Well, the baby bunny did what rescued baby bunnies do best, it seems — he died this morning. I held him as he gasped his last breaths. BUT, he ate willingly twice, and eliminated waste, and so was safe and warm with a comfy belly, and he didn’t die alone. So I think rescuing him was the right thing to do.
The Bunny that Did Not Die in the Night–
Last night at 1 a.m. -ish, I let Magpie outside and when I let her in, a limp baby bunny, of an early age *just* transitioning from rat to rabbit, was laying, covered in dog spit, on the top step. Magpie stood over it proudly.
I picked the bunny up to throw it in the outside trash and it moved. I inspected it, and found all its limbs, its back, and its head to be uninjured.
Now, I know my family members *coughLindacough* think I’m way too soft-hearted, but I can be a realist. I took that bunny right back outside and left it on the edge of the patio, hoping it would be gone (mama bunny or predator) or dead (from cold and stress) in the morning.
In fact, when I picked it up, chanting to myself “please be dead, please be dead,” as it warmed in my hand it began to move and cry.
I called the two local vets and neither could give me the name of a local, or even distant, wildlife rehaber. So I turned to the internet — no rehabers closer than the far side of Des Moines. Then, with a sigh, I Googled how to care for baby bunnies.
Every single website I found began with the same types of statements: “Baby rabbits are incredibly fragile, especially wild rabbits.” “Rescued baby rabbits typically die within 2 days.” “It is very difficult to successfully rescue an infant wild rabbit.”
I read these, and looked at the squirming, crying bunny in my hand. I hadn’t found a rabbit nest in my yard, which is always full of dogs anyway, so I was pretty sure Mim the cat had brought the bunny into the yard and Magpie had found it, mouthed it, and left it for me to find. Despite all of that, and having been left exposed overnight, despite the fact that a wild baby rabbit dies every time you have a cruel or impure thought, THIS bunny seemed anything but fragile.
So I read the rescue site’s instructions and went to Walmart and bought some puppy formula. I put some rice in an old sock and microwaved it, put that in one corner of a tall Corning Ware casserole, draped a clean dishtowel over everything, and placed the bunny inside. He (yeah he — it seems baby bunny genitals develop early) is now napping on my desk at work, so I can keep the rice heated up. Mama bunnies feed their babies only once or twice a day, so I don’t have to worry about that until this evening.
I realize that this little, eyes-still-closed bunny is probably going to die and I won’t be overly upset when he does. But I can keep him warm and safe and try to help him not die. I also realize that if he lives, in a couple of weeks I’ll release him and he’ll probably die then, but at least I won’t know about it.
In the meantime, given his initial toughness and my childhood love of Watership Down, I’m calling him The General.
Pics to follow.
Ever heard of St. Baldrick’s Foundation? They fund childhood caner research grants, and their main fundraisng method is getting groups of people to pledge to have their heads shaved, while at the same time soliciting donations from friends and family.
Can you see where this is going?
Along with some other BVU folks (staff, students, profs), I’m going to have my head shaved, in public, 8/31/13. It will happen no matter how much or little money I collect, but I’d like to feel the baldening was worth it.
IF you wish to donate (no pressure), you may do so at this link.
I have long wanted to spin yarn — because now that really nice yarn is readily available, why not make my own on a fiddly machine that will likely engender much cursing?
Actually, it would be neat to take fiber all the way to yarn and then knit that yarn into a scarf or shawl or socks or whatever, and, like the nicotine addict who rolls his own, I hope spinning my own will slow me down — because how many scarves, shawls, blankets, socks does a person really need? (I do donate quite a few items, and gift even more, but still.)
Plus, I’m fascinated by fiber/textiles, I love learning new things, Iowa winters are long and dull, and summers, well, I’m not a big fan of gardening.
So I have some $ coming in mid-June and I’ve earmarked some of it for a spinning wheel. I’m planning to attend the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival in early June to try out some wheels, since the nearest dealer who carries more than one brand is 5.5 hours away, north of Minneapolis. In the meantime, because it’s so much more fun than grading or vacuuming, I’ve obsessively been researching spinning wheels online.
For most of human history, yarn was made on spindles, including drop-spindles, which I have used, but I’m much more adept at the DROP (clatter, roll away) than the spin. No, as the Chinese discovered early on and Europe figured out by around 1200, spinning wheels are the way to go. The first ones were just a more efficient way to turn a spindle (this would be what did in Sleeping Beauty), but they soon became more sophisticated, both spinning the yarn and winding it on a bobbin.
Speaking of fairy tales, traditional spinning wheels have the coolest names for their parts — maidens, mother-of-all, footmen — and for the wheel styles: saxony, castle, great wheel.
Today, wheels come in tons of styles: saxony, castle, modern castle, direct drive. They are also made from lots of different materials: rare wood (multiple thousands of dollars per wheel), hard wood, plywood, even PVC pipe and wheelchair wheels.
Based on my obsessive research, there are four wheels I’m considering. One is the best all-around, most sensible deal: the Fricke S-160 double treadle. But the romantic part of me wants a Bluebonnet Shamrock castle wheel (still a good deal). The cutesy part of me wants a folding Thimble. (an okay deal). And the gadget-loving part of me wants a Queen Bee, but that part, luckily, is not going to pay so much for a hobby item.
A used wheel purchase is, of course, possible, but wheels tend to hold their value, so when you factor in shipping to the butt-of-nowhere, Iowa, you might as well buy new and get the warranty.
Until then, the weather is nicer, school is almost over, and I have a novel to plan. Summer! Sabbatical! Sheep — I mean, Sleep!
Sunday, March 31 was my first day without sugar.
If I’d known when I woke up that it was going to be The First Day, I would have spent Saturday at the local markets snapping up half price Easter chocolate and gone down fighting, a bit like the mayor (Alfred Molina) at the end of Chocolat.
But I didn’t know. Which isn’t to say I hadn’t been eating my more-than-fair share of Cadbury crispy sugar-coated chocolate eggs and Blue Bunny Deluxe Mint Chip ice cream.
And that was the problem — for about a year, I’ve been indulging my considerable sweet tooth with more sweets, more often, and many times directly after I’d decided to tone it down. Binging would not be too strong a word for some of these snack sessions (no purging — we’re talking chocolate here, much too precious to abuse in such a way).
I want to make it clear that this no-sugar decision wasn’t a weight issue. I even lost 5 or 6 lbs over the fall, despite the chocolate and ice cream – oh, and the DQ mini-Blizzards, mint with extra Oreo.
Rather, that Saturday it occurred to me that my consuming-regretting-consuming behavior was a bit like my father’s relationship with alcohol. Dad was a highly functional alcoholic for most of his adult life (much less functional in the final 5 years). Haha, I thought, isn’t that a wacky coincidence? Haha, good thing I seldom keep liquor/beer/wine in the house and never drink alone. Haha, maybe sugar is my booze. Haha…..
Double crap, because if my problem had been booze, and I came to that realization, I would stop drinking. Climb on the wagon. Quit cold turkey. Dry out. Get off the sauce.
The logic was inescapable – I needed to put down the sugar and walk away. A nutritionist might advise moderation, but for me, moderation meant not eating deluxe mint chip ice cream straight from the carton. No, I scooped it into bowls, like a civilized being. Large bowls. Successive bowls.
I spent Sunday morning contemplating my world without sweets. I did so while obsessively searching the internet for information about giving up sugar. (It’s likely that obsessively searching the internet is another addiction of mine, but one trek virtue-ward at a time.) I found this article in NY Times Magazine and wondered if my sugar consumption really could be as bad for my liver and related processes as drinking. Because let’s face it: if I’m going to ruin my liver, hanging out at bars slamming down shots of tequila has definite advantages over scarfing down mint chip ice cream at home. For one, it gets you out of the house, plus lime wedges are rich in vitamin C.
A bit more research convinced me that ditching sweets isn’t enough, since sugar, especially fructose, and even more especially high fructose corn syrup, has infiltrated our country more silently and efficiently than commies in Joe McCarthy’s worst nightmares. And while I’d already gotten away from using anywhere near as much prepared food as I once did, it’s pretty instructive to read the sugar grams in run of the mill peanut butter, pizza and pasta sauce, boring cereals that no self-respecting child would even consider eating, and plain bread and rolls. And if the product is labeled ‘low fat,’ chances are the sugar content is even higher.
I settled for ditching all sweets and keeping my in-other-food sugar consumption to 25 grams a day or less, which allows for a serving or so of fruit in addition to the sugar that occurs naturally in my suddenly much healthier diet.
I was afraid that after a day or so off sugar I’d be reenacting Ewan McGregor’s withdrawal scene from the end of Trainspotters, and we all know from there it’s only short jump to playing young Obi Wan in a series of increasingly bad and bloated prequels (but hey, Liam Neeson). It wasn’t that difficult, though the first 8 days or so I ate a lot, since nothing I ate was really what I wanted, which by day 4 was a large bowl woven of Red Vines and filled with peanut M&Ms, Milk Duds, little Cadbury chocolate eggs, chocolate-covered raisins, and all the other kinds of M&Ms, drizzled with caramel syrup, chocolate syrup, and maple syrup, and capped off with Reddi-Whip.
And an after dinner mint (it’s wafer-thin).
(Did you know they make Dutch chocolate Reddi-Whip? I’m amazed people don’t just stand in the refrigerated aisle at the grocery store, spraying it directly into each other’s mouths. Can you believe my friend Melanie made it to age 34 without EVER spraying Reddi-Whip into her mouth? I soon took care of that oversight!)
After 8 days, I found I really didn’t want to eat anything sweet. And now, 11 days after that, I don’t even think about sweets. And get this – fruit really IS nature’s candy, and grapes taste too sweet to me (cantaloupe is just about perfect). I’ve been drinking Crystal Lite Mango/Peach green tea (I know, artificial sweetner, but I’m completely off the Diet Pepsi and one virtuous change at a time) and yesterday I started using only ½ the regular amount because the flavored tea is too sweet.
I also feel fabulous – energetic and cheerful all day long. So chipper, in fact, that the new me would kind of piss the old me off, or at least cause her to roll her eyes.
Today, after much waffling, I went with Melanie for mini DQ Blizzards. I wanted to see if I still liked them and I wanted to see if I could have an occasional treat without falling off the wagon and rolling around in the cocoa powder. The Blizzard did not taste too sweet, but it didn’t taste that great, either. I did enjoy the cool creaminess and the contrast of the crunchy Oreo bits. But I could go another 19 days, or 30, or whatever before having another one.
I hope you can appreciate that last sentence, because it is the most unexpected and amazing statement I have ever typed about myself.
I last posted to the blog a year ago, and sporadically before that.
Stuff has happened since then: I adopted a third dog (Magpie the Cairn terrier); I learned a new (old), faster way to knit; I recently stopped eating sugars — both overtly sugary items and things like ketchup that have a lot of sugar in them; I’ve learned (in the most elementary way) to spin and I’m planning to buy a wheel; I’m staring down the barrel of 50 years old; and I’ve been awarded a sabbatical for fall ’13, during which I promised to write a novel, which endeavor is linked in my mind with turning 50 and frightens the bejeezus out of me and makes me wonder what the hell I was thinking.
I’ve got a lot to blog about.
So I’m going to . . . But for tonight, the above paragraph and the new blog name and layout will do.
I’ve been in Korea for just over 2 weeks, and fly home on Thursday 1/19. I haven’t been blogging the trip, because Facebook status updates killed my blog, but here’s a longer post than FB will allow.
First, I’ve learned 2 random things about Korean culture while I’ve been here. On the trip last summer, we accidentally stayed in a sex motel, which I blogged about a few posts back. This time, I learned that ‘motel’ means ‘sex’ — that is, a hotel is by definition a place to stay while traveling and a motel is a place for sex. I was told this by a couple of different people, both US and Korean, as if all Koreans know it, which makes me wonder if last summers’ guide wasn’t embarrassed for booking us into a motel, but embarrassed we so quickly figured out the place’s purpose. I was also told that there are lots of motels (which there are, once you’re looking for them) not just for illicit sex, but for married couples — a logical adaptation in a culture where multi-generational families crowd into houses very small by western standards.
Last summer, fellow traveler Kathy and I were admiring pretty little porcelain tiles, both traditional and funky, hanging as pendants on black silk cord. The shop owner bustled out and told us his sister made them, and we each bought one. Last Sunday in Seoul and yesterday in Daejon, I saw displays of identical necklaces, and each shopkeeper made sure to inform me that his/her sister had made the pendants. Either that’s one big family and one overworked sister, or we fell for the tourist patter.
Today, our sophomore students threw a barbeque for us. They took a 4-hour long English test yesterday, the TOEFL, while we were gallivanting around Daejon with a freshman student and her father, a sweet man who worked mightily to shoehorn some culture into our shopping and fed us a meal or tea or coffee every 2 hours. I must say, I never thought the paper fan musuem could be so interesting. And there was a museum dedicated to a famous female writer, a musuem that showcased (Americans would never have the patience for this) her writing — including an original manuscript that stood, pages stacked, about 4 feet tall (handwritten in Hangul script, so not so many sentences per page, but still).
But back to the bbq. No parents or teachers around, just one female student, 5 or 6 boys, and me and my 2 college students. First we watched a movie and ate home baked cookies, which were amazing in their own right and because they weren’t Korean high school cafeteria food. Then the bbq began. Koreans grill meat A LOT, in when eating out or celebrating, anyway, and many restaurants have gas or charcoal grills embedded in the tables. The gas ones are powered by canisters that look like old-fashioned aerosol cans (you know, before they got all sleek and skinny) and the charcoal ones hold big chunks of wood charcoal that are brought to the table already burning. Meat may be raw or cooked and just grilled for flavor.
The kids had an old half-barrel that they filled with cold wood charcoal and then they took one of the gas canisters, fitted on an elbowed nozzle obviously manufactured for such use, and had a bbq blow torch. Now, I’m not sure , but I’m thinking such things are not common in the U.S. And I’m not talking the cute little creme brûlée accessory; this bore the same relationship to a brûlée-cruster that a 9mm bears to a bb gun. The kids used the torch to fire up the charcoal, and since it was obviously natural charcoal with none of those sissy Kingsford accelerants, it took some time and some flame! It was obvious they knew what they were doing and had done it before and they couldn’t understand why the three Anglo women were laughing so much and standing so far back. On our part, we were marveling that blow torch attachments are being sold in the equivalent of Target, in the cooking section, AND were amazed that these boys were being so businesslike about their use — I think we all know what would happen if the average 15 year-old American kid got his hands on such a thing.
After a few false starts with the charcoal, we stood around the bbq and feasted on grilled sausage, thick-cut bacon (amazing grilled), steak, and grilled sliced garlic. For veggies, you wrap everything up in a lettuce leaf and much away. The whole thing was made more interesting because in addition to the flames that sometimes jump up in response to grilling juices and dripping fat, we were using cheap, restaurant-style wooden chopsticks! After the meat, we had Korean ramen noodles; Koreans eat the starch at the end of the meal, unless the dish itself incorporates starch, it seems. Then the girls and I dragged our overstuffed selves back to our room, showered away the smoke and meat smells, and crashed.