In the Garden

It’s Spring – Baby Bunnies in the Backyard

With spring comes all sorts of surprises, especially when you live near a park and wildlife is abundant.

Indiana, the German Shephard of my daughter and her family helped find a baby rabbit nest under the trampoline near a tuft of tall grass in their backyard. The small hole holds four little bunnies surrounded by rabbit fur and grass. Their eyes were still closed. What a lovely sight.

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Dakota and Hank Jones carefully holding the little bunnies | Photo by Elizabeth Jones

The bunnies, or Rabbit Kits, their scientific name, are warm and cozy, and the mama rabbit returns each night to feed them. On the third day after the discovery, Elizz, my daughter, introduced them to my grandchildren, Hank, age 5, and Dakota, age 7. They got to hold the bunnies gently. Hank was so happy he cried. So sweet. Everyone knows not to handle them too much. Mama will not like it.

Elizz is now walking Indie around the neighborhood and across the street in the park. He wants to go out in the backyard and keeps ringing the bell by the back door. He is starting to realize the backyard is off-limits for a while.

One night, Elizz saw a shadow. Indie was at the window with her. His ears perked up. The mama returned to feed her babies after the kids handled them. The next day Elizz checked on the bunnies. The mama added extra rabbit fur and grass to camouflage them. Elizz explained to Dakota and Hank what the mama rabbit did to protect her babies. They now know they cannot hold them anymore.

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Elizz is holding one of the bunnies; her eyes are open! | A selfie by Elizabeth Jones

Elizz checks on them daily. To her surprise, the bunnies’ eyes are open. They are close to ten to twelve days old. At about three weeks, the bunnies will wean from their mother and be on their own.

Elizz has a teaching degree for K-4 and a ton of patience. She turns these experiences into nature lessons for my grandchildren. They can now tell you all about bunnies. I am fascinated by their eagerness to learn. I would love to be in the room when Hank tells his friends at school about the bunnies in his backyard. He starts his story with: “Hey, guys! I need to tell you sumfin’.”  He also likes to say, “Hey, sis. We got to hold BUNNIES!”

At such a young age, they already have respect nature’s creatures and its lovely flying insects. Every early summer, they love to visit my garden to check my dill for green caterpillars. They carefully pick them off, take them home in an open box, and put them in a protected place on the patio. Then they watch the caterpillar transform into a chrysalis and then, in several days, emerge as a Swallowtail butterfly.

These times with my grandchildren are precious to me. I know there will come a time they will want to be with their friends, and I will not get these moments. But I am comforted by knowing the excitement they express with the bunnies and butterflies, and all they are learning with their mom, dad, AND me will live with them forever.

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Hank, Elizz, and Dakota having fun | Photo by Elizabeth Jones

Janie Pace

Writer/photographer Janie Pace is a native Texan covering restaurants, wineries, breweries, travel destinations, and cruises. A member of the ITWPA International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance, IFWTWA International Food Wine Travel Writing Association, and USPA United States Press Agency; she’s a retired advertising and sales professional.

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