “herding house cats”? Well, herding rabbits is a lot like that. Especially since I had a busted flipper. So, all the bunnies ran past my right side to hide in the scrap lumber. We caught two there. (Okay, Grace caught them, but I held the light! So, I claim partial credit.) Six down; One to go.
The last one ran under an antique china cabinet. We decided that I would brace my good shoulder against it and try to tip it and Grace would be ready to watch where the little fluffy-bum headed. I leaned, the cabinet moved, and Grace shot under the cabinet. She grabbed that little rabbit before he could even think about bolting. And…the win goes to the Farm Girl! Just hear the roar of the crowd!
Speaking of bolting, when bolting the hutch, it now gets triple checked! I’m thinking of installing a padlock…a really large one, with a key, because, Eggy might just work out how to jiggle a combination lock!
Has anyone else engaged in futility lately? Has anyone else had a weenie roast and s’mores cookout over a burning sling? Leave me a comment, if you have the time. I am always excited to hear from y’all!
This post is shared with some of our favorite blog hops and linky parties! There is great information and great community at these meet ups! Check them out if you have time.