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!