To take a momentary pause in the Morphicon tale, I'd like to mention that we really did take our pet rabbit outside a couple days ago. We had stuff to do in the yard, mostly getting the pond ready to put the fish back into it, and since it was a lovely, bright, sunny day, we thought to take the pen out and set it up so he could enjoy a bit of outside. He's had virtually no time outside, in his life. Years ago bunny_hugger tried walking him on a harness and leash, but he didn't like the harness, and while we've had a nice pen with flexible walls we've used that to give him more area inside instead of taking him out.
Since we started by taking the pen off of his hutch and getting the pet carrier out he was deeply suspicious, and he did not know what we were taking him out for but he was pretty sure he wouldn't like it. That there was no car ride involved probably delighted him, and when we set the pet carrier out on the lawn and opened it he bounded right out.
I admit feeling a bit disappointed. I had entertained thoughts that after a couple minutes sniffing about and figuring out where he was he might start binking, the traditional rabbit dance of happiness. Or he might start running, which he doesn't get to do much indoors as our wood floors don't give him enough traction. But he explored the area a bit and stretched out in the grass, looking pretty comfortable.
And he nibbled on the plants, which we expected. Besides the grass he also finished off some dandelions, some violets, a dried-up leaf, and for that matter one of the weed maples that's been particularly abundant this year. Considering how suspiciously he looked at Swiss chard we were surprised at his dead-leaf and maple-tree-eating, the tree particularly. He finished it off before we even had the chance to wonder if it's a good thing for rabbits to eat maples. Well, it probably won't be too bad, and bunny_hugger can use the help fighting back the weed trees.
We weren't surprised that, initially, moving him out, and our mucking about the pond, scared off the birds and squirrels we can usually see out back. But eventually the more adventurous birds came back to the feeder, near where the rabbit was. The squirrels never did. The squirrels are only a little nervous around us, scooting away but coming back after a couple minutes if we seem unthreatening. But none of them came anywhere near the rabbit. And it was the rabbit: we took him in, eventually, and when I went back out to get the pen, two squirrels reappeared at the squirrel feeder. What power does a Flemish giant have over the squirrel community?
Trivia: Brooklyn in 1879 was descrbed as an ``immense garden'', serving the ``vast and increasing demand of the city of New York for vegetables and fruits of a perishable nature''. Source: Down To Earth: Nature's Role In American History, Ted Steinberg.
Currently Reading: The Darien Disaster, John Prebble.